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The Spiritual
and Historical Regression
of Dominion Theology

 

 

by
Alan Morrison
Pastor--
Eindhoven International Baptist Church
The Netherlands

Three abuses of knowledge into which Christians can fall are error, schism and heresy. All believers will fall into error, often without necessarily affecting others. A schism is the sinful factionalising of a group behind an individual or a personalised interpretation of truth.

A heresy is a sectarian belief-system which contains truth in varying degrees but which raises one aspect of it above all others, giving it an imbalance which topples the overall testimony of Christian truth. Some heresies are destructive (2 Pet.2:1).

"Dominion Theology" (or Christian Reconstructionism) has as its goal the peaceful conversion of governments to a "theocracy", which bases its civil law on the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament.

However, it is our belief that this is not only an error, but that it is schismatic and heretical too. For Dominion Theology leads people to exalt the Mosaic Law and to undermine the New Covenant gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ, while working to bring about a fictitious "millennium", based on a Christianised world, which misleads believers concerning the status and experience of the church during the present evil age. In this study, we aim to show that Dominion Theology inevitably makes believers less like Christ, that it exalts the power of the civil state above its God-given status, and paints a false picture of both church history and the time of the end.

 

Thesis 1: "Dominion Theology deters believers
from developing a Christlike spirit"

The descriptive terms "Dominion Theology" or "Christian Reconstructionism" are here being used in preference to "Theonomy". The use of the term Theonomy (the Law of God) by one particular faction of the faith represents the hijacking of a Biblical word which really applies to ALL Christians. All Christians are judged according to God's Law. All Christians are to live according to God's Law. However, in just the same way that God's redemptive plan has been progressively revealed in different ways at different times (cf. Heb.1:1-2), so God's Law has similarly been manifested among us. It is most important for us to understand this fact which undergirds the process of history, and it has been well summed up by Steele and Thomas in their excellent study manual on Romans:

"Although all of God's people...have been freed from the law in relation to salvation, they have never been free from God's law as a rule of duty. The saints of all ages have been under law to God, but they have not all served under the same revelation of the law. From Adam to Moses the rule of duty for the saints living during this time seems to have been primarily the law of conscience (written on man's heart). Some additional laws are recorded in the Biblical record, but little is revealed concerning them.

From Moses to Christ the rule of duty for God's people living during this period was the Law of Moses, with its many detailed regulations, which was abolished by Christ at His death. From Christ to the end of the age the rule of duty for believers today is contained in the New Covenant. Though the laws of the Old Covenant are profitable for study, they are no longer binding on God's people. However, many of the moral principles contained in the law of Moses (the Old Covenant) have also been included in the New Covenant Law (e.g. the laws forbidding murder, adultery, etc.), and thus the two codes of law, though different have much in common".[1]

The fact that believers are covenantally under the "Law of Christ" (Gal.6:2; 1 Cor.9:21) rather than the Law of Moses is a concept most vital for the right development of our Christian lives. Whereas the Law of Moses consisted of the Ten Commandments plus the ceremonial and civil laws contained in the Pentateuch, the Law of Christ "contains a clearer revelation of God's law and a higher standard of conduct for His people than the law of Moses".[2]

What a sobering fact this is: one which should stop Reconstructionists in their tracks. Those born under the law of Moses were controlled, like children or servants, by mere external regulations; but believers in the New Covenant are constrained by their relationship of love with their Redeemer Christ, (cf. 2 Cor.5:14) and the leading of the Holy Spirit (Gal.5:18). The great change under the New Covenant, in respect of the believer's relationship to the Law of God, is that our Lord no longer treats us as children and servants but as heirs and friends (Gal.3:23 " 4:7; John 15:15). We are, as Paul puts it, "in-lawed to Christ" (1 Cor.9:21) " a vivid witness to the intimacy of our relationship with Him (cf.Jer.31:31-34). The progressive sanctification of the believer, therefore, involves an ongoing adult interaction with the Spirit of Christ, through which he works out his own salvation with fear and trembling, but in loving obedience to the One who has redeemed him (Phil.2:12;13).

The believer is actually a "work-in-progress" under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, rather than under the compulsion of the Mosaic law. If you are LED by the Spirit you are NOT under the (Mosaic) law (Gal.5:18; 2 Cor.3:2-8; Rom.8:2) " for justification OR for sanctification (Rom.6:14). It is not only Reconstructionists who fail to understand this covenantal fact: many other believers have not properly grasped the full implications of what Paul is saying about law and grace.

The Law of Christ " to which Christians are covenantally bound " consists of "the whole tradition of Jesus' ethical teaching, confirmed by His character and conduct, and reproduced within His people by the power of the Spirit". [3]

Although Christ fulfilled the Mosaic Law in His life (Jn.14:30) and death (Gal.3:13), He did not destroy it (Matt.5:17). Part of that fulfillment (and herein lies the continuity of the Covenants) meant that all that was essential and permanently useful in the Mosaic Law under the Old Covenant was subsumed into the more glorious Law of Christ under the New Covenant (cf. 2 Cor.3:2-18). Our gracious God works through progressive revelation: first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. It has been this way with the revelation of His Law also. But Reconstructionists want us to live by the letter of the Law of Moses (the revelation of God's Law under the Old Covenant), instead of the Law of the Spirit of Christ (the revelation of God's Law under the New Covenant), which is so much better, Heb.8:6-13.

