I would like to introduce this section with two quotes from a man that
preached a similar type theology. The quotes will set the stage for our
"He [Christ] could have come back five hundred years ago. If we evangelize
the world in this generation, He can come back in this generation. Everything
depends on our obedience. We can hasten His coming by giving His Gospel
to every tribe, tongue, people and nation."
"When the last nation gets the Gospel and there are some in the body
of Christ from every nation, tongue and people, then, and then only, will
God's plan be consummated. Only then can the Age end and Jesus Christ return
to take over the reins of government." (Smith, Oswald J., "THE CRY OF THE
WORLD"; London: Marshal, Morgan and Scott, no copyright)
You can see clearly from this that the Church, and the Church's efforts
will bring about the return of Christ. Christ must wait upon us to do our
job. He cannot return until we allow it. Now, I trust that you have seen
the error of that already. How can we control Almighty God? We cannot!
Variations of this thought have come to us in a number of different
groups, theologies and belief systems. Some that we will look at briefly
are: Kingdom Theology, Dominion Theology, Reconstruction theology, Theonomy,
Restorationism, Restitutionism, Third Wave, Latter Rain, and Kingdom Now.
Gary North divides the theological peoples of our day into two categories.
The eschatological pessimists and the eschatological optimists. Simply
put the pessimists see gloom and doom, and the optimists see vivaciousness
and victory. The pessimist views the world situation and Biblical end times
as declining until the Lord comes. These people are the dispensationalists.
The optimist views the world scene as getting better and better until
the Lord comes. The world getting better comes from the activities of the
believers. Those holding this are usually linked in some manner with Post
Most agree that many of these people have simply adopted the old Postmillennialism
and tacked on a new name with some new trimmings. DeMar does not seem to
reject the title Postmillennialist when used of him. ("THE REDUCTION OF
CHRISTIANITY A BIBLICAL RESPONSE TO DAVE HUNT"; Gary DeMar and Peter Leithard;
Dominion Press; Ft Worth; 1988, p XXXV) He quotes Isa 11 9-10 as something
that relates to what believers can do today. (in Reduction, p X) "They
shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall
be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And
in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign
of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious."
To prove their teachings they state that Satan has developed counterfeits.
Because their teachings follow closely the teachings of cults and isms,
they state that their teachings are the true ones that the cults and isms
are counterfeiting. Their teaching has been compared by some to the New
Age movement. The New Agers believe that the true Christ is coming shortly,
as soon as they can get the earth ready for him. The Kingdom Theology simply
are looking for Christ's second coming when they can get the world cleaned
The following points are a compilation of information gleaned from the
following books: "THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW" Pollock; "SEDUCTION THE BIBLICAL
RESPONSE"; "PARADISE RESTORED", Chilton.
1. They view man as God: We can become god and create our own destiny.
This is based on several things. First, they believe the church is divine
- we are the body of Christ. This is the misuse of literal interpretation!
We are not the literal hands, feet etc. of Christ - we are a body of people
that belong to Christ and a body that Christ controls. The Scripture nowhere
indicates that we are divine beings, nor that the church is divine. Relate
the church at Corinth to this teaching. If the church is divine then we
have divinity involved in immorality and many other sins. Intolerable!
Their thinking stems from Eph 4:11-16 and Matt. 5:48. They mistake maturing
with becoming divine and perfect. We cannot in this life become perfect.
We may become more mature and more pure, but never perfect. We may not
in any life become divine. God alone is divine and He alone in all of eternity
will be divine.
2. They view the church as taking dominion over the world before Christ
returns: The Corinthians text is speaking of activities of the Lord in
the end and have nothing to do with what the church is going to do. This
is the context of the resurrections, not the church age. The Ephesians
text is also speaking of the Lord and not the church. Verse twenty two
and three mention that Christ is head over the church, but does not show
that the church did all that is in the preceding text.
