Archive for the ‘False Teaching’ Category


For what seems an eternity, one of the ongoing accusations leveled by secularists against Christians and the Church was that Christians kept their heads in the clouds. Believers have been told they have been too heavenly minded to be any earthly good, that they needed to be where the action really was, directing their energies to down-to-earth, pragmatic deeds.

So it is with some astonishment that the faithful see Governor John Carney of Delaware, along with other state governors such as California’s Gavin Newsom, order church leaders and congregants to keep their nonessential heads in the tech cloud. Carney’s recommendation? “Do your best to practice your faith virtually.“

No matter how virtuous or sentimental their motives, the almost complete capitulation of priests and pastors to banishment by government leaders like Carney has been astonishing. Few have meaningfully protested the exile of the Church into the cloud. In fact, nearly all churches voluntarily have closed their sanctuaries and ascended into cyberspace.

The nearly universal retreat into the cloud meant that the Church accepted social distancing more severe than the six feet enforced by grocery stores. It meant church leaders distanced themselves from their congregations altogether, consigning their flocks to a cyber-environment that is COVID-19 free but certainly not free from the virus of political correctness enforced the church of Big Tech minders.

Basically, the Church acceded to a definition of itself as non-essential, thus relegating itself to the status of any other business or institution. By beating a retreat into the cloud, the Church shrank itself into the tech matrix, subjecting itself to the arbitrary touch of a fingertip or click of a mouse, becoming just another one of the gods inhabiting the cloud above Mt. Tech Olympus.

But what is just as important as the ascension of the Church into the cloud is the fact that state governments, now fortified by SCOTUS [Supreme Court of the United States], will expect churches to continue to follow severe restrictions set up during and after the total shutdown. Churches will be expected to follow regulatory requirements for reopening that amount to the equivalent of a “fundamental transformation” of the churches.

Government leaders, now heartened by the swing decision of Chief Justice John Roberts, will continue to commandeer the way church is done by altering the liturgy, the habits, and the ways and means of worship as surely as if an altar devoted to Zeus were placed in the sanctuaries and congregants were forced to bow down and offer incense to the god.

Delaware is but one example of the establishment of the new state churches. As of May 18, Delaware’s governor issued his state church initiatives, including the new liturgical practices conforming to COVID correctness:

Attendance is limited to a maximum of 30% of occupancy.

Social distancing of 6 feet or more is required (except for members of the same household).

The length of the service can be no longer than one hour.

Individuals age 13 and up are required to wear a cloth face covering.

Services are limited to one day per week.

Gathering times must be staggered to permit cleaning before the next service.

Churches are asked to establish a system for staggering the arrival of worshippers.

Older citizens are advised not to attend at all.

When have we seen similar draconian restrictions on the Church? It may help to review the Bolsheviks’ responses to the Orthodox church that formed Russia’s spiritual life from 988 A.D. on.

Robert Conquest, the author of Harvest of Sorrow, relates that Lenin’s letter of November 1913 to Maxim Gorky stated the party position quite flatly:

Every religious idea, every idea of God, is unutterable vileness … of the most dangerous kind, contagion of the most abominable kind. Millions of sins, filthy deeds, acts of violence and physical contagions … are far less dangerous than the subtle, spiritual idea of God decked out in the smartest ideological costumes. Every defense or justification of God, even the most refined, the best intentioned, is a justification of reaction.

In other words, the Russian Orthodox Church itself was considered a pathogen within society. Churches were regarded as ideologically germ-ridden places to be sanitized by correct thinking.

Lenin went on to say it was best to start the eradication of the church by giving “an impression of toleration with control, humiliation of the churches rather than with overt suppression.”

In sum, church activity was to be reduced to the performance of services alone. Russians were to practice their faith by ritual only, much as Governor Carney advises when he suggests Christians should learn to practice their faith “virtually.”

The exile of the churches into virtual reality provides an opportunity for some self-examination.

Perhaps the COVID-19 crisis will encourage church leaders to think about how and what happens when sanctuaries are vacated, and seven devils loosed by the State enter as the shutdown is somewhat lifted.

They might wish to reflect about what to do when the State wishes to cleanse the church of “diseased” doctrines — to think about what to do when the Church’s beliefs are declared hate speech pathogens.

Just as importantly, leaders also might think about how the flock has been deprived of community and thus of corporate worship and corporate prayer. They may wish to meditate on the sacramental aspect of the community of the saints.

For many if not most churches, the celebration of Holy Communion is when the body and blood of Christ are offered as essential spiritual food pastors and priests are required to dispense. But the shepherds of the flock almost universally have quit offering spiritual wine and bread, leaving their sheep to fend for themselves.

In short, within a space of weeks, Americans have seen the entirety of American Christendom shut down and the overnight ascension of what is essentially a secularist state church. The initially nascent state church has now been more firmly established by SCOTUS’s decision to allow state control of churches for reasons of “health.”

When any government even temporarily takes over the churches for any reason, it has essentially shattered the autonomy of the Church, making it subservient to the State. The Church under orders from the State is then subject to forcible conformance to State dogma.

The state that dictates when and where and how and to whom the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is administered is the state that has taken over the church and substituted its own sacraments. The state that dictates the how, when, and where of the baptism of children is the state that has created its own church. The state that decides when, where, and how many of the faithful can listen to the preaching of the Word or how many can assemble to pray together is the state that also dictates what is to be preached and prayed. The state that insists that worshipers wear and sing through face masks is the state that determines the way virtues of the state churches are signified. The state that ranks the Church of God to be an institution equal to bars, restaurants, and public schools is the state that will disregard the unique status of the Church and its constitutional rights.