So we have no objection to the idea of Christians being Theonomists (delighters in God's Law, Rom.7:22), provided they exalt Christ rather than Moses; but we do object to "Dominion Theology" and "Christian Reconstructionism", because they serve to make a Christian " in his responses to his brethren and the world around him " more like Moses rather than Christ. This is why we say that Reconstructionism has a regressive spirit. For it drags believers back in God's redemptive history to the spiritual conditions of B.C. rather than A.D., in terms of their relationship with Christ, with the godless world and with one another. This, in spite of the fact that Scripture is clear that all of Israel's laws were given specifically to Israel and to no other nation (Deut.4:7-8), and for a limited period of time (Gal.3:17-25).

The sensitive reader of Scripture will recall that occasion when two of the disciples asked the Lord Jesus if He would have them call down fire on the Samaritans who would not receive Him (Lk.9:51-54). But He told them plainly that they were exhibiting a complete failure to comprehend their new spiritual status, and that they had no grasp of the purpose of the Gospel in this present age (please read Lk.9:55-56). In other words, like the Dominionists and Reconstructionists of today, they were still operating under the economy of the Old Order. This illustrates the problems inherent in a system which goes primarily to the Old Testament for its legislation, ethics and discipline.

[1] David N. Steele & Curtis C. Thomas, Romans: An Interpretive Outline (Presbyterian & Reformed, 1963), p.55.

[2] Ibid., p.54.

[3] F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Galatians: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Paternoster, 1982), p.261.

 

Consider this: When the New Covenant person sees an unbeliever worshipping an idol on the Lord's Day, does his stomach well up with a great desire to have him stoned to death under the Mosaic Law, as seems to be the case with Reconstructionists? Or does he feel compassion in his heart and a burning need to reach out with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, knowing that he was once himself alienated and an enemy in his mind by wicked works, yet now reconciled by Christ (Mk.6:34; Col.1:21; Eph.2:1-3)? Surely, the churches of the New Covenant in Christ are not to exercise judgement on unbelievers (1 Cor.5:12-13), and should leave it to the Lord to take the appropriate action (Rom.12:17-19).

Similarly, if the Christian sees a brother in Christ fallen by the wayside into some sin, does this New Covenant person think immediately of dragging him before the magistrate, or hauling him before the elders to be severely disciplined by his church? Or does he hear the words of the apostle ringing in his ears: "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted" (Gal.6:1; cf. Jas.5:19-20). Such New Covenant admonitions appear to have gone completely over the heads of Reconstructionists.

Within the churches themselves there is a laid down New Testament process of discipline (admonition " ostracism " restoration, e.g. Matt.18:15-20; 1 Cor.5:4-5; 2 Thess.3:14-15; 1 Tim.1:20) which is very different from that meted out under the Old Covenant (punishment " death, e.g. Deut.17:2-13). The point of contention here is that discipline in the N.T churches is not so much about punishment as about loving restoration (Gal.6:1; 2 Cor.2:6-11; Jas.5:19-20). As this primarily restorative element of discipline is not appreciated even in some Reformed churches today, it is hardly surprising that such a New Covenant dimension is entirely absent from the Reconstructionist's approach to the Body of Christ, towards the culture in which he resides, and the life-purpose of the Christian who (with not a little tension) lives strangely astride these two domains.

The New Covenant person is to be conformed to the Lord Jesus Christ and to become like Him in every way possible (2 Cor.3:18; 1 Cor.2:16b; 11:1; Eph.5:1). For He has loved us, taken the form of a servant through His incarnation, humbled Himself for us, forgiven us, reconciled us, comforted us, borne our burdens, and ultimately laid down His life for us. Because of this, we are to do these same things for one another " thus fulfilling the Law of Christ (John 13:34; Phil.2:3-9; Col.3:13; Eph.4:32; 1 Thess.5:9-11; Gal.6:2; 1 John 3:16; etc.). This is what Covenant relationship is all about, and provides the foundational ethic of the Christian life. By encouraging believers to adopt an Old Covenant approach to church discipline, sanctification, and the unbelieving world, Reconstructionists are taking a step backwards in the revelation of the law and grace of God in redemptive history. Thus, Reconstructionists lead believers into a spiritual and historical regression, encouraging them to become more like Moses than Christ " which thereby involves them in a far less glorious Covenantal relationship (2 Cor.3:7-11). Dominion Theology is very much a case of "Backward, Christian Soldiers".

 

 

Thesis 2: "Dominion Theology is the Logical Outworking
of Reformed Westminster Confession Theology"

This thesis may come as a surprise to many readers. If, like the present writer, you have delighted in the pietistic writings of the Reformers and the Puritans, which have been so profusely reprinted in recent years, you may not realise that they actually held much in common with the Reconstructionists and Dominionists of today. Christian publishers have generally been tendentiously careful to ensure that the political writings of these 16th and 17th century pietistic giants have remained out of circulation. For the Puritans generally believed that although the judicial laws given to Israel had, in the main, been abrogated by Christ, those which were punishable by death and which were connected with the Moral Law of God are still in force (e.g. idolatry, sodomy, witchcraft, blasphemy, etc). A number of Puritan writers even asserted that Atheists should be executed for their beliefs. Such thinking came to pervade the Westminster Confession, so that in Chap.XXIII, "3, the authority to enforce order within the church was entrusted to the civil powers:

"The civil magistrate...hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented and reformed, and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transmitted in them be according to the mind of God".

The application of this concept in the 16th and 17th centuries led to the persecution and liquidation of many with whom the Protestant churches disagreed. But is it the role of the state to "suppress all blasphemies and heresies" and to interfere in church life so extensively? Let us briefly examine the inception and purpose of the state in the light of what Scripture has revealed.

