- TABLE OF CONTENTS
- WAR ROOM -
STUDY - MORAL
ISSUES - KING
JAMES BIBLE - CULTS
MANIFEST SONS OF GOD
FIVE FOLD MINISTRY DICTATORSHIP PLANS
These are the storm troopers of Christendom. They are much more bold and open in their Neo-Nazi objectives than Opus Dei or the Jesuits of the Roman Church. Those of you who are fool enough to imagine that the UN and the US Feds are your prime enemy, read this, and think again. The Manifest Sons of God have openly announced the beginning of the end times Inquisition, and we are deeply thankful to Media Spotlight for doing this research. Also, note please, this MSOG gang is the foundational theological and motivational undergirding force behind Promise Keepers.
Disclaimer: Some Bible texts other than the King James Version. None of the quotes are in red this time because I don't trust these men to quote it correctly.
Blessed Quietness -- Editor: I have taken the liberty of highlighting phrases in the quotes below to make you think about what is being said.
Article taken from:
Spotlight Vol 8. - NO.1
Written by: Albert James Dager
KINGDOM THEOLOGY DEFINED:
LATTER RAIN MOVT.
KINGDOM THEOLOGY DEFINED
Within the "Kingdom Theology" camp are several movements whose teachings are remarkably similar over all, yet divergent on some points. These movements - though to a greater or lesser degree disavowing association with each other - are sufficiently homogenous in their eschatological and theological viewpoints to place them all under a common banner: what I refer to as "Kingdom Theology."
These movements are built upon the same foundation: the neo- Pentecostalism of the mid-twentieth century. They draw from one another the support needed to develop their strategy for gaining preeminence among Christians. All zealously propagate their "new revelations" which allegedly are to prepare the Church for "the next move of God," bringing us closer to the Kingdom Age (the rule of God on earth).
The most prominent of these movements are:
Manifest Sons of God
Throughout the course of this study we'll be examining these movements and their major proponents. But first it's important that I give a general outline of Kingdom Theology itself and its dynamic.
The basic premise of Kingdom Theology is that man lost dominion over the earth when Adam and Eve succumbed to Satan's temptation in the Garden of Eden.
God "lost control" of the earth to Satan at that time, and has since been looking for a "covenant people" who will be His "extension," or "expression," in the earth and take dominion back from Satan. This is to be accomplished through certain "overcomers" who, by yielding themselves to the authority of God's apostles and prophets for the Kingdom Age, will take control of the kingdoms of this world.
These kingdoms are defined as all social institutions, such as the "kingdom" of education, the "kingdom" of science, the "kingdom" of the arts, and so on. Most especially there is the "kingdom" of politics or government.
This naturally implies the concentration of military and police power in the hands of those in control during the Kingdom Age. They are referred to as the "many-membered man child," whom Kingdom Theology adherents believe will be the fulfillment of Revelation 12:1-5: "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars....And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron."
Those who hold to Kingdom Theology assume that the Church (some believe only a small group within the Church, called "overcomers"), under submission to the latter day apostles and prophets, is that man child, and that it has the responsibility to put down all rebellion and establish righteousness. This necessitates the utilization of supernatural power and the full implementation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
This theory is based upon the idea that all authority in heaven and on the earth has been given to Jesus. Since believers are indwelt by the same Holy Spirit that indwelt Jesus, we have all authority in heaven and on the earth; we have the power to believe for and speak into existence things that are not, and thus we can bring about the Kingdom Age.
The many-membered man child must take control of the earth before Jesus can return. Necessary to the Kingdom Age is "the Restoration of the Tabernacle of David,"defined as the completion of perfection of the Bride of Christ - a Church without spot or wrinkle.
During the Kingdom Age (or after all else is subdued during that time) Satan and all enemies of God will be put under the feet of the many-membered man child. This will be the fulfillment of I Corinthians 15:25-26: "For he (Christ) must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."
The rationale that the many-membered man child will put God's enemies under 'its' feet is that Jesus is the head of Christ and the Church is the body of Christ. And where are the feet but in the body? Many in the Kingdom Theology movements insist that when this Scripture refers to Christ it is really referring to the Church who is the Body of Christ. Therefore it is necessary for them to establish within the minds of Christians the idea that, as the Body of Christ, we are Christ.
In other words, we have His divine nature. Notice that this idea, similar to that of mind science and other false religions, separates the anointing of "Christ" from Jesus and bestows it upon all who come into a place of certain knowledge and spiritual attainment. This is a heresy that is as old as the Church. It is rooted in the Greek school of philosophy known as Gnosticism.
Critical to hard-core Kingdom Theology is the denial of "the Rapture" - the teaching that the Church will one day be caught up to meet the Lord in the air so that we will be with Him in Heaven when God's wrath is poured out upon the earth.
This event is explained away as a feeling of rapture or excitement when the Lord returns to receive the Kingdom from our hands. In other words, everyone will be "caught up" emotionally when He returns. This explanation ignores the fact that such an application of the term "caught up" is strictly an idiomatic expression peculiar to English, not Greek.
"I was all 'caught up' in the movie" (or other excitement) is not the equivalent of 'harpazo' in I Thessalonians 4:17, II Corinthians 12:2-4, and Revelation 12:5, used to describe the catching up bodily into Heaven, and Acts 8:39 where Phillip is bodily "caught away" by the Spirit to another location.
Consequently, since there will be no bodily catching away - or "Rapture" - of the Church (some say not until the Church has taken dominion in the face of adversity), there will be no restoration of the nation of Israel.
The proponents of Kingdom Theology are correct when they say that the Church is spiritual Israel, but they fail to acknowledge that God has promised to restore national Israel and deal with her during the coming seventieth week of Daniel. All prophecies regarding future Israel - both in the Old and New Testaments - are made to apply to the Church.
The restoration of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37:1-11 is said to be the Restoration of the Church out of Babylon (denominationalism) into perfect unity. All believers will possess the same mind, same thoughts, and same goals delineated by the apostles and prophets of the Kingdom Age through new revelations.
The Church Has Failed
Another eschatological viewpoint of Kingdom Theology is that the Great Tribulation is seen not as a time when anti-Christ will reign and war against God's people, but rather a time of tribulation for the world brought about by God's judgment through His people.
Anti-Christ, in fact, is considered by some not to be a person, or even a system of government, but a spirit of rebellion against God's constituted authority - the coming of Jesus in the flesh of the apostles and prophets, according to their interpretation of I John 4:2 and II John 7.
Since there will be no "Rapture," and no Second Coming of Jesus until the Kingdom has been established by the Church under the direction of the apostles and prophets, most Kingdom Theology adherents are mid- or post-millennialists: Jesus will come back after the millennium has begun or after it has been completed.
Some are amillennialists, believing He will never come back personally, or that He already came back to His own generation, leaving the Church to take dominion over the earth. Thus they see the Church as having failed in what they consider its commission to take dominion over the kingdoms of the earth.
The reason the Church has failed is because it has not understood what Jesus meant when He told His disciples that they would be witnesses of Him throughout the earth.
To be a witness means to demonstrate the Kingdom on earth: to take dominion, bringing all things into obedience to Christ. In order to demonstrate the Kingdom, the Church must not only be united under the apostles and prophets, but must be prosperous, having taken control of all the material wealth of the earth.
Since "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein"(Psalm 24:1), the world is ours as joint heirs with Christ. This sounds good, but without Jesus here to establish the dominion, we are left at the mercy of men who, according to their thinking, will have "overcome" all faults and will be operating according to the perfect will of God.
Since all enemies, including death, will be put under the feet of the "overcomers," it is therefore necessary that dominion include "immortalization" (or at least living in "divine health" as well as "divine prosperity").
The Cloud Of Witnesses
To accomplish the great task of taking dominion over a rebellious world, the Church must have supernatural help not only from God, but from angels and from the "great cloud of witnesses" (the dead in Christ) who have preceded us.
A unity between their spirits and our spirits will create a communications link by which revelations will be conveyed that will guide the Church in its mission.
The apostles and prophets especially will have contact into the spirit realm through appearances of Jesus, angels, and departed saints. In fact, such contacts have already been reported in the Christian media.
Essentially then, Kingdom Theology sees the Second Coming of Jesus in two stages:
In some circles it is believed that the overcomers will have become immortal - they will have attained what is called "resurrection life."
Whether immortal or not, it is generally agreed in Kingdom Theology that the overcomers must purge the earth of all evil influences. "Evildoers" must be converted or they will be punished and/or "destroyed from off the face of the earth."
"Evildoers" have been variously described as drug pushers, murderers, child molesters, thieves, prostitutes, and other such "scum" that Jesus died for. It will interest the reader to learn, however, that for many who teach Kingdom Theology, the term "evildoer" applies to anyone who refuses to submit to God's authority(the latter day apostles and prophets).
Those who do submit will be sealed with the "mark of God" in their foreheads, and will escape the coming judgment.
As we deal with these teachings individually in successive chapters, keep in mind that some movements are more extreme than others, and each is somewhat unique in its approach to the basic tenets of Kingdom Theology.
In fact, not everyone within each movement is necessarily in agreement with each other, let alone with those in the other movements. Still, each movement has teachings that are sufficiently aberrant as to warrant careful testing by the Word of God. Each in its own way has its part in propagating some or all of the elements of Kingdom Theology.
Other teachings not detailed here are quite bizarre, and add to the overall occult flavor of Kingdom Theology. We'll be dealing with them as we progress.
It's important to understand that not everyone in the various movements mentioned believe all Kingdom Theology teachings. Many are innocently fraternizing with those whose doctrines would horrify them if they were aware of them.
Yet while the adage "guilt by association" does not always hold true, a consistent pattern of fraternization and support are sufficient grounds to at least question whether one holds the views of those he supports and with whom he seeks unity.
As in all fraternities, there is certain terminology peculiar to Kingdom Theology. Knowledge of that terminology can alert us to the possibility that we are hearing from an adherent to those teachings.
A few occasions of word usage prove nothing, of course. But a pattern of usage and dependence upon terminology peculiar to Kingdom Theology is reason for concern and further investigation of a teacher's doctrines. Many will hide their true beliefs to all but those within their inner circle lest they be prematurely exposed to the Body of Christ at large.
Once you become familiar with their terminology I urge you not to judge arbitrarily, but to seek further knowledge of the teacher's true beliefs (Acts 17:11).
Meanwhile, be cautious until you do know what he or she believes. The following Kingdom terminology should be cause for concern even though much will be defended as "scriptural" by those who use them:
Tabernacle of David
Feast of Tabernacles
Many-membered man child
Manifestation of the Kingdom
Manifestation of the Sons of God
Birthing in the Spirit
Get this into your spirit
Unity (of the Body)
Serpent's Seed or Seed of the Serpent
Faith in faith
I wish to reiterate that the use of some of these words - at least moderately - is not grounds for judging harshly the speaker or writer (see John 7:24). I stress this because I know I'll be accused of jumping to conclusions and lumping everyone together. I urge caution in accepting or rejecting anyone on the basis of their terminology alone.
By the time you've read through this report, however, I'm certain you'll see why these terms are good indicators of the teacher's beliefs. At the end of the final installment you'll find a sample questionnaire which you can use to test any teacher's position relative to Kingdom Theology. This may be used as a precaution against erroneously prejudging anyone - teacher or disciple.
This said, we will examine now the roots and the effects of Kingdom Theology and its various movements.
THE LATTER RAIN MOVEMENT
It becomes apparent through study that Kingdom Theology had its beginning in the teachings of the more prominent leaders of the mid-twentieth-century phenomenon known as "The Latter Rain Movement."
These teachers blended Pentecostal fervor with supernatural manifestations which, when examined, are found to have been heavily influenced by occult activity. The unwary believers of that time, whose lives were touched by these supernatural phenomena, were unversed in the occult sciences and accepted these manifestations of power as from God.
Now we are seeing at the same time within Pentecostalism, both the true manifestations of the Holy Spirit and the occult manifestations of Satan. To determine which are of God and which from the adversary, it helps to know the history of this movement called the Latter Rain.
Therefore I have endeavored to lay out in a semblance of chronological order the various influences the teachers of that period had upon each other, and how those influences are affecting the Church today.
In the fall of 1946, a "major fasting and prayer daily revival center" was established in San Diego, California. Under the leadership of Franklin Hall (assisted by Jack Walker, father of child evangelist "Little David" Walker), the teaching of fasting as a means of bringing about revival and the "restoration" of the Church spread throughout the Pentecostal world.(1)
Other ministers who helped establish the fasting and prayer center were: Dr. Waltrip (Kathryn Kuhlman's husband); Stanley Comstock; Earl Ivy; Tommy Baird; Myrtle Page; and Franklin Hall's brothers, Delbert, Harold, and Virgil. (Delbert Hall and his wife, Florence, were pastors.) (2)
According to the Summer, 1985, issue of Franklin Hall's newsletter, 'Miracle World,' in which is revealed some of the early history of his ministry, "A fasting chain came about. Several were on major fasts around the clock. Many were fasting for not only days but weeks at a time. One lady, Sister Mary Sommerville, fasted without food for eighty-three days. She was so strong on this notable fast that she ran and danced all over the place, being drunk on both the inner and outer filling of the precious Holy Spirit." (3)
Hall claims more than one thousand converts during the first year of the center's existence, with scores being healed of diseases, through fasting and prayer. Alleged appearances of the Holy Ghost in fire and smoke are also related in Hall's newsletter:
"Once or twice the Fire department was briefed by folk seeing the Holy Smoke and Fire through the windows upstairs. They came running up the steps with the hoses to put out the fire. Some of the firemen, seeing that it was not a natural fire, sat down in the large revival center hall and worshipped the Lord getting saved." (4)
Spreading The Word
Hall and his wife, Helen, sold off some assets and borrowed against their home to finance the printing of "millions of pieces of literature" to send to people all over the world.5 The Hall's claim this mail campaign resulted in the great healing revivals of the late forties and early fifties.
It was during this time (1946) that Franklin Hall wrote his book, 'Atomic Power With God Through Fasting and Prayer,' which was to have a significant impact upon the world of Pentecostalism.
Many people, little known at that time, were greatly influenced by Hall's literature. Gordon Lindsay's publication, 'Voice of Healing,' helped spread the fasting message, as well as did Thomas and Evelyn Wyatt's worldwide radio broadcasts.
Hall's newsletter records how others received his message:"Rev. Walter Frederick, former Assembly superintendent in Canada, sent Brother Hall's literature to every Pentecostal preacher in Canada....A few of the others (not too well-known then) ministers [sic] who had major fasting experiences by our writings in the 1946, 1947 to 1950 fasting era and who also became famous are:
Hall's writings on fasting and diet as a means to spiritual restoration might easily be seen as the primitive beginnings of today's "Christian holism."
As evidence of God's favor upon those who fast, Hall points out that even the prayers of pagans will be answered by God if they are accompanied by fasting:"Many, if not all, the American Indian tribes sought revelation of the Great Spirit through Prayer and Fasting. When they had famines, food shortages, lack of rain, etc., the Great Spirit was sought through prayer and fasting, and their prayers were answered." (7)
Hall uses this as an example of how fasting is necessary to have our prayers answered. In fact, he states that "Without fasting, prayer becomes ineffectual." (8)
In other words, those who pray to demons will have their prayers answered if they fast, but Christians will not have their prayers answered if they don't fast. At the least, it would seem, they would be hindered greatly.
This is a good example of how a person can extoll a faith in Christ while negating all the effects of that faith and the relationship with God it entails. By giving credit for answered prayer to the demon gods of pagan religions, Hall displays a mindset characteristic of occult science.
That there is a definite occult influence on Hall's career is evident in other writings. His book, 'The Return of Immortality', suggests that Christians can learn how to become immortal through stages of spiritual growth. This involves experiences with "UFO's, and the UIO gravitational and levitation control." (9)
His teachings on attaining immortality in this life through psycho-spiritual exercises and righteous living were the foundation upon which many in the Latter Rain and subsequent movements based their immortalization theories. Hall's main point in his immortalization theory is that "the sleeping, so called, unfoundationally built church"must awaken to "a real cause and calling, that when God's word is completely acted upon and complied with, will result in bringing about the real gushers and torrents of the long, past due, RAIN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, a rain of IMMORTALITY UPON THE EARTH that so many prophets have written about and portrayed in their prophesies". (10) (emphasis Hall's).
Hall's premise is not, however, predicated upon God's promise of immortality for the faithful after their resurrection.
