Monday, November 07, 2011

Field of Dreams

Dominion Eschatology

By Dr. Orrel Steinkamp

"Our field of dreams had become a field of nightmares!"
-- Lou Engle*

Dream Time for the NAR Apostles and Prophets
In the very popular movie of 1989 titled Field of Dreams, an Iowa farmer began hearing voices.  This voice turned out to be a baseball player from the ill-fated baseball players of the 1919 Chicago White Sox team later dubbed the Black Sox because of their reputation of having taken bribes. In this movie the Iowa farmer played by Kevin Costner thinks he heard the player say "If you build it, he will come." The farmer began building a baseball diamond in his cornfield. In time the Black Sox ghost players emerge from the cornfield and play on the "Field of Dreams" that the Iowa farmer built. (Interestingly, this field in Iowa used in the film has just been sold.)

In Dominion Latter-Rain end-time teaching, the apostles and prophets are also hearing voices and the essence of this is simply a supposed prophecy (dream, sometimes referred to as "God's Dream") that if the restored apostles and prophets successfully complete and build the Kingdom of God on earth, God will reappear. "If you build it, HE will come." The Dominion prophets and apostles are blindly attempting to build it (the kingdom on earth) so that the End of Days can come. They call for a perfected church to finish up the Kingdom of God.

The term "Dominionism" has recently surfaced in the American political arena. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas chose to enlist a whole bevy of religious leaders from the current expression of Dominion teaching called NAR, that is the New Apostolic Reformation, a term coined by C. Peter Wagner in which he repackaged Domionion teaching first expressed by the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) in the 1950s. But the NAR & IHOP (International House of Prayer) Dominion apostles and prophets did not want the voting public to know about their Dominion teaching and its relationship to their anointed leader Rick Perry.

Sure enough the secular media began to discover and explain the term "Dominionism." The politically sensitive NAR & IHOP apostles and prophets began to spread the word that "Dominionionism" was just a term created by the liberal media. C. Peter Wagner offered himself to be interviewed by the media and panned off Dominionism as just wanting to have "influence" in the public square -- no more or no less. Wagner opined in an October 3 Fresh Air interview on NPR with Terry Gross : "We believe in working with any political system there is... just the way they are, but [want] to have Kingdom people in influence...."

Now we know the apostles have learned well the art of a political spin (otherwise called lying). Wagner, the worldwide presiding "apostle has written a whole book simply titled Dominion! How Kingdom Action Can Change the World, which he published in 2008, in which he states: "Because it takes a government to overthrow a government.... In war the victors plunder the enemies' camp, and God will cause this to happen as never before." (pp. 6-7)

It's All About Eschatology!
Cindy Jacobs false prophetess and false apostle Lou Engle, tasked by Peter Wagner to lead the apostles and prophets in the USA, are joining the volunteer choir to "take America back" from the forces of evil and returning America to its Christian roots. The latest Engle The Call rally 11-11-11 (note the occult numerology -- many other NAR events are also scheduled this same day) is scheduled in Detroit at Ford Field. Their advertisement reads "thousands will gather at Ford Field daring to believe American could turn back to God." Speakers for a "Mobilization Gathering" to get things off the ground, according to the Transformation Michigan website (pulled, but e-mailed 7/28/11) included Rick Joyner, Barbarba Yoder, Francis Frangipane, Rick Pino and other leaders. Controversy is already swirling around this upcoming 11-11-11 Lou Engle event.

Understandably, this spiritual/political message resonates with rank and file evangelicals. True believers genuinely do sense the American populace is drifting into moral decline. There are issues of morality that the church is supposed to address. Christian citizens getting involved in political activities is an American freedom.

But I am concerned that the NAR is co-opting and using the American political ferment, particularly these highly volatile moral issues, to enlist ordinary evangelicals -- already biblically challenged -- for the NAR leadership's larger goal of End-time Dominion. Note that in their teaching and preaching these leaders are clearly more concerned about their apostles and prophets ruling the earth than having compliant politicians elected to save America.