In the absence of any properly institutionalised civil order, the degeneration of the post-Fall, pre-diluvian world was rapid. It began with a murder (Gen.4:8) and culminated in a world which was corrupt and filled with violence " in which the intent of the thoughts of [mans"] heart was only evil continually (Gen. 6:5, 11-13). The civil state as a God-ordained institution was then established, in its basic principle, after the Flood in the Noachic Covenant (Gen.9:5-6). It is clear from this and other references that it was ordained primarily to administer justice (including the death penalty for murder) and to promote general welfare " all to prevent a world in rebellion from drifting into chaos (Rom.13:1-7).

It was ordained thus:

1 Peter 2:13 (KJV) Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

Romans 13:4 (KJV) For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

1 Timothy 2:2 (KJV) For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

This is part of what Calvin called the "generalem Dei gratiam" (general grace of God), through which the post-diluvian world is preserved from chaos in order that His eternal plan of redemption can be effected. The fact that the unbelieving world has often moulded the state into many additional functions which God did not indicate (e.g. state ownership of the means of production, persecution of dissidents, overburdensome taxes, etc.) does not detract from the propriety of that original function of preserving order and promoting welfare in a fallen world.

Contrary to what both Roman Catholics and Reformers have mistakenly taught, there is not the slightest hint in the New Testament that the function of the state includes the enforcement of the true religion on society, or the supervision of discipline within the churches themselves. Admittedly, the "sacral" form of society " in which religion and state were intertwined " prevailed throughout the world before the advent of Christ (including in the Old Covenant nation of Israel), but the Lord Jesus taught that there is now a fundamental separation between the eternal, spiritual kingdom He is building (which is drawn from all nations) and the temporary, carnal kingdoms of the world (Matt.22:17-21).

Reconstructionists (with Calvin and the Westminster Confession) would here quote Isa.49:23 as "proof" that God has ordained the state to exercise authority in the church and suppress all blasphemies and heresies. But this verse is primarily a prophetic reference to the fact that Cyrus II of Persia (559-530 B.C.), would be helpful to the Jews by enabling them to return to rebuild Jerusalem (cf. v.22).

There is no doubt that civil rulers have often been helpful to the Lord's people throughout the span of history. Considering that the purpose of the state is ultimately to ensure the free passage of the process of redemption in the world, this is not surprising. But such spasmodic, providential help has nothing to do with any God-given rights on the part of the state to exercise authority in matters of intrachurch discipline or dealing with false teachings. The N.T. Scriptures give no support whatsoever to the notion that the state should suppress blasphemers and heretics within or without the church (unless they pose a threat to common public order). But it was just such a notion which influenced Westminster doctrine on church-state relationships.

It is quite proper for believers to seek to influence the state to fulfil its original God-given functions (upholding civil order " promoting general welfare). But although legislation against the contraceptive use of abortion (infanticide), or any other chaos-inducing crime (e.g. murder, theft, violence, etc.), does come within that original function, legislating against idolatry or homosexual proclivities (provided civil order or welfare is not being violated) does not fall within the jurisdiction of the state " regardless of how much we may find such activities offensive. What Reconstructionists do not appear to understand is that one of the principal differences between O.T. Israel and the N.T. church is that the latter has a gospel of love to proclaim to the unbelieving nations, rather than a mandate for mass execution! In fact, if one were to implement all the capital offences of the Mosaic Law (sodomy, incest, sorcery, idolatry, blasphemy, false teaching, filial disobedience), both courts and graveyards would be full to overflowing. Actually, there would be no one left in the world to evangelise!

So it is a fact that Dominion Theology can legitimately claim a precedent in the ideology of the Westminster Confession of Faith, which was based on a distinctly Old Covenant approach in some of its propositions (notably in the areas of sanctification and church/state relations). As Dr. Meredith Kline puts it in a fine review article on Greg Bahnsen's "Theonomy in Christian Ethics":

[Reconstructionism] is not without roots in respectable ecclesiastical tradition. It is, in fact, a revival of certain teachings contained in the Westminster Confession of Faith... Ecclesiastical courts operating under the Westminster Confession of Faith are going to have their problems... if they should be of a mind to bring the [Reconstructionist] aberration under their judicial scrutiny".[4]

Because of this unfortunate anomaly, Reconstructionists and strict Westminster adherents are brought under a regressive spirit which is both B.C. and 17th century in its outlook. Once again, we can only say: "Backward, Christian soldiers"! Thesis 3: "Dominion Theology is Rooted in Historical and Eschatological Romanticism" The Christian should never indulge in a vain imagination. Romance is for those who thrive on illusions. The Christian should actively seek to be dis-illusioned. This applies both to his conception of the past (history) as well as his contemplation of the times of the end (eschatology). Yet, Dominion Theology is rooted in a highly romantic view of both the past and the future. We refer here to their view of that historical period known as the "Reformation", and a projected future state of global peace on earth known as the "Millennium".

