Examining “Dominionism”

7M-Front-CoverIf you have not heard or do not know much about the Seven Mountains strategy, then I would urge you to do some reading first before continuing with this article. The Seven Mountains strategy began with the receiving of a vision by Loren Cunningham. The transcript of the interview with Loren Cunningham on the original Seven Mountains vision can be found here. Here is a short video supporting the Seven Mountains Mandate by Os Hillman.

From the vision, Loren gathered that there are “spheres” – seven of them – which Christians are to influence. “These are the areas that you can go into as missionaries,” Loren told hundreds of young people who had gathered in Hamburg, Germany. They are: family, religion, education, media, arts/entertainment, economy, and government. In the same meeting, Loren urges his listeners to emulate Caleb, who said to Joshua, “Give me this mountain.” Here, I guess, was when “spheres” became “mountains”. The good side of this is that it gives Christians who are not in full-time ministry – that is nearly 95% of them – new meaning to their jobs and a fresh perspective about the Marketplace. However, there is a not so good side to this mandate.

This mandate has since become a movement known as Dominionism or Christian Reconstructionism. “This ideology,” according to Chris Hedges, “calls on anointed “Christian” leaders to take over the state and make the goals and laws of the nation “biblical”.” Chris goes on to say, ““Dominionists believe they are engaged in an epic battle against the forces of Satan. They live in a binary world of black and white. They feel they are victims, surrounded by sinister groups bent on their destruction. They have anointed themselves as agents of God who alone know God’s will.” [1]

This “take over the world” battle cry sits very nicely with those who hold to the postmillennial theology of the End Time.

“In contrast to premillennialism, the postmillennialists emphasize the present aspects of God’s kingdom, which will reach fruition in the future. They believe that the millennium will come through Christian preaching and teaching. Such activity will result in a more godly, peaceful, and prosperous world. The new age will not be essentially different from the present, and it will come about as more people are converted to Christ. Evil will not be totally eliminated during the millennium, but it will be reduced to a minimum as the moral and spiritual influence of Christians is increased.”[2]

Is this even possible – that evil…”will be reduced to a minimum as the moral and spiritual influence of Christians is increased”? It is, says Harold Eberle and Martin Trench, authors of Victorous Eschatology. In it, Eberle and Trench says, “Before Jesus returns, the Church will rise in glory, unity, and maturity. The Kingdom of God will grow and advance until it fills the earth.” The result: cultural transformation. In Dominion, Peter Wagner disagrees with the notion that “if we [the Church] pray enough for social transformation, God in His omnipotence will transform it.” Instead, he says that “God expects us to pray, but He also wants to give us authority and the resources and the revelation to move out in power of the Holy Spirit and take back dominion from Satan.”[3] The question is, how will this be accomplished. Chuck Colson of Prison Ministry favours the grassroots individual approach, which assumes that “transformed people transform cultures.”[4] However, Hunter says that “cultures never change from the bottom up, but from the top down.”[5] The best strategy, according to Hunter, is to aim directly for the institutions that mold culture. Wagner also believes that Acts 3:21 speaks of Jesus being in heaven “until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouths of all His holy prophets since the world began” as a mandate for the Church to bring restoration to pass in this world. “He is waiting for us to do our part…Meanwhile, he is reigning through us…”[6]

Kingdom Now, or Not Yet?

Kingdom NOW and NOT YET are two sides of the same coin. Whenever we discuss about the kingdom of God, we must remember that there are two aspects to it. In His ministry, Jesus came proclaiming that the kingdom of God is NEAR – not here yet (Luke 10:9; 21:31; Mark 1:15; Matt 3:2; 4:17; 10:7 and others). By this, He was referring to the kingdom which He Himself will establish on the earth, “an everlasting kingdom” (Psa 145:13). Of this kingdom did Daniel receive revelation of (Dan 2:44; 4:3, 34; 7:27). God’s people are taught to pray for this kingdom to come (Matt 6:10). In the meantime, God’s kingdom comes to invade and reside in the hearts of men (Luke 17:21).

And contrary to the belief that evil will be reduced before Christ’s return, Jesus said that in the last days “sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold” (Matt 24:12 NLT). “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt 24:37 NIV). As you can see, Scripture does not concur with that of the Dominion Theology. I don’t know about you, but I will believe what the Bible says.

Light of the World

Since I am on this subject, I might as well clarify what “light of the world” means.

When Jesus spoke these words, those in his immediately proximity were His disciples, who were all Jewish. This implies that this privilege was given only to the Jews and the nation of Israel, and no one else. Before you think that I am biased – I have no reason to be since I myself am not Jewish – let me explain. According to Isaiah, Israel is made to be “a witness to the peoples” (55:4). She is called to be…

A light to the nations
To open the eyes that are blind
To bring out the prisoners from the dungeon
From the prison those who sit in darkness (Isa 42:6-7)

She is God’s servant, “in whom I will be glorified” (Isa 49:3). This is the meaning of being His servant: to be a light to the nation’s so that His salvation “May reach to the end of the earth” (49:6)

The tragedy is that the servant himself fails to understand the meaning off his mission.

Who is blind but My servant
Or deaf as My messenger whom I send
Who is blind as my dedicated one
Our blind as the servant of the Lord?
He sees many things but does not observe them
His ears steer open but he does not hear. (Isa 42:19-20)

Great Commission

The same goes for the Great Commission. It is meant primarily for the Jews and the nation of Israel to fulfil. Much of Isaiah’s prophecy has to do with the Millennial reign of Christ on the earth. One of the things that would happen then will be

In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isa 2:2-3 NIV)

“The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” This is how the nations will be discipled, baptised in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and taught to obey all that Christ commands (Matt 28:19-20).

As Israel begins to act as the light of the world and make disciples of the nations, they will inevitably be fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham, that in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed (see Gen 12:1-3).

[1] (http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Radical-Christian-Righ-by-Chris-Hedges-Christian-Right_Government-Bullying_Government-Corruption_Right-Wing-Extremists-131007-879.html)
[2] Elwell, Walter A. (ed.): Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Second Edition, Millenium, Views of the (article), page 771.
[3] Peter Wagner, Dominion, p.71
[4] Joe Woodward, “Solving the Secular Paradox”.
[5] Personal correspondence with James D. Hunter, January 11, 2007.
[6] Peter Wagner, Dominion, p.73

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