This collection of articles covers the topic of Restoration, which means "restoring the authority and apostolic leadership to the global Church". It has other and deeper implications too, as can be seen by the articles on warring in the heavenlies (to pull down the satanic strongholds that restrict the church) and "The Glory" (which is a skewed belief that the full power and visible glory of God will ultimately descend upon the restored Church.)
The two main Dominion movements are Christian Reconstructionism and Kingdom Now Theology. Though these two movements differ greatly in their general theological orientation (the first is strongly Reformed and Neo-Calvinistic, the second is Charismatic), they share a postmillennial vision in which the Kingdom of God will be established on Earth through political, spiritual and in some extreme cases military means.
Dominion Theology and Restoration today has progressed far beyond the reach of these early articles of mine; however it is always good to refer to the roots of the movement, and to understand its core objectives.
Topics covered in this section are: Gatekeepers and Spiritual Warfare, Restorationism, Shepherding, Kingdom Theology and its proponents, historical roots such as Gnosticism, Sonship and the Latter Rain, the coming glorification of the ascended saints, and the part that the Toronto revival and such things as Celtic Mysticism have to play.(Part Three)
Article taken from: Media Spotlight, Vol.7
- Review of previous sections
- Does it really matter?
THE DOMINION CONCEPT
- Earl Paulk
- Gary North
- David Chilton
- Pat Robertson
- Earl Paulk
- Royal Cronquist
- Who are the apostles and prophets?
PURGING THE EARTH
- Franklin Hall
- Royal Cronquist
- Earl Paulk
- James McKeever
- Earl Paulk
- David Ebaugh
- Sam Fife
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:
"If there is a prophet today who speaks the truth God wants His Church to hear, it is Earl Paulk. He is the leading voice today in preaching the message of the Kingdom of God...a man driven compulsively to show this generation that God is waiting for us to do something that will bring Christ back to earth." (1 )
Paulk, himself has stated:
"Christ in us must take dominion over the earth...The next move of God cannot occur until Christ in us takes dominion." (2 )"The next move of God will unite His Son in marriage. The marriage supper of the Lamb, the completion of establishing the Kingdom, the eternal rule of God, will finally take place." (3 )
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:
"Christ was one person, limited to ministry in only one place at a time. In order to minister as an omnipresent Spirit, Jesus relinquished His fleshly dimension with its limitations of time and place. He entered a higher realm of restoration and love by becoming an indwelling Spirit." (4 )
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.
"When the apostles asked Jesus if He would now restore the political kingdom, He said, 'It's not for you to know the times or the seasons. But I will tell you what will take place in your life, and when you have received what I'll tell you about, you will be able to bring in the Kingdom of God.' "How will the Kingdom of God be ushered in? In Acts 1:8, Jesus said, 'But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the Earth.'" (5 )
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.
"What are we waiting for? Why is Jesus waiting in heaven at the right hand of the Father? Who is He waiting for? He is waiting for you and me to become mature, for the Bride of Christ to become mature, so that He can come again. Did you know that God has done everything He can do? If anything else is going to be done, we're going to do it." (6 ) "In Matthew 24:14, Jesus clearly says that He cannot return for His Bride until she has demonstrated the Gospel of the Kingdom to all the nations of the earth. Until the church can demonstrate the alternative Kingdom, Jesus cannot come again. God no longer has the authority to send Christ back to earth, because He will not circumvent His eternal plan. While no man knows the day or the hour, I can say with the authority of God that CHRIST CANNOT AND WILL NOT COME BACK UNTIL WE HAVE DEMONSTRATED THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM TO THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH. That task demands a mature church, which will have become an alternative to the kingdoms of the world. THAT IS WHAT THE CHURCH IS ALL ABOUT AND JESUS CHRIST'S RETURN IS UP TO US."7 [Emphasis Paulk's.]
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):
"The eschatology of dominion has once again revived, as it has not since the period of the American Revolution....This is not the end of the world. The Church is not about to be raptured. The humanists, occultists, and New Agers are about to see their world ruptured. This process could be delayed by God's external judgment on the West, but it cannot be delayed until Christ's return in final judgment. It will happen long before Christ returns in glory." (8)
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".