Historical Romanticism

The primary historical model for the theocratic state of the Reconstructionists is the city of Geneva, as set up by John Calvin in the sixteenth century. Here all the intolerance of Reforming Protestantism was given its head as Christianity was enforced, by an ecclesiastical policing system, on to the entire populace " whether or not they were regenerated people. Regardless of all Calvin's great attributes, his work in Geneva was not so rosy as many historians would have us believe. In conformity with our exposure of the regressive nature of Reconstructionist theology, Philip Schaff writes: "The moral discipline which Calvin introduced [in Geneva] savours more of the spirit of the O.T. than the Spirit of the New".[5]

Calvin himself appears to have given conflicting views on the use of the Mosaic Law in relation to civil government. In his Institutes, he was certainly not a Reconstructionist, for he says that those who claim that a commonwealth is improperly framed if it neglects the political system of Moses have fallen into a "perilous and seditious notion"

(Institutes, IV.xx.14). He rightly pointed out that the Mosaic judicial laws had been abrogated, and that "every nation is left free to make such laws as it foresees to be profitable for itself...yet in conformity to that perpetual rule of love"

(Institutes, IV.xx.15). However, in his sermons on Deut.13 and 1 Tim.2:2, he was unashamedly in favour of empowering the state to liquidate false teachers and other transgressors of capital offences under the Mosaic judicial law. Moreover, despite Calvin's correct assertion that "it is a Jewish vanity to seek to enclose Christ's kingdom within the elements of this world", (Institutes, IV.xx.1), his practice of this tenet did not apply itself in relation to the city of Geneva. With regard to the fact that Calvin's Confession was made law in both church and

[4] Westminster Theological Journal, Vol.41, Fall, 1978, No.1, pp.172-189. Well worth reading.

[5] P. Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol.VIII (Scribner's, 1910), p.263.

[6] Ibid., p.357.

[7] Gary North, Is the World Running Down? (Dominion Press, 1988), p.280.

state in Geneva, Philip Schaff observes:

"It was a glaring inconsistency that those who had just shaken off the yoke of popery as an intolerable burden, should subject their conscience and intellect to a human creed; in other words, substitute for the old Roman popery a modern Protestant popery... The same inconsistency and intolerance was repeated a hundred years later on a much larger scale in the "Solemn League and Covenant" of the Scottish Presbyterians and English Puritans against popery and prelacy, and sanctioned in 1643 by the Westminster Assembly of Divines".[6]

Unfortunately, the less objective histories of this period can often represent the Christian equivalent of Mills and Boon (e.g. Wylie's "History of Protestantism"). If you prefer your history to be "straight-from-the-shoulder" rather than "Roy-of-the-Rovers" then you should avoid such comic-strip capers. The Reformation was not the rosy romance which many history books make it out to be. Many Men and women lost their lives at the hands of the persecuting zeal of the Reformers with their sacralist ecclesiology. The Lord's people have a duty to report issues fairly and objectively " for two reasons.

Firstly, failure to do so is discordant with the Word, Ex.20:16; Matt.15:19, Rom.13:9 (especially notable in respect of the perjurous press which the so-called Anabaptists have unjustly received);

Secondly, one of the great hallmarks of the historical narratives of the O.T. " one worthy of imitation " is that they faithfully record the activities of the Lord's people without concealing any warts or blemishes.

We confess to some guilt in this ourselves. In 1988, the present writer wrote a series of articles on "Calvin"s Geneva" for a well-known magazine which did not really do justice to the darker side of the Reformation. We even defended the unnecessary liquidation of the heretic Servetus on the basis that those who executed him were merely victims of their environment, acting under the influence of the spirit of his age (call in the social workers)! Such an excuse should never be made for the Christian, who is to be transformed with the renewing of his mind, rather than conformed to this world (Rom.12:2). He is a new creation (2 Cor.5:17) who must take responsibility for his sin (Rom.6:14a; Phil.2:12-13), and who cannot blame his environment for his every peccadillo.

We do not now exalt Geneva as a praiseworthy theocratic enterprise. Although there were many laudable facets about the changes wrought in Geneva, the experiment itself was ultimately a failure " as will be every single attempt to establish an earthbound manifestation of the kingdom of God. For we have Christ's assertions that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36), and that it does not come by outward observation (Lk.17:20). On every occasion that the church has attempted to take dominion of political or state functions (Papacy, Geneva, Cromwell, New World settlers, etc.), it has issued in failure " thus demonstrating that the perpetrators did not know of what Spirit they were.

So let us not look longingly back to times in history when we imagine the Protestant church was very powerful in a worldly sense. If there was such a time (and some historians have certainly painted it that way) it is not worth an ounce of nostalgia. In reality the true church, as she is manifested in the world, is in the wilderness (Rev.12:14). Unlike the false church (which is clothed in purple, scarlet and precious stones, Rev.17:4), to the world's naked eye the true church is clothed in rags (Rev.11:3). Only when the great consummation comes will she be seen to be clothed in white garments (Rev.3:5; 19:8).

Eschatological Romanticism

Not only do people take longing looks at times past which they believe to have been periods of blessing, but they also yearn for similar times in the future. Reconstructionism involves working towards the future "Christianising" of the entire planet through the tactics of "dominion". Not a few Reformed theologians have also speculated about this alleged "millennium". It is their considered opinion that if the Cross is to be successful, then we should be building up to a scenario involving an almost wholly converted world.

But rather than becoming concerned about how many people will finally be saved " and asserting (as Warfield and Boettner have done) that it is dishonouring to God to imagine that more will be lost than saved " let us rely on God to do the arithmetic according to His own purposes (Luke 13:23). The Lord Jesus has come to save His people from their sins (Matt.1:21), and they most certainly will be saved. It is true that the universal Body of Christ will not, in the end, consist of a mere handful of beleaguered little bigots bailing out a tiny boat in storm-tossed seas. However, the Body of Christ is always a relatively little flock (Luke 12:32) in the world at any one time " a remnant according to the election of grace " but not a little flock when cumulatively considered over the entire millennia of human history (Rev.7:9).

It is a notable fact that Reconstructionists are very concerned about how things appear to the world in history. For example, Gary North writes: "Let us abandon pessimillennialism in all its paralysing forms. We were not intended by God to be historical losers!"[7]

By "pessimillennialism", he means anything which is not postmillennialism. But there is a vital truth at the heart of the Scriptures which Reconstructionists completely overlook when they survey the panorama of church history. For the Lord works out His redemptive plan of the ages in ways which run strikingly counter to those established in the world. This is what we can call the "exaltation paradox".