Wagner and the NAR/IHOP have cleverly repacked and papered over biblical teaching with an eschatology that has no reference in Scripture. In actuality it contradicts Scripture. Their eschatology is not just a minor divergent end-time alternative such as Dispensational, Premillenial views or arguments over who is and who isn't the Anti Christ. Their eschatology is a radical and heretical teaching that begins with Post-Millenial eschatology as a jumping off spot, and then plunges deeply into heresy that has more in common with Theosophy and the Gnostic Kabbalah than any biblical eschatology.

Indeed, there have always been movements and teachers with differing end-time teaching preoccupied with date setting (a la Harold Camping) and end-time chronological absolutes. One New Testament scholar sees end-time teaching as a "sign post pointing into a fog" (N.T. Wright, who ironically has his own utopian End-time eschatology). This is an unfortunate statement.

But NAR Dominionism is light years beyond the minor eschatological twists and semantic debates about Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib or Post-Tribulation, etc. return of Christ. Dominion eschatology comes from a wholly different playbook. To be sure the Dominionists use biblical categories. But it's like trying to use the rules of American football in a celestial soccer game. They both have a goal to be scored but there the similarity ends.

Nevertheless, Dominion eschatology is cleverly coded and overlaid with acceptable evangelical terms so that revival-starved Post-Modern evangelicals see it as the only option to save both America and the Christian faith. But bad theology usually sneaks in under the guise of familiar language.

It reminds me of a noxious weed called the dandelion. The early English immigrants brought it to the new world as a pretty flower. Dandelions can look inviting and beautiful in the first days of spring. But rapidly dandelions take "dominion" over the field and choke out the legitimate plants. It's not good enough to mow down dandelions. They only re-emerge from their underground root system and increase by reseeding, and then proceed to take dominion over lawns. Dandelions must be eradicated by exposing and eliminating their root system.

Likewise, the root system of the current Dominion/NAR is very deep and underground. Many of the apostles and prophets and leaders of this heresy are well aware of their Latter-Rain historical roots. But they conceal this from public view and from the ordinary people in their movement. Nevertheless, there is an elite group that understand the fullness of this aberrant eschatological departure from traditional biblical views. The Latter Rain of the 1950s is their playbook. The elite leadership know it well, but just as a NFL coach along the sidelines hides his play sheet from the public, so also the apostles and prophets hold their playbook close to their chest. What is played out on the field has its source in the secret playbook guarded assiduously from the public and the press.

The current dependence and linkage of the apostles and prophets to the Latter Rain root system can be detected but it involves digging up the Latter Rain historical roots. These roots are well hidden by the apostles and prophets. It takes patient research and dedicated effort. One must go back and quote from the Latter Rain pioneers of the 1950s and set their teaching beside the current teachers in order to see the totality of this end-time false teaching.

Current NAR/IHOP Dominion teaching clearly can be traced back to the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) in the early '50s. So we will give our attention to the eschatological teaching of NOLR and then develop how it has been rebranded and developed into to its current expression today. Let me warn you that the early NOLR of the '50s also grafted into their root system other foreign sources that are more radical and heretical than their own views. The NOLR taproot goes deeper yet into history and is rooted in Theosophy, Gnosticism, Hermeticism and Kabbalism. The linkage of the NOLR and these theosophical/kabbalistic roots is too extensive for this article. (See these two articles on the Internet: "The NAR’s Fairy Godmother? Jane Leade & The Philadelphian Society," and Bob DeWaay's "The Roots and Fruits of the New Apostolic Reformation." See also the online book Strange Fire: The Rise of Gnosticism in the Church by Traverse and Jewel van der Merwe)

By Their Roots You Shall Know Them
 The Latter-Rain was a fringe Pentecostal movement at mid-century. It originated at the Sharon Orphanage and School in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. The leaders of this mid -century revival movement were George Hawtin, P.G. Hunt and Herrick Holt. After receiving an impartation by the laying on of hands from William Branham, the Latter Rains began to descend. A number of new teachings emerged creating controversy to the point that the Assemblies of God repudiated it. The term "Latter Rain" was actually a borrowed and reiterated name from the Latter Rain teaching that attended the historical beginning of Pentecostalism at Azusa Street in the early years of the last century.