As the directives from the state begin to strangle the Church, the latter is faced with a choice it probably should have made at the beginning of the state takeover. Pastors and priests must make the decision to open their churches to worship services and to continue the churches’ ministries as they were before the coronavirus coup. They must remember what the Church is and obey God rather than the State.

For if they do not, it’s predictable that the almighty State will squeeze the churches harder, requiring total conformity to the State that certainly seems ready to hijack the Church’s mission, to vitiate its standing in constitutional law, to appropriate its wealth, and to take over its institutions by force if necessary.

It’s time for all believers, leaders, and congregants alike, to remember the words of St. Ambrose:  “Not only for every idle word must man give an account, but for every idle silence.”

By Fay Voshell

Fay Voshell holds a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, where she was awarded the Charles Hodge Prize for excellence in systematic theology. She is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and other online publications.


— A Fatal Theological Oxymoron

An oxymoron combines two notions that don’t belong together. They are often humorous, as in “military intelligence,” “open secret” or “paid volunteer.” Oxys in Greek means “sharp” and moron means “dull,” so you can see how the name was coined. “Gay Christianity” is an oxymoron, and not in the least humorous! This growing movement in contemporary evangelicalism mixes two contradictory elements in a dangerous theological oxymoron. To show why this is true, we need to define both elements-“Gay” and “Christianity.”

Christianity: We must begin with the definition of Christianity by its original founders. The Apostle Paul describes the truth as worship of God the Creator, and the lie as the worship of Nature (Romans 1:25). He is connecting with The Old Testament. Nehemiah says of God: “You have made heaven…and the hosts of heaven worship you (Neh 9:6). This takes us back to Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Pagans worshiped the hosts of heaven (Nature), but in the Bible, the hosts of heaven worship the Lord. Christianity seeks to follow Psalm 57:5 by exalting God above the heavens, in order that his “glory be over all the earth!” The basic truth of existence is that the Creator and his creation are distinct.

All fallen human beings, including homosexuals, need to hear the compassion and empathy expressed in the gospel, but the biblical message cannot be reduced to mere sentimentality. It reveals the just nature of God the Creator and the fallen nature of every human being. Jesus is the revelation of that just God. As the second person of the Trinity, he is Judge and Creator but also Redeemer who, through his death on the Cross, extends God’s love to sinners.

Gay: The dictionary defines “gay” as “relating to, or exhibiting sexual desire or behavior directed toward a person or persons of one’s own sex.” Unlike Christianity, which derives from revealed, holy Scripture, gayness has its roots in pagan religion, which has practiced homosexuality throughout the millennia. Paganism not only worships nature, refusing the Creator; it also refuses the binaries and distinctions that God has placed in creation, such as male and female. For a generation, “Gay Christians” have argued that the Bible embraces homosexuality as a valid expression of human love. A recent scholarly study entitled Unchanging Witness challenges that thesis. It argues that the Judeo-Christian tradition, from the Old Testament world to Rabbinic Judaism, to the Greco-Roman world of the New Testament and on through the whole of Christian history, has never believed the Bible to give moral legitimacy to homosexuality.

Homosexuality poses a colossal threat to Christian living. Radical legal scholar Mark Tushnet, Professor at Harvard Law School argues that the culture wars are over; they (traditionalists) lost, we won…. [O]pponents of the moral revolution are to be treated with scorn, contempt, and worse, like Japan and Germany, owing unconditional surrender.

Such an attitude certainly threatens “Christian” free speech. In addition, the new bathroom laws demolish public decency standards by embracing individual “exposure rights”forgeneralized “nonconsensual nudity” (typical of past pagan societies). Such extreme, nonsensical standards are part of a massive moral brainwashing of the next generation, accomplished through “progressive” educational programs, such as President Obama’s recent diktat regulating gender-free school bathrooms.

We seek rather to identify the pagan cosmology of Oneist nature-worship behind “gayness” and to analyze the conflict such a position has with the Twoist biblical cosmology of a world full of distinctions created by God. Without standing in judgment over homosexuals, we must preserve the essence of the Christian message, namely purity, holiness and the radical transformation made possible by the Twoist Gospel. Those powerful, positive elements will be utterly lost if pagan-inspired “Gay Christianity” becomes a defining element of Christian thinking and practice.

Paganism, in rejecting the binary and “joining the opposites” eliminates the fundamental character of biblical truth expressed in created distinctions between God and the creation, male and female, right and wrong, good and evil. Thus, “Gay Christianity” is indeed an oxymoron.

In His mercy, however, God can clear our sinful thinking and transform our hopelessness into joy. Our conference will feature several testimonies of those who have been rescued from their Oneist confusion. The air has cleared for them, as we pray it will also clear for our culture.

By Dr. Peter Jones


Here are eight symptoms of false teaching:

1. There is an undeniable zeal in some teachers of error. Their “earnestness” makes many people think they must be right.

2. There is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge. Many think that such clever and intellectual men must surely be safe to listen to.

3. There is a general tendency to completely free and independent thinking today. Many like to prove their independence of judgment by believing the newest ideas, which are nothing but novelties.

4. There is a wide-spread desire to appear kind, loving, and open-minded. Many seem half-ashamed to say that anybody can be wrong or is a false teacher.

5. There is always a portion of half-truth taught by modern false teachers. They are always using scriptural words and phrases, but with unscriptural meaning.

6. There is a public craving for a more sensational and entertaining worship. People are impatient with the more inward and invisible work of God within the hearts of men.