The "Exaltation Paradox"

G.K. Chesterton neatly defined a paradox as "Truth standing on its head to gain attention". This profound fact is nowhere more apparent than in the Lord's ways of working with man in the redemptive sphere. Let us examine the Scriptural evidence for this phenomenon: An important reference point used to describe how the unbelieving world views the ways of God in salvation is the word"foolishness". (e.g. 1 Cor.1:18; 1 Cor.1:27). For the person who is not empowered by the Holy Spirit can never really comprehend spiritual matters, and so judges God's plan of redemption to be absurd.

The Lord Jesus was Himself a frequent user of the exaltation paradox, e.g. when He spoke of death leading to life; abasement bringing exaltation, etc. (Matt.23:12; 16:25; Lk.14:11; 17:33; 18:14; Jn.12:25). Indeed, His whole life's work was a veritable celebration of the exaltation paradox (Phil.2:3-9). What this paradox denotes is that God stands human wisdom on its head in order to demonstrate the superiority of His own wisdom (Zec.4:6; cf. Jer.9:23-24).

Accordingly, the one who is in Christ must often behave in complete antithesis to the accepted norms of the world in order to achieve his God-given ambitions. The Apostle Paul knew this beautiful secret. He knew that in order to be strong he had to become weak (2 Cor.12:10), because the Lord's strength comes to fruition precisely in situations where human weakness most manifests itself (2 Cor.12:9). This is because it must always be the Lord who has the glory " that no flesh should glory in His presence (1 Cor.1:29). This is the very opposite of mere "triumphalism", which is well defined by Chambers' as "an attitude of righteous pride and self-congratulation in the defeat of perceived evil". For evil is always defeated by the Lord in such a way that only He can have the glory; and it is always defeated in such a way that it is never perceived as such by the world " for these things can only be discerned by those indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor.2:12-14).

By way of example, consider the killing of Abel (Gen.4:8). Satan must have thought that through the agency of Cain he had destroyed the bloodline which would eventually give birth to the Seed promised in Gen.3:15. Outward perception told him this. But he was profoundly mistaken (cf. Gen.4:25-26; Luke 3:28). The same principle applies to the martyrdom of any believer: Outwardly, it seems to be a defeat; yet through just such an ignominious demise, the victim goes into glory. When it is written that it was granted to the beast to make war with the saints and to overcome them (Rev.13:7), does it mean that those saints are "losers"? Historical losers, yes " but cosmic losers, no! Again, when some of the church at Smyrna were cast into prison by Satan and charged by Christ to be "faithful unto death", were they "historical losers" (Rev.2:8-11)? To all outward appearances, yes; but Christ showed them that their apparent position as losers in the history of this evil age would eventually issue in them receiving the ultimate accolade " the crown of life.

The promise to the one who "overcomes" is not worldly dominion but preservation from "the second death" (Rev.2:11). All this, of course, is foolishness to the world. That is the whole purpose behind God's plan of salvation. God gets the glory because our victories are spiritual and can only be spiritually discerned. But the Dominionists and millennialists are not satisfied with the way that God has planned things. They want His kingdom to be of this world as well as in it. In spite of the Biblical forecasts to the contrary, they crave for a worldwide visible worldly victory of the bride before the return of the Bridegroom.

The "exaltation paradox" reaches its cosmic and historical zenith in the death of Christ. To the outward gaze, He was broken, His mission in tatters, His disciples scattered. Yet this momentous "defeat" was the very event which wrought the destruction of its architect, Satan, along with the exaltation of its Victim and all His people throughout time and history (Jn.12:24,31-32). Christ "empties" Himself, takes the form of a servant, is obedient to death, and is thereby exalted and given the Name which is above every name (Phil.2:3-9). This is the exaltation paradox epitomised.

It is in imitation of this pathway that man and his carnal conceptual framework is forever humiliated, while God is eternally venerated. The saints will always overcome evil and Satan, but not through taking dominion over the institutions of the world or creating an earthly "shangri la". Instead, they overcome through "the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony", and by the fact that they do not "love their lives to the death" (Rev.12:11). It is in the humiliation of Christ that the saints find their salvation. It is through their own humiliation that the saints find their glory. From humiliation to exaltation: that is always the royal pattern.

Reconstructionists will make the bold claim that Matt.5:5 " "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth". " proves that believers are mandated to take dominion of the earth now. But far from supporting the Dominionists' cause, this verse actually proves the opposite. For it clearly shows that it is not through outward dominion that one will inherit the earth, but through meekness " an inwrought grace of the soul, not to be confused with wimpishness. Believers will indeed inherit the earth, but only when it has been renewed, and not before (Rom.8:21; 2 Pet.3:13). A complete misunderstanding of the "exaltation paradox", coupled with a failure to integrate the "not-yetness" of the kingdom of God has bred the triumphalist, pseudo-optimistic, millenarian mindset so prevalent in Reconstructionism and in many Reformed circles today.