This is evidenced by his following words: "Permanent, lasting freedoms from all sickness, harmful accident things and defeat will come about. Freedom from the imprisonment of all gravitational forces will also be brought upon the whole man. This study teaches one the power and secrets of space flight. Space floatation [sic] and hovering ability. It gives the Bible formula for weightlessness, the 'raising up' power of those who come to immortality." (Jn.6 chapter and Rom.2:7)."(11)
In his book, Hall gives "evidence" of his already having attained a degree of "immortality" (which allegedly affects everything that comes in contact with the immortal person's body): "Brother Hall's light colored jacket is seven years old and has never been pressed or cleaned or aireated in 7 years, since new, yet it has been worn repeatedly in many overseas countries and regularly in all crusades everywhere (excepting one). It has been on more than 200 airlines in travels. It has no spots, stains, discoloration or body odors anywhere on it or inside it - similar to the children of Israel's clothes under the Glory, Immortality Cloud of Fire Power." (12)
The attainment of "Immortality blessings" are alleged by Hall to be more successfully attained through open-eye prayer. "Coming with closed eyes," he stated, "destroys faith." (13)
Hall claims that there is an"Immortal Substance" that comes upon the believer who feeds upon it "from within Christ's now body" - the "FIRE - IMMORTAL - PACKED - BODY"(Emphasis Hall's).
This "Immortal Substance" is claimed to be seen on those who attend Hall's meetings, as a fine gold and silver, sparkling material that emanates from sometimes visible "Immortal Heavenly Objects" (IHO's), "Unusual Heavenly Objects" (UHO's), and "Unidentified Flying Objects" (UFO's).
In Hall's words, "The sparkling shining FINE GOLD and SILVER are seen upon their SKIN, brought about through the faith-power of impartation. The polished brass, the beryl stone appearances are even now manifested today."
He challenges the reader to see and behold these phenomena by attending "the International Holy Ghost and Fire Seminars of Brother and Sister Franklin Hall." (14)
This sparkling material Hall calls, "The shiny metal like, Jesus' substance."(15) While Hall has many excellent things to say about fasting from the standpoint of good health, when it comes to spiritual matters he often transcends sensibility and delves into areas of the occult.
The book upon which many healers of the Latter Rain period publicly acknowledged their dependence,'Atomic Power With God Through Fasting and Prayer,'is evidence: "In the zodiacal sign, 'Scorpio,' which is the eighth sign of the Zodiac, we have a picture of a scorpion with its stinger lifted ready to strike. This is the sign of death, and is supposed to govern the sex area. Just before this sign in the heavens, there is a sign of the Judge, Jesus, who is the giver of LIFE. Jesus proceeds toward death and pulls the STING OUT OF DEATH. 'O, death where is thy sting? O, grave, where is thy victory?" (16)
There is today a growing acceptance of the idea that the Zodiac is a representation of the Gospel. More will be said about this when we examine the teachings of some current Kingdom Theology proponents. But I feel that I should a least point out at this time that the Zodiac is an arbitrary assignment of images to certain stars by the priests of the Babylonian mystery religion. No matter how one tries to make it fit Scripture by claiming Genesis 1:4, there is no scriptural evidence that the "signs and seasons" spoken of in God's Word have any relation to the astrologists' Zodiac.
We have the more sure written Word of God for guidance; we tread on dangerous ground when we try to accommodate His Word to occult science, or try to make the two equal. Hall's penchant for a form of "Christian astrology" is evidenced further in his statement that, "In 1848 A.D. the Aquarian Age was introduced to the world." (17)
Those familiar with the New Age Movement, will recognize the Aquarian Age as the "Golden Age" of enlightenment when mankind will take a quantum leap in his evolutionary stages, to immortalization. The Aquarian Age will not be completely entered into until around the year 2000 A.D. Hall's writings are replete with strange, even weird statements difficult to decipher. The following, though a bit lengthy and poorly written, are examples:
"So much has been said about the travels of the astronauts, about conquering space and even going to Venus or Mars, about the power behind the saucers. The overcoming saints, however, are hundreds of years ahead of our scientists. These heaven projected saints will be so clothed and covered with the Immortality, supernatural, ZOOMING sparkling Substance, that it will be no more trouble at all for them to take off.
In an ad for another of his books, 'Formula for Raising the Dead,' Hall cautions the potential purchaser, "This volume is only for very advanced Holy Ghost people. Do not order unless you are open to an apostolic teaching and have read four other books by Bro. Franklin Hall." (20)
I would not question Hall's sincerity and desire to attain spiritual enlightenment. But the heavy flavor of occultism in his teachings should have been sufficient warning even back in 1946. Yet many prominent teachers credit the empowerment for their ministries (especially healing ministries) on his book on fasting and prayer. It's clear that Hall's teachings are a blend of occultism with Christianity. And since his teachings formed the basis of those that came after, and since the influence of those teachings upon neo-Pentecostalism is so great, close scrutiny of every ministry they touched is necessary.
Inscribed on a pyramid-shaped tombstone in a Jeffersonville, Indiana cemetery, are the names of the seven churches of Revelation, "Ephesian" at the base representing the beginning of the Church Age, "Laodicean" near the top the end of the Church Age. On the opposite face are the names of seven men whose impact on the Church throughout its history has been significant.
Were the two faces of the pyramid juxtaposed one over the other, we would see the names of the churches superimposed over the men's names in the following order, from bottom to top:
Among most major proponents of Kingdom Theology these men are considered the great reformers of the various stages of Church history.
To many Kingdom Theology proponents William Branham was perhaps the greatest "prophet" for the Church's final age.
In 1948, Branham, a Baptist preacher turned Pentecostal, and influenced by Franklin Hall, gained notoriety for his teachings on what he called, "God's Seventh Church Age" (supposedly the final move of God before the manifestation of His Kingdom on earth).
Branham based this teaching primarily on Joel 2:23 and Revelation 1:20-3:22, the latter recording Jesus' messages to the seven churches in Asia Minor. Branham claimed that the angels (messengers) to the churches were men who appeared at various times throughout Church history to usher in revelations that would lead the Church in new directions according to the purpose of God.
As indicated on his tombstone, Branham was thought to be the angel to the Church of Laodicea - the end-time Church. In his teachings on Joel 2:23, Branham defined the "latter rain" as the Pentecostal Movement of his day. God's promise to restore what the locust, cankerworm, caterpillar, and palmerworm had eaten, he defined as the "restoration" of the Church out of denominationalism (which he equated with "the Mark of the Beast").
Although denying he was a believer in the "oneness" doctrine, Branham had his own form of "oneness" teaching that defined God as one person who manifested Himself as three different "attributes": the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, rather than three Persons comprising one Godhead.(21) He believed the doctrine of the Trinity was the "Babylonian Foundation" of the denominations, inherited from Roman Catholicism.(22) Branham also believed that the Word of God was given in three forms: the Zodiac, the Egyptian pyramids, and the written Scriptures. (23)
The Zodiac theory was not new, having been put forth by Franklin Hall previously, and as early as 1893 by historian E.W. Bullinger in his book, 'The Witness of the Stars.' The idea that the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt was constructed by God (possibly through Enoch) is at least as old as the Zodiac theory, and is popular with the Dawn Bible Students, an offshoot of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
It can be said of Branham that he had a simplicity and apparent humility which attracted many followers. "Gordon Lindsay told of how he impressed audiences with his utter and complete consecration." (24)
The Serpent's Seed
In spite of his apparent humility and consecration, Branham had great difficulty controlling a strident, hateful attitude toward women. In his own poor English, transcribed from a sermon, Branham stated, "But I remember when my father's still up there running, I had to be out there with water and stuff, see young ladies that wasn't over seventeen, eighteen years, up there with a man my age now, drunk. And they'd have to sober them up and give them black coffee, to get them home to cook their husband's supper. Oh, something like that, I said, 'I...This was my remarked [sic] then, THEY'RE NOT WORTH A GOOD CLEAN BULLET TO KILL THEM WITH IT.' That's right. And I hated women. That's right. And I just have to watch every move now, to keep from still thinking the same thing."(25)
This attitude toward women may have played a part in the development of Branham's bizarre "Serpent Seed" teaching. This was based on a twisted interpretation of Genesis 3:13, where Eve is recorded as saying, "The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." The word "beguiled" Branham defined as "seduced sexually." He claimed that Satan and Eve engaged in an adulterous affair out of which Cain was born. Since that time evil has passed from generation to generation through women, who keep the seed of the serpent alive.(26)
He seemed to think that women are responsible for the evil in the world because of their enticements. The "Serpent's Seed" teaching obviously indicated that Branham didn't take the Scriptures literally, where we read, "And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived and bare Cain..." (Genesis 4:1). His animosity toward women led to the preaching of a rigid moral code that lambasted them on their manner of dress, and may have been responsible for his "revelation" that allowed for divorce.(27)
From the time of his infancy it was evident to his parents that William's life had upon it the touch of the supernatural. Born in 1909 in a mountain cabin near Berksville, Kentucky, William Marrion Branham's childhood was spent in extreme poverty. His father was only eighteen years of age, and his mother fifteen when he came into the world weighing a scant five pounds, the first of nine boys and one girl. (28)
The following account may be legend or fact, but it was part of Branham's testimony from the start: On the day of his birth, after being washed, he was placed in his mother's arms by the midwife who then went to a window to open the shutter. (There was no glass in the Branham house in those days.) As dawn broke sending a few rays of light into the room, there was seen a small circular halo about a foot in diameter, above the bed where little William lay in his mother's arms.(29)
Thousands of people have supposedly seen this halo, which is ostensibly revealed in a photograph taken in Houston, Texas, during a January, 1950, campaign. (The best we've been able to obtain is a photostatic copy of a copy which, though poorly reproduced here, will allow the reader to see what has been taken for a "halo."
Whether this is a halo or a flaw in the negative - whether it is a manifestation from God or Satan or poor photography, we will leave to the reader's judgment.) When he was three years of age, Branham experienced for the first time what he called "the Voice." At age seven "the Voice" commanded him, "Don't you never drink, smoke, or defile your body in any way. There'll be work for you to do when you get older."(30)
This "Voice" accompanied Branham throughout his lifetime, and eventually made itself known as an "angel" that directed him in every aspect of his personal life.(31)
During healing services Branham would often fall into a trance during which his angel would work through him. Asked once if the healings were done by the Holy Spirit, Branham replied, "No, my angel does it." (32)
Branham was one of the foremost proponents of the theory of healing and imparting the Holy Spirit through the "laying on of hands." He would often feel a heat in his hand as he touched affected parts, and exhibited a remarkable clairvoyancy in knowing intimate details of the lives of people he had never seen before. No doubt this was due to the angel's possession of his mind.
Difficulties With The Brethren
Branham's unorthodox methods of healing and allegedly imparting the Holy Spirit by the laying on of his hands came under severe criticism by the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. These practices became major sources of controversy between the Latter Rain Movement and the established Pentecostal denominations who held to their belief that one must "tarry" in prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In spite of his bizarre healing methods and aberrant doctrines, Branham enjoyed remarkable popularity among many Pentecostals, and was warmly received by such notables as Demos Shakarian (founder of the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International), Oral Roberts, W.V. Grant, A.A. Allen, Gordon Lindsay (founder of Christ for the Nations), O.L. Jaggers, George Warnock, and Franklin Hall. Although many Pentecostals were willing to embrace Branham as an "apostle" and "prophet" while overlooking his aberrant teachings, his popularity declined in the late 1950's after his numerous bold proclamations of "thus saith the Lord" to establish his doctrines. Many Pentecostal churches became reluctant to allow him to speak. (33)
No one conversant with Pentecostalism will deny that, for better or for worse, William Branham had a tremendous effect on the neo-Pentecostalism of his time. From all accounts, he did exhibit remarkable healing powers which no doubt played a significant part in giving credibility to his teachings. Branham was warmly welcomed by Pentecostal churches and organizations such as the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International.
This organization in particular provided his most reliable support. In 1961, the editor of FGBMFI's magazine, 'Voice,' wrote, "In Bible Days, there were men of God who were Prophets and Seers. But in all the Sacred Records, none of these had a greater ministry than that of William Branham." (34)
It should be noted that often what Branham taught as a guest speaker differed from what he taught at his own church, Branham Tabernacle, where he felt freer to disclose his more aberrant teachings. Toward the end of his career, however, Branham's public espousal of his strange doctrines became even more controversial and he was used less and less by the FGBMFI, though for several years his speaking engagements were underwritten by local chapters. For years he had been a frequent speaker at regional and national conventions.
Branham's life ended abruptly. While on a trip to Arizona, his car was hit head-on by one driven by a drunken driver. For six days he lay in a coma and, on Christmas Eve, 1965, he passed away. The entire Pentecostal world was shaken by the tragedy. "A number of old friends - Oral Roberts, Demos Shakarian, T.L. Osborn - telephoned their concern."35
When Branham died, Demos Shakarian wrote, "Rev. Branham often made the statement that the only Fellowship to which he belonged was FGBMFI. Often, when called upon to speak at various conventions and chapter meetings, he has traveled long distances to keep those engagements. His spirit of service was an inspiration."36
Many of Branham's followers believed that he had truly come in the spirit of Elijah; some believed him to be God, born of a virgin. (37)
They fully expected him to rise from the dead and come back to them at the end of three days. Five days after his passing, William Branham was buried, and his grave was soon marked by the pyramid-shaped tombstone. To date, William Branham's body is still in the grave. But his occult approach to healing was picked up by hundreds of pastors and teachers who have traded on it to a greater or lesser degree.
THE SHARON BRETHREN
In the fall of 1947, two former pastors for the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, George Hawtin and Percy G. Hunt, joined with Herrick Holt, a pastor of the North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Church of the Foursquare Gospel, in an independent work. That work - Sharon Orphanage and Schools which Holt had originally started in a large residence in North Battleford - had come to occupy about one thousand acres of farmland about ten miles distant from the city limits.
With Hawtin and Hunt came seventy students from Bethel Bible Institute where both had formerly taught before Hawtin was asked to resign for lack of cooperation, and Hunt resigned out of sympathy.
George Hawtin's brother-in- law, Milford Kirkpatrick, and Ernest Hawtin, George's brother, soon joined in ministry at Sharon.38 Herrick Holt had been preaching that God was going to be doing a "new thing" in accordance with the prophecy of Isaiah 43:18-19:
"Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold I will do a new thing; Now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert."
Of great influence upon the work at Sharon were the teachings of William Branham. Several of the school's brethren visited one of his campaigns shortly after George Hawtin and P.G. Hunt had come on staff.
With renewed fervor, the brethren took Branham's teachings back to Sharon, unaware that the supernatural power bestowed upon them by Branham would make their ministry the focal point of the Latter Rain Movement for several years to come. (39)
Another influence, on the Hawtin brothers in particular, was J.E. Stile's book, 'The Gift of the Holy Spirit,' which asserted that if one were truly repentant, and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, all that was necessary for him to receive the Holy Spirit was for another believer to lay hands on him (40)
Franklin Hall's book was especially utilized at Sharon. Ernest Hawtin wrote: "The truth of fasting was one great contributing factor to the revival. One year before this we had read Franklin Hall's book, entitled 'Atomic Power With God Through Fasting and Prayer.' We immediately began to practise [sic] fasting. Previously we had not understood the possibility of long fasts. The revival would never have been possible without the restoration of this great truth through our good brother Hall." (41)
On February 11, 1948, a young woman at the Bible school prophesied that a great revival was about to break out. The next day, according to Ern Hawtin, the Holy Spirit fell with great power. "Day after day the Glory and Power of God came among us. Great repentance, humbling, fasting and prayer prevailed in everyone."(42)
Because of the manifestation of power at North Battleford, news of the outbreak spread, and soon people were coming from everywhere to receive that power. They believed that the long drought was over for Pentecostals, whose use of the gifts had gradually declined since the advent of Pentecostalism at the turn of the century.(43)
A striking characteristic of the Sharon revival was the effort to avoid the establishment of another denomination as had happened during the earlier Pentecostal Movement. George Hawtin was especially adamant about this and labored to instruct those who were touched by his ministry not to fall into that trap. He felt that the unity of the Church was essential to bring about its restoration, and therefore encouraged the establishment of autonomous, local congregations. It became a hallmark of the Latter Rain Movement that innumerable independent churches sprang up with no denominational affiliation.
This did not set well with the Pentecostal denominations, who lost many members to this "new thing."
A major point of controversy between the North Battleford brethren and some Pentecostal denominations was the teaching by the former that there are present-day apostles and prophets for the Church. (44)
And though George Hawtin wrote in the June, 1948, issue of 'The Sharon Star' (the school's newsletter) that "no church exercises or has any right to exercise authority of jurisdiction over another church, its pastors or members," the travelling "presbytery" from Sharon, of which he was a part, did indeed exercise authority over people in other congregations through personal "directive prophecy." (45)
In spite of the Sharon group's insistence upon autonomy, they eventually became sectarian to the extreme, holding to the notions that no teaching was valid unless it originated with them, no fellowship was to be engaged in with anyone outside their own confines, and they alone were the purveyors of God's truth.
If anyone would be an "overcomer," it must be through obedience to their authority. Even some who were endorsed as apostles and prophets by the Sharon group eventually became disillusioned and broke ties from Sharon.