7. There is a superficial readiness all around to believe anyone who talks cleverly, lovingly and earnestly, forgetting that Satan often masquerades himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).

8. There is a wide-spread ignorance among professing Christians. Every heretic who speaks well is surely believed, and anyone who doubts him is called narrow-minded and unloving.

~ Bishop J.C. Ryle

All these are especially symptomatic of our times. They have tremendous relevance for the church today. They tend to make the assaults of false doctrine today especially dangerous and make it even more important to say loudly, “Do not be carried away with strange doctrine!”


What are the elements of a Christian worldview?

Christianity teaches a set of beliefs that form the basics of our worldview.

Following is a list of some of the elements that make up the Christian worldview:

An absolute God exists

If an absolute God exists, then it means that God is self-sufficient and lacks nothing. If God is self-sufficient, then he needs no external cause for his existence. This would mean he is eternal. If he is eternal then he does not change.

God created the universe

If God created the universe, then he is all-powerful — since it obviously takes a great deal of power to create the universe. This would also mean that God is separate from creation and not a part of the created order. From the previous point where we see that God is absolute and unchanging, we could see that God’s nature would be reflected in the created order. As a painter leaves a part of himself on the canvas, so God reveals himself in creation. Creation is, therefore, ordered, predictable, and dependable. This would mean that when Christians look into creation, they would expect to find a predictable, regular, and testable world.

God created humanity in His image.

This means that God, who is rational and intelligent, has impressed his image upon the hearts and soul of human beings. Therefore, people can be rational and turn their attention towards the world and since they believe that the universe reflects God’s creative nature, they can have confidence to look into creation and expect order. They can also expect that since they are made in the image of God, they have the ability to unlock the secrets of the universe. In addition, if man is created in God’s image, then all people are worthy of respect and honor. This would also mean that when a new life formed in the womb, it is human from the time of conception. Therefore, abortion would be wrong. Furthermore, if we are created in God’s image, then we did not evolve from lower primates. This would mean that we have purpose and are not merely the result of random development through evolution that is, supposedly, guided by natural selection. Natural selection works on the theory of survival of the fittest and this could have a very harmful effect on society if “survival of the fittest” is transferred into a moral principle. It would justify oppressing the weak and helpless.

God gave man dominion over creation.

This means that all aspects of the created order on earth are to be governed by man according to how God has revealed himself and his will for us in the Bible. Therefore, politics, medicine, art, ecology, society, economics, exploration, philosophy, mathematics, education, etc. all fall under the domain of human responsibility and should be considered realms for man to control — under the wisdom and direction of God’s revelation, the Bible (more on that below).

Humanity is fallen

The Fall of humanity through our ancient father Adam, tells us that at the heart of every one of us is a predisposition toward sin. Sin is rebellion against God and, therefore, it is a rebellion against what is good. Sin has not only affected man’s soul and body, but it has also affected his mind. Therefore, the Christian worldview would say that even man’s best reasoning is touched by sin and cannot be perfect. Furthermore, since man is sinful and his heart’s intentions are predisposed towards wickedness, we conclude that those in power are highly susceptible to corruption. Therefore, governmental systems should be developed with Christian principles in mind to help guard against that. In fact, Christianity influenced the development of the Constitution and American government. Our founding fathers developed the judicial, executive, and legislative branches of government that are there to exercise a system of checks and balances over each other. Why? Because of The Fall, man has a tendency to gravitate towards corruption.

Jesus is humanity’s only hope for redemption

Because man is fallen, he is in need of rescue from God’s righteous condemnation — which is eternal damnation. Also, since he is fallen, there is no way he can redeem himself. Therefore, Jesus, who is God in flesh, died for us and rose from the dead. We receive his righteousness and forgiveness by faith. This basic theological truth means that Christians should then preach that good news of redemption in Christ to all the world. Therefore, one of the most basic Christian principles is promoting Jesus as the means by which we are made right with God.

The Holy Scriptures (The Bible) are the Word of God

Of course, I have already mentioned the Bible, but the Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God. From the Bible we derive the truths by which we govern our lives. It is from the Bible that we learn about God himself, his created order, the Trinity, redemption, about sin, salvation, hope, and what is morally correct. The Bible reveals the will of God for mankind, for the family, for raising children, for proper behavior in society, etc. It is from the Bible that we can learn the direct will of God.

God Provides for His creation

It is from the Bible that we learn of God’s loving provision for us. We know that God lets the sun and rainfall down upon both the good and the bad. We know that God causes the crops to grow and cattle to multiply. We know that though we live in a fallen world, God has promised that he will never leave us or forsake us. Therefore, we can rely on God’s provision for us and should have confidence that he will continue to provide for our needs. Therefore, you can see that there are basic principles that form the Christian worldview. There are more, but the above eight items are representative of Christianity’s perspective and truth and how it influences belief and action.

Narcissism, Social Media, and the Church

A definition of narcissism: The inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity.

“The true destination for most of our online endeavors really are the new media equivalent of the biblical statues that were presented as deities. These digital shrines {idols} that we create to ourselves.” ~ from Confessions of a Narcissist, by Mitch Joel



“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” Matthew 23:25 (NIV)

“He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” Romans 2:6-8 (ESV)

“You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.” James 5:5 (ESV)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NIV)

“What kind of impact could Christians have if we were more interested in helping a world in pain than in how good we look  to our digital friends? How can we {the church} redeem our online presence without becoming weird, obnoxious or confrontational?” (Shraeder & Hendricks, pp. 170-171)


Schrader, T., Hendricks, K. (Eds.). (2011). Outspoken: conversations on church communication. Los Angeles, CA.   Center for Church Communication.