Please see the spiritual significance of all this. Christians will certainly appear to be historical losers for the duration of this present evil age from an earthly standpoint (cf. Rev.11:7; 13:7); but behind all that they are really the cosmic winners. When will believers learn to "walk by faith and not by sight"? (2 Cor.5:7). This is the root of the profound error which lies at the heart of Dominionism and all millennial yearnings. But the true believer must never lose heart at the way that things appear in the world. Why not? Because, in common with the Apostle Paul, he holds within his heart the great secret that

2 Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

It is a monumental fact, ignored by many, that "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Rom.8:18). When will that glory be revealed in us? Not until the times of the redemption of our bodies. Read Rom.8:19-25 carefully and see whether or not there will be a visible earthly victory of the Church before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the world, as it is presently constituted, believers will continue to have tribulation to the end; but they have the additional revelation from their Master that He has already overcome the world (John 16:33). The true believer"s duty is to persevere, in spite of this inevitable tribulation (Rom.5:3-4). Errors arise because of the failure of saints and shepherds to be governed by the perspicuity of Scripture. Instead of in-erpreting the more obscure texts by those which are clear, they would rather ignore those clear texts and interpret the obscure texts in the light of their own eschatological system, or that of a man they admire. How long will it be before we come to the Word without our systems and prophetic timetables?

The hope of this writer for the ultimate future of the church is not a jot less than that of the Puritans " ignoring for the moment their quaint millennialism. However, it is not with the Puritans that we should be aligning our future timelines, but with the Word of God. To discover what life on earth will be like when the Lord returns, the key question to be asked is not "What did the Puritans think?", or "What is Reformed thinking on this?" or "What did such-and-such a commentator think?" We must rather ask, "What do the Scriptures reveal concerning the future of history and the status of the Church within it?" " setting aside, for the present, those more ambiguous, difficult to interpret passages of Scripture. According to Jesus, when He returns to wind up this present evil age, the overall state of the planet will be very similar to the time of Noah just prior to the Flood (Luke 17:26-27), and the time of Sodom just prior to the cataclysm which destroyed it (Luke 17:28-30). How were things in the time of Noah? Read Gen.6:5; 1112 to find out. How were things in the city of Sodom? Read Gen.18:20-21 to find out. The picture here, in both illustrations, is of a wholly sinful, unconcerned world, carrying on its business as usual. Where is a golden age "millennium" here preceeding the return of Jesus? With great relevance, Prof. Lenski makes the following astute observation in his comment on Rev.12:6:

"The old Jewish dream of a grand Jewish dominion over all the nations of the world " a dream that is constantly being revived to this day in the minds of all those who work to make the kingdom of God an outward world power and dominion " is just about the opposite of what John is here given to see in regard to the church. Ever, here on earth, she is not on the throne but in a place in the wilderness, a little flock under the cross. But the day of her final..."ransoming", "redemption" (Luke 23:18; Rom.8:23; Eph.1:14), is fast drawing nigh".[8]

In the eyes of the world, the church is a weakling; but with the spiritual eyesight (insight) of the believer and in the eyes of God she is beautiful and powerful and ultimately triumphant (Isa.43:1-7). If we fool the Lord's people into believing that the history of this planet is leading to a largely converted, (God's) law-abiding world which will usher in the return of the Lord Jesus Christ (for which there is not a scrap of genuine evidence in Scripture), then we are inculcating a grave deception which will only serve to create a false sense of worldly security and complacency. Millennialism, of whatever kind is one of Satan's greatest deceptions " a futile dream to satisfy the triumphalist fantasies of worldly conceits, distract the sheep from their need to overcome affliction with perseverance, and reduce the urgency of evangelistic zeal.

Rather than counselling the appearance of any golden age for the Church immediately before Christ returns, the Scriptures show an outwardly ruinous phase of persecution. Prof. H.C. Leupold writes, in his comment on Dan.12:7 concerning the stark reality of this complete "shattering of the power" of the church before Christ returns:

"Hard though this seems, it is merely one of those necessities to which human pride and selfwill put the grace of God before God's gracious purposes can be accomplished. Strangely, man is so set on trusting in himself and depending on his own power that, unless that power is reduced to a helpless minimum, he will refuse to put his confidence wholly in the good Lord. Only after we have been rendered weak are we capable of becoming truly strong. Israel of O.T. days had to be reduced to the impotence of the last times before the Saviour could come. So her trust in self will have to be broken again before the Christ can return. It is far more important to know that than to be able to foretell in exact terms of years how long this old world order is still to continue".[9]

The profound truth which lies at the heart of Daniel 12:7 and Rev.13:7 is a Scriptural snub to the entire eschatological ethos of Dominion Theology. Perhaps one can now understand why Reconstructionists are so intent on propping up the futile hopes of Satan by restricting the endtime prophecies of Daniel, Matt.24 and Revelation to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. As with any theological system, Scriptures which cannot be harmonised are squeezed out of shape in order to tally. The seriousness of the warnings given by the Apostle concerning the testimony of the Book of Revelation (the coda and peroration of all the Words of God in Scripture) seems to have eluded Reconstructionists altogether (see Rev.1:3; 22:18-19).

One of the main reasons why so many " including Pastors " feel such a heavy sense of disappointment with the position of the true church in this world, is because reality does not match up to the triumphalist, postmillennial expectations gleaned from the many storybooks and fairytales available in Christian bookshops. Scripture reveals " no matter how events may appear to the contrary " that the oppressed saints throughout this age are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ (Eph.1:3; 2:6) Remember this: it is "in the heavenlies" " not on the earth. Unless one has a simple grasp of this fact one will either live in dreams or misery rather than Biblical reality. Let us, therefore, find it in our hearts to embrace the beauty and security of the exaltation paradox, knowing that for the believer even the bad times are good. When Jacob (a type of the church and the Christian) won his blessing from God, he left the scene with a permanent reminder of his weakness (Gen.32:31). Dominion theology is a strategy designed to remove that necessary limp from the people of God. When we stop limping we think we stand on our own two feet, and when we do that, we become wise in our own eyes.