Among these was Reg Layzell who wrote: "At the first camp meeting you were made a member of the Body of Christ by the Spirit of God. And even if you said you were not in the Body you still were. No man could put you in or take you out. Now the error: they claim you are only put in by them and can be put out by them."46
A significant event in the history of Sharon Orphanage and School was its July 7-18, 1948 Camp Meeting, during which thousands of people from Canada and the United States flocked in hopes of receiving something special from God. Residents from at least twenty states attended, and the great Latter Rain Movement burst upon the world. From that time the movement spread rapidly and Sharon shortly became just one of many centers of teaching for the Latter Rain Movement.
In his thesis on this movement, Richard Riss states:"It should be noted however, that prior to the revival, these practices [laying on of hands and acceptance of apostles and prophets] were already commonplace in some places, including Elim Bible Institute, which was at that time in Hornell, N.Y., and which, until the revival, had not had contact with North Battleford." (47)
"It should also be noted...that prophecy was a major distinguishing mark of the Latter Rain Movement, whereas, in the case of the healing evangelists, healing was more prominent, and in the case of the early pentecostal revival, tongues had prominence." (48)
Elim Bible Institute was for years prior to the outbreak of the Latter Rain Movement a center for neo-Pentecostal teachings. Although it was Sharon Orphanage that gave real impetus to these teachings, it is Elim Bible Institute that has continued even to this day with its influence, while the Sharon group has largely been relegated to obscurity.
Among those present at the Sharon Camp Meeting in July, 1948, was George Warnock who at one time had been personal secretary to Ern Baxter (an associate with William Branham's healing ministry).(49)
At this meeting one of the teachers, James Watt, made a passing remark that the third of Israel's feasts, the Feast of Tabernacles, was yet to be fulfilled.(50) This struck Warnock and he began to associate it with the end-time ministry of the Church, and the concept of restoration. In the fall of 1949 Warnock took up residence at Sharon, "assisting in the office work, and helping in the Bible School and in the local church." (51)
In 1951 Warnock wrote his book, 'The Feast of Tabernacles,' in which he layed out a specific doctrine for the Latter Rain Movement, and those who came after. He taught that the Church was about to usher in the completion of God's feasts for Israel, through perfection of the saints and their dominion over the earth.
Essentially, this Latter Rain teaching implies that the three great annual feasts of the Lord in Israel's worship (Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles) pre-figure and typify the whole Church Age, beginning with the death of Jesus on the cross, and consummating in "the manifestation of the Sons of God" - the "overcomers" who will step into immortality and establish the Kingdom of God on earth. (52)
Warnock teaches that this will be accomplished through the restoration of the Church in unity and, once done, the saints will "eat the Lord's Supper in reality." (53) (as if we are not doing so now).
"Unity" as defined by Kingdom Theology entails the putting on of "the mind of Christ" so that we all think, say, believe, and confess the same things. (54) What we will think, say, believe, and confess will be told to us by the apostles and prophets. Unity without regard to "doctrine" (except the doctrine of those imposing the unity) is the great cry among those today who think that the Body of Christ has thus far failed in its commission.
We will deal with these teachings in more detail later.
THE LATTER RAIN CONTINUES
Many teachings of the Latter Rain Movement have been retained in the Church through the influence of various men and women, many of whom are still alive, and active in groups that spun off from the Latter Rain Movement.
Although the Latter Rain Movement has had lasting effects upon Pentecostalism in general, its effects upon the major Pentecostal denominations was minimal after the mid-1950's. This was due in part to the role the Assemblies of God played in confronting the Latter Rain extremes. That denomination, as well as others, lost many pastors and members to the Latter Rain as a consequence of their opposition.
Today, the influence of the Latter Rain Movement upon traditional as well as Pentecostal denominations is growing. And although by all appearances the name has died out, the Latter Rain Movement has surfaced under other names and is held together by a network of teachers and organizations which are finding new acceptance on a wide scale in the Christian media.
Franklin Hall, "Miracle Word" (Phoenix; Hall Deliverance Foundation, Inc., Summer, 1985) p.10.
Franklin Hall, 'Atomic Power With God Through Fasting and Prayer' (Phoenix: Hall Deliverance Foundation, Inc., 5th Ed., 1975), p.19.
Franklin Hall, Catalogue of Publications (Phoenix: Hall Deliverance Foundation, 1986).
Franklin Hall, 'The Return of Immortality' (Phoenix: Hall Deliverance Foundation, Inc., 1976), pp.2-3.
Ibid., Inside Front Cover.
'Atomic Power With God Through Fasting and Prayer', pp.29,31.
. Ibid., p.53
Catalogue of Publications.
William M. Branham, 'Adoption' (Jeffersonville, IN: Spoken Word Publications, 1960), p.21.
W.illiam M. Branham, 'The Serpent's Seed', taped sermon, undated.
David E. Harrell, Jr., 'All Things Are Possible' (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976), p.162.
William M. Branham, 'My Life Story' (Spoken Word Publications, undated), p.27.
'The Serpent's Seed'.
'All Things Are Possible', p.162.
'Brother Branham' (Jeffersonville, IN: Spoken Word Publications, undated), p.19.
'My Life Story', p.21.
Kurt Koch, 'Occult Bondage and Deliverance' (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1972), p.50.
'All Things Are Possible', p.159.
Richard Riss, 'The Latter Rain Movement of 1948 and the Mid-twentieth Century Evangelical Awakening' (Vancouver, B.C.: Thesis), p.79.
George Warnock, 'The Feast of Tabernacles' (Cranbrook, B.C.: George Warnock, 1951), p.14-20.
Written by: Albert James Dager
HISTORY OF THE HERESY
USING AN INHERENT FEAR OF GUILT
In Part I we examined the roots of today's Kingdom Theology, and defined the movement in terms of its theological and eschatological doctrines as well as some of its historic proponents.
We delineated the basic premise of the movement which, simply stated, is that before Jesus can return, the Church must establish the Kingdom of God on earth by taking control over every aspect of life through the establishment of a theocratic government.
Before we proceed further, I feel it necessary to point out that there is a legitimate "Kingdom Theology" based upon proper exegesis of Scriptural prophecy.
Jesus will return at the end of this age to establish God's authority over the nations of the earth. Until then, the Kingdom of God continues to operate through the administration of the Holy Spirit resident in the hearts of God's people. The Kingdom of God already exists therefore, and will one day be manifested throughout the earth during Jesus' millennial reign.
To differentiate between God's legitimate "Kingdom Theology" and man's attempt to bring it into existence through his own efforts before Jesus' Second Coming, we'll call man's attempt "Kingdom Now Theology," or "Dominion Theology" (using these terms interchangeably). This will help us separate the error from the truth.
To accomplish the monumental task of taking dominion, a significant number in the Church must come into "unity" of thought and purpose to that end. While the goal of the Kingdom builders is total unity, they realize that partial unity may be all they can attain. Whatever the case, the realization of any significant degree of unity necessitates a single voice of authority: a hierarchical structure through which individual believers will receive the necessary pronouncements to exercise dominion.
The voice of authority, it is believed, will reside in certain latter-day apostles and prophetsoperating in conformity to their own peculiar interpretation of Ephesians 4:11-12: "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."
In order for the saints to be perfected (made sinless) there must be a restoration of the offices of apostles and prophets. It is a major prerequisite, therefore, that the apostles and prophets be recognized by the Church at large. (It's interesting that we are currently seeing certain well-known Christian leaders referring to one another as "apostles" and "prophets".)
Once they are acknowledged, these apostles and prophets will bring forth new revelations from God, which will be the guiding principles in establishing the Kingdom. These revelations will be given to the Church through the evangelists, pastors, and teachers who accept the hierarchy's authority.
One manner in which the apostles and prophets will receive these new revelations will be throughcommunication with heavenly beings (angels and departed saints), as well as with God - and specifically Jesus. It's expected that many of these "new revelations" will be authenticated through demonstrations of power in the working of miracles, signs and wonders.
Some also believe that for dominion to be effected, the world's wealth must be under the control of the Church. Hence the emphasis on prosperity and "divine health" as well as the ability to speak into existence things that are not as though they are (God-likeness).
After the Church has taken dominion, its task will be to purge the earth of evil,which is defined as lawlessness against God's moral laws and against the established authority of the apostles and prophets. This accomplished, the earth will be ready to be turned over to Jesus when He returns (some say 'if' He returns).
We will find as we continue our study that at the heart of Dominion Theology is the belief that man is a godand, as such, must exercise his godhood through dominion. The current teaching that man is a god is essentially a theosophic concept which can be traced to the beginning of man's history.
THE ETERNAL BATTLE
The conflict of the ages upon which the spiritual battle for men's souls resides is founded upon this single truth: that God is supreme and His creation must be subject to Him.
In his rebellion, Satan ("Lucifer") originated the scheme to establish oneself as an equal to God (Isaiah 14:12-15). This was the nature of his temptation of Eve: "...ye shall be gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). Satan's lie is not just that man 'is' God, as espoused in Eastern mysticism, but that he could become 'like' God through acquisition of certain knowledge. In essence, man is, or could become, a god himself.
This appeal to man's pride comprises the essence of the esoteric religions which seek, by initiation, to bring certain chosen individuals to perfection through obedience to an unseen spiritual hierarchy. This hierarchy - known as "Ascended Masters," among other titles - is allegedly comprised of highly evolved men existing in the spirit realm who are leading mankind through stages of evolution to higher planes of consciousness which will eventually result in the attainment of godhood.
Throughout history the ancient mystery religions have taken many forms, from paganism and witchcraft to humanism and some elements of psychology. Today they may be classified under the general name of "theosophy" - the blending of science and religion to create a universal brotherhood of man under a one-world utopian state. The term "theosophy" (lit. "Divine Wisdom" or "Wisdom of the Gods") (55) has several synonyms, some of the more common being "the Esoteric Philosophy," "the Wisdom-Religion," "the Secret Doctrine," "the Ancient Wisdom," and "the Esoteric Tradition." (56)
The esoteric ("hidden," "secret") religions have many expressions throughout the world, and include such notable movements as Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, and Jewish Kabbalism, among others.
The basic beliefs of esotericism, as well as the Eastern religions, form the basis for what has come to be known as the "New Age Movement" - today's vulgar expression for the masses of the "higher" mysteries. The essence of esoteric religion is that man can attain godhood through knowledge and positive living.
From time immemorial man has fallen for this delusion, and has sought spiritual power through mastery of so-called "immutable laws" of Nature operative in the spiritual realm. The learning and mastering of these laws allegedly work for man's purposes and "validate" his position as a god.
Though modern theosophy, in all its forms, makes certain teachings of the ancient mysteries available to the masses, these are only the exoteric teachings. The deeper esoteric mysteries are reserved for those initiated through secret rites, sworn to secrecy under penalty of death.
Those teachings permitted for the masses have found their way into the Church. They have developed into a form of "Christian" theosophy which has affected many otherwise uncompromising Christians who, if they would keep their heads about them, would suffer death to maintain the inviolable position that deity is an attribute of God alone.
There is a reason for Satan's emissaries infecting the Church with the damnable heresy that we are or can become gods.
To the esotericist, bent upon establishing 'men' as gods, all monotheistic religions are anathema and their adherents must be converted or at least subjugated to the spiritual hierarchy (the spirit beings guiding mankind). Since the Church alone has the power of God to resist the deceptions of Satan, it 'must' be made to believe his lies. If the Church can be corrupted or neutralized Satan will have a clear path toward uniting the world against God. Thus any opposition to deception in the Church must be stifled under the pretense that such opposition sows discord among the brethren and hinders unity.
Satan's lies have found fertile ground in the Church not only because many Christians lack knowledge, but because they lack the necessary humility that can protect them against deception. Seeking their own wills above God's will, they are easy prey for deceivers who exalt men and/or the Church to the status of godhood and promote Satan's lies within the Church, lies characterized by the following teachings:
No doubt many who teach these things would deny they are theosophists. In all probability they think of themselves as true Christians who have received special revelations from God. But whether they adhere to theosophical doctrines consciously or are merely pawns in the battle of the ages is immaterial. A child playing with matches needn't have knowledge of the damage he can cause.
It's evident from the recent emergence of these aberrant teachings within the Church that - through schooling and/or personal association - theosophy is having a significant impact upon some of today's prominent teachers.
I believe some of these teachers, though sincere in their profession of faith in Jesus, are themselves victims of esotericists who knew how to use biblical and Christian terminology to gain their confidence, or they learned from others who were victims.
Esotericists have made special efforts to merge their secret teachings with the basic tenets of the Christian faith, resulting in some rather interesting esoteric interpretations of Scripture. The major Christian doctrines - the deity of Christ; His Virgin Birth, His sacrifice for sin, His Resurrection, and His Second Coming - can be made to fit perfectly well into the theosophical model of religion. But their aberrant interpretations of these basic doctrines, unless openly stated, will escape the average Christian and deceive him into placing his trust where he ought not.
As we look at these doctrines from the standpoint of theosophy as opposed to that of Scripture, some may find our expositions of interest; others will no doubt find them tedious and may wish to pass over them. I've included them for purposes of documentation, and to demonstrate how esotericists might use certain terminology to convince Christians - even Christian teachers - that they are brethren in Christ, specially "anointed" to teach new revelations.
I should add that it is not these interpretations of essential doctrines with which I am concerned (any mature Christian would reject them at the outset), but the inroads into the Church of other teachings based on these interpretations.
Though there are few in the Church proper who would agree with these interpretations, many have bought the rest of the package which is bringing many in the Church into damnable heresies. These are offered as a warning to learn as much as possible what a teacher believes before accepting what he says.
The Deity Of Christ
Theosophists would agree that Jesus is divine. But then so are all men, if not actually at least potentially. It is therefore not inconsistent for theosophists to speak of Jesus as "Son of God," "God in the flesh," "truly God and truly man," and use similar "Christian-sounding" phrases implying His deity.
Nevertheless, whereas Christians believe that God became man (exclusively in the person of Jesus), theosophists believe that a man named Jesus became a god. To most theosophists, Jesus was one of many men who displayed an exceptional expression of the divine nature. They include Him among such notables as Confucius, Buddha, and Mohammed. To some, however, Jesus was unique among all men in His expression of the divine nature; they would say that no one has ever attained His status of spiritual enlightenment.
However, they also believe that all men and women have the potential to reach that same degree of spiritual enlightenment, i.e., to be equal with Jesus.
Some even go so far as to say that, theoretically at least, we have the potential to be greater than He, by further mastering the spiritual laws of Nature to do good for mankind. Jesus' uniqueness, to them, lies not in His person as the Word of God incarnate, but in His particular anointing as "the Christ" to bring enlightenment and truth for His time in history, just as Buddha and Mohammed did for their eras.
Though it is believed that there are exceptional "Christs" for different stages of man's evolutionary journey, we may all become expressions of the "Christ principle" and thus achieve divinity.
Theosophists, therefore, have no problem with calling Jesus the "Son of God." As John H. Dewey, the leading apostle of "Christian" Theosophy during the previous turn of the century stated:
On the basis of these statements alone Dewey might easily have been accepted into Christian fellowship. But further on we find that he qualifies his remarks:
Were these teachings confined to the inner sanctums of the Masonic, Rosicrucian, and Mormon temples - were they bandied about only among theosophists seated around their tables of discussion - they would pose no genuine threat to the Church.
But we are now hearing from prominent teachers in the Christian media that man was created with a divine nature which was lost due to the introduction of sin. By being born again by the Spirit of God we lose our sin nature and regain our divine nature. (61)
There is no such teaching in Scripture. Rather, it is based upon a theosophical interpretation of II Peter 1:4 which, properly understood, tells us no more than that the believer in Jesus Christ is a partaker of the divine nature through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But it is the divine nature of the Holy Spirit, not ourselves, to which Peter was referring. The quality of divinity belongs exclusively to God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
As the Word of God incarnate, Jesus is divine, as is the Holy Spirit through whom God accomplishes His purposes. The First Commandment of God is, "I am the Lord thy God....Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:2-3).
Some may beg the question by stating that the word "before" qualifies the statement to mean only that Jehovah is the God who must come first. But the historically accepted meaning from the context is that we are to have no other gods in His presence: none are to be before His face. Yet many Christians today have bought the lie that they themselves are gods, and perfectly legitimate ones at that, whereas God has stated that there are no other gods besides Himself (Deuteronomy 4:35).
Therefore, whenever the Scriptures speak of other gods, they are speaking of false gods: demons, idols or men (Christian or non-Christian) who attempt to usurp the rightful position of Jehovah.
The Virgin Birth
The various schools of theosophy generally deny the doctrine of the Virgin Birth of Jesus.