Does Social Media Make Us Narcissistic? Retrieved from:     narcissistic/


The Promise-Driven Life

Image for Article

Christ lived the purpose-driven life so that we would inherit his righteousness through faith and be promise-driven people in a purpose-driven world.

What are you driven by? The last time I was sick, it was a Saturday and I flipped on the TV for an extraordinary long time. The whole day was exercise equipment, how to become real-estate rich with no money down, and Suze Orman gave me her steps to financial security. As much as we all make sport of this sort of thing, it attracts us. That’s because we are “wired” for law: tell me what to do and I’ll get it done. That is not just the American spirit, but it is human nature. God’s law is inborn, in our conscience, part of our moral makeup. The average person on the street will tell you that the role of churches and other religious institutions is to provide moral instruction-practical suggestions for successful living for the spirit, just as Suze Orman and Jake are there to help us out with our banking and bodies.

Even human imperatives can be enormously effective at laying out a course of action. If I am sufficiently motivated, a good diet-and-exercise plan can help. I’ve never even come close to being credited with any financial planning wisdom, but even I can recognize that if I follow half of what Suze says, I’ll be a much better steward. (I bought the video. Don’t ever leave your credit card within reach if you spend a Saturday watching TV. I nearly bought three separate gyms and a few things for my wife.) Dr. Phil and Dr. Laura don’t even have to be Christians to provide good, commonsense instruction in daily affairs. At least in terms of raw, general principles, non-Christians have law down. When Christians talk law (“How to … “), non-Christians know that we’re speaking their language. I guess that is why such preaching and teaching dominates in the church today, since “law” (however watered down) is perceived as relevant. However, it is only when we encounter God’s law in its full strength that we are knocked off our horse. Instead of being in charge, answering with Israel and Mount Sinai, “All this we will do!”, we find ourselves in the hot seat, the charade exposed, the spin unmasked. Church shouldn’t be a place where the old self is revived for another week, but where it is killed and buried and the new self is created in the likeness of Christ.

Even as Christians, the law (in its third use) can direct us, but it cannot drive us, except to either despair or self-righteousness. Christians are not purpose-driven, but promise-driven. Purposes are all about law. To be sure, at least in Christian discourse, some promises may be mentioned, but they are usually dangled as the carrot for fulfilling the conditions that have been laid out. If you did that with the real Ten Commandments-something like, “Do this and you shall live” (Lev. 25:18), people would catch on: “That’s legalism!” But the therapeutic version (easy-listening law) flies under the radar: “Hey, here are a few helpful principles based on God’s instruction manual that will help you get victory in your life.” Although Rick Warren’s phenomenal best-seller, The Purpose-Driven Life, for example, differs from the usual pattern of self-help books by insisting that we were created for God and his glory, it offers Fifteen Principles-all of which are imperatives (commands, or rather, suggestions) that promise a life of victory for those who follow them. That, I would suggest, confuses law and gospel. And that eventually leaves resentment of God, not delight, in its wake.

The fact that purposes are about law does not make them wrong. We need purposes! Nobody can live without goals. Yet purposes and goals are always something to be reached, to be achieved and be attained by us. They require tactics and strategies. All of this is fine as long as we realize that they are law, not gospel: commands and promises are both necessary, but they do different things.

Law tells us what we should do, whether we’re faced with the wrath of God (full-strength law) or by the fear of not reaching our full potential (the watered-down version). God’s promise, by contrast, creates true faith, which creates true works. The church father Augustine defined sin as being “curved in” on ourselves. While imperatives (including purposes) tend by themselves to make us more “curved in” on ourselves (either self-confidence or self-despair), only God’s promise can drive us out of ourselves and our own programs for acceptance before ourselves, other people, and God. While the Christian life according to scripture is purpose-directed, it is promise-driven. Both of our passages-Genesis 15 and Romans 4-bring this point home powerfully.

Wrestling with the Promise (Genesis 15)

Even after his military victory and the remarkable event of being offered bread and wine with a blessing from Melchizedek, Abram’s greatest problem is that he has no heir, no one to carry on the calling that God has given him. His world, as he sees it anyway, is bleak. “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great'” (Gen. 15:1). Abram and Sarai had been called out of the barrenness of moon-worship in the city of Ur by God’s powerful Word, which created faith in the promise (12:1). There is the reward of the land of Canaan, but ultimately the whole earth (“father of many nations”), of which the land of Canaan will serve as a type. The New Testament even tells us that Abraham himself was looking through the earthly promise as a type to its heavenly reality (Heb. 11:10, 13-16).

Notice in this opening address, it is sheer promise. This covenant is not like the one that God made with Adam or with Israel, which made the promise conditional on their future obedience. It was a gift to be received, not a task to be undertaken. God simply declares, “I am your shield. Your reward shall be great.” This is what ancient Near Eastern lawyers would have called a “royal grant.”

Yet Abram wonders, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezar of Damascus? … You have given me no son, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir” (vv. 2-3). The empirical facts of the case-what Abram sees, appear to be overwhelming evidence against the testimony of the promise. Nevertheless, God counters again with the promise, offering the innumerable stars as a sign of the teeming offspring who will come from his loins. “And [Abram] believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness” (vv. 5-6). Abram’s response is not one of blind optimism or positive thinking. Abram finds himself believing.