 

EPILOGUE

In closing, we wish to stress that even though we raise a vigorous polemic against Reconstructionism, this does not mean that we do not embrace Reconstructionists as brothers and sisters in Christ. Indeed, we count at least one Reconstructionist brother as a good friend and a very challenging theological "sparring partner". Many Reconstructionist writings are very stimulating and challenging. We should always bear in mind the truth that heresies can teach us many valuable things. Accordingly, we conclude with a few important lessons to which the Reconstructionist Movement draws our attention.

Firstly,
Reconstructionism reminds us that Christians are perpetually engaged in warfare with a Godless world and evil spiritual powers. Reconstructionists are, in the main, responding to the complacency and pseudo-pietism which pervaded many fundamentalist groupings earlier in the century. The church is not a cloister, garret or ivory tower: she is a doer and an achiever for her Redeemer in the world (Matt.5:13-16). We are called to wage war against "every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to

[8] R.C.H. Lenski, "Interpretation of Revelation" (Augsburg, 1963), pp.370-371.

[9] H.C. Leupold, "Exposition of Daniel" (Baker Book House, 1969), p.541.

the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor.10:4-5). This is supernatural warfare using supernatural weapons, not earthly power and prestige. The Christ-exalting preaching of the Gospel of salvation, together with an unselfish spirit, are the real tools of dominion for the Christian (Rev.12:11).

Secondly,
Reconstructionism reminds us that Christianity is the only authentic force in the world to bring about real change. The world has suffered for too long from churches which have ineffectual wimps at the helm. Although it is the "meek" who inherit the earth, this does not mean wimpish, ineffective Christians. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is characterised as being meek, yet He could walk straight through a marauding band of Jews intent on killing Him (Luke 4:28-30). When we realise that only the Gospel can make any lasting impact on the powers of the world and the lives of men and women, we must be doubly prepared to persuade people and to give a reason for the hope which is in us " but always tempered with that powerful meekness and a healthy fear of God (2 Cor.5:11; 1 Pet.3:15).

Thirdly,

Reconstructionism reminds us that Christians should not adopt a fatalistic, defeatist attitude towards the future. Dominionism is, in the main, a reaction against Dispensationalism, which system has led many brethren into a stultifying fatalism concerning the future " thus preventing them from acting efficiently as salt and light. The fact that we know the universe will be burned up one day should not discourage us from adopting a positive attitude towards life, as the world may last for some time to come. However, in any study of the pilgrimage of the church here on earth during this present evil age, there is really no place for either optimism or pessimism. They are both red herrings. There can only ever be a Biblical realism: a church which (under protection) is afflicted for a time, but which then comes into the fullness of glory.

 



The Mosaic Law
and National Reconstruction

by Ralph G. Turk, D.Min.

Faith Pulpit -- 1990

There is a movement today identified as Reconstructionism or Dominion Theology that has its roots in postmillennialism. It advocates establishing a theocratic kingdom in America based on the judicial laws of Moses. In fact, by its reasoning, the Christian is under a divine mandate to accomplish this end.

It has been popularized in recent years by Rousas J. Rushdoony in "The Institutes of Biblical Law" and Greg Bahnsen in "Theonomy in Christian Ethics". Out of this has come the Chalcedon school which is a foundation that identifies itself as an independent Christian educational organization. Its viewpoint represents an exact opposite to the Biblical, dispensational position of fundamental Baptists. In essence, Reconstructionists argue the continuing and universal obligation of Old Testament Law.

Moreover, although the ceremonial laws are excluded from the Chalcedonian theory of theonomic politics, laws of man's duty to God are included, the sanctions, as well as the stipulations of Mosaic Law. This means that the civil ruler is supposed to execute capital punishment in all cases prescribed by Moses; these include incorrigibility in children, homosexuality, blasphemy, apostasy, idolatry, witchcraft, sabbath-breaking, and advocacy of worship of gods other than Jehovah.

Lest we be misunderstood, based on New Testament authority, we stand solidly behind all legitimate standards of holiness and deplore the pell-mell race to utter degradation our society runs. Further, we should be active in upholding those standards in our preaching, teaching, election of public servants, enactment of laws, and personal lifestyle. After all, God, in His moral essence, does not change. But this is not the issue.

This is the issue: is the New Testament Christian under the law of Moses and do we, then, have a mandate to construct a theocratic society in America ?

A fact that is too often missed among even the best of us is that Christians are a distinctively New Testament people. What is the Mosaic Law and does it apply to New Testament people? The Mosaic Law is the theocratic system of regulations which governed the nation of lsrael in every aspect of its life. (Deut. 4:8; 5:1; Mark 12:29, 30; Rom. 9:4). According to Romans 2:14, Gentiles have never been under the Mosaic Law except the very small number who became Jewish proselytes. Further, the church, itself, was never given the Mosaic Law. Since the church was founded on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, there is absolutely no Scriptural evidence that the Mosaic Law was given to the church.

The Word of God has divided humanity into three groups--the Jews, the Gentiles, and the Church (I Cor. 10:32). Some Scripture has been specifically written to each of these three. It is a violation of God's Word to misapply Scripture written specifically to and for the Jews. The purpose of the Mosaic Law was to reveal man's utter hopelessness and sinfulness until Christ should come (Gal. 3:16-19).

At the root of this controversy is the issue of the unity of the Law. There are those who argue from the popularized "division" of the Mosaic Law (moral, ceremonial, and civil) that the ceremonial part of the Law was finished in Christ, but that all aspects of the moral and civil laws are in force today both for individuals and for society.

