DOMINIONISM: THE THEOLOGY OF
TODAY'S ANTIGOVERNMENT MOVEMENT

by: S.R. Shearer

"Dominionism" is a militant post-millennial eschatology ("doctrine of end times") which pictures the seizure of earthly (temporal) power by the church as the only means through which the world can be rescued; only after the world has been thus "rescued" can Christ return to "rule and reign." (Some dominionists see the seizure of the earth as the result of "signs, wonders, and miracles;" others picture it as the result of military and political conquest; most see it as a combination of both.)

Dominionists - whether subtly or otherwise - discount altogether the possibility of a rapture. They have rejected pre-millennialism completely - and in doing so, they have not only rejected the possibility of a pre-tribulational rapture of the church, but also the possibility of a mid-tribulational rapture and a post-tribulational rapture. This is post-millennialism - the historic teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

Al Dager, a recognized expert on the dominionist mindset, writes,

"Some two decades before Pentecostalism found its way into the (mainstream) denominations (i.e., the Episcopalians, the Catholic Church, etc.) as the ‘Charismatic Renewal’, it experienced a new surge of experience-oriented theology within its own ranks. It was from this neo-Pentecostal experience - what came to be called the ‘Latter Rain Movement’ - that Charismatic Dominionism sprang. The more prominent leaders of that movement blended Pentecostal fervor with teachings that the church was on the brink of a worldwide revival. That revival would result in a victorious church without spot or wrinkle ... (which) would inherit the earth and rule over the nations with a rod of iron."

Dager explains that at the core of the dominionist mindset is -

"... a ... premise ... that when Adam sinned, not only did man lose dominion over the earth ... God has been on the outside looking in, searching for a ‘covenant people’ who will be His ‘extension’ or ‘expression’ in the earth to take dominion back from Satan ..." [Dager, Vengeance Is Ours, pgs. 43-44. ]

According to Dager, the basic dominionist model is as follows:

  1. The world is plunged into a time of political and spiritual crisis, one which threatens the world with chaos and the church with destruction.
  2. The Lord brings revival to the church.
  3. This revival results in the end of the church’s divisions and the rule of the "apostles and prophets."
  4. The "Gospel of the Kingdom" is preached to the whole earth which leads to the conversion of Israel, the conquest of the world, and the judgment of those who refuse to convert.
  5. The Lord returns.

Jewel van der Merwe of Discernment Magazine, elaborates; she writes that the "New Charismatics" are actively pushing a belief system which prophesies that -

" ... (1) the greatest revival the church has ever known (is about to occur); (2) the greatest baptism of the Spirit the church has ever experienced (will shortly happen); (3) the greatest army (Joel’s Army) distinguished by invincibility, immortality and divinity (will be raised up); (4) the greatest purging ... in the history of the church (will shortly begin); (5) the greatest ministry - the Prize of all Ages (is about to break forth); and (6) the greatest miracles, supernatural signs and wonders far exceeding that of the Apostles and Prophets of old (will shortly take place)." [Jewel van der Merwe, "Joel’s Army," (Holly, Michigan: Discernment News-letter Publications, pg. 1.]

The dominionist model, however, is at total variance with the older pre-millennial model. The pre-millennial model pictures:

  1. The world is plunged into a time of spiritual and political crisis.
  2. The church is apostatized.
  3. The apostatized church unites with the anti-Christ and seizes con-trol of the world.
  4. A great tribulation breaks out against those Christians who refuse to become a part of the apostatized church, result-ing in their persecution and finally their destruction - after which the anti-Christ, who had at first appeared as the champion of Israel (and the church), turns on Israel (and the "apostate" church) to destroy her (them).
  5. The rapture occurs for those Christians who "remain," (i.e., those who have not been killed off) and Christ returns to bring judgment on those who had destroyed Israel and persecuted those Christians who had refused to be apostatized.

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