Faith does not create; it receives. It does not make the invisible visible or the future present or hope reality. It receives that which is already given. Grace precedes faith. It is not finally accepting the goodness of the world, or my own goodness, but receiving God’s goodness toward me in spite of the way things really are with me and with the world. Further, there is no way around the forensic or legal character of this Hebrew verb, “declared.” It is chashav, referring to a courtroom judgment, not a process. There Abram stood, wicked and helpless, and yet at the same time-by virtue solely of the promise declared to him, received by faith, was declared righteous. Commenting on this passage, Calvin reminds us, “In all ages, Satan has laboured at nothing more assiduously than to extinguish, or to smother, the gratuitous justification of faith, which is here expressly asserted.” Justification is at the core of the divine paradox: How can I have the assurance that I am accepted before God as righteous when I continue in sin? I see my life. Nevertheless, by pronouncing Abraham just, Abram is just. The promise makes it so. If we can get this right in our understanding of justification, it will radically alter every other aspect of our relationship with God.

Abram goes on to ask how he can know that God will give him the land and God responds in this vision by passing through the severed halves of animals (a treaty-making event of calling down judgment in case of violation) alone (vv. 12-21), foreshadowing the cross of Christ. As Paul would later attest in Galatians 3:19-20, specifically referring to this covenant with Abraham, no covenant could be more firmly anchored in God and his promise rather than in the faithfulness of the human partner than one that God swears by himself.

The preaching of the promise created justifying faith and this sign and seal now confirms and ratifies it. No wonder question 62 of the Heidelberg Catechism confesses, “The Holy Spirit creates it [faith] in our hearts by the preaching of the holy gospel and confirms it by the use of the holy sacraments.” Out of his confession of faith, Abram now continues his pilgrimage not on the basis of his physical vigor or Sarai’s fertility, but on the sole basis of the Word (again, in anticipation of his greater Son in his temptation). We will either rely on the visible realities we see or the invisible realities we hear preached to us, but we cannot rely on both. Unbelief is unavoidable: either we will doubt the credibility of the divine word in the face of life’s realities or we will doubt the credibility of this world’s so-called “givens” in the face of the divine promise. Faith ignores statistics. The world says we have to save ourselves (and it), offering countless strategies of striving, while the Word slays us in our self-conceit and raises us up together with Christ. God’s promise creates a new world out of darkness and void, fertile pastures of fruit-bearing trees out of the infertile soil of unbelief and ungodliness. This covenant is not a call to claim a future he can control, but to receive a future that God has spoken into being. Sarai’s infertile womb is the canvas upon which God will paint a new creation. And they both get renamed. The promise gives them a new identity.

The Fulfillment of the Promise (Romans 4:13-25)

These passages from Genesis 15-17 form the backdrop for much of Paul’s teaching. Israel had confused the promise-covenant made with Abraham and the law-covenant that Israel made with Yahweh at Sinai. Nobody can be justified by means of a law-covenant, Paul insists, but only on the basis of a promise-covenant. So Paul brings Abraham to the witness stand as an example to us, not chiefly as someone whose holiness we can emulate (have you read the story?), but primarily as someone for whom the promise worked even though he didn’t. If Abraham could not be justified by his own righteousness, how can the rest of us who claim Abraham as our forefather?

Paul is contrasting law-logic with promise-logic. The law is not the problem, but we are, and the law simply points that out. We know the law by nature; nobody has to teach at least its rudimentary principles to us (Rom. 1 and 2). When we turn to our common sense, reason, experience, or what we see in order to determine our relationship to God, it is always the law that has the last word. Law-logic is entirely appropriate for those created in God’s image, designed and equipped to reflect God’s righteousness in every way, but it says nothing about how law-breakers can be saved from its judgment.

In Romans 3:21-26, Paul announces that law-logic can only announce the righteousness that God is and which therefore condemns us who have failed to conform to it. Then we arrive at chapter 4. The question that throws law and promise into a sharp contrast is this: How does one obtain the inheritance of the heavenly rest? The barrier between Jew and Gentile is broken down not merely because the laws of ethnic separation are set aside but because law as a principle was never intended to be the way of inheriting the Abrahamic promise. “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works” (vv. 5-6).

If we read Romans 4 in the light of Paul’s argument in Romans 10, the contrast is even clearer: law-logic ascends to bring Christ down or up from the grave, while gospel-logic receives Christ as he descends to us in the preaching of the gospel. Because the law is innate (in creation) and the gospel is a surprising announcement (after the fall), climbing, ascending, attaining, doing whatever “ten steps” or following whatever “fifteen principles” is natural to us. It is not natural for us, like Abraham, to simply receive a promise, the hearing of which creates faith (Rom. 10:17). But God is never closer to us, says Paul, than when Christ is being preached to us (v. 8). Law-logic strives for what it sees and can possess; promise-logic sits down and listens to the covenant attorney reading the last will and testament, legally enacting the bequest.

Back to chapter 4, then, where Paul uses the same phrase-“through the righteousness of faith” (v. 13) that he will use in chapter 10, where he contrasts the law-logic of our ascent (“go get it”) with the promise-logic of God’s descent (“God gave it to you”). So when it comes to how we are justified-that is, set right before God and made heirs of all the gifts that he has for us, Law and Promise represent antithetical means of inheritance. We know the difference between a contract (“I’ll do this if you do that”) and a bequest (“I hereby leave my estate to … “). That’s the difference here between employees and heirs (v. 4). Christ’s active obedience is the basis and his death is the legal event that distributes the royal estate to all of his beneficiaries. God doesn’t just give us more good advice and exhortation, but the most amazing news in the world: “But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness” (v. 5).

