16 Comments

Dominionism and the Rise of Christian Imperialism


This is an excellent article. Though I’d read this a while back, I found myself reading it again. I like to do that–go back and read things, even older articles I’ve held on to, for I’ll often find in re-reading them, the author was given insight by the Spirit of God at the time. If you’ve never read this please do so…or even if you did at the time it was published, re-read it again. I won’t post it all because there are many links included in the footnotes which you may want to follow up on, so if interested in reading this paper in its entirety, just follow the link included.

For the past several decades the political Left has focused attention on the Christian Right’s political activism in America. Particularly, the Left has been highly critical of a select group of dominionists called Reconstructionists, whose aggressive verbiage, extreme Calvinist theologies, and religious political agendas have made it an ideal target for outrage. But, as Leftist researcher Sara Diamond has astutely observed, “the Reconstructionists’ religion of Calvinism. . . makes them unlikely to appeal to most evangelicals.”4 Indeed, few Reconstructionists would consider themselves to be evangelicals. Nevertheless, their influence has been considerable over the much larger group of patriotic evangelicals.

There are two other dominionist sects within evangelicalism that have escaped in-depth scrutiny from the Left. These dominionists have been able to function virtually incognito for several reasons: 1) They have been deeply embedded within the evangelical subculture; 2) They cloaked their dominionism with new terminologies and doctrines over a period of thirty years; and 3) They figured out how to package dominionism using sophisticated mass marketing techniques. Also noteworthy: these two other dominionist camps have been operating in a dialectical fashion – while one group appealed to the TBN charismatics with all of its emotional excesses, the other group carefully managed its more intellectual public image to conform to traditional evangelical standards.

This paper is a brief overview of the three main dominionist movements operating inside evangelicaldom and examines how all three of these sects are now converging around a global “kingdom” agenda.

Dominionism in brief

Throughout the 2000 year history of Christianity there has always been a vein of dominionism embedded in the strata of doctrines. This seam has ebbed and flowed for 20 centuries, sometimes submerged, sometimes exposed. Whenever out in the open, it has given rise to horrible abuses done in the name of Christ. In the early 21st century, once again this vein is now showing and active. Keep in mind:

-Dominionism is always an aberration of true Christian theology.
-A remnant of believers has always opposed it, often suffering a martyr’s fate at the hands of intolerant dominionists.

The 3 sects of evangelical dominionism

There are three predominant sects (or movements) that propagate dominion theology which hold considerable influence over evangelicaldom.

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1. SPIRITUAL WARFARE PRAYER movement: The Kingdom of God must be advanced on Earth through hyper-spiritual “warfare” activities against the devil. A veritable supermarket of verbal and physical prayer techniques such as chanting, walks, and marches are employed in this effort. Believers are told their prayer power creates spiritual “canopies” over regions, preparing the way for “revival.” In this sense, prayer warfare is seen as preparatory work so that the other two movements can build the kingdom. Recently the contemplative prayer movement – which includes meditation, fasting, and labyrinths – has been brought into the spiritual warfare prayer “arsenal.” Prayer serves as a convenient decoy for covert operations. All three sects are utilizing massive statistical databanking resources (e.g., the World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs) and sophisticated psycho-social group manipulations to forge kingdom “transformation.” One key leader of this sect is Cindy Jacobs, who is closely associated with C. Peter Wagner (see below). Her website http://www.generals.org epitomizes the militant doctrines and practices of the spiritual warfare sect.

2. MISSION AS TRANSFORMATION movement: The words “revival,” “reformation” and “transformation” now carry embedded dominionist connotations. “Fulfilling the Great Commission” (Matthew 28:18-20) no longer means spreading the Gospel message by speaking the Word of salvation from the Bible. The dominionist focus is placed upon the phrase making disciples, with an incorrect exegesis that is disconcertingly compulsory. Traditional mission evangelism, done one-on-one using the Bible, is being replaced with a slew of “kingdom building” corporate activities for cities, regions and nations. The disingenuous phrase “bless the nations” is often used to conceal dominionism. Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ International and Ralph Winter, founder of the U.S. Center for World Mission and editor of the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement curriculum (which has taught dominionism to an entire generation of missionaries), have been among the chief architects of this movement.12

3. PATRIOTIC AMERICAN movement: Patriotic dominionists, most of whom are not Reconstructionists, teach that political action will advance the kingdom of God in America. Using the vehicle of Christian media, they have taught evangelicals for the past three decades that America is a Christian nation and needs to return to its roots. Almost every evangelical in the pew has been influenced in one way or another by this sect. Patriotic dominionist leaders and their organizations have been closely interlocked financially and politically with the conservatives from the political Right. The secular conservatives purport to uphold morality, which appeals to evangelicals. The combined force of conservatives and evangelicals flexes its political muscles in Washington. One of its most powerful leaders is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Patriotic dominionism was widely disseminated through the activities of Jay Grimstead, founder of Coalition on Revival (COR). From its earliest inception COR managed to successfully bring together key leaders from all three dominionist sects, including the Reconstructionists, to promote the most ruthless doctrines of dominionism.15 …….