Latter Rain was an allegorical template derived from the former and latter rains of the growing season in Palestine. Old Testament biblical writers simply used the words "early" and "latter" rains as a descriptive reference to the totality of the growing season. But that phrase from the Old Testament was allegorized to become a template called Latter Rain and was used at the turn of the century to depict the Pentecostal Revival as a latter (end of the ages) or final end-time repeat of Pentecost at the end of the ages.

But in 1914 the early Pentecostal leaders discarded this Latter Rain eschatology template and returned to traditional biblical Premillenial views of the end-time. But then, some 50 years later, the Latter Rain of the midcentury added many aspects that were not part of the turn of the century idea of Latter Rain. As stated above, the source of these new teachings can be traced to 17th century occult sources. For our purposes there are 3 new eschatological teachings espoused by the Latter Rain of the 1950s:
  1. A latter day order of restored apostles and prophets who will govern and give on-going revelations to the church. 
  2. The latter-rain last generation church, with the leading ("alignment") of apostles and prophets and new ongoing revelations, will war against and defeat all the enemies of the church (including sin, Satan and demons), and this final terminal generation (called the "New Breed" or "elect seed") will conquer the last enemy death itself (NOTE: all of this will take place without the bodily return of Jesus from heaven). This is also known as taking DOMINION!
  3. The last generation of NOLR believers will become end-time incarnations of Christ and together with other perfected "Sons of God" (also known as the Manifest Sons of God) will become (or emerge into) a "Corporate Christ;" thus making the bodily return of Christ unnecessary as well as the rapture of saints into the air to meet the returning glorified Christ from heaven.

In 1951 George Warnock, who had been at the Latter Rain  Sharon Camp Meetings in Canada and who had been the personal secretary of Ern Baxter (an associate of William Branham's ministry), took up residence at the Sharon Orphanage and School doing office work, etc. He then proceeded to write a book titled The Feast of Tabernacles. In this book he laid out a systematic doctrine of the NOLR. Warnock stated the premise as:

"Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles typify the whole church age, beginning with the death of Jesus on the cross, consummating in the [the Feast of Tabernacles] the Manifestation of the Sons of God. These 'Overcomers' will become perfected and step into immortality in order to establish the kingdom of God on the earth." (The Feast of Tabernacles, pp. 14-20)

Warnock also taught a transformation of the body of Christ into a Corporate Christ upon the earth. When Warnock talked of a perfected church he actually believed these last day Latter Rain believers would mature into "fullness" to become Christ (the Corporate Christ, or in evangelical lingo this is referred to as "incarnating Christ"). In other words we become intrinsically one with Christ, not merely one in fellowship with Christ but one in substance. We become God just as much as Christ is God. Warnock wrote:

"To many, of course, this truth of our identification with Christ the Head is nothing less than blasphemy. But this is to be expected. When Jesus called Himself the Son of God they said, 'Thou blasphemest'. And yet now we hail Him King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Man of very Man, and God of very God. And the ages to come are going to reveal what is now revealed by the Spirit to those having understanding and have been quickened, that Christ is the body - the whole body."

Warnock was apparently saying that we are to become God every bit as much Christ is God. George Hawtin described the Latter Rain  in these words:

"When the Sons of God are manifested... the saints will take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever...  the Sons of Yahweh, one like the Son of Man - not the lonely and blessed Yeshua of Nazareth alone, but the complete body of Sons - Yahweh's masterpiece of the ages, the body of Yeshua, the house not made with hands - My Father's house of many mansions, each one whether individually or collectively a habitation of Yahweh through the Spirit - the Sons of Yahweh are indeed the 'One like the Son of man.'" (George Hawtin, New Beginnings)

This is the undeniable new revelation of the end-time teaching of the leaders of the Latter Rain in the 1950s. Today's version of Dominionists are focusing on conquering the 7 Mountains of Culture. This is however, only a temporary sub-plot of the current apostles and prophets. They have not discarded the full blown template of the end-times that they received from the NOLR. Prior to the most recent fixation of conquering the 7 Mountains of Culture (derived from a supposed new revelation from Loren Cunningham and Bill Bright), the Dominionists were caught up with working their way through the subdivisions of the Feast of Tabernacles including "the blowing of trumpets" and "the Day of Atonement."