The contrast is either/or again in verse 14: “For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect.” It’s not just that faith is also necessary, but that faith and obedience are absolutely antithetical as means of attaining that which the promise promises. The last part of the sentence (v. 15) reads, “because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.” It is the law that exposes our sin and makes it utterly sinful, counting our wrongs not as “mistakes,” “self-expression,” “foibles,” or even “not being all that we could be,” but as a wicked transgression of God’s explicit command. The law speaks and the old self dies. The law cannot create faith because it tells us what is to be done. It can only announce what we have not done. The promise, by contrast, tells us what has been done by someone else. That is why it brings life.

Then in verse 16 Paul says, “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure toall the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.” See the logic of the promise? Paul will add one more pearl to the string later.

It is important to recognize that God’s promises are not simply a pledge of a future reality, but bring about that reality in the present. We see this clearly in the way Paul talks about the law doing certain things and the promise doing certain things. In verse 14 of our passage he says, “For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of noeffect, because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.” The promise (or gospel) preached creates faith, just as the law actually brought about our condemnation. The law not only warns us of God’s coming wrath, it “brings about wrath,” just as the judge’s act of sentencing a criminal actually effects the criminal’s condemnation.

Throughout Scripture we are taught that God’s Word is effectual: it brings about whatever God speaks, whether in creation, providence, or redemption. God’s speech is “active and living,” Scripture says. The law is successful in condemning, driving us to despair of ourselves, to seek salvation outside ourselves. The gospel is successful in giving us faith to receive Christ and all his benefits. The gospel doesn’t just talk about a world that might come to be if we all just got our act together; it creates a new world where no capacity existed, and that is exactly the language that Paul uses in verses 17 to 22. God creates death and life by speaking.

This is why Paul returns again to the example of Abraham and Sarah as the construction site of a new creation, produced by the promise. Here is the logic: “For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all of his descendants,” both Jew and Gentile (v 16). He adds, “As it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’-in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” (v. 17). Just as God spoke the world into existence without any contribution from the creation itself, God speaks a new world of salvation into being. And just as Abraham is declared righteous by this proclamation then and there, Paul observes, he was declared then and there “father of many nations” despite all appearances to the contrary. “Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become ‘the father of many nations,’ according to what was said, ‘So numerous shall your descendants be'” (v. 18). God’s saying makes it so. Salvation comes, then, not by doing certain things but by hearing certain things and embracing them by faith, which is itself created by the Spirit through the preaching of the promise. Not all parts of the Word give life, as Paul says later in chapter 7 (v. 10): “And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.” If Paul were not a transgressor, the law would pronounce him just, but as it is, it can only bring death. The promise, by contrast, brings life-out of nothing.

This is the scandal of justification: How can God declare us righteous if we are not inherently righteous? Isn’t this a legal fiction? Doesn’t it make God a liar? But that’s like saying God cannot say, “Let there be light” unless there is a sun to give it. God himself creates the conditions necessary for the existence of his work. When he says, “Let there be light!”, the sun exists. When he says, “Let this ungodly person be righteous,” “this barren woman be pregnant,” “this faithless person embrace my Word,” it is so. When we really understand justification, we really understand how God works with us in every aspect of our lives before him. Christ lived the purpose-driven life so that we would inherit his righteousness through faith and be promise-driven people in a purpose-driven world. He did gain the everlasting inheritance by obedience to everything God commanded, driven by the purpose of fulfilling the law for us, in perfect love of God and neighbor.

Relinquishing hope in the ordinary powers of human nature, he was given genuine hope in God for the first time. The future was now God’s future, not his own. He didn’t have to work it all out, plot and plan, scheme to bring about the inheritance (as he had done before). Thus, because of the power of the promise, not his own goals or resolve, Abraham could turn his eyes away from “his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb” (Rom. 4:19). “He did not waver,” again, not because of any inherent virtue of his faith, but because he “was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (v. 21). In other words, it was because of the object of faith, not the act of faith itself that Abraham could stand firm.

As anticipated above, Paul adds here another pearl in the chain of the promise-logic: If the inheritance comes by faith in the promise and not in the works of the law, then faith gives all “glory to God” (v. 20). Faith gives no glory to self, even to our act of faith. It is directed entirely to God and his promise. Faith is strong only to the extent that the promise is strong. Abraham knew that God could perform what he had promised. “And therefore ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness'” (v. 22).

Conclusion: What Really Drives You?

In the concluding verses of this remarkable chapter (vv. 23-25, and the first verse of chapter 5), Paul writes,

Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not only for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification. Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

Faith is defiance. Abraham’s faith defied every possibility that he saw, in favor of the “impossible” word that he heard. This is why “faith comes by hearing … that is, the word of faith which we preach” (Rom. 10:17). To trust in God is to distrust every other promise-maker. The world makes a lot of promises: “Try this product and you’ll be ….” Constantly buying into new fads or makeovers as so many fig leaves to hide the seriousness of our condition, we hand ourselves over to marketers who persuade us that we can attain salvation, however we define that. Even the church can become a place where people get the idea that they exist merely to usher in the kingdom by serving on committees and being involved in a thousand programs. We have a lot of purposes, a lot of goals-some of them noble. Desperate to save ourselves and our kids from everything but the wrath of God, we fail to realize that, however watered down, these are all nothing but law rather than promise. Eventually, we will become burned out on good advice. What we need is good news.