Even the lost understand the program. In the 1992 presidential campaign
one of the "religious right" was introduced by a newsman as one that believes
that the Christians should take over government and set up a theocracy
in the United States. This is what they want to do.
I dislike being lumped in with them by the media as part of the religious
right. It seems the media takes the most controversial of a group and label
all others that are related to that one controversial belief. The media
related all of evangelical Christianity to the religious right that wants
a theocracy. I personally believe that only the Charismatic end of the
spectrum wants the theocracy yet evangelicals, fundamentalists etc. are
lumped with them.
3. All believers will become rich: Prov. 13:22 "...wealth of the sinner
is laid up for the just." They teach that the riches of the world will
come to the church and this will assist in taking dominion of the world.
This is the prosperity teaching of today. This concept is teaching that
all believers should be rich and have all that they ask for.
My brother attended one of these churches in Washington. The pastor
and his wife (both pastors in the church) both drove Mercedes and the ushers
took up the offering in five gallon plastic buckets. If the offering wasn't
enough, they would pass the buckets again.
4. The Church will evangelize the world, then Christ can return: Rev.
7:9 "After this I beheld and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could
number, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues," This text
simply states that there will be believers from all nations etc. in heaven.
It does not state that the church must accomplish this before the Lord
returns. The how of this is up to God, not man.
One final thought in refuting their thinking. Lu 18:8 seems to show
that the righteous may not be in the majority when He comes. "Nevertheless,
when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" The teaching
that we are studying requires that the believers overtake the world, not
as this verse indicates dwindle to the point that it is questioned whether
there will be faithful or not when the Lord returns.
SOME OF THE PLAYERS
I would like to list some of the different groups that I have run across
and comment on their teaching. Some of the groups, I have found no information
on so comments will be limited.
LATTER RAIN: A revival broke out in 1948 in North Battleford, Saskatchewan,
Canada. This was likened to the outpouring of the spirit upon those at
the Azuza street church when the modern Charismatic Movement was born.
(The Azuza street meetings were the foundation of the modern Charismatic
movement. People were gathered and they were involved in an outpouring
of the Spirit and speaking in tongues.)
Out of this revival came revelations that told the leaders that the
church had completely misunderstood the great commission and the end times
scriptures. This group later gave way to the Manifest Sons Of God.
MANIFEST SONS OF GOD: They were a pentecostal group in the 40's and
50's. They preached a victorious gospel. Involved in their thinking was
the beginnings of the Prosperity theology.
They felt that they could come to a point where they could think as
God thinks, and operate at the same level of faith as God operates. If
the above is true then you will have all that you want and lack nothing.
They feel by the use of prosperity and bringing people to righteousness
we will bring in the kingdom.
They are not reconstructionists as such. They felt that they could Christianize
through prosperity, rather than reforming society and government.
Their new revelations were viewed as equal to, if not above the Scriptures.
KINGDOM NOW: Earl Paulk is the leader and has appeared on the PTL club
(Jim Bakker's show). His church is the Kingdom Church. He has been appointed
a Bishop by a group of Charismatic churches.
He mentioned in a newsletter called "The Omega Letter" that God wants
Christians to be the vehicle by which all kingdoms of the world are brought
to be the kingdoms of God. He called for the establishment of the Kingdom
Of God now in this time.
He mentioned that Christians would begin taking public office in all
levels of government. I might mention that this is a great idea, in that
we as believers ought to be involved in our government. Indeed, we might
be useful in helping turn this country around spiritually. I would disagree
that God wants us to set up the kingdom and create a theocracy, however.
COALITIONS ON MORALITY: A gathering of very dissimilar groups for a
common cause, such as abortion. One such group is CAUSA which was set up
by Sun Myung Moon (Unification Church).
We have seen fundamental Christians beginning to work with Roman Catholics
against abortion even though they have very dissimilar backgrounds.
THEONOMY: DeMar seems to tie theonomy and reconstructionism together
in that he uses men from both to back up one of his statements in a footnote.