"Dominion theology is the wave of the future. David Chilton has written the two primary eschatological manifestos of dominion theology. Whoever comes after him will inevitably be labeled a 'me, too' postmillennialist. Chilton has established the terms of the debate over eschatology for the next hundred years, at the very least." (10)
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:
"This is nothing less than a mandate for the complete social transformation of the entire world. And what Jesus condemns is 'ineffectiveness', failing to change the society around us. We are commanded to live in such a way that someday all men will glorify God - that they will become converted to the Christian faith. The point is that if the Church is obedient, the people and nations of the world will be discipled to Christianity. We all know that everyone 'should' be a Christian, that the laws and institutions of all nations 'should' follow the Bible's blueprints. But the Bible tells us more than that. The Bible tells us that these commands are the shape of the future. We 'must' change the world; and what is more, we 'shall' change the world." (11)
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:
"The Great Commission to the Church does not end with simply 'witnessing' to the nations. Christ's command is that we 'disciple' the nations - 'all' the nations. The kingdoms of the world are to become the kingdoms of Christ. They are to be discipled, made obedient to the faith. This means that every aspect of life throughout the world is to be brought under the lordship of Jesus Christ: families, individuals, business, science, agriculture, the arts, law, education, economics, phychology, philosophy, and every other sphere of human activity. Nothing may be left out. Christ 'must reign, until He has put all enemies under His feet' (I Cor.15:25). We have been given the responsibility of converting the entire world." (12)
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.
"...Our goal is world dominion under Christ's lordship, a 'world takeover' if you will; but our strategy begins with the reformation and reconstruction of the Church. From that will flow social and political reconstruction, indeed a flowering of Christian civilization (Hag.1:1-15; 2:6-10, 18-23." (13)
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:
"The eschatological issue centers on one fundamental point: Will the gospel succeed in its mission, or not? Regardless of their numerous individual differences, the various defeatist schools of thought are solidly lined up together on one major point: 'The gospel of Jesus Christ will fail.' Christianity will not be successful in its worldwide task. Christ's Great Commission to disciple the nations will not be carried out."(14)
"...A good deal of modern Rapturism should be recognized for what it really is: a dangerous error that is teaching God's people to expect defeat instead of victory."(15)
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 CBN:
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:
"Imagine a world when no more little babies are slaughtered in the womb.
"Imagine a world where there are no more homes torn apart because of alcoholism.
"Imagine a world where there are no more young men and young women spaced out and glassy-eyed on account of drugs.
"Imagine a world when there are no more crime lords selling prostitutes, selling pornography, selling gambling devices, selling drugs, and stealing from legitimate business.
"Imagine a world where nobody hates anybody any longer, where there is no more fighting and no more killing.
"Imagine a world where you can walk down the streets of the city - or any city - safely at any hour of the day or night wihout fear of your life.
"Imagine a world where there are no more dead bolts, and chains, and locks, and bars over windows.
"Imagine a world where there are no more prisons - where there's no more violence.
"Imagine a world where men and women [are] married in holiness and godliness, and women were not being used as cheap, exploitive [sic], devices to satisfy the lust of men. And imagine a world where there was no more perversion, and homosexuality, and lesbianism, but men and women functioned as God made them, where they brought up their children together in love, where there was no more divorce, and where little children knew who their mothers and fathers were.
"Imagine a world where the Word of God was honored and people said, 'This is the answer to life's problems.' Hallelujah!
"And Imagine a world where those who brought that book, and those who had the message of Jesus, were the honored representatives of society where men and women said, 'Welcome into our community; you have come with the Word of God.'
"Now you say, 'That sounds like the Millennium.' Well maybe some of it does, but some of it we're going to see." (16)
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:
"George Gallup discovered that something happened in America about four or five years ago. Because we said, 'We want you to go back and survey people and find out the difference of their attitudes today versus 1979 about religious matters.'
"George Gallup went to the campuses of America. He surveyed with extremely accurate testing methods the attitudes of college students on the campuses of America. Fifty percent of those on the college campuses said, 'We are more religious today than we were five years ago.'
"Of the general population, sixty percent of the people in America said, 'We are more willing to accept religious solutions to life than we were five years ago; we are more religiously inclined than we were five years ago; we are looking for answers from God more than we were five years ago; we are turning away from science, from humanism, from materialism, and we're saying, 'God, you've got to have an answer'."