However, in an attempt to spiritualize what the Scriptures plainly state as applicable to the physical - i.e., that Jesus was born of a virgin woman by the power of the Holy Spirit - there are those who might say they accept the idea of the virgin birth. But their affirmation would be qualified within their minds in the following manner:
"...[Jesus' virgin birth] was originally a highly mystical and philosophical teaching, which became in time a theologic dogma and legend....It is a mystical or symbolic tenet referring to the birth of the Christ in man from the virgin-part of one's being, i.e., from the spiritual or highest portions of man's constitution. It also has a cosmical significance - the Virgin-Mother of Space giving birth through the Child, the Cosmic Logos, to her multitudes of children of various kinds. There are thus two aspects of this mystical or symbolical doctrine: there is, first, the Cosmical Virgin, and, second, there is the mystical 'virgin-birth' of an initiate. An initiate is one 'reborn,' or, as the saying goes, 'born a second time.' He is not born of course in initiation from a physical father and mother, for his body is born in the usual manner, but in initiation, the 'new man,' the inner man, theChrist-man, is born 'from himself' because of his bringing out or unfolding into active manifestation the divinity within him and over-enlightening him; and his 'Virgin-Mother' is that part of himself which is the root of his being, the spiritual soul in its spotless and unstained purity. From the Virgin or Spiritual Soul is born the human Christ or the human Buddha, without admixture of extrinsic elements of any kind, and without other means than the man's own yearnings and strivings to become the god within himself.
Such esoteric interpretations of Scripture are difficult to recognize without careful scrutiny.
One may say he believes in the virgin birth of Christ, but hold an entirely different view from that of Christianity - in this case applying an occult analogy to the Scriptures. This ploy of esoteric religion is becoming increasingly evident in some circles of Christianity, most notably among charismatics.
The current penchant of some teachers to cloud the simple truth of the Gospel with teachings that impress the unlearned with man's wisdom is evidence of a new Gnosticism based on salvation through knowledge springing up in our midst.
Paul warned of such in II Corinthians 11:3: "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear [agree] with him."
In light of today's deceptions, we would be wise to see that the meanings applied by teachers to the doctrines of the Church are clearly stated, and backed up by the whole of Scripture.
As in many other Christian doctrines, Jesus' death as atonement for sin is given an entirely different meaning by esotericists from that stated in Scripture. As Christians we believe that Jesus' blood is the element that cleanses us from sin, provided we come to God in faith and allow Him to apply that blood to our own lives. As God incarnate and sinless - the only begotten Son of God - only Jesus could pay the price for our sins. No one else's suffering and/or death as a vicarious sacrifice has any merit with God. The esotericist, however, holds a different view:
"In those cases where such noble and altruistic action be taken for the benefit of all that lives or for the results which it is hoped will benefit a large portion of mankind, it is a Buddha-like thing to do, it is a Christ-like thing."(63)
The esoteric view of atonement does make room for Jesus' sacrifice for mankind, but only to a point. Any person whose motives are pure can take upon himself the consequences of the sins of another through altruistic acts of piety and self-denial.
So the theosophist and other esotericists can say they accept Jesus' death on the cross as atonement for "sin," but their doctrine is faulty, and Christians who lack understanding of this fact can be misled into thinking they are on the same spiritual level.
The efficacious sacrifice of Jesus which provides for the taking away of sins for all who come to Him by faith is actually denied by all schools of esotericism:
"These authoritative words of the Christ, with the whole Sermon on the Mount, from which they are taken, and the full tenor of all his teaching most unmistakably emphasize the 'doing' of the Father's will, and unity with him in a righteous life, as the only salvation possible or desirable for mankind, while not a precept or parable of his can be brought to sustain in the slightest degree this doctrine of substitution; as though it were possible for the absolute justice and goodness of the All-Father to demand or accept the punishment of the innocent for the guilty, or could impute the righteousness of the sinless to the sinner, or accept any as righteous who are not really so. But as righteousness of life is secured only through personal obedience to the law of right, no man can become righteous before God, except by his own act of obedience. If this were possible in the economy of God, then the very idea of justice would be a delusion and a sham, and the thought and talk of a changeless moral order a pitiable and unmeaning farce.
Through the clever manipulation of the word 'atonement,' esotericists have devised the doctrine of "at-one-ment," which states in effect that once a person has attained mastery over his physical nature he becomes "at-one with the Divine," and may exercise mental influence over the physical realm for the effecting of healing and other manifestations of psychic power:
"Man then becomes one in spirit and purpose with the divine, and is led, governed and crowned with wisdom, sympathy and power. It is the Christ or God-anointed life; the true at-one-ment of man with God, the human with the Divine, Christianity as Christ taught and lived it." (65)
This esoteric view of "at-one-ment" - coming into the expression of godhood in order to control the elements of nature - is a major tenet of mind science. Though expressed in different terms, it has crept into the Church through the Positive Confession teachings which declare that man is a god, and "faith is a force" that God used to create the universe, and that anyone can use for his own purposes. (67)
The Resurrection of Jesus following His death as sacrifice for our sins is a primary focus of the Christian faith. For if He had not been resurrected we would still be lost in our sins (I Corinthians 15:12-26).
The esotericist does not believe in resurrection, but in reincarnation - the evolutionary process by which souls are allegedly perfected by working out their karmic consequences from one lifetime to another. Yet the term "resurrection" does find its way into esoteric philosophy, specifically in relation to reincarnation, and its use can be misleading:
"No sane man, it is to be supposed, today can or does believe that the physical body, as regards its physical elements - or rather when once its elements have been returned to earth - shall be gathered together again into one component and perfect whole at some future period which Christians call the Judgment Day; when the 'last trump' shall be sounded, according to the quaint imagery of older times....Yet back of this idea of the 'resurrection of the body' there actually is a most beautiful truth or fact of Nature. This truth may be expressed in two forms; or, as the mathematicians say, it is expressible in both a general and in a special case.
This fanciful account of reincarnation has no basis for proof and is in direct opposition to God's Word: "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: For Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:27-28). Jesus died only once; and we will die only once. There is no reincarnation by which we may eventually attain spiritual perfection through works of our righteousness. It is only the precious blood of Jesus that cleanses us from sin and provides for our salvation if we trust in Him by faith.
The Second Coming
On April 25, 1982, many were surprised by the appearance of full-page ads in some twenty major newspapers worldwide, proclaiming that "THE CHRIST IS NOW HERE." (69)
These ads, placed by a New Age organization known as Tara Center, declared that the Christ had come to lead mankind into an era of peace and brotherhood. The Christ, according to these ads, is Lord Maitreya, an Ascended Master whose message of hope was, and still is, conveyed by an Englishman named Benjamin Creme (Krehm). Creme contends that Maitreya had embodied himself somewhere in the Himalayas, and is currently living in London awaiting the opportune moment to emerge and be recognized by the population of the world as the Christ for the New Age.(70)
Maitreya is said to be the embodiment of the aspirations of the world's major religions. According to the newspaper ads, "He is known to Christians as 'the Christ,' to Hindus as 'Krishna,' to Jews as 'the Messiah,' to Moslems as 'Imam Mahdi,' and to Buddhists as 'the fifth Buddha.'"
The Christ for the New Age is not Jesus. Jesus, it seems, has been reincarnated and will stand with Lord Maitreya to convince Christians that they, along with the rest of humanity, must follow their new spiritual leader.71
While Maitreya waits in the wings for the consciousness of humanity to be sufficiently raised to make us worthy to receive him, the resultant media exposure has fanned an interest among many who are expectantly awaiting a "man of peace" to come along and solve the world's ills. Creme claims that the emergence of Maitreya as "the Christ" will be validated by demonstrations of miracles, signs, and wonders.72
In Matthew 24:24 Jesus warned of such demonstrations of power by God's enemies: "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
Whether or not Maitreya really exists no one can say at this time, but we can learn from this that when the esotericist speaks of the Second Coming, it is certain that he is not speaking of Jesus' Second Coming. He is speakig of the coming of "the Christ" for the New Age. According to Creme and other New Agers, Jesus was the Christ for the age of Pisces, and Maitreya is the Christ for our age, the age of Aquarius.73
This is to be the "Golden Age" of utopian bliss to begin around the turn of the century. It is the New Agers' version of the millennium - the Kingdom Age - run by men who have attained godhood. Since the office of "Christ" is not considered by esotericists to be exclusive to Jesus, they do not affirm 'His' Second Coming. Rather, they make mention of the "Coming of Christ," or even "Second Coming of Christ."
This is because they separate the "Christ 'principle'" from the 'person' of Jesus, and apply it to all men. In the broad sense, therefore, they teach that the "Second Coming" of "Christ" will take place through the raising of humanity's consciousness to the point where a significant number will believe that 'they' are the embodiment of the Second Coming. Then the world will be prepared to receive the "Christ" who will lead the nations into the New Age of peace and brotherhood.
The central figure of the "Spiritual Hierarchy" (the "Ascended Masters") will represent the full manifestation of the office of Christ for that age. In Dominion Theology, this teaching has a parallel which states that the Church is the "ongoing incarnation" of God. Yes, Jesus is Christ, but so is the Church as the body of Christ. Therefore, the Church is Christ.74
An Esoteric 'Statement of Faith'
A clear definition of terms is essential for a proper understanding of the theological stance of those who teach us.
Though holding erroneous interpretations of any or all the doctrines represented, one may make a declaration of faith like this: "I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, true God and true man, God incarnate, virgin born, that His death was an atonement for my sins, that he has been resurrected, and that Christ is coming again." And on the basis of this confession, that person may gain the confidence of Christians to fill their minds with other teachings that will sway them from the truth essential to their salvation.
The teachers with which we deal in this study might not be theosophists on these important points of doctrine, but there is sufficient evidence to suggest that they have been infected by esoteric philosophies, possibly by having been exposed to wolves in sheep's clothing themselves. The various schools of theosophy that grew out of the Gnostic traditions and other apostate "Christian" sects have found their way into the Christian media, greatly diluting the strength of the true Gospel and polluting the thinking of many in the Church. Some Christians, perceiving themselves spiritually-minded, have fallen for the lie that they can become gods. But this is not spiritual-mindedness; it is carnal-mindedness, demonstrating a lack of understanding of the basic premise upon which the battle between God and Satan rages.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HERESY
Scripture chronicles man's attempts at godhood: the rebelliousness that led to the flood and the tower of Babel, and the sorcery and witchcraft that dominated not only pagan cultures, but God's chosen people Israel. Jewish Kabbalism, thought by some to be a phenomenon of the Middle Ages, is really a blending of apostate Judaism with the Egyptian mystery religion learned while in captivity.
The resultant paganism of Israel was the source of revolt against God's prophets. When the Church was established, the same spirit of rebellion was immediately at work to destroy the simplicity and purity of the Gospel. Heretics led many away from the truth into errors which either demeaned the person of Christ or exalted the position of the believer - or both.
During the Church's early years the Gnostic "gospels" and Essene teachings mixed the ancient mystery traditions with Christian teaching, and provided esoteric interpretations of Scripture that remain with us today. One of the earliest heresies declared that the resurrection of the saints had already taken place. Paul wrote to Timothy that this teaching was overthrowing the faith of some (II Timothy 2:18).
Consider that, if the resurrection had already occured, then there was no hope that Jesus would return to establish His Kingdom on earth. It follows, therefore, that that task would have to fall to the Church. This was essentially the first postmillenial teaching. Kingdom Now proponents are correct in stating that postmillenialism is a teaching as old as the Church. But that doesn't make it a true doctrine.
It was just one heresy among many that found acceptance among some in the early Church. The age of a teaching is not a criterion for its truth. Only its conformity to the strict and clear Word of God validates it. The Roman Catholic Church is an example of one of the earliest attempts within the Church to establish the Kingdom of God on earth by human effort. With the Reformation came not only freedom for many from the bondage of Rome, but there also arose attempts by some radical sects to establish themselves as the "only true Church," destined to overcome sin and usher in the Kingdom.
The history of the Church, though obscure in many areas regarding its early stages, demonstrates how religious men, not content with God's rule over them, dissatisfied that they may die before the Kingdom of God was manifested on earth, chose to believe the lie that they could become immortal and establish the Kingdom themselves.
This dissatisfaction continues among today's Dominion proponents. I suspect that such are really afraid of death. Lacking the faith necessary to trust God, they wish to work their way to immortality rather than pass through the valley of the shadow of death.
Recent history has seen the rise of certain cults out of Christianity which purport to teach the true "gospel of the Kingdom": Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church (Moonies), the late Herbert W. Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God (not to be confused with The Church of God), and other, lesser-known groups, are seeking to establish themselves as the only true Church, destined to reign over earth's governments and people. A premise upon which some build their case is that there are two gospels: the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of the Kingdom.
They maintain that no one has preached the Gospel of the Kingdom before they themselves came on the scene to proclaim that their church (not Jesus) will usher in the Kingdom of God. Paul tells us there is only one Gospel, and he delineates it in I Corinthians 1:5. The entire chapter is a retelling of the complete Gospel through the Second Coming of Jesus.
Nowhere does Paul separate the Gospel of Christ from the Gospel of the Kingdom. Nor does he indicate that the church will institute the Kingdom of God on earth before Jesus returns. The teachings with which we deal in this study are, therefore, not new, but centuries old, most traceable to certain groups that sprang from the Radical Reformation as opposed to the Reformation proper; some go further back to primitive Christianity's early heretical groups, and even to the dawn of man's history. All these teachings reside in man's prideful refusal to accept his station in life in humble obedience to his Creator. Yes, those who remain true to Christ will one day be glorified; we will be exalted to rule with Him. But if we will be glorified - if we will be exalted - let God glorify us; let Him exalt us. We must glorify and exalt only Him. And if we are to boast in anything, let it not be in our 'position' in Christ, but in Christ himself.
There are many ways by which men within the Church are attempting to establish the Kindgom of God on earth. They are not always in agreement on the methods to attain that end; nor are they necessarily in agreement as to the philosophical direction that should be taken to accomplish their purpose.
One area in which most if not all are in agreement is that the Church must be united in a dominion mindset. Of a certainty, some branches of the Kingdom Now Movement are more militant in their stance, and/or more zealous in the propagation of their particular brand of Dominion Theology. As we outline the more prominent of these movements we'll see how they work together, often without conscious collaboration, to establish the dominion mindset within the Church. Some have even attained cult status among many Christians. Whether one ascribes to the radical element or the passive, or rests somewhere between the two, is not as important as the overall threat to the Church that these movements present through their aberrant teachings.
Yet in spite of these dangers, I'm convinced that there are many true and sincere Christians who have become involved in these movements because they are fed up with the increase of the sinful actions and perverse attitudes of society. They long for a world with a more sane and moral social structure, and are easily led to believe that if Christians can only take control, God's righteousness will reign on earth. How His righteousness will be implemented - whether by legislation, coercion, example, or by a miraculous move of the Holy Spirit upon the hearts of all men - is not fully agreed upon even among the leaders in the Kingdom Now movements.
Nevertheless, close scrutiny reveals that all hold certain elements in common, making it difficult to discern one from the other. For example, some Manifested Sons of God teachings are indistinguishable from some of the teachings of Restorationism. We are more concerned, therefore, with the teachings themselves and the men who promote them, than we are with the movements, which are little more than a networking of various individuals and groups. Yet it is important to this study that we briefly outline these movements and deal with some of their peculiarities.
The Identity Movement teaches that the Anglo-Saxon race and their kin (Scandinavians, Irish, Welsh, Scottish, etc.) are the "lost tribes" of Israel, who are destined as God's chosen people to rule the world. The full name of Identity is "Anglo-Israel-Identity Movement." (75)
It is believed that, as God's chosen people whose king (or queen) sits on the throne of David (the British throne), and whose lineage can be traced back through the Jewish patriarchs to Adam, the Anglo-Saxon race has special favor with God. (76)
"Israel-America" (comprised of Anglo and related descendants in the United States) (77) has a special anointing. The nation of Israel that exists today in the Middle East is considered a pretender to the name of Israel, being allegedly comprised of certain Asian peoples known as "Kazars." Thus any biblical references to God's prophesied dealings with Israel in the last days are believed to have been fulfilled. Daniel's seventieth week has come and gone, as has anti-Christ, and now we must look forward to the establishment of Yahweh's Kingdom on earth. This is to be administered through the Anglo-Saxon Christians who have come to recognize their unique destiny.
Though Identity is overtly anti-Semitic, its proponents claim that those who are against them are the true anti-Semites. But there is a deeper reason for the anti-Israel stance taken not only by Identity, but by other dominion-oriented movements. Should national Israel remain established, the belief that God is going to save a remnant of Jews to be a witness for Jesus in the last days would be validated.
Hence, the Church will have to be taken out of the world before Jesus sets His feet upon the earth, and before God's wrath is poured out upon rebellious mankind (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Revelation 6 & 7).
If this is true, then the dominion theory falls apart: the Kingdom of God will not be establ- ished on earth until Jesus returns with His saints to destroy the anti-Christ's kingdom.
While we who are outside the Kingdom Now Movement understand that Jews, like all men, are lost until they come by faith to recognize Jesus as their Messiah, we also recognize that the nation of Israel does have a purpose in God's plans for the last days.
Identity's hatred is not limited to Jews, however. Blacks and other non-whites are looked upon as inferior beings who may be allowed to enjoy the benefits of the kingdom as long as they remain subject to their Anglo-Saxon superiors. They cannot hold positions of significant authority, however, because the promises to Israel belong only to the "true" Israelites: the Anglo-Saxon believers.