("THE REDUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY A BIBLICAL RESPONSE TO DAVE HUNT"; Gary
DeMar and Peter Leithard; Dominion Press; Ft Worth; 1988, p 31-32)
I would like to just adapt some information from an article in Bib Sac.
The article was written by Robert P. Lightner. (Jan-Mar 1986)
WHO: Lightner mentions that they are from the covenant-Reformed, Westminster
tradition. (P 26)
WHAT: They hold to the postmillennial position and preach that the Mosaic
law is for our day. (p 26)
DEFINED: Theonomy comes from two Greek words. One meaning God and one
AIM: Basically they want to set up the theocracy that we have already
mentioned. They want to institute the Mosaic law as the civil/religious
law of the land. They feel that the Church should impose the religious
upon all of society. Sounds like the Roman Church in Europe some centuries
ago. (p 29)
PESSIMISTS: That's the good guys. Everything is getting worse until
the end times when it will be the worst and Christ will come to restore
the heavens and earth to the glories of God.
A listing of DISPENSATIONAL PREMILLENNIALISTS might be in order. D.L.
Moody, C.I. Scofield, Alva McClain, Herman Hoyt, Charles Ryrie, Dwight
Pentecost, Hal Lindsey, H.A. Ironside, John Walvoord, and many many others.
DeMar includes Jimmy Swagart and David Wilkerson in this camp as well.
Some of the writings of Jimmy Swagart indicate that he may be in this camp
even though he would disagree in other areas. I have not read nor checked
out David Wilkerson.
DOMINION THEOLOGY: DeMar suggests that Christ has a dominion. He is
King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Believers are co-heirs with Him so they
should also have dominion with Him. This dominion is a bit premature and
possibly overstated. The Scripture is plain that we will reign with Him
and be with Him in the kingdom and eternity, however there is no indication
that this ruling will occur before He comes to set up His kingdom.
They feel that as the world sees the believer living within His dominion
they will see what the believer is like and the world will begin to change
and improve, not by oppression, but by service to mankind. I THINK MOST
WOULD AGREE THAT THE BELIEVER LIVING LIKE HE SHOULD WOULD HAVE A TREMENDOUS
EFFECT ON HIS WORLD.
Adam was given dominion in the garden, but blew it when he fell. All
now is a work to restore dominion. The believer is to work toward restoring
dominion to man in every area of life and they do this through Christ.
This by the way is part of the reason that Charismatics believe that women
should pastor and preach. They are attempting to get the world back to
the pre-fall days when Eve was EQUAL to Adam.
Chilton uses a quote by Spurgeon on the back of his book. (Chilton,
David; "PARADISE RESTORED"; Ft. Worth: Dominion Press)
"'It would be easy to show that at our present rate of progress the
kingdoms of his world never could become the kingdom of our Lord and of
His Christ. Indeed, many in the Church are giving up the idea of it except
on the occasion of the advent of Christ, which, as it chimes in with our
own idleness, is likely to be a popular doctrine. I myself believe that
King Jesus will reign, and the idols be utterly abolished; but I expect
the same power which turned the world upside down once will still continue
to do it. The Holy Ghost would never suffer the imputation to rest upon
His holy name that He was not able to convert the world.'"
I've attempted to locate this quote but have not been able to at this point.
I'm not sure that Spurgeon meant what the Dominionist means, but there
is a lot of truth in what he said. We would agree that at the present rate
the world cannot merge into the kingdom as a righteous body of believers.
We would agree that the Holy Spirit could transform the world into a Christian
world, however this does not mean that He is going to do it to bring in
He also quotes other big names and indicates that they were in agreement
with his thinking. A study of each man's belief systems would be required
to prove that they indeed, were in agreement with Mr. Chilton. He quotes
John Milton, St. Athanasius, and others.
They suggest that man in salvation is resotred to his original state
which assures that he will fulfill his calling and purpose. (Chilton, David;
"PARADISE RESTORED"; Ft. Worth: Dominion Press, p 25)
They see the cross as the final and ultimate judgment on the Devil and
that he is of no problem to the believer today.