"Now that's what America told Gallup and he in turn told us. Now what does that mean? Well what it means is we are on the verge of one of the greatest spiritual explosions in the United States that this world has ever known. That's what it means. "It means that millions and millions of people are open to Jesus Christ." (17)
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:
"At the end of September we're going to start perhaps the biggest advertising blitz for this particular product that's ever been put behind any book in history. And we've even got guys like Bubba Smith to stand there and say, 'I read 'The Book'!'...And Donna Summers, and a couple of the stars from 'Dallas,' and one of them from 'Dynasty,' and all these are going to say, 'We read 'The Book'!' "And reading the Bible, in America, may get to be one of the most 'in,' important things people do."(19)
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:
"Somebody has got to sew some tents together, and sew some nets together, and get the literature together, and all the things that are needed to handle 400 million to a billion souls that are going to be saved in the next few years! I mean, it's a staggering task and God's going to give it to us! Someone has got to train the future leaders of this world, because God is going to put us in positions of responsibility.
"Let me ask you this question: Assume that the Lord took away from the governments of this city, this state, other states, the nation, all the ungodly and the sinners. Assume they were just taken away. What would happen then if He said to His people, 'Go in; it's yours'? "I don't know how to run a sewage system - do you? How do you run these things? What do you do with a tax policy? What's the foreign policy of the United States, or of a state? How do you handle the various taxes and imports and duties? How do you run the various social welfare and social service operations? What about the welfare of great numbers of people? What about the major educational programs? "And you could go on, and on, and on, and on. God's people have got to be ready for what He's going to do. It's one thing to sit here and say, 'Hallelujah! There's going to be a revival!' But what are you going to do when it comes?
"...There has to be preparation; there has got to be training. There has to be a teacher corps ready to train young converts in the Lord. If you want to concentrate on something while your're here, concentrate on the plan you're going to have for the next five years. What's going to happen when all these things that we talk about take place? We will see them happen!" (20)
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:
"...Now what do you do? What do I do? What do all of us do? We get ready to take dominion! We get ready to take dominion! It is all going to be ours - I'm talking about all of it. Everything that you would say is a good part of the secular world. Every means of communication, the news, the television, the radio, the cinema, the arts, the government, the finance - it's going to be ours! God's going to give it to His people. We should prepare to reign and rule with Jesus Christ." (21)
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,
"Pat Robertson was so concerned that his evangelist peers might think that he had switched to Chilton's version of postmillennialism that he wrote a personal letter to many of them (including one to me) in the summer of 1986 that stated that he had not adopted Chilton's theology. He mentioned 'Paradise Restored' specifically. Then he outlined his own views, in which, as a premillennialist, he somehow completely neglected to mention the Great Tribulation. That a doctrine so crucial to premillennial dispensationalism as the Great Tribulation could disappear from his theology indicates the effect that Chilton (or someone) has had on his thinking....
"...The change in Pat Robertson's thinking (and the thinking of many premillennialists) had begun several years before 'Paradise Restored' appeared. Rev. Jimmy Swaggart begins a highly critical article against 'kingdom now' theology, including Pat Robertson's version, with a lengthy excerpt from a speech given by Rev. Robertson on Robert Tilton's Satellite Network Seminar on December 9-12, 1984. This was several months before I handed Rev. Robertson a copy of 'Paradise Restored,' and about a month before the first edition of the book was published. He had already made the switch away from traditional dispensationalism."22 "Pat Robertson has presented a message so completely postmillennial in its tone that it is difficult to understand why he continues to insist that he is still a premillennialist. I have never seen a public pronouncement of any postmillennialist that is more detailed in its description of a coming era of external blessings. I know of none who thinks it is coming in the next few years, but Pat Robertson did, in late 1984." (23)
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.
"Wherefore remember, that ye being time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
"That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
"For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
"Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
"And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
"And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
"For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
"And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
"In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
"In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through The Spirit" (Ephesians 2:11-22).
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.
"That's what we're doing as the five-fold ministry - the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers - is equipping the saints, maturing the Body of Christ. But see, even that frightens us because we say we've got pastors, we've got evangelists - we talk about apostles and prophets, we get afraid. And yet they've got to come back with authority and power.
"Ephesians 2:20 says the Church is built not on Jesus (a lot of folk don't know that), but it's built on the apostles and prophets, and Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone. He's the cornerstone, but the apostles and the ministry of the prophets is [sic] the foundation.
"What God is doing today is raising up prophets. I don't have any doubt in my mind that Oral Roberts is a prophet to the Church to bring us back to the healings. "Many of them - Branham and many others - I believe that the Hagins and the Copelands, we have varying doctrines here, but I believe they brought us back to understanding the power in God's Word. They were apostles toward that. I believe there are other apostles and prophets God is raising up." (24)
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.
