Monday, July 23, 2007

The "Cultural Mandate"

The Doctrines of Dominionism: Part 4

Jesus, the Second Adam

While Jesus never questioned Satan’s dominion, He came to earth expressly to take it away from him. Jesus came as the second, or last, Adam (see 1 Cor. 15:45-47). The first Adam lost dominion; the second Adam will regain it. This was a new beginning of history. It is part of the New Covenant, not the Old Covenant. Jesus brought a new kingdom, namely, the kingdom of God.

The first to announce the Kingdom was John the Baptist. He preached in the wilderness and said, “Repent, for the kingdom of [God] is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). This was the D-day of the invasion of the kingdom of Satan. During World War II, when the Allies established a beachhead in France on D-day, everyone knew that the war in the European theater was over. However,
many more battles still needed to be fought until Hitler was finally defeated. Similarly, Jesus’ coming as the second Adam marked the beginning of the end of Satan’s defeat. It is now up to us, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to fight the battles needed to finish it.

Jesus preached the
gospel of the Kingdom; the apostles preached the gospel of the Kingdom; and He expects us to preach the gospel of the Kingdom (see Matt. 24:14). What is the gospel of the Kingdom? After the temptation, Jesus went to the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth and announced His agenda. We can surmise that this would be the basic content of the gospel of the Kingdom. It included preaching good news to the poor, healing the brokenhearted, bringing deliverance to the captives, giving sight to the blind, freeing the oppressed and preaching the acceptable year of the Lord (see Luke 4:18-19).

A Fresh View of Scripture

Following this pattern, our
new paradigm for taking dominion includes a dual task: the evangelistic mandate (saving souls) and the
cultural mandate (transforming society). . . .
[C. Peter Wagner, Let's Take Dominion Now! emphases added, bold headings in the original]

In the above quotation C. Peter Wagner is articulating a basic heresy of dominionism. This heresy teaches that Jesus Christ did not defeat Satan at the Cross, but rather the Church must accomplish this for Him on earth. A subtle side-heresy (never explicitly stated except by Latter Rain leaders) is that the Church assumes the role of Christ (or becomes Christ). So even though this excerpt is subtitled, "Jesus, the Second Adam," the church is who "will regain it" (dominion). This heresy then leads to the proposition that the church must embrace a "dual task" of both evangelism and societal transformation (building the kingdom of God on earth).

This faulty doctrine of the insufficiency of Christ is rooted in a deeper heresy which goes back to Genesis 1. This heresy is articulated by Ralph Winter in his key article "Twelve Frontiers of Perspective" in which he delineates and defends the new doctrines he helped to concoct over the period of his lifetime as a mission leader (see previous post in this series).

In order to understand Ralph Winter's passion about this topic, the reader should be aware that Ralph Winter was a key leader of an obscure group called The American Scientific Affiliation, which may have been an offshoot of the neoevangelical movement in the late 1940s, and had as its goal the integration of science with theology (however "science" came to be defined). In the 1990s this organization was "taken over" by the Templeton Foundation, a proponent of "new spirituality."

Winter begins his explanation of the Genesis 1 heresy by noting that man "cannot fully declare the glory of God if we do not embrace science as a vast domain in which we can both see God's glory and advance His Kingdom" [emphasis added]. He postulates that distinguishing between the "evangelistic mandate" and "cultural mandate" (as Wagner does above) is an "artificial dichotomy." He then delves into an extrabiblical fantasy:

"Being human we are likely to conceive of the redemption of homo sapiens as the primary concern of God. But homo sapiens is specifically the most recent divine strategy to promote the reestablishment of the Kingdom of God. . . .

"Nature, prior to the appearance of homo sapiens, is shot through and through with terrible slaughter, bloodshed, violence, and suffering, as the result of the fall of Satan, long before Adam fell." [emphasis added]

Notice that Adam and Eve are not mentioned, but rather man as a species of homo sapiens, which is an anthropological rather than biblical view.

"Man was intended to work with God in destroying the source of. . . evil. This was once God's good world, but it became severly (sic) distorted by the fallen adversary of God long before homo sapiens existed." [emphasis added]

Winter then leaps to the Genesis 1 heresy that

"Man was meant to be an ally in the redemption and restoration of Creation, not merely a worker for his own redemption, even though his own redemption is essential for his restoration as a worker in the Kingdom, and as a warrior on God's side in the destruction of the works of the devil." [emphasis added]

In the above quotations there are a multitude of heresies, all converging on a suprabiblical account of Genesis 1, which then gives way to the belief that man can redeem himself and Creation, called "building the Kingdom of God." Later in the article, Winter suggests that we should be using science as a method to redeem Creation by tinkering with DNA so that lambs could lie down with lions.