The Covenantal Summons

When God Gathers His People in Worship

Image for Article

What are we doing on the Lord’s day, especially when we are gathered as God’s people in church? How do we understand Christian growth and discipleship-as chiefly corporate or individual, as nourished by the preached Word and the divinely instituted Sacraments or by self-approved “means of grace”? Would an outsider coming into our worship services be immediately impressed with the centrality of preaching, baptism, and the supper, or would he or she be more likely to notice the importance given to performance?

All of these questions were at the heart of the Reformation debate as part and parcel of recovering the Gospel. But they are just as acute in our day, when we have sought a bewildering array of means of grace. This article will focus on the nature of worship as a service of covenant renewal.

The Biblical Story of Redemption

Our non-Reformed readers will hardly be surprised to learn that I would begin a brief biblical sketch of worship with the covenant. But no one can doubt that this is central to the biblical story of redemption. Even after the fall, God promised Eve a son who would crush the serpent’s head, and although Cain murdered Abel, God provided another son, Seth. While Cain’s descendants were building their own proud city of rebellion (Gen. 4:15-24), “Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD” (v. 26). Thus, the two cities-cult (i.e., worship) and culture, fully integrated in creation, were now divided and pursued two separate ends through distinct means. Jesus’ warning that the world will hate his disciples and Paul’s contrast between the wisdom of this world (works-righteousness) and the wisdom of God (the righteousness which comes by faith) are not borne out of any hostility toward the world per se. Rather, it is the world in its sinful rebellion that the biblical writers have in mind.

After calling Abram out of Ur, God commanded a ritual sacrifice as a way of making the covenant. (In fact, the Hebrew word for covenant, berith, comes from the verb, “to cut.”) In ancient Near Eastern politics and law, a suzerain (i.e., great king or emperor) would enter into a treaty with a vassal (i.e., the king or ruler of a smaller territory) by cutting various animals in half. Then, walking together between the halves, both partners agreed to perform all of the conditions of the treaty with the following sanction: If I should be unfaithful for my part, may the same end befall me as has befallen these animals. In Genesis 15, when God makes his covenant with Abraham and his descendants, this ancient Near Eastern treaty is the pattern:

But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?” So the LORD said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.” Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other…. As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nations they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions…. When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram…. (v. 8-18)

Two sorts of things are promised by God in this covenant: a holy land (Canaan) and everlasting life. What especially distinguishes this suzerainty treaty is the fact that although God and Abram are covenant partners, the Lord (appearing as a smoking firepot with a blazing torch) walks alone through this path, placing on his own head all of the sanctions and assuming on his own shoulders the curses which he himself has imposed, should the treaty be violated by either party. Then in chapter 17 there is another cutting ceremony:

Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you … I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you…. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.” (v. 3-12)

This ceremony signified the cutting away of uncleanness, especially of original sin that is passed on from Adam through every subsequent father. But here, instead of the knife being plunged into the body to bring down the curses of the transgressors (yes, even fresh from the womb we are in this class), it instead is used to cut away the sin so that the recipient may live.

Eventually, God’s promise was fulfilled: Israel did inherit the land. As mentioned previously, God promised a holy land and everlasting life. As becomes clearer with the progress of redemption, the land was (like Adam’s enjoyment of Eden) dependent on works-the obedience of the Israelites. The Mosaic covenant, with its ceremonial and civil as well as moral laws, promised blessing for obedience and judgment for disobedience. Once again, God would fight for his people and give them a new Eden, a land flowing with milk and honey. God would be present among his people in the temple as long as they were righteous.

But (also like Adam) Israel failed and in its rebellion violated the treaty with the great king, provoking God to enact the sanctions of this works covenant. The lush garden of God became a wasteland of thorns and thistles, as God removed his kingdom back up into heaven, the children of Israel being carted off to Babylonian exile. After these years of exile, a remnant returned to rebuild Jerusalem. Ezra and Nehemiah report this remarkable event and the tragic infidelity and infighting that went along with it. Despite human sinfulness, under Nehemiah’s leadership the remnant rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and its magnificent temple which God’s evacuation had left desolate and ransacked by invaders. The poor were cared for. But the centerpiece of this event appears when the Torah is rediscovered for a generation of Israelites that had never read or heard the Scriptures read except perhaps from their grandparents’ memory:

When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel. So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law. Ezra the scribe stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion…. Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. (Neh. 8:1-6)

Even during their exile the Israelites were reminded by Jeremiah’s prophecy of the divine promise-not to restore ethnic Israelites to the geopolitical territory of Palestine as God’s kingdom on earth, but to save a remnant from both Israel and the nations of the world. Although the Mosaic covenant had been thoroughly violated, God, you will recall, was still carrying the entire burden for the Abrahamic covenant of grace. Thus, again and again in the prophets we read, “Not for your sakes, but for the sake of the promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…. ” So through Jeremiah God declares,

“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people…. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jer. 31:31-34)

This new covenant “will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers” under Moses, says the Lord, but will be an everlasting and unbreakable covenant. It will be based not on the national election of Israel, but on the eternal election of individuals whom the Son redeemed: “and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9). The Sabbath rest which Israel forfeited in the Holy Land because of disobedience is now freely given to sinners, Jew and Gentile. Even Joshua, Moses’ lieutenant who led the Israelites into the land, was looking for a greater land, a more excellent kingdom, with a firm and unshakable foundation: “For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his” (Heb. 4:8). Thus, the New Testament Gospel is identical to that which Abraham believed when he was credited with the perfect righteousness of Christ through faith alone, apart from works (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 9:8; and Gal. 3:6-14). This is not the Mosaic covenant, an administration based on our faithfulness, but theAbrahamic covenant, an administration of God’s faithfulness and grace.