"THE FOURTH ISSUE AT STAKE IS THE TRUE UNITY WITHIN THE BODY OF CHRIST. To build upon anything less than the true Rock, the only lasting foundation, would be only to see the entire building fall. Paul made it clear that the Cornerstone had been 'rejected by the builders.' The only solution was to bring forth new builders - whom Paul defined as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers - to build up a people fitly joined together whose head is Jesus Christ Himself. We are further given the warnings as to how we build on this foundation. To talk of unity without truth is to build with wood, hay and stubble (I Corithians 3)." (25) [Emphasis Paulk's.]
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.
(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:
"...Who is the foundation? The apostles and prophets. Is Jesus Christ the foundation? No. He is the foundation of all things, but literally, to the church, He is the cornerstone, and upon Him come the foundation of the apostles and prophets to put the foundation of all doctrine, of all revelation, of all experience, of all truth, of all anointing, of all authority, of all power, not only upon, but under all the people of God." (26)
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:
"...The whole purpose of the foundational ministry, and especially the foundational ministry, is to equip you in a very private, particular way to inform, to undergird, to strengthen, to encourage, to qualify, to create the will of God for your life. Can you imagine how the body of Christ is still in the baby infancy stage, because they have really denied the foundation that is to their lives, and if they deny the foundation of their life, there is no way that the foundation can be built within them." (27)
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.
"...And so we are going to have to be willing to let our mind be changed by the Holy Spirit in the way that we think and the way we under- stand. He did promise that 'albeit when He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all truth.' In 2,000 years no one has ever been guided into all truth. Why? The only thing I can think of - and I don't know everything yet because I haven't yet become glorified, but I believe that God is now beginning to remove the seals from the secrets that have been hid from the foundation of the world. I believe that He is now going to begin to reveal unto the holy apostles and prophets the foundation of the kingdom that will unfold the truths of God to His people so that they can literally become the very divine substance of Jesus Christ in their spirit, soul, heart, mind, and body." (28)
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?
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
"Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
"Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth" (Romans 8:29-33). "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
"But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou has learned them;
"And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
"That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (II Timothy 3:13-17).
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,
"...You therefore shall be complete, even as your heavenly Father is complete. How do you suppose that is going to be done? It's going to be done by holy apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers who become the experience themselves, who equip you with the experience that they have, who give you the rules, the laws, the ways, and the how-tos to literally cooperate with God's Holy Spirit so that it again can be performed." (29)
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:
"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 fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power" (Colossians 2:8-10).
How are we to recognize who the apostles and prophets are? Cronquist says our hearts will know:
"The knowledge of a person as a prophet or apostle of God must be a heart revelation....I could come to you and tell you that I am an apostle, but that doesn't mean a thing. Someone else could tell you they are an apostle; that doesn't mean a thing, but I will only be an apostle to you when you have heard from God's Holy Spirit that I am an apostle of God, and if you believe I am a false prophet, to you I would be a false prophet whether I am or not. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." (30)
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
Ken Copeland* - Secretary
Jack Hayford* - Vice Chmn.
Billy Joe Daugherty* - Treas.
Paul Yonggi Cho - International Honorary Chairman
Charles Green - Executive Committee Member
Marilyn Hickey* - Executive Committee Member
Karl Strader* - Executive Committee Member Trustees:
Paul E. Paino
Kenneth Hagin, Sr.*
James N. Haynes
James E.'Johnny' Johnson
*Founding Trustees (31)
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 question- able 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:
- God will supernaturally strike dead those who oppose His apostles and prophets;
- God will send, or allow satanic forces to send, plagues upon those opposers;
- The Church (or certain "overcomers") will pronounce God's judgment upon their enemies, thus moving God to destroy them;
- The Church will, out of "necessity," use physical force by which it will judge, sentence, and execute penalties (including death) upon the opposers;
- All or any combination of the above may take place. According to some dominion teachers, in order to effect this purging of the earth the overcomers must attain immortalization, thus becoming immune to any physical resistance to their program. Becoming immortal, and thus impervious to death and injury, will result from having attained spiritual perfection through obedience to the apostles and prophets. We will deal with the teachings on immortalization in the next chapter. The subject matter at hand is the purging by the overcomers of not only the earth, but of the Church as well.