He gives a lot of information that is not footnoted and as such very
suspect to me. Example: He mentions that Columbus was not only looking
for a new route to the Indies but that his journal was full of references
from Isaiah that prove that he was interested in expanding the kingdom
to the Indies. This may well be. I might suggest that he was looking to
expand the Roman Church kingdom by seeking riches for the Queen. If fact
the American Indians call him a very greedy person based on his desire
to enrich the Queen. (1992 Columbus day celebrations were hampered because
of demonstrations against Columbus.)
Chilton identifies solidly with the postmillennial position thus identifying
dominionism with reconstructionism.
DeMar, on the other hand, seems to give the reconstructionist the stance
of not using politics as a part of their movement.
Some question where Pat Robertson stands. He seems to feel that reform
through government is right. This was the reasoning behind his running
for president of the United States.
As I see it in my study, the postmillennialist, dominionist, reconstructionist,
are all the same with the Manifest sons of God. I don't know if they would
hold to the "new" revelation of the Manifest sons or not. (The Omega letter
classes Pat Robertson as a reconstructionist.)
KINGDOM THEOLOGY: DeMar suggests that the terms kingdom theology and
dominion theology are used by some interchangeably. The two are very similar
in nature. Kingdom theology is an intellectualization of the dominion theology.
The dominionist has the belief, and is working toward fulfilling that belief,
while the kingdomist is doing all this plus trying to figure out when the
kingdom is. Is it now, is it future, is it real, is it spiritual.
Both seek to gain good in the world by works of the believer.
TRANSFORMATION THEOLOGY: They believe that God is involved in saving
the whole person, body/soul/spirit/social/etc., and that he is doing this
in this life.
This is some information from a paper published by the Fellowship Of
Missions. (The article was "Transformation Theology") "The term 'social
transformation' was lauded as one that could include both the spiritual
and the social aspects of the Church's duty and thereby a wholistic expression
of its mandate."
In speaking of redemption, they don't "'...see the mission of the Church
as the saving of disembodied souls to go to heaven' out there.' Rather,
this statement is based on the premise that God intends to redeem whole
persons...body, mind and soul, and God intends to redeem His creation bringing
into being a new heaven and a new earth.'"
RECONSTRUCTION THEOLOGY: The following are some that I have seen listed
as being in the movement:
R.J. Rushdoony Greg L. Bahnsen
James Jordan Ray Sutton
David Chilton George Grant
Gary DeMar Peter Leithard
Dr. Gary North Abraham Kyuper
American Vision Chalcedon Foundation
Geneva Ministries Institute for Christian Economics
Counsel of Chalcedon
They follow their roots at least back to the Puritans, but some indicate
the current movement finds its beginnings in the 60's. They feel that the
humanistic world order is in error, but that there is a Biblical world
order that is to be brought in by the reconstructionists. The Biblical
world order is founded in the Old Testament, in that the Old Testament
was God's plan for the entire world and not just the faithful. The whole
world is to follow the Old Testament ways to the restoration of the Biblical
world order. This determines that the Church will be victorious over the
world system of the Devil. The Churches victory will come through social
reform or reconstruction.
The Church will not only be victorious over the world order, but over
all of the isms of the day including the New Age movement. It should also
be observed that they are attempting to put down even pessimism - the dispensationalist.
They see the transformation in all areas of life including such things
as Ecology, mandating lower taxes and governmental change. I assume by
governmental change that he has in mind a reconstructionist government.
Can you show me anywhere that the Lord desires of us to take over governments
and set up our own?
DeMar charges that Hunt in "THE SEDUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY", correctly
shoots down the new age movement, but that he offers nothing in place of
it. Reconstructionism, however replaces the error of the new age with the
truth of reconstructionism. My first thought was that both new age and
the reconstructionist feels that by faithful work of their followers they
can bring in a utopia. If I were a reconstructionist I would feel very
uneasy with being identical in goal and method with the new age movement.