But the position of Biblical scholars, both Jewish and Christian, is that the Mosaic Law constitutes a unified system and that all of its various regulations are equally binding. The only exception to this position is held by those who adhere to some form of covenant theology. But it is interesting to note that even many who espouse a covenant position consider the rationale of dominion theologians unbiblical or at least exegetically erratic. Thus, the issue of the unity of the Mosaic Law leaves only two alternatives --either complete deliverance from, or complete subjection to the entire Mosaic system.

Finally, has the entire Mosaic Law been terminated and, if so, when? II Corinthians 3:7-14 is clear. Three times (vs. 7, 11, and 14) the Law is declared cancelled. According to Colossians 2:14, Christ's death "blotted out" the Mosaic system. For instance, as a consequence there is no penalty for failure to observe the Sabbath. And if there is no penalty, there obviously is no longer a Law that applies.

The book of Hebrews especially nails the coffin of societal reconstructionism shut with these assertions:

1. There has been a change from the Mosaic Law (Heb. 7:12).
2. The first covenant --- the Mosaic Law --- has been replaced by the New Covenant (Heb. 8:7-9).
3. The Mosaic Law was merely a shadow of things to come, nor the real thing (Heb. 10:1). Therefore, the Law was intentionally temporary.
4. The Mosaic Law (first) has been taken away in order that the New Covenant (second) may come into existence (Heb. 10:9).
5. Christ is the end (termination) of the Mosaic Law (Rom. 10:4).

In light of our viewpoint, often we are: accused of "Antinomianism" or "Lawlessness." But that is simply not true. Instead of the Mosaic Law, we are under the Law of Christ. This is not the Mosaic Law (I Cor. 9:20, 21; Gal. 6:2). It is the Law of Love (Jn. 13:34) and is a "new commandment." These are not issues of stone: these are issues of heart.

And there is our answer. We do not change our society by changing its government and its laws. Both Calvin and the Puritans attempted the impossible (the impossible being a change of society through government) and felt the pangs of its failure. Out mandate is to take the gospel of salvation, which alone is capable of changing the heart of man, and doing what we are mandated to do: "Preach the gospel to every creature."

We have no expectation of significantly changing our society or that of others as desperately as each society needs it. We look for the coming of Jesus Christ in "power and great glory" to set up His kingdom and rule of righteousness of which "there will be no end." The tragedy in our churches is an almost total failure to evangelize the lost and to accept this mandate that we have been given.


 

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JESUS ARMY

"A MIX OF POLITICS AND RELIGION"- This is NOT what Jesus called for. Falwell says he sends our young people to "confront the culture." Chapter and verse you four flusher?

KEEP AN EYE ON MICHIGAN- I lived there as a pastor, and I assure you that the state is crawling with alleged Christians who intend to destroy the USA and start over, all in the name of Jesus.

YOUTUBE CHRISTIANS????- What is THAT? This Christianity is a fist fight, NOT spiritual warfare.

THE WORDS AND IMAGERY-- WHAT AMAZING CONTRADICTION

HERE IS WHERE YOU CAN END UP IF YOU MAKE WARFARE YOUR HOBBY

DOUGLAS COE- I believe this man is demon possessed. His contact with wicked people who faun over him, and his mixture of evil and good, are pure Luciferian.

DOUGLAS COE'S NEW AGE HERITAGE- This shows that the Christian Dominionists will be easily sucked into the Satanic New Age. Their lust for power will serve Coe and his ilk very well.

LEARN A LOT MORE HERE

SEE THE LIST OF THOSE IN COE'S WEB- Strom Thurmond also sat on the board of Bob Jones University.

CONNECT THE DOTS- This is the bridge over which right wing "Christians" will enter the Great Tribulation to serve another Christ named Lucifer.

NEW DOMINION CULT

Believers are the 144,000. They have the Holy Spirit in them, and they struggle with Him as Jacob did. If they win against the Holy Ghost, they are blessed, and they qualify to go through the Great Tribulation in victory.

At about 2:00 a.m. on a particular morning, I was awakened by a great disturbance and discovered a large mass of wickedness (these demons I told you about) all intertwined together in a ball. It seemed like hundreds of them, though I'm not sure. But, instantly, the voice of God thundered these words to me: "YOU WERE PUT ON THIS EARTH TO DESTROY THE WICKED." Immediately, this ball of wickedness was forced through my bedroom wall into eternity, so powerfully that it is still being shoved at this moment. Believe me, when the voice of God says something, there is immediate response and, as I sat there, wide-eyed at what had just happened, my response was an absolute, "YES SIR!" If there is anything I believe wholeheartedly, this is it.

"Prophet" Dean Gibbons
Magnolia, Texas

This is the latest in a long list of dominion cults. This one claims special revelation in violation of Revelation 22:18-19, and they claim to be the army of God to destroy wickedness. Yawn. And YOU are a deadbeat and probably not saved if you question their calling or if you refuse to follow them.

About his prophecies, Dean Gibbons speaks:

The message you have read concerning the vengeance of God is the exact prophecy that the Jews thought and expected Jesus to fulfill. They were looking for a Messiah that would destroy the wicked, once and for all, and set up the Kingdom of God. Well, it was not time for this to be fulfilled; therefore, they did not even believe Jesus or who He was, thus putting Him to death. But, let me tell you, the time is at hand and, just as in the days of old, few will believe (as a matter of fact, only a remnant).

Sometime about the middle of September 1965 the LORD spoke to me and caused me to become a prophet. I was not called. I was created by the word of His mouth.

"Prophet" Dean Gibbons

Dean Gibbons wages war as one of the two witnesses of Revelation 11-- He takes dominion of a chat room, er, almost

 

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