In a related article by Winter, "When Business Can Be Mission: Where Both Business and Mission Fall Short," published in the International Journal of Frontier Missions (22:3 Fall 2005, pp. 110-117), this "cultural mandate" is given the broader base of marketplace transformation (i.e., business as mission). In this regard, note that C. Peter Wagner's opening quotation is posted at Os Hillman's marketplace transformation website. In this business context, then, Winter explains his aberrant theologies more fully. Note the derogation of the Gospel of Salvation, which is common among those who hold to dominionist views:

"A number of people these days refer to the Genesis 'Cultural Mandate' which was given to Adam, note, before the Fall, This way they feel they can rightly and reasonably justify earnest Christian efforts in just about any good business which is essential to the growth and welfare of society. These people also speak of what is called 'The Evangelistic Mandate,' which arose of necessity after the Fall, and was intended to advance the Kingdom and thus redeem the fallen creation.

"However, these are not complementary mandates. They are sequential. The cultural mandate came first. . . .

". . .[A]fter the Fall of Adam the Cultural Mandate is no longer enough. Nor can the Evangelistic Mandate be purely 'heavenly-oriented.' After the fall it is no longer merely a matter of getting people prepared for heaven, it is a case of preparing them both for heaven and for all-out, knock-down, drag-out war against the powers of darkness and evil. A wartime emergency, both physical and spiritual, still exists and must be dealt with on a wartime basis or the glory of God will continue to suffer.

". . .It is impelling that both mandates should be merged into a single 'Military Mandate,' which, in this life, is the story of a reconquering Kingdom of God. . . . A Military Mandate. . . [includes] fighting evil and the works of the devil, which is essential to the 'reglorification' of God. . . . whatever is necessary to accomplish that redemptive and recruiting function." [emphases added]

Again, note that the foundation of this heresy is that the Cross is not enough, and God is insufficient. Man must now do it for Him, including - unbelievably -- that man is somehow responsible for aiding God's glory! And, furthermore, this is a teaching that Creation is somehow redeemed by the machinations of man. Winter, who is suffering from the ravages of cancer, wrote that the church should be involved in the mission of "the eradication of the very pathogens that haunt most human societies on the face of the earth." He concludes his article by resorting back to the motif of warfare -- not a war against sin in the life of the believer, but rather an earth-based "Kingdom" warfare (i.e. dominionism):

"Is This War?

"It is good enough simply to make people feel secure in this life and hopeful about eventually getting out of this sin-filled world and safely through the pearly gates? Right now that is the main thing the church is doing. In stark contrast are those tasks like restoring creation, restoring God's glory, rediscovering Satan's works, and deliberately destroying his deeds and deadly delusions. . . .

"This is a 'wartime' and Biblical perspective, yet that fact has apparently evaporated into the thin air of the current mood, which is defined by an artificial and inadequate (albeit pervasive) peacetime mandate. The Biblical mandate is 'the Gospel of the Kingdom,' --meaning the extension of that 'Rule' against opposition. It is not merely a 'Gospel of salvation.' The Gospel of the Kingdom is the central matter of God's 'will being done on earth as it is in heaven.' It is a mandate that is distinctly larger than getting along in this life with the help of business, and getting to heaven with the help of missions. God's glory is at stake, and His glory is our main business." [bold emphasis added, except for headings]

The Truth:

Where does one start when trying to explain what is wrong with the multi-faceted heresies presented above? These must be potent heresies, because Winter has been able to train a generation of missionaries in these doctrines without hardly any opposition.

For the reader thirsting for Truth, we hearken back to Dr. Francis Schaeffer, who reminds us what Genesis 1 is really all about:

Christianity says man is now abnormal--he is separated from his Creator, who is his only sufficient reference point--not by a metaphysical limitation, but by true moral guilt. As a result he is now also separated from his fellowmen, and from himself. Therefore, when he is involved in cruelty, he is not being true to what he was initially created to be. Cruelty is a symptom of abnormality, and a result of a moral, historic, space-time Fall. What does a historic space-time Fall involve? It means that there was a period before man fell; that if you had been there, you could have seen Adam before he fell; that at the point when he revolted against God by making a free choice to disobey God's commandment, there was a tick of the clock. Take away the first three chapters of Genesis, and you cannot maintain a true Christian position nor give Christianity's answers. . . .

If there is true moral guilt in the presence of a personal God (rather than a metaphysical intrinsic situation of what is and always has been), then perhaps there will be a solution from God's side. And God says to man that there is a solution. That solution rests upon God saying that He is holy and He is love, and in His love He has loved the world, and He sent His Son. Now in history, there on Calvary's cross, in space and time, Jesus died. And we should never speak of Jesus' death without linking it to His person. This is the eternal Second Person of the Trinity. When He died, with the division that man has caused by his revolt now carried up into the trinity itself, there in expiation, in propitiation and substitution, the true moral guilt is met by the infinite value of Jesus' death. Thus Jesus says, "It is finished."
[The God Who Is There (Crossway, 1982, The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer), pp. 114,116)

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit,
after the tradition of men,
after the rudiments of the world,
and not after Christ.
For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

And ye are complete in Him,
which is the Head of all principality and power."

(Colossians 2:8-10)