They hold to hold that the Old Testament law is for use today. They
seem to follow the philosophy and thinking of VanTil, however I don't think
that VanTil was a reconstructionist. They view the entire world as ultimately
coming under the authority of the Lord through their efforts.
Kuyper held that Calvinism related to every area of life and this led
to the thought system of VanTil. Though they follow VanTil and Kuyper they
differ in that VanTil did not hold to their thinking and Kuyper was an
Amillennialist. He did not see the church as being ultimately victorious.
There are a couple of articles concerning this topic that might be of
interest. Christianity Today, Feb. 20, 1987, Democracy as Heresy, Rodney
Clapp. Voice (IFCA's Magazine), July/August (don't know the year), The
Lure Of Reconstructionist Theology, Jarl K. Waggoner.
COALITION ON REVIVAL: This seems to be a coalition of both sides. They
attempt to find common ground on the real meaning of the Kingdom of God.
Gary North R.J. Rushdooney
Bob Weiner Bob Mumford
Ed McAteer R. E. McMaster
Dr. James Kennedy
The following are on the steering committee listed on their letterhead.
Dr. Gleason Archer Ph.D Gary DeMar
Dr. Duane Gish Ph.D. Dr. James Kennedy Ph.D.
Mrs. Beverly LaHaye Dr. Tim LaHaye D.Min.
Dr. Harold Lindsell Ph.D. Rev. David P. Mains
Dr. Josh McDowell D.D. Bob Mumford
Dr. Gary North Ph.D. Dr. Raymond Ortlund D.D.
Dr. J.I. Packer Ph.D. Dr. RJ Rushdooney Ph.D.
Dr. Robert Saucy Th.D. Mr. Franky Schaeffer
Dr. Jack Van Impe Ph.D. Brother Andrew
SOME CONCLUSIONS TO THE END TIMES POSITIONS: To draw the end times positions
to a close, I would like to recap some items that need to be understood
in the multiple views of how God will end His present age.
1. The people we have been discussing are believers for the most part,
if not all of them.
2. We need to treat one another as such, even though we disagree.
3. All are dispensationalists of some sort, even though some of them
deny it. None of them bring sacrifices to the church and most see different
governing relationships between God and man.
4. When you have a new thought introduced to you or a new interpretation,
take time to study that verse or the thought. Check several commentaries.
Try it in relation to other verses you know relate. Check it out. Accept,
reject or hold for further thought. When verses are used, be sure that
you consider the context of the passage. Most of these varying positions
misuse Scripture to arrive at their interpretations.
5. If you don't know if something is true - don't present it in a lesson
or sermon. If you are fairly sure you have the truth and you've checked
your thinking with some knowledgeable men - teach it.
6. The pretrib/premill position is:
The most logical position. If God is trying to communicate with us,
the literal method of interpretation would be the best method for Him to
use. We have seen that this type of interpretation leads to pretrib/premill.
This is the most trouble free position. You have few problem passages
to deal with. All verses that relate to prophecy seem to fit into this
The system presents hope to the Church in that we will not have to go
through the terrible time of tribulation that is coming to the earth. I
might qualify that statement. The position offers more hope than any of
the other systems that believe in a tribulation. Some of the systems just
ignore the fact that there is going to be one. They spiritualize all of
that prophecy and say that we are going through those problems today.
Lastly, what good, what purpose and what result would come from having
the Church go through the tribulation? As I have studied the positions
I have never seen an author that stated a need for, nor a purpose for the
church being in the tribulation.
God seems in all ages to have a plan and a purpose. If there is a no
purpose for the Church in the tribulation, if there is no profit for the
church in the tribulation, then why would God allow the Church to go through
such a horrible time?
Related to this - there is no proof text that says the Church will be
in the tribulation. Indeed, to have the Church present in the tribulation
would be an argument from silence.