The snag in Identity's plans for America is the tremendous influx of non-white immigrants whom they see as parasitical and detrimental to the establishment of God's white-dominated world government. The fewer non-whites that are left to enter the Kingdom, the better, as far as Identity is concerned.
As a side note, there is a black counter to Identity known as the Yahweh sect. This cult believes that American blacks are the true descendants of the biblical tribe of Judah, living in the land of the "white devil." (78)
Maybe the black Yahweh sect and white Identity are both right. Perhaps they're related and don't know it. In view of Identity's racial policy, it isn't surprising that radical racist groups such as the neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan have joined. (79)
For all their error and their attacks against non-whites, these groups are zealously moralistic (by their convoluted standards). Although Identity's members consider themselves Christians their ideology is more akin to salvation by race than salvation by grace. They welcome Aryan pagans into fellowship while mounting hate campaigns against Christian Jews, blacks, and other non-whites.
This isn't to say that all Identity People are overtly racist, but their philosophy reflects a dangerous mindset that threatens to exacerbate an already tense situation between races. Their para-militarism and rebellion against constituted authority combine to create a volatile situation that could someday erupt into fullscale racial warfare.
Even older than the Latter Rain Movement, Identity found fertile ground to propagate its own brand of Kingdom Theology among the neo-Pentecostals of the mid-twentieth century. Seeing the opportunity to cloak itself with the respectability of the Church, Identity has aligned with neo-Pentecostalism, and today presents the Anglo-Israel-Identity Movement as "just as much a result of the work of the Holy Spirit as the Charismatic renewal." (80)
Not all who believe in British-Israelism are part of Identity. But on the basis of little more than conjecture and hearsay, British-Israelism has found credibility in the eyes of many otherwise sensible Christians.
Yet even if true, the very nature of British-Israelism and the strife it engenders is contrary to the warning of Scripture that we not be concerned with endless geneologies (I Timothy 1:4; Titus 3:9).
True Israel consists of all who have come to God by faith in Jesus Christ, whether Jew or Gentile (Romans 2:28-29). To God no one has any standing except by His grace. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, rich nor poor, bond nor free, male nor female, but we are all one in Him (Galatians 3:26-29).
As Jesus said, God is able to turn stones into children of Abraham (Matthew 4:9), so who is anyone to boast of his ancestry, especially an ancestry built on little more than fanciful conjecture?
One must be careful when including the Charismatic Renewal in the list of Kingdom Now movements, simply because a significant number of charismatics do not have a definitive understanding of any such eschatological viewpoint. In fact, many charismatics see the return of Jesus as imminent. They believe in the "Rapture," whether pre-, mid-, or post-Tribulation, and would reject the notion that the Church must establish a theocratic rule before Jesus can return.
Yet if there is any distinction between the charismatism of the mid- to late-twentieth century and the pentecostalism that preceded it, it's that charismatics tend to lean more heavily on supernatural manifestations as conclusive evidence that God is at work. They are also actively seeking unity wihin the Body of Christ on the basis of those manifestations, many times at the expense of biblical truth.
The charismatic ideal seems to have developed into this: in the interest of unity we must overlook differences in doctrineas long as those with whom we seek unity confess the name of Jesus and appear to exhibit the gifts of the Spirit - particularly speaking in tongues.
It's on these points that Roman Catholic priests have been given platforms to teach on Christian TV, and that Mormons have been welcomed into fellowship among some charismatics. (And what could find more compatibility between Mormonism and Kingdom Now Theology than the idea that men are gods?)
If there is any reason or rhyme to this it is that many charismatics, having come out of denominationalism, have lacked sufficient grounding in the Word of God to be able to separate the true work of the Holy Spirit from that of Satan. Having had little or no experience with supernatural power in their denominations, they are sorely lacking in discernment in that area. Still, many of today's most prominent leaders in charismatism hail from pentecostal backgrounds. So whether traditional or pentecostal, when one attaches more importance to experience than to the rightly-divided Word of Truth, the chance for error is greatly increased.
Due to its interdenominational thrust, charismatism presents especially fertile ground for the propagation of Dominion Theology. The saying, "All roads lead to Rome," isn't limited to the heyday of the Caesars or to the papacy's former domination of western culture.
It's through the charismatic movement that Roman Catholicism has regained much of its credibility among Protestants and other non-Catholics, capitalizing on that credibility to make overtures for unity.
Because some Roman Catholics speak in tongues and exhibit an attitude of acceptance toward non-Catholic charismatics, it's been stated that Roman Catholicism is changing - that there is now an opportunity to bring about a unity which has been lacking since the Reformation.
Besides the issue of tongues, ecumenical charismatics point to the use of Christian hymns sung at "charismatic masses" to the accompaniment of modern musical instruments as evidence that differences are minimal. This naivete is being exploited by Catholic clergy who, though professing "love" and "unity" toward non-Catholic Christians, refuse them the elements of communion on the basis that non-Catholics do not recognize the pope as their spiritual head.
Though some Roman Catholics, even among the clergy, have undoubtedly been touched by the Holy Spirit and are coming into a greater understanding of what it means to have a personal relationship with God, Roman Catholicism itself has not changed. It is still as strong a political system as ever, ruled by a hierarchy whose intent has been from its inception (and remains) to establish the Kingdom of God on earth under the headship of the pope.
The danger to the purity of the Faith is a genuine reality. The Charismatic Renewal has opened doors which it may find difficult to shut when Satan's demonstrations of signs and wonders increase to the point where spiritual life or death hang on the basis of one's discernment.
Manifested Sons Of God
One of the most militant movements attempting to establish the Kingdom of God on earth is the Manifested Sons of God.
This aberration came out of the Latter Rain Movement under the "apostleship" of John Robert Stevens, a William Branham disciple whose church in Redondo Beach, California, operated for a number of years as the headquarters for the movement.
The Manifested Sons of God teachings are perhaps the most definitive among Kingdom Now doctrines. They have all the elements of classical dominion theory: immortalization, restoration of the offices of apostles and prophets, absolute authoritarianism, attainment of godhood - you name it, the Manifested Sons of God have it.
The Manifested Sons of God Movement suffered massive dissipation as the result of many scandals that attended the extreme cult status to which it had attained. Nevertheless, its devotees, fervent in their beliefs, covertly continue to spread its doctrines to other churches.
Because association with the Manifested Sons of God Movement has proven a source of extreme embarrassment, there are few today who would admit they are Manifested Sons of God devotees. Much as a communist would deny his affiliation with the party because he doesn't carry a card, Manifested Sons of God adherents deny they are what they are. The test is what they believe and teach, however, not whether they are "officially" members of a Manifested Sons of God church.
Central to Manifested Sons of God doctrine is the idea that sonship comes through higher revelation. The Christian life is fragmented into stages of maturity: the first step is that of servant of God; the next step is to become a friend of God; following this is to become a son of God and, ultimately, gods ourselves.
Yet the Scriptures demonstrate that we are already all three: servants (Galatians 3:10), friends (John 15:14-15), and sons (I John 3:1). Yet there is nothing in Scripture to support the idea that Paul or any apostle or prophet ever put aside his servanthood to attain sonship (many epistles begin with the salutation by the apostle identifying himself as a servant of God), or that they ever believed they would become gods themselves.
Apart from John Robert Stevens's disciples, there are many whose teachings would qualify them as Manifested Sons of God, the essential ingredient being a peculiar interpretation of Romans 8:19-23:
"For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same hope,Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
As a doctrine crucial to the Manifested Sons of God, perfection (success in living sinlessly) will result in incorruptibility.
This will qualify those who "overcome" as worthy to rule in the Kingdom of God.
Whether Jesus will return at the beginning, during, or after the Millennium is open to conjecture. Some who have been touched by the Manifested Sons of God influence even believe He will not return physically, but rather that Christ and the Church are becoming one in nature and essence, and that the Church, as the incarnation of God, will manifest Christ on earth.
There are even those who believe that they have already attained perfection and, as a result, will never die. They have attained a higher degree of spiritual evolution, so to speak.
For all the elaborate surmisings with which these people have deluded themselves, a careful reading of Romans 8:19 will show that the "manifestation of the sons of God" alluding to the redemption of our bodies (verse 23) cannot be properly understood apart from I Corinthians 15:51-52, which states that we shall all be changed, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
From these verses it is clear that the "manifestation of the sons of God" - immortality - will take place at the last trump. First Thessalonians 4:15 makes it even clearer that this will not occur before the resurrection of the dead at the coming of Christ:
The teachings of most Kingdom Now groups can be traced to the Manifested Sons of God. And not only do they come from the Manifested Sons of God, they must ultimately return to the "pure" Manifested Sons of God doctrine: man need not die; by taking hold of secret knowledge he can become like God.
Whether or not the Manifested Sons of God will ever make a comeback as an organized segment of the Christian community only the Lord knows. But their influence has been more far-reaching through undercover proselytizing than it would have had there been no breakup. And they continue to affect more and more Christians who are sufficiently naive to think they can become immortal by acting spiritual.
The grandiose promise of ruling over the world as implementers of God's righteousness holds special appeal for the prideful, "god-consciousness" persons who perceive authority as rulership rather than servanthood.
Inherent to all Kingdom Now Theology is the idea of "Restoration."
The premise of Restoration is that since the first century, the Church has not functioned as God planned, and must therefore be "restored" to its original purpose of achieving dominion.
This involves the "restoration" of the offices of apostles and prophets, the "restoration" of the Tabernacle of David (signified by the restoration of worship and praise), and the "restoration" of power (signs and wonders).
As a less cultic form of Manifested Sons of God, the Restoration Movement believes in immortalization through perfection. Thus Restoration's emphasis on purifying the Church through repentance and holy living.
Certainly no one can find fault with repentance and holy living. But at the heart of Restoration is the goal of establishing the Kingdom of God on earth in the physical absence of Jesus. Holy living, forgiveness, and unity of the Body of Christ are essential to the attainment of that purpose.
Restoration preachers appear to be among the humblest of God's servants, confessing their own sins before the people and presenting themselves as examples of how Christians should examine their own hearts. One of the Scriptures most often quoted by Restoration preachers is Matthew 7:1:"Judge not, that ye be not judged." In their view, it is especially imperative that the people not judge teachers, regardless of doctrine. We are to let the Holy Spirit judge them. I believe many Restoration proponents are truly humble men who have unwittingly opened themselves to error.
But so, too, many of those who cry "Touch not God's anointed," or "Judge not," do so out of fear that their own doctrines might come under close scrutiny. They totally ignore the context of Matthew 7:1, which implies hypocritical judgment, not the judgment necessary to preserve the purity of the Faith.
We are often exhorted in Scripture to judge, not those outside the Body of Christ, but those in the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 5:12, 6:5; John 7:24). In Romans 14:10-13, one of the strongest Scriptures about judging, we find that the context reveals we are not to judge a brother for what he eats or drinks. But we are to judge stumbling blocks that others put before the brethren.
Certainly false doctrine would fall into that category. We are not to judge men's hearts, but we are to judge actions and teachings that lead others away from God's truth. Why those who cry against judgment propagate error, and why, contrary to their own teachings, they condemn those who judge those errors is between them and the Lord.
Again, there is nothing wrong in holy living, or in unity with brothers in Christ. These we should desire. But what Restoration and Dominion Theology in general seek is not so much unity of the faith as uniformity of the dictates of self-proclaimed apostles and prophets.
More than any other movement, Reconstruction is theintellectual arm of Dominion Theology.
Offering articulate and intelligent arguments for the Church to establish theocratic rule by taking dominion over politics, economics, science, the arts, and every other expression of human social structure, Reconstruction attracts thinking people who see God's laws as the only answer to the present chaos.
No right-thinking Christian would deny that this is true. However, unless Jesus is present to administer the affairs of that theocracy, human fallibility, no matter how well-intentioned, would ultimately result in religious totalitarianism.
Now, I'm one who believes that Christians should become involved in politics and in every other area of civic life in order to be a light to the world and salt to the earth. If we are to win souls and influence people for Christ, we cannot cloister ourselves from the world. But we are deluding ourselves if we think we can establish any man or religious group of men as saviors of the world.
Reconstruction's noble ideas of bringing about a transformation of society through which righteousness will be manifested are doomed to failure. But that does not mean we cannot use the information on politics and other fields of human endeavor that notable Reconstructionists provide.
Their analyses of world affairs from a Scriptureal perspective are often intelligent and well-documented, and can be of significant help to Christians who wish to be informed on current events. (Just beware the leaven.) Nor does it mean we shouldn't continue to wage spiritual warfare and take authority wherever God grants it to us.
But a theocracy administered without the benefit of Jesus' physical presence begs for subjective reasoning based on the intellectual whims of man's faulty wisdom. Yes, the Holy Spirit can keep such a theocratic rule in line. But He won't if it exists apart from the will of God. And based on His Word, no such theocracy will be established by God without Jesus present. Should any such theocracy be established, it would not be a true theocracy, but a totalitarian state of man's own making.
God's Word is clear that before Jesus returns tremendous evil will encompass the governments of the world (Matthew 24, Mark 14, Revelation 6 & 7). We might not like that prospect, but God's Word is without error. The question is whether Reconstruction seeks to impose the will of man in the name of God. This, I believe, is the direction in which Reconstruction, like all Dominion movements, is headed.
If there is one teaching of Dominion Theology that has come to characterize the Positive Confession Movement of late, it is the deification of man. While most of the aforementioned movements employ this theme, Positive Confession is coming to the forefront.
This is a paradox of sorts because there are many in Positive Confession who are not consciously linked to Dominion Theology, looking instead for the imminent return of Jesus, whether pre-, mid-, or post-Tribulation, and do not see man's efforts as the answer to anything. They would reject the idea that they are or can be gods, even though in their acting out the Positive Confession scenario they are acting out the role of God. This by their insistence that they can speak into existence things that aren't as if they are.
But it isn't the conscious adherence to Kingdom Now Theology that makes Positive Confession so compatible (though there are many who do adhere consciously to Kingdom Now Theology). It's the strong dominion mindset and the increasingly prevalent teachings on the believer's alleged "god-likeness" that will eventually draw a great bulk of Positive Confession people into the Kingdom Now camp.
Reconstructionist Gary North, in his book 'Unholy Spirits,' demonstrates how the reconstructionists have influenced the charismatics and, most specifically, the Positive Confession Movement, without their being aware of the historicity of Dominion Theology:
The concept of dominion fits the Positive Confession mold. If all that's necessary for the Church to take dominion is to speak and act "in faith," then the only problem is to get enough Christians to do so. Positive Confession's belief in faith as a "force" into which anyone can tap is a tenet of witchcraft. It places God at the disposal of anyone who can learn the formulas (or "principles") of "faith," and tries to force Him to work on their behalf regardless of His will.
Positive confession is not prayer; it's not communication with God. Rather, it's mental affirmation of what the person "confessing" wants accomplished with little or no practical consideration of what God's will might be. While Positive Confession has no definitive eschatology, it has established certain teachings that prepare Christians to accept Dominion Theology.
The Shepherding-Discipleship Movement which attained its greatest impetus during the 1960s and 70s exemplifies the extreme authoritarianism which would probably be necessary to implement and sustain any attempted theocracy.
In spite of extreme abuses against personal freedom in Christ, the thought control that characterized that movement continues to rear its ugly head among Kingdom Now groups. Former leaders of that movement have gained new respectability among other leaders within charismatism.
They have much to offer in the way of instruction on how to bend the wills of others to their own - a talent vital to any human attempt to set up the Kingdom of God.
There is no doubt that a great need exists within the Church for 'scripturally-based' discipleship and authority. Such must be founded on the concept of authority as servanthood, ministered in love and humility by those mature in the faith. Shepherding-Discipleship as the movement it became, however, is nothing less than spiritual child-abuse. Through intimidation by the instilling of fear and unfounded guilt, it bludgeons babes in Christ into obedience to the wills of the "shepherds" in authority. And not only babes, but many "mature" Christians have fallen prey to this evil due to the misuse of Scripture to establish "coverings" over every member.
Ephesians 5:11-14 is used to convince the unwary that in order to be perfected they must submit to those in authority, regardless of what that authority requires of them. Thus, abuses are rampant in Shepherding-Discipleship.
In extreme Shepherding-Discipleship many are compelled to live a communal lifestyle in total obedience to their "shepherds." They may not marry, work, minister, buy or sell, or exercise their own wills in any matter without their shepherd's approval. They live in strict conformity to religious and temporal duties within their communal society. Disobedience, and even weariness common to such a stringent lifestyle, meet with strong disciplinary action. There have even been reports of physical abuse to keep the "sheep" in line.
In such a scenario the individual's personal relationship to God is subordinated to the corporate structure of their religious society. One is not allowed to hear from God directly, because God only speaks to them through their shepherd. Should a person leave the "covering" of his shepherd to pursue his freedom in Christ, he is threatened wth reprisals from the hand of God: loss of salvation, sickness, divorce, financial ruin. He is shunned by the community of which he was a part, and spoken of as a servant of Satan or in some other derogatory way.