(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)
"The man-child group of the sons of God will be required 'to rule all nations with a rod of iron' (Revelation 12:5). To those not accepting this invitation into the Holy Ghost Light of fire, there is but one alternative: the opposite to light is DARKNESS. The Light of Life will be to them a blinding and consuming fire of destruction!" (34)
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
"...Jesus cannot, will not return, until there literally exists this kind of church, body of Christ. This Church (remnant) is to be...executing deliverance and judgment, in all authority and power, to all the people of the earth, first to and in the Church, then to all the nations of the earth."36
"...The kingdom of God is now ready to appear, now ready to be literally established in all its fullness within the earth. The first-fruits people will be counted worthy to escape the things that are to come to pass upon the earth. They will have absolute immunity to destruction and death in any form. Even vengeance and wrath which is about to come, will not touch them, but they themselves will be the execution of this vengeance and wrath."37
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:
"Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
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:
"The book of Revelation makes it clear that John wrote his letters to the angels of the Church. Who are the angels that God will use? they are ministers called by God to boldly proclaim the Word of God. They will sound the trumpet. One should never separate prophecy of the New Testament from prophetic Old Testament scriptures. The trumpet sounded in the Old Testament as a warning. Today the trumpet sounds from the angels of the Church, God's ministers who cry out, 'It is harvest time!' Witnesses to God's power will shine as never before. God will gather righteous people together to raise up a witness of Jesus Christ and judge the kingdoms of this world." (38)
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.
(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.
"Most people do not realize why there is going to be the great tribulation at the end of this age. Let me see if I can help you understand. If Christ came back tomorrow morning to rule and reign on the earth for a thousand years of peace and joy, what is the first thing He would have to do? He would have to get rid of all government buildings and employees, because He is going to be the government. He would have to get rid of all armies, weapons and factories that build weapons, because there is not going to be any war while He is here on the earth during the millennium. He would have to get rid of the people who do gross evil on the earth, such as dope pushers and murderers....
"This would be a messy way to begin a thousand-year reign of peace and joy. Thus, the period of the great tribulation is when God gets rid of all governments, all armies, all grossly evil people, and geologically plows up the earth, so that it is a renewed, refreshed earth, ready for Jesus Christ to come back to rule and reign for a thousand years....
"When the children of Israel went into the promised land, God could have caused all the evil inhabitants of the land to disappear. However, that is not God's pattern. He uses His people as an army when He wants to get rid of evil people....
"People ask me if I am afraid to go through the tribulation or if thinking about it makes me gloomy or sad. The exact opposite is true. I am excited about going through the tribulation, as a bondslave of God. I am excited about getting His seal on my forehead and being protected against Satan, because we know that the victory is ours in Jesus Christ." (39)
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.]
"Jesus Christ Himself overcame death individually, and WHEN THE CHURCH BECOMES SO CONFORMED TO HIS IMAGE THAT THOSE WHO DIE DO NOT PASS THROUGH THE GRAVE, BUT BECOME INSTEAD GLORIOUSLY CHANGED IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE, IT WILL BE THAT CHURCH WHICH WILL BRING THE KINGDOM OF GOD TO PASS ON THE EARTH. [Paulk then quotes Romans 8:18,22-23, and Ephesians 1:13-14.] "We have received the earnest of the EXPECTATION through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but we must move on to the POSSESSION, which is overcoming the last enemy, death. Sometimes the interpretation has been made that Jesus Christ conquered death, but if that were so, why would Paul's epistle to the Corinthians, written at least ninety years later, say that the last enemy that SHALL be destroyed is death (I Corinthians 15:26)? JESUS CHRIST CONQUERED DEATH INDIVIDUALLY, BUT IT IS LEFT TO THE CHURCH TO CONQUER DEATH ON A CORPORATE BASIS..
