Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dominionism and Kingdom Now teachings

The following material is excerpted from the most recent Discernment Ministries newsletter, the March/April 2006 newsletter now posted on http://www.discernment-ministries.org.

This newsletter provides a broad overview of the history of the dominionism doctrines arising since the late 1940s, including some rare documentary material by pastors and organizations who opposed the various dominionism movements. A key response to the rise of the Kingdom Now teaching in the 1980’s came from George Wood. From a transcript of a taped message on the subject, Dr. Wood, the present (2006) General Secretary of the Assemblies of God, warned:

“What makes Kingdom Now teaching different from the normal emphasis of the kingdom being present is that the Kingdom Now teachers are saying that the kingdom is going to become externally visible in this age, prior to the Coming [of Christ]."

In a further article entitled "Kingdom Now and Missions," Mountain Movers, 1989, Dr. Wood further warns:

"…As its name implies, this theology maintains that God’s kingdom already exists on earth. This new wave, like the old waves of latter rain, shepherding, demon-casting from Christians, and positive confession is destined to be exported to foreign soil. But the acceptance of Kingdom Now theology by churches overseas would bring seven significant and disastrous results."

"(1) All biblical teaching regarding the literal fuillment of prophesied events would be abandoned…;

(2) The Church would have a larger mission than that of proclaiming personal salvation through Christ…. The political, social, and economic systems of nations and cultures would need to be 'Christianized'...

(3) ..The Church would need to be reeducated to understand that the teaching of the Rapture is a doctrine sold to it by Satan to lull it into an escapist mentality. Only when the Church is finished ‘Christianizing’ (exercising dominion over) the world could it finally summon the Lord to return from heaven

(4) The Church could no longer rely solely on written Scripture for doctrine. It would have to develop the five-fold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, from whom the Church could learn rulership. These new 'apostles' and 'prophets' words would be obeyed and not judged or tested by the Church. The door would be open to ongoing revelation through which God would reveal components of His will and ways not found in the Bible.

(5) The Church would take a new look at worship… it would also become a spiritual empowerment to restore the Church and to raise it to perfection... the lively and spiritually restored tabernacle of David.

(6) The revived Church anticipated by the Kingdom Now proponents would demand a new breed of Christians: supermen and superwomen. Believers would be taught that they are more than human… Some Kingdom Now adherents go beyond being ‘little gods’ to holding to the possibility that we are the ‘manifested sons of God,’ ...the race of Christians whose bodies will be transformed, not by the coming of the Lord, but by His inner secret coming from within themselves.

(7) Finally, the Church everywhere would be called to ‘unity.’ Since Kingdom Now teachers do not want their teaching to be challenged, they attempt to silence their critics by suggesting that Christians lay aside their differences and join in common witness. . . "

An Improper Emphasis

This current Discernment Ministries newsletter also notes the warnings issued by Robert Crabtree when he was the District Superintendent for the Ohio District of the Assemblies of God. He prepared a report which he delivered to the pastors of the district on January 13, 1987. It is well documented and shows the remarkable understanding of a godly leader who foresaw the dangers that lurked ahead. He said,

“Theology should not be written in the streets. The Bible should not be rewritten for the sake of society. Society should change because of the impact of the Scriptures. It should not be conditioned, reshaped or rewritten as a result of social pressures. The Scriptures must be the first line of authority. . . Those who seek to change God’s Word by either adding to it through 'new revelation' or deleting from it by 'academic exercises' should have their works judged accordingly. . .

"An effort to unify the New Wave theologies, especially among Kingdom Now teachers is growing. Structurally it is similar to attempts to unify the Charismatic movement. . . Watch for the development of new terms and redefinition of old terms with new shades of meaning that will be utilized in an attempt to accommodate the various types of Kingdom Now theologies. Kingdom Now teachers have redefined the Gospel which requires ‘re-evangelizing’ the church without an emphasis upon Jesus Christ. [emphasis added] Salvation moves one from the kingdom of sin to the Kingdom Now of Christ on earth. This new kingdom is being built by waking up the professing Christians rather than reaching the lost. These renewed Christians are to seek control of the earth and assume stewardship responsibilities of the material world.”

To read the entire newsletter, visit: http://www.discernment-ministries.org/NLMarchApril_2006.htm. A special report is available from Discernment Ministries called the "Kingdom Now Theology Report," which provides historical documentation for the rise of this movement and its opposition (see newsletter page 7 for details).

The Truth:

"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death." (Phil. 3:10)