Even the marriage relationship is subordinate to the relationship of the shepherd with his disciple. Broken homes and divorces are not uncommon among those marriages where one spouse develops a stronger bond to the shepherd than to his or her mate.
All these abuses exceed the parameters of disciple- ship intended by Jesus, and establish the babes in Christ as disciples of men rather than disciples of Christ.
The Shepherding-Discipleship mentality is such that self-prideful humanity finds it appealing. Those disciples who obey are rewarded by being made shepherds over others. Thus is propagated a brutal and demeaning society governed by fear and guilt. Though these are the extreme abuses of Shepherding-Discipleship, the mentality is the same throughout the movement. Such a mentality is critical to Kingdom Now Theology.
For how can a significant portion of mankind be made to conform to the dictates of the apostles and prophets except through the instilling of fear and guilt? No one wants to miss out on what appears to be a move of God. Ignorance on the part of those who are unsure of their relationship to God breeds indecision which, in turn, results in acquiesence to authority at the expense of their personal relationship to Christ.
Inherent Fear And Guilt
The use of fear and guilt to bring people into line with the dictates of self-appointed authority is not the exclusive property of Shepherding-Discipleship. Were we to analyze each movement germain to Kingdom Now Theology we would find strong elements of such fear and guilt at the core of their structures. They all subordinate the individual's relationship to Christ to the dictates of the religious leaders.
To illustrate, let's take the other movements with which we've already dealt and briefly see how fear and guilt play a part.
Identity: Fear and guilt are essential ingredients inany racist, authoritarian structure - especially where the use of para-militarism is utilized to foment hatred and threaten bloodshed.
These are sketchy but accurate assessments of how religion based on fear and guilt has encroached upon the modern Church. The individual relationship of the Christian with his Savior is a sacred trust to be nurtured and strengthened by the teaching and counsel of the elders in his church.
While the corporate expression of faith is vital to the life of the Church, that life is only as strong as the strength of the individual links in the corporate chain. The subordination of the individual to the corporate body at the expense of individuality actually weakens the Church in its ability to stand against deception and, ultimately, even against the overt evil influences of the world.
Written by: Albert James Dager
THE DOMINION CONCEPT
PURGING THE EARTH
This segment of our treatise on "Kingdom Now" or "Dominion" Theology has been the most difficult to complete, both in terms of assimilating the contents and in presenting them in a manner that would not be inflammatory or denigrating to any individual's character.
Just getting from the research to the writing has been extremely difficult and time-consuming in view of the mounds of documentation that I've had to read and reread, or listen to on audio and video tapes over and over in order to avoid the mistake of judging erroneously or taking statements out of context.
The importance of the subject matter warranted extreme caution. I hope the reader will understand my struggle to get this written. And I thank for their patience those who have waited so long for this third installment.
In our previous installments we traced today's Dominion Theology back to the neo-Pentecostalism of the mid-twentieth century, and what became known as "The Latter Rain Movement."
We discussed the influence of occult methodology upon the two principal innovators of that movement: Franklin Hall and William Branham. Their influence at that time upon certain pastors and leaders resulted in widespread acceptance of teachings centered on the supposed "restoration" of the Church.
Perhaps more than anyone else, it was William Branham's influence that paved the way for this new theology based on the exaltation of the believer. This engendered a new hope unknown to Scripture: that as certain "overcomers" in the Church attained a state of perfection, or sinlessness, they would become immortal even while in their present bodies. This, then, became the basis for the belief that, through the perfecting of the overcomers by obedience to the latter day "apostles" and "prophets," the Church will take dominion over the governments and social institutions of the world. Thus the earth will be prepared for Christ's return.
These teachings found their greatest expression in theManifested Sons of Godand related movements. They have lately become more widespread so that many in the Church today believe it is not possible for Jesus to return until the Church has made the earth 'its' footstool.
In addressing these aberrant teachings we also explored other doctrines peculiar to Kingdom Now Theology, and we saw how each has its own place in the attempt to establish God's Kingdom on earth before Jesus' return. We also examined the various movements that hold many or all of the Kingdom Now doctrines.
In this, Part 3, we'll detail some of the key teachings of Dominion Theology, and we'll quote some of those who teach them.
It is beyond the scope of this writing to quote everyone who holds each doctrine, but we will offer a sampling from a few teachers whose statements typically reflect these doctrines. Wherever possible we will identify the movements to which these teachers belong, although many do not overtly identify themselves with any particular group.
The reader should keep in mind that Dominion Theology is not an easily delineated segment within the Church, but rather a loose networking of autonomous sub-movements that have different approaches to their attempts at establishing the Kingdom of God.
The central doctrine of all, however, is that Jesus cannot or will not return to the earth until the Church has taken control of at least a significant portion of human government and social institutions.Whether this incorporates belief in a worldwide theocracy, or theonomy, or the subjugation of individual secular states to the authority of the Church depends upon the particular brand of Dominion Theology one holds.
Whether the Lord will return immediately after the Church has taken control or after it has been in control for some time up to and including the end of the Millennium, is likewise dependent upon individual beliefs.
Again, not all who espouse these teachings overtly identify themselves with any segment within Dominion Theology. Yet each of these teachings is peculiar to Dominion Theology and contrary to sound, biblical exegesis. So, while some dominion teachers stress some teachings over others, they are all propagating errors that are leaving the Body of Christ open to great deception.
Whether or not these teachers propagate the full gamut of Dominion Theology is not as important as the fact that they have adopted these unscriptural beliefs and are spreading them throughout the Church by way of the mass communications media and special pastors' conferences which subtly educate Christian leaders to the heretical doctrines of Dominion Theology. We should therefore be cautious of what we hear from these people.
Does It Really Matter?
Some might question if it's really important whether someone believes that Jesus will not return until the Church has taken dominion over the earth. This is a legitimate question to which I must respond that, in terms of salvation and spiritual growth overall, it isn't important.
I have friends who hold a post-millennialist viewpoint and I count them as brethren in Christ. I welcome fellowship with them and we engage in honest (and spirited) dialogue in a spirit of love. Perhaps the reason we get along so well is that we are willing to listen to each others' viewpoints and recognize that there are strong and weak arguments on all sides of the issues.
A postmillennialist stance doesn't necessarily mean a desire for world domination. And they are not so closed-minded to the possibility that the world cannot survive much longer unless the Lord does intervene with His personal presence. No, the problem doesn't lie in the basic tenets of the faith.
We will find that many dominion proponents agree with us on the essential doctrines involving the natures of God, man, and Satan, as well as salvation through the shed blood of Jesus, etc.
It does appear, however, that some - particularly in the "Word-faith Movement" among charismatics - are straying from sound doctrine in some of these areas of late. The basic problems with dominion teaching lie more in the realm of Church life and the authoritarian structure necessary to implement and maintain a dominion mindset.
This is evidenced by cultish tendencies that rob individual believers of a true understanding of their personal relationship with the Father. It requires that nothing of a spiritual (and often material) nature be undertaken without the approval of one's "covering." There are also dangers in the elitist mentality that naturally progresses from the idea that somehow, due to God's grace or one's own sense of righteousness, human life apart from those numbered among the elite becomes cheap.
An additional problem is that followers of Dominion Theology are easy prey for political extremists. There are those who play upon the concerns of all Christians who naturally desire to see eradicated such evils as abortion, pornography, child abuse, drug dealing, and crime in general.
The fact that many in the "Christian right" are already united with Sun Myung Moon and the Mormon Church, is sufficient reason to suspect that, in the long run, no theocentric form of government will reflect the true biblical pattern for society.
Morality and righteousness are wonderful traits when manifested as a result of Spirit-filled living. When manifested as a result of religious fervor (the "good" portion of the tree of knowledge of good and evil), these traits become precursors to a totalitarian state.
We would do well to take a lesson from history and remember that Hitler made his plea for acceptance of Nazism based upon a platform of anti-communism, anti-homosexuality, patriotism, amd morality. Many German Christians rejoiced when he assumed power. In light of these dangers we must identify the sources of Domnion Theology so that the Body of Christ may at least be cautious of involvement.
Naturally, if someone desires to believe in Dominion Theology that is their business. When they teach it publicly, it becomes everybody's business and they should be willing to have their teachings exposed to testing by the Word of God.
Now, in order to do justice to this very complex subject, it is necessary that we name names. Some will find this distasteful and will perceive it as a personal attack against men and women of God with whom I disagree. On the contrary, it is my position that we must be careful not to condemn those who are caught up in this modern heresy, but we should lift them in prayer, recognizing that God's grace is extended to all.
Some dominion proponents may be deceivers engaged in a power struggle for personal gain. Some may also have designs on leading the Church into areas of compromise with political extremists on the right. But I believe some are brethren in Christ who sincerely perceive that they have a biblical mandate to bring the world systems under the control of the Church. It would be a mistake to look upon all such people as our enemies just because they hold a different eschatological viewpoint.
Granted, the dominion viewpoint is dangerous in many of its implications. But let's not think there is nothing we can learn from them. As with all spiritual matters the truth lies somewhere between two extremes. There are problems with the dispensationalist point of view that the Church has ignored for too long, thus creating an atmosphere of credibility for Kingom Now Theology.
If, in our zeal to "expose" those in error, we obtain a certain amount of glee in discovering their feet of clay, we'd best take heed to ourselves and question whether our motive is really based upon love. We may rightly quote Jude 3 as justification for earnestly contending for the faith, but if we forget I Corinthians 13 we are no more free from error than those whose errors we expose.
THE DOMINION CONCEPT
The concept of "dominion" as it applies to Kingdom Now Theology holds that Jesus cannot or will not return until the Church has taken control of the earth's governments and social institutions.
The following are among the more visible proponents of that belief:
EARL PAULK (Pastor of Chapel Hill Harvester Church in Atlanta, Georgia):
In Paulk's own publication he is touted as a "prophet" of today's Kingdom Message:
Paulk, himself has stated:
We see that Paulk believes the Marriage Supper of the Lamb cannot take place until after the Church ("Christ in us") has taken dominion. But does Paulk mean that Jesus will already have returned and been with us in order for us to have taken dominion? No he doesn't. Otherwise he would not have used the term "Christ in us."
In its proper biblical context that is a valid term. But in this case its use implies that Jesus will take dominion through the Church while He remains in Heaven. The office of Christ cannot be separated from the person of Jesus. He is the 'only' Christ of God. It is Jesus, when He returns, who must take dominion and establish the visible Kigdom of God on earth, not "Christ in us."
But does Paulk understand this, or are his statements nothing more than poor choices of words? Let's see what else he has to say:
Either Paulk's Christology has taken an aberrant turn, or he's had a mental lapse.
Now, I've often heard people, in one breath, address their prayers to the Father, and, without breaking continuity, address Jesus as if He and the Father are the same person - a "Jesus only" mental glitch. I can understand that mistake.
However, when someone 'publishes' a statement that equates Jesus with the Holy Spirit, I would think that takes more mental affirmation. It isn't that Christ 'was' one person, He 'is' one person - Jesus.
When the Scripture says, "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27), it in essence affirms that we are united with Him by the Spirit of God. He is "in us," and we are "in Him." It does not mean that He relinquished His fleshly dimension to become "an indwelling Spirit." He is, and always will be, "flesh and bones" (Luke 24:39). He is in a specific location, Heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father. (Yes, I'm sure He gets up and moves about.) He is in His resurrected 'body,' limited to place if not to time.
The Holy Spirit - the Third Person of the Trinity - is omnipresent. It is 'He,' not the person of Jesus, who is the indwelling Spirit of all who truly believe in Jesus. This is more relevant to our study than may first appear. For without a proper Christology one cannot have a proper eschatology.
In this case, Paulk sees Jesus as "an indwelling Spirit." On this basis he claims that the Church is the "ongoing incarnation of Christ." In that case, the church is now Christ, and all Scriptures pertaining to Christ's ruling on earth are really referring to the Church.
We'll deal with this in more detail in another chapter. For now, let's consider Paulk's views on dominion.
Notice how Paulk puts words in Jesus' mouth by having Him say, "you will be able to bring in the [political] Kingdom of God." Nowhere in Scripture is such a statement found. Evidently the first-century Church did not have enough "faith" or maturity to accomplish this feat, so it is up to today's Christians to do the job.
If we read Paulk's statement closely, we'll see that he believes God no longer has the authority to send Christ back to earth, but that "Christ's return is up to us."
So, God has taken control out of His own hands and placed it into ours. Now, it's true that "He will not circumvent His eternal plan."
But He has revealed in His Word the manner in which He will accomplish His eternal plan. Contrary to Paulk, God's eternal plan is not that the Church will take dominion on its own, but merely that the earth will be redeemed.
Many of the details of that redemption have not been revealed, but in order for the dominion concept to apply, one must spiritualize what he believes the Word says rather than take it literally. What it does say is that God's plan of redemption includes Jesus' return to establish the visible Kingdom before the creation of the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 20:2-21:5).
Paulk has misread God's eternal plan by spiritualizing Matthew 24:14, which simply states, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
It's one thing to preach the gospel of the kingdom; it's quite another thing to institute - or demonstrate - the kingdom. There is only one Gospel: the Gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Within that Gospel is the "gospel" (good news) that Christ is coming again to establish His visible earthly reign. That is the "gospel of the kingdom" we are commanded to preach, not this counterfeit Dominion Theology which exalts man above what God intended.
GARY NORTH (Reconstructionist author and publisher):
North is among the most visible Reconstructionists and is, in his words, "one of the two primary publishers of dominion theology" (9) (Dominion Press, Tyler Texas). It is North's belief that David Chilton's 'Paradise Restored' is the most definitive, virtually irrefutable, book on dominion eschatology".
This is quite a claim. Obviously North is convinced that no one will be able to challenge Chilton's dominion eschatology in our lifetime. But the question is, if it can be challenged at all - one hundred years, or one thousand years from now - why must we accept it today? Had North said that Chilton has established the terms of the debate once and for all, I'd be impressed. Better for his position had he not qualified it. As much as some don't like to admit it, there is a debate going on.
The Reconstructionists comprise the intellectual arm of Dominion Theology, being more grounded in the study of theology than are their charismatic counterparts. As such, the Reconstructionists' arguments are the most viable. And since one of the major publishers of Dominion Theology has established that David Chilton is 'the' voice for dominion eschatology, this writing would be incomplete without noting Chilton's position on dominion.
DAVID CHILTON (Reconstructionist author): Quoting Matthew 5:13-16, Chilton says:
Matthew 5:13-16 is hardly "a mandate for the complete social transformation of the entire world." It is a mandate, yes, but it is a mandate that requires no more than that all Christians exhibit in their lives the reality of their faith in Christ.
As a result of our witness many will be saved and brought into the Kingdom of God. But there is no mention of the social transformation of any nation let alone the entire world. Scripture tells us that, when Christ returns the nations will be arrayed against Him, not waiting to welcome Him (Revelation 16:14; 19:19).
Whether anti-Christ is a man or a system (as proposed by dominion teachers), the fact remains that, when Jesus returns, the world will be under the rule of anti-Christ, not under the rule of the Church.
What Chilton has done in spiritualizing Matthew 5:13-16 is hardly academically honest. In waxing eloquent for his eschatological bias he often makes a point of accusing those with whom he disagrees of making Scripture say what they want it to say. Has he not done the same?
In quoting Matthew 28:19-20, Chilton goes against another of his own rules in assuming that nations, not just people, are to be discipled:
One point Chilton makes over and again in his book is that literalism is secondary to consistent biblical imagery. In this instance he goes against his own rule. To "disciple all the nations," or, "make disciples of [out of] all the nations," does not mean that every nation as a whole is one day going to sit at the feet of the Reconstructionist gurus and learn the ways of Truth.
The Great Commission requires us to go into all the nations and disciple "whosoever will" be saved. Using Chilton's exegetical rule, if this "mandate" encompasses all the nations as saved entities, it must encompass all believers as missionaries to foreign lands. After all, is the Lord not speaking to each of us as individuals? If Chilton's reasoning is good for Matthew 28:19-20, it must be good for Matthew 24:9: "...ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake."
Therefore, everyone in every nation will hate all Christians. Ergo, no one will ever be converted. At least Chilton does see the need for the Church to clean its own house before attempting so grand a task as discipling the entire world.
Chilton correctly points out that postmillennialism has been a dominant theme in Church history. But it is not Scripture he uses to support that eschatological viewpoint as much as he uses the writings of the early Church "fathers" (Augustine, Athanasius, etc.), and some recent sources such as C.H. Spurgeon. But what Chilton fails to recognize is that those early Church "fathers" were products of a religious system already sliding into apostasy.
It was the Roman Catholic Church that first attempted to take dominion over the governments of the earth. It succeeded to some degree, in that Western civilization came under its control. But in order to establish and maintain control the Roman Church had to acquiesce to pagan cultures. The result was that, although the Gospel (as much as was allowed under Romanism) did bring a measure of enlightenment, the Church itself suffered corruption and became paganized. This affected not only its liturgy but its doctrinal postion in some crucial areas.