"Is it possible that there will be a people who so possess the authority of Almighty God, as Elijah did, that they, as a group, will say to death, hell, and the spirit of Satan, 'We will NOT die. We will stay here and be changed, and we will call Jesus Christ to return to this earth as King of Kings and Lords of Lords'? Yes, that is what I believe the church must do! But it will not be easy, because GOD IS LOOKING FOR THE MANIFESTATION OF A MATURE CHURCH WHO CAN SPEAK WITH THE AUTHORITY JESUS HAD WHEN HE STILLED THE WINDS AND CALLED LAZARUS FORTH FROM THE GRAVE. "An exciting prospect? Oh, yes! We are God's people, called to do the will of God in the world today and to see the King of Glory return to establish His Kingdom on earth! Jesus Christ had the authority to say 'No' to death on earth, and He is waiting for us to come to that same authority He had so we can say, 'The last enemy - death - has been conquered!' [Paulk then quotes I Corinthians 15:20-26.] "Jesus Christ, as the firstfruit of the Kingdom, began the work of conquering death on an individual basis, but we, as His church will be the ones to complete the task. Jesus said (Matthew 28:18), 'All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,' and the church today has that same power. Death will not be conquered by Jesus returning to the earth. It will be conquered when the church stands up boldly and says, 'We have dominion over the earth!' How else will God be able to show Satan a people for whom death holds no fear, over whom death no longer has any power? When God can do that, Satan's hold on us will be broken forever!" (40)
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).
(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)
(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.
"...The accusers said to Jesus, 'We have Moses as our father, and Moses said, Thou shalt not commit adultery.' Jesus replied, 'I believe that too, but let me carry you to a heavenly dimension. If you don't lust in your heart you cannot commit adultery.' They said, 'The law says, Thou shalt not kill,' and Jesus replied, 'I believe that too, but let me speak to your heart. If you don't hate first, there is no possibility of murder.' How wise Jesus was!" (43)
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.
- "Harvest Time" (Atlanta: Chapel Hill Harvester Church, December, 1984), p.15.
- Earl Paulk, 'Held In The Heavens Until...' (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, 1985), p.234.
- Ibid., p.235.
- Earl Paulk, 'Thrust in the Sickle and Reap' (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, 1986), p.73.
- Earl Paulk, 'Form With Power' (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, undated), p.5.
- Ibid., p.4.
- Earl Paulk, 'The Great Escape Theory' (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, undated), p.14.
- Gary North, 'Unholy Spirits' (Fort Worth: Dominion Press, 1986), p.394.
- Gary North, 'Paradise Restored' (Fort Worth: Dominion Press, 1985), p.339.
- Ibid., p.331.
- David Chilton, 'Paradise Restored,' p.12.
- Ibid., p.213.
- Ibid., p.214.
- Ibid., p.10.
- Ibid., p.53.
- Pat Robertson, speech at Dallas '84, Maranatha Campus Ministries convention.
- Orange County 'Register.'
- Pat Robertson, speech at Dallas '84.
- Gary North, 'Paradise Restored,' p.328.
- Ibid., p.329.
- Earl Paulk, guest appearance on "Praise The Lord," Trinity Broadcasting Network, March 4, 1986.
- Earl Paulk, 'The Betrothed' (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, 1985), p.7.
- Royal Cronquist, "Your Daily Cross Is Giving Up The Throne Of Self" (Spokane, WA: Love Ministries), p.3.
- Ibid., p.4.
- Ibid., p.7.
- Ibid., p.6.
- Ibid., p.4.
- Ad for Charismatic Bible Ministries, "Charisma," May, 1987, p.53.
- Franklin Hall, "Subdue The Earth, Rule The Nations" (Phoenix, AZ: Franklin Hall Ministries, 1966), p.10.
- Ibid., p.11.
- Ibid., p.57.
- Royal Cronquist, p.4.
- Royal Cronquist, "Why the Feast of Tabernacles?", (Spokane, WA: Love Ministries Newsletter, August, 1984).
- Earl Paulk, "Thrust in the Sickle and Reap" (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, 1986), p.103,104.
- James McKeever, "When Is The Rapture?", 'End-Times News Digest,' Special Introductory Issue (Medford, OR: Omega Ministries, 1985), p.8.
- Earl Paulk, "The Proper Function of the Church" (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, undated), p.13.
- Dean Gross, "Melchisedec Order Decree" (Chattanooga, TN: Word by Word Association).
- Sam Fife, "One Corporate Man" (Miami: The Body of Christ), p.22.
- Earl Paulk, "Harvest Time," July, 1984.
© 1995-2013 Tricia Tillin of Banner Ministries. All rights reserved. Cross+Word Website: http://www.banner.org.uk/ This document is the property of its author and is not to be displayed on other websites, redistributed, sold, reprinted, or reproduced in printed in any other format without permission. Websites may link to this article, if they provide proper title and author information. One copy may be downloaded, stored and/or printed for personal research. All spelling and phraseology is UK English.