The "Resurrection-Translation" of the NAR/IHOP
 Bill Hamon is a living connection to Latter Rain teaching in the present. Hamon was born in 1934. At 19 he was reportedly ordained. This means that he began his ministry right after Warnock wrote the Feast of Tabernacles. At that time he became a Latter Rain teacher and so is today a living connection to the NOLR. He has written numerous books but his two books, Day of the Saints, and Apostles, Prophets, and the Coming Moves of God, are instructive. In Hamon's book The Day of the Saints, in chapter 11 "Omega Transition Generation," Hamon states: 
  • "Transition means passage from one place or state of being to another - a change or process of change... [the] last generation of the mortal church [is] the one in which they experience the transition from mortality to immortality.... God has predestined a generation that will never die.... They will be a 'transitional generation' that will make the transition from mortal life to immortal life without going the way of the grave...." (Saints, p.386)
  •  "The Manifested Sons of God doctrine teaches that these Sons will be equal to Jesus Christ: immortal, sinless, perfected Sons who have partaken of the divine nature. They will have every right to be called gods and will be gods." (Hamon, Prophets and the Prophetic Movement)
  •  "The [New] Apostolic Reformation will cause believers to manifest the supernatural grace, gifts and power of God." (Apostles, Prophets, p 13)
  •  "God has released the Holy Spirit to bring His revelations and activation to the end-time church. This will bring forth the last generation church of mortal people, with unlimited power...."(Apostles, Prophets, p 18)

Hamon's speaks of what he calls "the Resurrection-Translation" (R-T) of the last generation saints. This quote does not mention a rapture or the physical return of Christ. This R-T resurrection ostensibly refers to deceased Christians. This apparently appears to happen simply by the expression of God's power without any reference to the bodily return of Jesus from heaven. Hamon states: 
  • "the R-T is for the purpose of immortalizing their bodies. This will remove all earthly limitations, enabling the saints unlimited abilities. They will be able to travel in all space realms of the heavenlies the same as Jesus and the angels do now. They can move in and out of all dimensions of the natural and spiritual realms as Jesus did in His resurrected flesh and bone body." (Hamon, Apostles, Prophets, p 264-650)
  •  "God's great end-time army is being prepared to execute God's written judgments with Christ's victory and divine judgment decrees that have already been established in heaven."(Hamon, Apostles, Prophets, p 252)
Earl Paulk, the now totally discredited Latter Rain teacher, nevertheless was able to speak clearly about what seems obtuse in Hamon, and clearly states what Hamon's R-T really means. Paulk wrote:

"Christ in us is God's continuing incarnation.... The Church is Christ's body, the incarnation of Christ today.... The mystery of this generation is Christ in us. We never understood that mystery fully. We pray to a 'God beyond the clouds in heavenly places' when Christ is [already] in us. The hope of glory is not in the heavenlies - the hope of the heavenlies is on earth." (Paulk, Held in the Heavens, p. 171)

On June 5, 2001, I received a very cordial letter from C. Peter Wagner writing as the Presiding Apostle of the International Coalition of Apostles. Among other things he wrote: "I never even heard of the Latter-Rain... apostles and prophets, Manifested Sons of God.... Now since I have become an advocate for contemporary apostles and prophets, all of these things have been coming up.... I have asked [apostle] Bill Hamon about these things.... but I never really was able to make sense of it until I read your article.... " This letter was a total surprise to me. Wagner surely is a quick study and an academic. Still, he must be lightning fast to understand Bill Hamon's book Day of the Saints in a matter of months and write a glowing endorsement for the book. He joined Cindy Jacobs and others to laud Hamon's work. He went from 0-100 in a short time in processing Hamon's book. Wagner's endorsement of Hamon's book "Day of the Saints" is without any qualification. He writes:

"The Day of the Saints has my vote for the book of the year. [Apostle] Bill Hamon has outdone himself...This book will help launch the Body of Christ into a dynamic and exciting era unknown since the days of Jesus and the apostles."