Yet even to achieve the modicum of success it enjoyed in establishing its compromising rule, the Roman Church had to resort to bloodshed not only through the fomenting of wars, but through pogroms against dissenters such as took place in the Inquisitions.
Failing to learn from history, Chilton (an alleged historian) has also failed to understand that there are varying points of view even among premillennialists. He lumps all under the mantel of "dispensationalism," and accuses of being a defeatist anyone who doesn't hold the postmillennialist viewpoint:
I take umbrage at Chilton's lack of intellectual integrity. It is patently ridiculous to accuse any Christian of believing that "the gospel of Jesus Christ will fail."
Every premillennialist I know expects victory, including Hal Lindsey (whom Chilton takes special delight in denigrating). I don't agree with Lindsey on several points, but no one can accuse him - or myself for that matter - of having a defeatist attitude. Were that true, Hal would not be writing books with evangelistic themes, and Media Spotlight would not exist.
The trouble with Reconstructionists (indeed the entire dominion mindset) is that they don't do their homework. Otherwise they wouldn't lump all premillenialists into one grab-bag of escapism.
Another problem is that they see as defeat anything less than domination of the world system before Jesus returns. This is not spiritual-mindedness, but carnal-mindedness, even when based on the assumption that the transformation of society will result from the changing of men's hearts through the Gospel.
We are not called to "win the world for Christ." We are called to be witnesses for Him. It is the Holy Spirit that draws men to God as we share the Word about Christ (Romans 10:17). To think that the Church or the Holy Spirit will have failed bacause the whole world isn't converted would be the same as to think we've failed because every person who hears the Gospel doesn't fall on his or her face in repentance.
What's the difference if not everyone at a given moment is converted, or anyone throughout history is not converted.
Somewhere, according to Dominion Theology, the Holy Spirit has failed, or the Church has failed. "But," some would say, "we don't expect every person to be converted; we just want to make sure their lives are conformed to Christian principles." Well, if not every person is converted, we will have less than total dominion, even if we can control their activities. The Holy Spirit will have failed just as He has "failed" to convert everyone who has ever lived.
And as long as there are unconverted souls, the privilege to run society will be challenged. Ultimately there will be confrontation and the need to apply force to maintain control. Bloodshed and corruption (yes, even among "Christians") will be an ongoing result of religious domination.
Even if we were to succeed in converting every soul and ruling society under God's spiritual direction, within two generations at the most, the rebellious nature of those to be born will manifest itself.
Without the visible, tangible presence of Jesus and His 'resurrected' saints administering the Kingdom of God on earth, the world will be at the mercy of arrogant, religious autocrats whose own peculiar understanding of "God's will" will keep us under bondage.
PAT ROBERTSON (Founder and President of Christian Broadcasting Network):
Pat Robertson is careful about revealing his belief in Dominion Theology. Robertson believes in a literal rapture of the saints, but not until there has been a great revival that will result in a godly society run by the Church. In his keynote address to the Dallas '84 convention for Maranatha Campus Ministries, Robertson made reference to the late John Lennon's song, 'Imagine,' in which Lennon imagined a world of peace wherein there was no religion to engender strife. Paraphrasing Lennon, Robertson said:
What Robertson described is a utopian society based on peace and love. He evidently fails to understand that no such society can exist as long as men live in corruptible flesh. By saying that "some of it we're going to see," he infers that some, if not all, of these scenarios are possible in present society.
Yet there is not a single one that is possible given mankind's sin nature - unless ninety-eight percent of the human population were wiped out, leaving only conscientious Christians and some moral unbelievers, or there was instituted a police state of greater magnitude than that of the Soviet Union.
Even during the Millennium, with Jesus reigning in person, there will be those who rebel against His laws. That is why He must rule them with a rod of iron (Revelation 2:27). There cannot be, nor will there be, anything like a perfect society until only the saints of God in their resurrected bodies occupy the earth. That will take place after the Millennium and during eternity in the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21).
If Scripture does not promise any such society before then, what hope is there that, under the fallible rule of supposed "overcomers," even a substantial portion of sinful humanity will live righteously, voluntarily or otherwise?
Robertson's error lies in his applying to the Church certain Old Testament Scriptures that promise the restoration of Israel out of captivity. He also believes that there is a raising of human consciousness toward righteousness in Christ.
That belief, based upon a Gallup Poll commissioned by CBN, reveals a lamentable naivete for one some believe astute enough to hold the highest office in the land:
All Gallup's poll really means is that people in the United States are becoming more religious. What does religiosity have to do with Jesus? In fact, the religious entities enjoying the largest surge of interest are those commonly associated with the New Age Movement. These include the entire spectrum of occultism from witchcraft to the human potential programs of EST, TM, Eckankar, and Summit, to the eastern religions of Buddhism and Hinduism, and even most schools of modern psychology.
While a later poll by Gallup found that there definitely is an inrease in the number of people in the United States who profess to be "born again," their answers to questions about their lifestyles revealed that their values are just as worldly as the rest of society.(18)
This is borne out by Pat Robertson's own attitude about how his CBN Bible, 'The Book,' was advertised when it first came out in 1984:
It seems not a little incongruous that people who represent some of the most ungodly media productions are used by Robertson to sell Bibles in the interest of converting society from ungodliness. Robertson also believes that, in this present age, the wealth of the world will be turned over to God's people, along with the responsibility of ruling society:
You mean there are going to be taxes in the utopian society? And social welfare? Obviously Pat wasn't talking about the Millennium. So the question arises as to how God is going to remove the "ungodly and the sinners" to the point where we will have a perfect society before Jesus returns.
It should be of concern that anyone would believe that a godly society could be established among unregenerate mankind to the degree that there would not even be a need for prisons.
Will human nature change? Not likely. Evil is not only manifested outwardly through crime and immorality; it is primarily manifested inwardly through the thoughts and intents of the heart (Jeremiah 17:9).
Robertson believes that revival will change the hearts of mankind to the degree that godliness will prevail upon the whole earth. Scripture tells us that toward the end of this age the love of many will grow cold because sin will abound (Matthew 24:12).
While we know that "the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just" (Proverbs 13:22), it is not a given that we will take over the world before Jesus returns. Though we may point to isolated testimonies of inheritance from sinners, we will not inherit the earth in its totality until after we stand before Jesus to receive our rewards for deeds done in the flesh (Romans 2:6; II Corinthians 5:10).
Yet Robertson believes that Jesus will not return until after the Church has taken control of society and judgment has come upon the ungodly. In the meantime, we are to prepare ourselves to take dominion:
At this point Pat called for preparation to begin with prayer, after which he led the Maranatha Campus Ministries Convention in a prayer for revival as a prelude to taking dominion.
Obviously Pat wasn't talking about the new heaven and the new earth when he said everything that is "a good part of the secular world" would be ours. He was speaking of taking dominion before Christ returns.
This is borne out by his reference to the "good" part of the secular world. There will be no secular world in the new earth. Nor, for all practical purposes, will there be a secular world during the Millennium, at least in terms of government, since the government will be administered under the direct, visible kingship of Jesus.
Why, if the Church is going to have dominion, Jesus would catch us up to meet Him in the air, is unclear. Are we just going to go up for a moment and come right back down? That would fit the scenario of some dominion teachings. If not, what will happen to society while we're absent during our celestial vacation? Would it be turned back over to some remnant of the ungodly that remains?
The inconsistencies in Robertson's eschatology are even recognized by Gary North, one of the leading advocates of Dominion Theology. Referring to the effect of David Chilton's 'Paradise Restored' upon television ministers, North says of Pat Robertson,
I have no doubt that those who believe the scenario set forth by Robertson are sincere in their desire to see God's righteousness prevail on earth. But danger lies in expecting more than God's Word promises. Jesus said that in this world we would have tribulation; yet we are to be of good cheer because He has already overcome the world (John 16:33). Eventually, when God ordains it, the earth will be ours as joint heirs with Christ.
Until then we should not try to take for ourselves what He has not ordained for us to take. God allows evil to exist in the world, and it will continue to exist, if for no other reason than to test the hearts of men. He is the final arbiter of when evil will be done away with once and for all.
Those whose teachings center on or are substantially concerned with the five-fold ministries (Ephesians 2:20; 4:11) as the foundation for our faith are convinced that there can be no unity in the Body of Christ until all Christians, or at least a vast majority of us, submit to the authority of the present-day "apostles" and "prophets" without questioning.
There is to be no judging of doctrine, or of personal lifestyles, or of fund-raising methods. There is to be no attempt to understand the Word of God apart from the teachings of the apostles and prophets.
The "five-fold Ministries" teaching as it is interpreted within Dominion Theology is specifically a Manifested Sons of God teaching. It states that the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (not Jesus) comprise the foundation of the Church. It is affirmed that Jesus is the foundation of creation, but not of the Church.
Before we examine the Dominion Theology position on this subject, we should put Ephesians 2:20 within the context it was written in order to rightly divide the Word of Truth.
Hearing Ephesians 2:20 taken out of context, one might fall prey to the teaching that the "five-fold ministries" as enumerated in Ephesians 4:11 comprise the foundation of the Church.
But let's examine exactly what Paul was saying in Ephesians 2:11-22.
In the first place, we see that it is not the so-called "five-fold" ministries to which Paul assigned the status of "foundation," but rather the offices of apostle and prophet only. Because these offices are mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 in connection with those of evangelists, and pastor-teachers (the latter being one, not two distinct offices), doesn't necessarily mean that the evangelists and pastor-teachers are numbered in the foundation.
In the second place, if we put Ephesians 2:2 in the context of the thought expressed in verses 11 through 22, we see that Paul was specifically addressing the Gentiles at Ephesus regarding their being joined in one body with the Jews through whom came the revelation of God's Truth. Having been grafted into the true faith (Christianity) which is the continuation of God's revelation through the prophets who preceded Christ, not something distinct from it, the Gentiles were built upon the foundation of the apostles (New Testament) and prophets (Old Testament) combined.
In other words, the teachings of the apostles and prophets, the Spirit and the Law, comprise the foundation through which the believing Gentiles (the Uncircumcision) are joined with the believing Jews (the Circumcision). As the Cornerstone of that foundation of teachings, Jesus is the element that holds all truth together, and to whom we look for all guidance through the Holy Spirit.
To take a single verse out of Scripture and build a doctrine as serious in its consequences as that of the "five-fold ministries" of Dominion Theology is contrary to even the most basic principles of biblical exegesis.
This error is compounded by the suggestion that today's so-called apostles and prophets are the foundation for the Church. If anything, the Lord's apostles would be the ones spoken of since it was through them that He gave His revelation contained in the written Scriptures known as the New Testament.
By equating today's teachers with the early apostles, we open ourselves up to their new revelations, many of which are not based on God's Word, but are totally subjective. Certainly such subjective teachings can be recognized by the fact that they are learned from certain people and propagated apart from independent study of the Bible.
The "five-fold ministries" doctrine is one such that is parroted by dominion teachers who have not learned it from Scripture, but from others who have learned it from others, ad infinitum. We have been able to trace it back to Franklin Hall, but that's not to say that it doesn't go back to an earlier teacher.
We will look now at a few who propagate this particular doctrine to see how it fits into the overall scheme of Dominion Theology.
If we apply any formula for consistency to Paulk's words, we would have to assume that Jesus has taken a minor role in the governing of His Church. The following statement, taken with the understanding that Paulk considers not Jesus, but the apostles and prophets, to be the foundation of the Church, removes Jesus from the position of the Rock upon which the Church is built (Matthew 16:18), and assigns that position to the five-fold ministries.
Some logical, deductive reasoning would assume that Paulk is calling the five-fold ministries the Rock of our salvation: Jesus is not the foundation, He is the Cornerstone; the five-fold ministries comprise the foundation; the Rock is the only lasting foundation; ergo, the Rock is the five-fold ministries. In all fairness to Paulk, I don't believe he has fully thought out the implications of his statements. They reflect a carelessness in the bandying about of terms that cause confusion.
During a 'Praise The Lord' program on TBN in July, 1987, Paulk was callenged by Hal Lindsey regarding some serious errors in his teachings. Paulk denied believing what was written in his own books. He suggested that Hal wasn't able to perceive the true meanings of those writings because people who do not have the Spirit of God (i.e., non-charismatics) cannot understand the things that can only be spiritually discerned.
In other words, Paulk placed his own writings on a level equal to Scripture, while limiting spiritual understanding of his esoteric teachings to charismatics. Such statements hinder greatly our attempts to bring unity to the Body of Christ.
ROYAL CRONQUIST (Former apostle of John Robert Steven's Living Word Church, headquarters for the Manifested Sons of God):
Cronquist, though having left the covering of John Robert Stevens, continues to maintain most of the Manifested Sons of God doctrines. His interpretation of Ephesians 2:20 is classical manifested Sons of God:
Cronquist does say that upon Jesus "come the foundation of the apostles and prophets." Certainly we can find no fault with that order. As is the case with dominion teachers, however, he assigns to the latter-day apostles and prophets powers beyond those assigned by God's Word. He believes that the apostles and prophets are not only the foundation of our very lives, he also believes that they create God's will for our lives:
Cronquist errs in suggesting that the five-fold ministry is "the foundation of their life." Those in whom God has placed responsibility to build up the saints and bring them to maturity are to be honored and obeyed insofar as they teach and practice truth. But Jesus is the only foundation of not only our spiritual lives, but it is to Him that we owe our very being and substance (Acts 17:28).
And how can the apostles and prophets "create the will of God" for our lives? Only through total submission of our minds and wills to theirs will we be made to believe that they are ordained by God to direct our every move.
While submission to authority in the Body of Christ is of great importance, it is within the local body that that submission must take place, and only to the degree that that authority operates in conformity to God's Word.
It is only in the local body that anyone ministering the prophetic gifts or administering authority can know enough about the believer to guide him. But the dominion people want us to believe that there are apostles and prophets at large who are coming on the scene with new revelations to which every believer must adhere without question.
There is no accountability of these apostles and prophets to the Church, but only to one another. This very subjective authority must be taken on faith by the individual at the risk of his being deceived.
According to Cronquist the Holy Spirit did not guide the writers of the Scriptures into all the truth necessary for the maturing of the saints. Evidently God planned that, for 2,000 years, the Church would walk in dark- ness, unable to grasp the truths necessary to conform them into the image of Christ. But what do the Scriptures say?
It is not the apostles and prophets who are going to perfect us (bring us to maturity). The Word of God, working on our hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit, will bring us to maturity as we submit ourselves in love to God.
All any apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher can legiti mately do is point us to the Word of God and encourage us to follow its directives with pure motives. There are no new revelations by which we must be saved or grow to maturity.
Now, however, we are asked to believe that men who cannot rightly divide the Word of Truth where its meaning is obvious even to the babe in Christ, are going to give us "new truths" by which they will direct our paths toward perfection.
What Cronquist means by saying we will become "the very divine substance of Jesus Christ" is not clear. But this statement fits the theory of the deification of man held by many dominion proponents. How will we achieve this? Cronquist says,
The rules and laws by which we exercise our faith are already established in God's Word (Revelation 22:18-19). Those who would today burden the Church with new, man-made rules and laws according to their own experiences are legalists of whom Paul warned:
How are we to recognize who the apostles and prophets are? Cronquist says our hearts will know:
Roman Catholics believe in their hearts that the Pope is an apostle of God; Mormons believe their apostles are from God, as do Jehovah's Witnesses, the Moonies, and every cult that lays claim to apostles. Our hearts are deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). We will believe what we want to believe unless we have an objective standard of truth to which we are willing to submit ourselves. The only standard given to us by God is His Word. And the tests for prophets are found in Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 18:22, and in Galatians 1:8.
Who Are The Apostles And Prophets?
Since the late 70s and early 80s there have been increasing but still vague references within the dominion camp to certain men as "apostles" or "prophets."
Yet there has been no definitive list from any authoritative source within that camp as to who currently comprise that august body.
Nevertheless, there are certain leaders who are increasingly supportive of each other, and referring to one another as "prophet," or "apostle."
Although some are more visible than others, these same leaders are showing up on the same platforms in varying numbers and orders. They are on a constant circuit, conducting "leadership conferences" for pastors from all over the world.
At these leadership conferences the pastors and teachers in attendance are instructed in the latest methods on how to make their churches grow, how to take dominion over their cities, how to institute proper worship and praise in order to move God, how to work miracles, signs, and wonders, and other things related to church ministry and administration.
The most comprehensive organization conducting these leadership conferences is Charismatic Bible Ministries, founded in 1986 by Oral Roberts.
This organization is a coalition of the most visible leaders in the Charismatic Movement, a large segment of whom fall into the dominion camp. Although not all the members of Charismatic Bible Ministries have overtly stated belief in Dominion Theology, there is certainly no hiding from them the teachings of those who have.
The officers and trustees of Charismatic Bible Ministries at the time of this writing are:
Oral Roberts* - Chairman
I cannot stress enough the fact that not everyone involved with CBM is an advocate of Dominion Theology. If the reader wants to know where any of these people stand on the subject I advise that he write and ask them directly.
