The Dangers of Dominionism
On January 5, 2021, I was sent a clip of a very well known Charismatic leader from the rally in Washington. This was the day before the storming of the Capitol. I know this leader and have always respected him. He oversees one of the largest networks in the world.
In his very passionate speech, one sentence jumped out at me, raising red flags.
“We will rule and reign through Donald Trump, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”
I did a double-take. I had that confused dog look. “Rule and reign through Donald Trump…” What? But “under Jesus?”… Huh? The Bible does speak of us reigning with Yeshua, “They came to life and reigned with Messiah a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4), but there is nothing about politicians being the medium.
This is what we call extreme Dominion Theology. It is a theological and/or Christian political movement that believes Christians are called to take over the world’s institutions and govern them by biblical law (what theologians call a theonomy—from theos-God and nomos-law). I have never been a dominionist, but neither had I ever seen it as dangerous…until now.
Views on Messiah’s 1000-year reign
Before I share my concerns about how dominionism was applied in this past election, allow me to share some background. There are three primary views about the Millennium—the 1,000-year reign of Yeshua, spoken of in Revelation 20.
Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. Over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Messiah, and they will reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 2-:6)
Amillennialism: The thousand-year reign is not literal and began after Yeshua rose from the dead. During this time, the church will be salt and light, but not to the extent of completely transforming or redeeming society. The world will grow darker leading to a Great Tribulation and the Antichrist. Jesus will return and there will be the final judgment. At that point, God’s eternal reign begins with the establishment of the new heavens and new earth and, of course, the New Jerusalem. They do not believe in a rapture.
Premillennialism: Yeshua returns at the end of the Great Tribulation and sets up His millennial kingdom. He defeats the Antichrist and those who have attacked natural Israel and persecuted His congregation. Both those who believe in a pre-tribulation and post-tribulation rapture adhere to this. I am a post-tribulation, premillennialist.
Postmillennialism: The empowered church eventually achieves such success in making disciples that the world comes to faith and ushers in the Millennium, a golden age of peace. Some teach that everyone becomes a believer and others teach it is just a large majority. Governments are ruled by the godly and legislation promotes godliness. There is no rapture and certainly no great tribulation, since everyone or almost everyone is saved. The Second Coming occurs after the Millennium.
It was out of post-millennialism that this extreme form of Dominionism was birthed. It viewed Donald Trump’s success in light of eschatology (the study of the end-times). Many saw him as a very important piece in God’s puzzle, to bring about a theonomy in America.
In their mind, despite his character flaws, God was using him to promote godly values and policies. He was very pro-life. He saw not only the three conservative Supreme Court Justices installed, but also over 300 conservative judges confirmed to the federal bench. He favored Israel. If reelected, it would lead to revival and Christians taking over the “mountain” of government. But he did not win. They reasoned:
His defeat was because humans messed up and it is a setback to the coming theonomy.
The failure of the prophecies was because people didn’t play their roles. (Of course, these prophecies were never presented as conditional on human obedience.)
So, God will come up with a new plan for re-Christianizing America leading to the golden age of peace.
You noticed I used the term mountain. This comes from a popular teaching called the Seven Mountains. I used to think that this teaching was merely about influencing people in all seven cultural mountains—media, government, education, economy, religion, family and celebration/arts. I thought those pushing the seven mountains teaching wanted to see believers reaching people of influence. Over time, I began to understand that many feel God has called the church to take over all these arenas of influence. As Randy Clark recently said, “The seven mountains mandate is moving to the top to gain control.” His version, to which I subsribe, is serving from the bottom to win people.
The author of the book, “The Seven Mountains Prophecy” continued to prophesy, right up until the time that Joe Biden was inaugurated, that God would prevail (and give Trump four more years) saying, “A hammer of justice is about to come down.” However, it did not.
But there is no acknowledgement of any false prophecy. Just explanations and more prophecies. The way they treat prophecy, with little fear and trembling, it doesn’t have any more value than someone’s opinion. Certainly, we do not see any prophets in the Bible who operate that way.
Bad Theology Leads to Flawed Prophecy
You see, your theology will influence your prophecy. Therefore, bad theology will lead to erroneous prophecy. Why? Because your view of God (theology is the study of God) is tainted by wrong theological concepts. Only to the extent that we “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) can we truly understand all of God that is revealed in Scripture. On the one hand, if your view of God is constructed through man-made philosophies of what you think He wants, it will lead to deception. If you believe that the mandate of the Church is to rule politically over the nations before Jesus returns, then you are going to receive false prophecies about that.
Progression in Revelation
These folks see Revelation 11:15, which says “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and He will reign for ever and ever,” as happening long before Jesus comes back leading to the Millennium, and that you and I have a role in taking over the world for Jesus. Of course this is impossible since Jesus said that His “kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36) and Paul wrote, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”
The traditional view of this verse, to which I subscribe, is that this comes at the very end of the Great Tribulation and Heaven is announcing the end of Satan’s reign on earth, as well as both the Millennial kingdom of Jesus and the eternal kingdom which follows.
But somehow, the dominionist separates this verse from the preceding passage about the two witnesses prophesying at the second half of the Great Tribulation. In addition, the clear progression of the last few chapters of Revelation is:
Saints in heaven rejoice as “the bride has made herself ready” (19)
Jesus returns (19)
Judgment on God’s enemies (19 and 20)
Thousand-year reign (20)
Satan is judged (20)
White Throne Judgment (20)
Inauguration of eternal kingdom (New heavens and new earth) (21 and 22)
A Christian Coup?
You see, Dominionism teaches that it is through legal means, as opposed to Holy Spirit persuasion or charisms, after believers conquer the mountian of government, that we will force the nation(s) to submit. This goes against historic postmillennialism, which emphasized revival, not politics, as the means of winning the world. It might be shocking for most of my pre-tribulation friends but in the 19th century, postmillennialism was the premiere view of eschatology in the U.S. church. But it was not this radical view that is mixing with political personalities as a means of ruling the country (world!).
It would be one thing if they were teaching that before Yeshua returns, we would be so successful in preaching Jesus in a spirit of revival that the majority of humans come to faith. I can get behind that (even though it is an over-realization of end-time prophecy in my opinion, but it is not bordering on heresy). The version they preach was described recently by my friend, Dr. Mark Chironna, as “the extreme view of that, by way of the law, we are going to conquer everybody else and make them submit to the law of God—and that is going to be the golden age prior to the coming of the Lord.” He warned that this was not sound teaching.
Again, I never saw Dominion theology as dangerous before. It was just something that I did not agree with. But what I have seen over the past few months is a postmillennial dominionist view that prophetically identified Donald Trump as part of God’s plan to re-Christianize America and politically take over this country. They thought, through Trump, we would legislate a godly agenda. I, too, want to see the nation repent. But that will not happen by force. You can try to legislate morality, which we do every day—and it works to a certain degree—or you can change hearts through the power of the proclamation of Yeshua’s gospel.
To be clear, I do not see post millennialism as heretical. I see this version of it—hyper- dominionism whereby, we take over the world as political rulers for God—as very unsettling and dangerous. The great commission is to preach Yeshua to the nations, not take them over.