It is interesting that Wagner was joined by Cindy Jacobs, Ed Silvoso, Tommy Tenney and others to write endorsements for this book. Suffice it to say, Wagner went from saying he was not understanding the term Latter Rain and Manifest Sons of God to a full-throttled endorsement of the NOLR in record time. (See the article by Sandy Simpson posted HERE about these fascinating denials by Wagner.)

Wagner's political spin during his NPR interview points to the apparently agreed talking points of the current prophets about the recent media exposure of the term Dominion. His apostle Lance Wallnau and others recommend only using the term "Dominion" to "speaking to the choir," but use the term "influence" when speaking to the wider public.

But the fact is undeniable. Dominion Eschatology, though it has some minor variations a la IHOP's Mike Bickle and his "Forerunner Apostolic Premillenialism" still rests on Warnock's end-time template. This is not the  biblical teaching of 2Thess. 2:3 of the "falling away" just prior to the resurrected Jesus Christ descending and rapturing the saints, and granting new resurrected bodies, etc. Rather, Dominion Eschatology calls for a last generation Dominion by the church, eradicating all evil demons, etc. and finally conquering death itself.

Conversely, Scripture has a totally different view of the end-times. 2Thess. 2:3 affirms: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." "Falling away" from what? Unbelievers cannot "fall away;" they were never there to begin with. And surely this refers to the state of the church prior to the personal bodily return of Jesus.

The current NAR/IHOP apostles and prophets do not publicize defeating death. This heretical doctrine  is filed away from prying eyes. But it is still part of the template from which Dominion moves. This complete and unabridged template of NOLR eschatology is only for the elite and more mature Dominion apostles and prophets. Likewise, the Body of Christ incarnating into the "Corporate Christ" is normally expressed by code words which only the elite Dominionists understand. Even Warnock knew "the Corporate Christ" teaching would be called blasphemy. Nevertheless he affirmed it. This, "Corporate Christ" is considered the hidden manna that only the elite can handle, and it is rarely spelled out in explicit terms.

Some may say I have gone a bridge too far. Indeed, most of NAR/IHOP teaching are  given over these days to Dominion themes. But if "Manifest Sons" and "Corporate Christ" teaching is a bridge too far, then the Hamon/Wagner connection is also meaningless. Are we supposed to believe that Wagner didn't understand Hamon's book Day of the Saints which he read and endorsed?

Indeed, Dominionism is much more than spiritual warfare as some people assume. Spiritual warfare is simply part of the modus operandi of the current apostles and prophets to pursue Dominion. Spiritual Warfare is the selling point of the 7 Mountains teaching. But Dominion, for the mature elite apostles and prophets, promises not only the defeat of Satan and his demons but also the last enemy -- death. Dominion also calls for the last generation church becoming a "Corporate Christ" who then replaces a resurrected physical Jesus returning from heaven.

"The Return of Christ" thus becomes a code phrase pointing to Jesus incarnating into the perfected Body of Christ ("Bride") on earth, which becomes a "Corporate Christ" reaching maturity as the Sons of God upon the earth. The leaders give lip service about how Dominion must happen before Christ can come back. But ultimately the literal physical Return of Christ is not a part of this NAR/NOLR template. The "Corporate Christ" upon the earth is their return of Christ. The return of Christ becomes Jesus coming spiritually INTO His church, not FOR His church. The return of Christ is a spiritual coming in this scenario. Corporately, the overcoming saints acquire Sonship just as did Jesus when he came to earth. It is this overcoming mature Corporate Son who executes judgment and dominion upon the earth.

So, what is all of this latter-day Dominionism about really? "If you build it, he will come"? Who will come? Jesus Christ physically bodily for his bride? Or a false christ that manifests and incarnates through a false body on earth? Or a warrior bride body manifesting, that has conquered territories and "influenced" cultural spheres, to prepare the way for an anti-Christ?  This sounds like a field of nightmares, not a field of dreams!

The Truth: 
"Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." (1 John 4:2-3)

* Lou Engle, Digging the Wells of Revival (Destiny Image, 1998), p. 100 in a section of the book where he explains his early connection with the Kansas City Prophets (IHOP).