Of great significance, however, is the fact that fully half of the founding trustees of Charismatic Bible Ministries openly profess belief in major aspects of Dominion Theology, as does approximately the same percentage of the overall members.
In addition, some among them espouse other questionable doctrines such as the "Jesus died spiritually" heresy. Specifically, Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland teach that Jesus died spiritually, and had to be born again in hell by subjecting Himself to torment by Satan and his demons. Copeland has gone so far as to say that we are not saved spiritually by Jesus' death on the cross; otherwise any righteous man could have died for our sins.(32)
This teaching will be covered in an upcoming Special Report. I pray that those who espouse it are not consciously aware that this teaching effectively denies the blood of Christ as payment for their sins. Several members of CBM have been approached with information regarding the heretical beliefs of many in this organization, but none have acknowledged the need to take a stand for sound doctrine. "Unity at the cost of truth" is the mindset of many of today's "leaders" in the Church.
PURGING THE EARTH
A sure sign of religious authoritarianism is a zealousness to rid the world of opposition to its peculiar tenets. In the minds of many dominion teachers the authority of the apostles and prophets must not be questioned.
The Kingdom of God (as they understand it) must be free from dissension. Therefore it will be necessary that those who challenge their authority be removed. There are differences of opinion among dominion teachers as to how those dissenters will be removed, but there are essentially five ways in which that may occur:
(Pioneer of the Latter Rain Movement): In his book, 'Subdue the Earth, Rule the Nations,' Hall quotes Revelation 12:5, and states that the man child of the sun-clothed woman represents the overcomers of the Church: (32)
"The man-child company will have dominion of this planet first. Those who possess a house may decide who shall occupy it. In the same manner, as a group from the church take up their authority and rulership of the planet that God gave them, they will likewise be able to choose whom they will, to occupy it." (33)
Hall's fanciful interpretation of Revelation 12:5 is not consistent with Scripture. While the symbolism of the man child is open to interpretation (whether he is Jesus, Israel, the Church, certain overcomers, etc.), the fact remains that the man child is caught up to Heaven while the woman who gave him birth is driven into the wilderness.
If the man child is in Heaven while the earth is being purged, then he cannot rule with a rod of iron until after he returns to the earth. He cannot exercise dominion prior to his return which, if he is the Church, will be with Jesus at His return (Jude 14-15).
"...The greatest decision that the church is going to have to make in these days ahead (and especially the ministries in the body of Christ) is to have to face that there are apostles of God, and that they must submit to that foundation as though it was Jesus Christ, and whoever will not submit to that authority shall be destroyed from among the people."35
All I can say is, if some religious attempt to execute God's vengeance and wrath is to take place, those doing the executing had better be under the absolute control of the Holy Spirit.
The problem with Cronquist's scenario is that the premise upon which it is built (immortalization prior to Jesus' return) is unscriptural. I shudder at the possibilities.
In his book, 'Thrust in the Sickle and Reap,' Paulk quotes Matthew 13:40-43:
Applying his own interpretation that the angels who will accomplish this task are ministers of the Church, rather than the angels of heaven, Paulk calls upon God's people to rise up and judge the kingdoms of this world:
Paulk goes on immediately to say that the first sign of the time of harvest is an answer to Jesus' prayer in John 17, "that they all may be one just as We are one."
Unity aside, the chilling aspect of Paulk's reasoning in these passages of his book is the realization that he is looking forward to the day when the "angels" (i.e., ministers of the Church) will gather out of God's kingdom "all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire." I hope I'm misreading his intentions.
JAMES McKEEVER (Editor and publisher of 'Endtimes News Digest,' author, lecturer, and financial consultant):
In an article entitled, "When Is The Rapture?" McKeever states that the Great Tribulation will be a time when God's people will supernaturally destroy their enemies:
"God is raising up an end-time army of overcomers (bondslaves). God never raised up an army that ran. So, we need to take a look at why God is raising up that end-time army.
Before I comment on Jim's statements, let me make it clear that I have a personal liking for him. I have in the past recommended his newsletters and have quoted him in 'Media Spotlight.' He has done me the same honor. And for the most part I agree with his teachings.
They contain many useful facts and spiritual truths. Now, it isn't just a matter of two brothers holding differing opinions on some minor point. It is crucial to the Church's position during these end times that it not be misled in its understanding of the events which are soon to transpire.
In Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Revelation 6 and 7, we see separate accounts of the same events relating to the Great Tribulation. I agree with Jim that the Church will go through the Great Tribulation, but as the first several verses in Revelation 7 point out, when God's wrath is poured out upon the earth, we will already have been taken up with Jesus into heaven.
The error of most pre- and post-tribulationists is the equating of God's wrath (the trumpet and vial judgments) with the Great Tribulation period (the opening of the first six seals). The Great Tribulation will be a time of chaos upon the earth during which the Church will be persecuted, and many believers will be slain for the witness of their testimony. It will be a time of judgment not upon the earth as much as upon the Church, which will result in the Church being purified from its spots and wrinkles (Ephesians 5:27).
The Church, as an organism in which currently reside both sheep and wolves, will be purged through persecution. Only those who are truly God's people will stand, and will be driven out of necessity toward maturity in faith and in deed.
The only servants of God who will be sealed in their foreheads are the 144,000 members of the twelve tribes of Israel described in Revelation 7:1. These will be restored when they see their Messiah (on whom they have not believed until that time) return in the clouds to receive His Church.
It is important to distinguish, however, that these 144,000 Jews are not necessarily part of national Israel. They will be a remnant of natural Israel whom God will bless as a witness of His power to preserve His integrity among those people, and to honor His covenant with Abraham.
The only other seal to be placed on anyone's forehead will be that ordered by the false prophet in conjunction with his command for all men to worship the image of the Beast (Revelation 13).
It isn't my intention to be dogmatic on the subject in this writing, but merely to point out that the dominion teachers' interpretation of Revelation is a delusion which will leave those who believe it unprepared for the troubles that lie ahead. If, because we believe this error, we are looking forward to receiving any mark in our foreheads, we may well be set up for the strong delusion which, if it were possible, would deceive the very elect (Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22).
If the dominion overcomers are to be God's instruments of destruction upon not only unbelievers, but believers who do not submit to the authority of the apostles and prophets as well, they will need immunity from reprisals.
It is an essential ingredient of Dominion Theology, therefore, that these overcomers, through their perfect (sinless) living, attain immortalization and become impervious to injury and death. That's why it's such a tragedy for someone in the movement to die - especially someone in a position of dominion leadership.
If God does not count such an one worthy to escape death, then those close to him must make excuses such as equating his death with some vicarious suffering for the Body of Christ.
Of the fringe movements in dominion teaching, Positive Confession is most susceptible to this theory of immortalization. The believe-it-and-receive-it mentality of Positive Confession must inevitably result in the belief that if one can muster enough "faith" to live in "divine health" (which has never been sufficiently defined), he can also believe for immortality. Of course, it is believed that this final state of physical perfection will come about only through the attainment of spiritual perfection. The reason is that death is the final enemy to be conquered (I Corinthians 15:26).
"THE FIFTH FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH IS TO CONQUER THE LAST ENEMY, WHICH IS DEATH, AND TO BRING REDEMPTION TO THE BODY OF CHRIST. When the Apostle Paul says that redemption has not yet taken place, he speaks, I believe, of the redemption of the individual body; yet in my spirit I perceive that he speaks also of the redemption of the Body of Christ. [Boldface Paulk's throughout.]
History shows that true believers don't need to be immortal to be free from the fear of death. It is 'faith,' not immortality, that removes fear. I suspect that those who so earnestly desire immortality that they will twist Scripture to fit that desire are the ones who really fear death.
So great is that fear that they have deluded themselves into believing they can overcome death through their own works of righteousness. This is why so many demonstrate such fervor toward God. It isn't so much that they fear Him as much as it is that they fear death and the consequences if they haven't proven themselves worthy of eternal life.
At the root of much dominion thinking is a works-oriented salvation rather than a faith-oriented salvation. When immortality does come it will be after the dead in Christ rise (I Thessalonians 4:13-17; I Corinthians 15:50-55). This immortality unto eternal life, the hope of our salvation, will occur suddenly and will take effect throughout the Body of Christ, not just among a select few "overcomers." It won't occur because we happen to come to the realization that we can speak it into existence because of our attainment to holiness through outward works of righteousness. Such a notion is ridiculous and is contradicted by Scripture.
Likewise the very Scriptures Paulk quotes contradict his belief that the Church will destroy death. For verse 26 of I Corinthians 15 says, "For he [Jesus] must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."Jesus, when He returns (not the Church prior to His return), is the one who will put all enemies under His feet. He must reign on earth until that is accomplished.
The context of these verses shows clearly that death will be destroyed 'after' the Millennium, when Christ "shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father" (I Corinthians 15:24).
DAVID EBAUGH (Leading apostle of the Identity Movement):
In a communication to his followers, Ebaugh reprinted a proclamation by a Rev. Dean Gross entitled "Melchisedec Order Decree," and offered it free on request to those who would write to his organization, Word by Word Association. This decree, affirming belief that the end-time overcomers will be a part of the Melchisedec Order of priests, states in part:
"In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, through his blood, fire, water, and Spirit, I receive glory, honor, and immortality by imparting his now-blood, liquid streams of living light into my blood. My whole spirit by faith, soul by works, body by hope is now being preserved blameless until the coming of the Lord. When I decree a thing, it is established unto me; and your light shines upon my ways. I decree that the full manifestation of the Kingdom of God from within me now come forth. I decree that every atom within my earthly, physical body bring forth health, light, life, and immortality. My light is now coming forth as the morning, and my health is springing forth speedily, and my righteousness goes before me. Your glory is my rear guard. For I am made in the image of Elohim, after Elohim's likeness. I have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. I am helping to bring about the revelation and restoration of all things which you have spoken by the mouth of all your holy prophets since the world began." (41)
SAM FIFE (A leading apostle of the Manifested Sons of God Movement): In his book, 'One Corporate Man,' Fife states:
"Therefore let all men know, that in this dispensation of the fulness of times, God is going to fulfill His purpose to bring together into one, all things that are in Christ, both in the earth and in heaven, and make of all the twos, one new many-membered man, who lives after the order of Melchisedec. When He has finished preparing this many-membered man, He is going to purge the earth of every other man by His Judgment Day, and there will come in a new age, and a new earth, with a new man living in a new order, where every member is so dead to self that he lives unto the rest of the Body, and that order shall perpetuate eternal life." (42)
The more we study the Kingdom Now Movement, it becomes increasingly evident that it's proponents have adopted a pattern of taking Scriptures relating to entirely different time periods and applying them to the present age. Much of what is said is true if placed in proper context relative to the time period for which it is meant. For that reason, they can quote Scripture seemingly with authority to prove their hypotheses.
What the immortalization theory fails to explain is how, if death is the 'final' enemy to be conquered, there will still be other enemies left to be conquered by those who will have conquered death? Of all the bizarre elements that make up the total picture of Dominion Theology, immortalization caters most to spiritual pride.
When one comes to the place where he believes he can say he has no sin he will move into an amoral mindset whereby he can justify any action in the name of God. Earl Paulk gives a clue to such reasoning by suggesting that whether one sins is dependent upon his motive.
This is a perfect example of twisting the meaning of Jesus's words. While motive does play a role in sin, there are objective standards instituted by God and revealed in His Word which cannot be abrogated simply on the basis of one's personal conviction.
If, as so carelessly stated by Paulk, "If you don't hate first, there is no possibility of murder," then out of a motive of purifying society, and with a "heavy heart," dominion overcomers may put dissenters to death at will. Hit men for the mobs don't necessarily hate their victims - for the most part they're indifferent to them. Using Paulk's rationale, they are innocent no matter how many people they kill.
This is a chilling statement that, without clarification, could possibly cause some neurotics to get "trigger-happy."
There is a strange paradox revealed among some who, on the one hand denounce the atrocities of Hitler, yet on the other hand passionately look forward to the day they can "speak the word" or pull the trigger that will destroy the "sinners" (and unyielding Christians) they perceive as God's (i.e., their) enemies.
Yet if the utopian society of the dominion teachers is to be realized before Jesus returns, a holocaust worse than any history has ever witnessed must take place. The "holy wars" of early "Christianity" may yet be revived.
See Also, in this Journal:
RICK JOYNER NOW UNDERGOING TRANSITION:
As if to help me out in my articles about the sonship doctrines in the churches, the MorningStar website has now totally obliterated its front page and replaced it with a simple one-line text message that says "We are in the middle of transition". Checking out their use of the word 'transition' I found that they expect a time of change around September/October passing out of the old order into the new. I cannot go into this here, but it's confirmation that they are looking for a major new wave SOON.
"SIGNS" LIKE THIS ARE FOR THE TRIBULATION, NOT FOR THE CHURCH!
MARC DUPONT OFFERS MARK OF THE CROSS:
I have been reminded that Marc Dupont at the beginning of the Toronto outbreak ministered the Seal of God to believers, moving amongst them and marking them "with the cross". I have the audio tape of this meeting, but had forgotten all about it until yesterday. The statement by Dupont also appears on page 148 of Bill Randle's book "Weighed And Found Wanting" and in part says: "I believe the Lord is going to put a mark on some of you.... angels are going to come and the Holy Spirit is going to put a cross on some of you..."
RECENT PROGRESSION IN VIOLENT CHRISTIANITY
A "Ministry of Judgement"!!
My articles on the "Doctrines of Demons" seem to be coming to life before my eyes. I have exposed the desire of the revivalists to get rid of all their opponents. Even I did not think I would so soon have confirmation, in detail, of this plan and see it elevated into a "ministry".
Here is an posting from the Rivermail revival testimonials and articles mailing list which should chill your bones:
The Third Apostolic Reformation
Let me tell you what he said, and then what I see as some of the implications. .... He began by proposing that we are in the throws of not just "renewal"; not just "revival"; not just a "new awakening"; but a "third apostolic reformation".
The first was when Jesus appeared on the earth. Major foundational changes occurred at that time; changes in the religious structure, changes in how we relate to God, changes in the rise and fall of nations, changes in the social, economic and political climate, changes in virtually every area of significance. (This radical transition actually occurred in a span of approximately 40 to 50 years, or one generation) The apostolic and prophetic ministries were there to lay a new foundation, with Christ Jesus, of course, as the Cornerstone.
Then, approximately 1,500 years later, once again there came a foundational reformation, referred to by historians as the Protestant reformation, restoring truths of Scripture that were lost during the great "falling away", and in one generation, with Martin Luther, began a period of approximately 500 years of doctrinal restoration. This took us up to what most people now call the charismatic movement, which was sort of a "catch-up" movement, touching every denomination with present truth and calling out of every denomination, those who wanted more of God's fullness.
Dr. Hamon also stated that, with the birthing of the prophetic movement in 1988, he believes we began the third apostolic reformation - MUCH MORE than just another "movement", a "fresh revival" or even a "major awakening". We are seeing prophets and apostles coming forth for a strategic reason.
The question was posed, however, that if apostles and prophets are foundation layers, why are they coming back last, as if they were to add the finishing touches to an already existing restored church? The picture is of an existing building, being jacked up while foundational repairs are being done. While that is happening to an extent, could there be much more to this emergence of the foundational ministries at this time of church history than we are seeing right now?
The answer is YES! We are being positioned to lay new foundations for a new era all together, foundations for the dawning of a new kingdom age. WE ARE IN THE THROWS [sic] OF THE BIRTHING OF A WHOLE NEW ORDER - A WHOLE NEW DISPENSATION! We are in the midst of what Bill Hamon believes is an approximate 40 to 50 year transition (one final generation) that will take us into the fullness of the Kingdom of God on the earth.
But there are foundational mindsets and activities WE must do in cooperation with the ushering in of His Kingdom. We are preparing to move into the age of Kingdom rule and dominion where Christ Himself, and we His saints, with Him, will rule and reign IN THE EARTH. The implications of this are staggering. It means a major paradigm shift. A change again in the religious structure, changes in how we relate to God, changes in the social and economic arenas, changes of nations and the political climate, changes in virtually every area of significance, just as radically as when He came the first time. A third apostolic reformation!
So God is raising up apostles and prophets who are speaking some new and radical things; are setting the stage; are laying new foundations for a new era. Not just patching up what is already existing, but preparing the church for a new dispensation! WOWW!! We are about to move from the dispensation of grace to the dispensation of dominion. We are about to see Jesus, not as the suffering lamb that was slain, but the roaring Lion who is King! The implications are awesome!
God is about to bring insight, for instance, into the difference between the "sin"
of judgment and the "ministry" of judgment. (A very tiny window into this was
seen when Peter dealt with Ananias and Sapphira
home page - http://www.cornerstonemin.org -- Blessed Quietness Editor-- Wies seems to have disappeared at this site, but look at the arrogance and dude look in the pastor. I have personally experienced this look from MSOG pastors. They hate anyone not submitted to themselves.
Articles & book info - http://www.skyfamily.com/cornerstonemin