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There is a lot of information covered in this paper: Dominionism goes global, Global “spheres”, The 3-legged stool, The phenomenon of Rick Warren, etc etc. This is something well worth taking the time to read over..

16 comments on “Dominionism and the Rise of Christian Imperialism

  1. Yes, this article has some major insight… I remember reading it for the first time when Moriel posted it… I was absolutely floored. The research in this article is a credit to Sarah Leslie.

    I have emailed this article to other people who have since left a Purpose Driven Church, they were also amazed at how orchestrated this so called New Apostolic Reformation is.

    This article is a must read for those who have any doubts as to why people call this type of kingdom building biblically questionable at the very least and for those who recognise it to be kingdom building using humanistic tools which is not from God. Jesus is not the head to this movement, man is.

    V

  2. V when re-reading this last night i thought about the recent post at Herescope: Dominionists on the Move. That article points out just how far this type of apostasy has come since the above article was written.

    Point 3:The Patriotic American movement, is one part of this whole thing which has become very very deeply ingrained into the evangelical movement today…

    Its spawned much of what we’re seeing from ‘Christian’ leaders, especially right now, during the kick-off of the up-coming election.

  3. Interesting article. I believe she makes some good points. However, she stated that the dominionism movement embraces extreme calvinism. However, she failed to demonstrate this claim. Also, I would like to know her stance on Israel. On one hand she attacks the neo-cons, who constantly bow to Israeli wishes, but she apparently is being embraced by Pro-Israeli ministries such as Prohezine. This ministry is Israel first to the hilt. They do not endorse anything if it is not pro-Israeli. Overall, I thought it was a good article. I would just like some clarification on a few issues.

  4. Hi Troy…

    I’m not sure of the authors views on Israel, but after reading your comments i went over to the link and did see a contact ‘button’ at the end of the article. Perhaps you could write her a request for more info…

    Did you also go to the link to read the entire article? I only posted a portion of it–there may actually be answers found within the remainder of it.

    Yes, i believe it is an excellent article!

    Her points on the Patriotic American movement were right on…its almost become a religion in/of itself. That may be because of the deep involvement by many of the Christian fundamentalist political groups within the Patriotic movement…

  5. Peter warned us of false prophets and false teachers teaching destructive heresies denying the Lord that once bought them by His blood. (2 Pet. 2:1). We are heading toward the greatest apostasy in the history of the church.

  6. It seems that these movements have little hope of really gaining political power any time soon. What conservative dominionists need to remember is that if even when they do gain power, those who have no interest in the gospel, only power will pretend to be Christians just to get that power.

    I think that the most threatening dominionist movement is Ecumenism (unity at the expense of truth). I think that the False Prophet will rise out of this mainline movement.

  7. Rosemary I have to agree with you about ecumenism. It is a very dangerous movement.Anything that wants to hook us up again to the RCC is an abomination imho.

  8. An insightful article. I’m what Secretary Rumsfeld might call an “Old European”. I live in Europe. I was born in Europe. I went to school in Europe and my family is European on both sides. I feel increasingly uncomfortable with the growing Americanization of both worship and the style and content of evangelical literature which is foreign to me. It’s as though I was being shut out of the Kingdom of God for being an undesirable alien. Just think how an Asian or an African must feel.

  9. The Church should corporately preach the gospel. In the God given way, help the sheep of Christ’s flock, and not let the goats be Pope of the party and then God will turn the tide and lift his hand of judgement of the nations.

    If my people turn then will I heal the hurt of the land.

    Sam

  10. Where is the clarity in the article however where it disagrees with the bible? When the believers in acts began the spread of the church do you think there were “Dominionist” tendencies ?

  11. Reblogged this on Annals Of Andronicus and commented:
    A very succinct article which nicely summarises the major strands of Domintion Theology. Although written from an American perspective, it has considerable relevance to Australia and NZ

  12. I am totally confused after reading this article.

    Christian people are setting large scale goals for making disciples and organizing themselves towards to fulfill the great commission. How is this different than sharing the gospel one-on-one? Is it mutually exclusive? What’s wrong with being organized, united on a large scale, and using the latest technology available?

    • What has probably confused you Jason, is that you are not aware of what Dominionism really is. You can do a search here at the blog (right, toward the bottom) by just typing in Dominionism or Dominionist. You will find a number of teachings here on the topic. Also Google the term. There are many resources which can help you see what a dangerous movement it is.

  13. Jason, new message just posted at LightHouse Trails:

    Will Christians Replace Commitment to the Gospel for Commitment to a Unified Dominionist Agenda to “Save the Country”?

    see: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=17233

  14. […] is an extract from a post from the blog Sola Dei Gloria. Written in mid-January 2008,  it has considerable relevance to Australia and NZ church life at […]

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