The Covenant Renewal Ceremony

It is in this context that we talk about the “covenant renewal ceremony,” then, which is how Reformed folk often talk about the worship service. Whenever we gather for Word and Sacrament, it is because we have been summoned. That is what “church” means: ekklesia, “called out.” It is not a voluntary society of those who come together regularly with the chief concern to share, to build community, to enjoy fellowship, and so forth. Rather, it is a society of those who have been chosen, redeemed, called, justified, and are being sanctified until one day they will finally be glorified in heaven. We gather each Lord’s day not merely out of habit or social custom, but because God has chosen this day as a foretaste of the everlasting Sabbath day that will be enjoyed fully at the marriage supper of the Lamb. God has called us out of the world: that is why we gather.

We also gather to receive God’s gifts. And this is where the emphasis falls-or should fall. Throughout the Scriptures, the service is seen chiefly as God’s action. The one who brought us up out of the land of Egypt and made us his people takes the initiative in salvation and throughout the Christian life. The shadows of Christ in the Mosaic covenant, especially the detailed legislation for the sacrifices, are fulfilled in the advent of the Messiah. Therefore, we do not worship in an earthly sanctuary, but in the heavenly sanctuary where we are seated with Christ in heavenly places. Hence, Jesus’ statement to the Samaritan woman in John 4:23-24. Like the smoking firepot with a blazing torch, God walks down the middle of the aisle assuming the judgment his own justice requires and his own mercy satisfies. He circumcises our hearts, with the baptismal font prominently centered. He creates faith in our heart from the preaching and confirms us in this faith through the Sacraments. (1)

As in all covenants, there are two parts to the covenant of grace. God speaks and delivers; we respond in faith and repentance. And yet this faith and repentance is not “our part” in this covenant in the sense of providing some of the grounds for our participation in it. God even grants faith and repentance. And yet God does call us to respond, to grow in grace, and to persevere to the end. The triumphant indicative concerning God’s action in Christ establishes a safe foundation on which to stand as we meet the divine imperatives. That’s why worship is “dialogical”: God speaks and we respond. That is the form that we find in the Psalms: God’s wondrous works in creation, preservation, judgment, and redemption are extolled; it is only then that it makes sense to respond, whether in confession, praise, thanksgiving, lament, or whatever else might be appropriate to the divine activity that is announced. Unlike the Psalms themselves, many of the hymns and praise choruses of the last century and a half have become increasingly human-centered. Even with praise choruses that paraphrase a psalm, the response section of the text is often torn from the indicative section proclaiming who God is and what he has done. Thus, the focus of worship seems to be on what we are doing, how we are feeling, and how we intend to respond: “I just want to praise you”; “We will lift you up”; “Let’s just praise the Lord”; “I am joyful,” etc. But this is to separate the law from the Gospel, the imperative from the indicative, and to make at least the singing part of the service predominantly the former rather than the latter.

If worship is a covenant renewal ceremony, the service must reflect the divine initiative in the covenant itself. There must be response-and there will be response, if there is something to which we are inclined to respond. God meets his people in Christ as the Holy Spirit works through the liturgy, the preaching, and the Sacraments. It is the person and work of this Triune God that must be front and center, as this God actually confronts us just as he did in the assembly when Ezra read God’s Word. It is the Word, not Israel’s response to the Word, that is central in that account, and yet the report does not fail to inform us that “all the people listened attentively” (v. 3) and, later, that they even “lifted their hands and responded, ‘Amen! Amen!” followed by bowing down “with their faces to the ground” as they wept because of their sense of their own sinfulness and God’s amazing grace (vv. 5-6, 9).

No wonder, then, that at Pentecost a similar event occurs. Peter addressed the crowd in Jerusalem, announcing the fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32 and that despite the people’s culpability in crucifying Jesus, God had all along planned to save his people through the death and resurrection of the Savior. He drew on the Psalms as well to make the point that Jesus is the “seed of the woman,” the “Son of David,” the one promised to Abraham in whom all the nations would be blessed. Out of this preaching the new covenant church was established. And what was the pattern of this weekly covenant renewal ceremony? “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers” (Acts 2:42).

It is a new and better covenant, with Christ himself rather than Moses as its mediator. The Lord’s Supper is neither a mere memorial of Christ’s death nor a resacrificing of Christ (as if we preferred the shadows of Moses to the reality in Christ), but is a participation in the very body and blood of Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 10:16). “This cup is the new covenant in my blood,” we read in the words of institution. No wonder the writer who so strongly urges believers to recognize the superiority of the new covenant to the old also charges us not to give up the covenant renewal ceremony which God enacts each Lord’s day:

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb. 10:19-25)



Dear seclaris humanis atheisis:

Ok, so then what is your “idea” of Whom or what God is and how did you come to that conclusion?  You haven’t rejected God, but you call God a “hypothetical being?” You said you were a secular humanist and that you didn’t believe in God or that you even needed to. This is very confusing. Even though God created this earth, He knows about every person, everything, and even every sparrow that falls from the sky. Where is your real argument? What lies at the depth of your antagonism with the idea of God or the idea of God being creator?

I would like to pose something to you. So, you say you have not rejected God. Ok. But you say you have a problem believing in the “Christian” God. Now, I feel some of the reasons why you do not believe in the Christian God are from your presuppositions. This is because your presuppositions will not allow you to examine without bias the evidence that is presented to you for God’s existence. Your presupposition is that there is no Christian God; therefore, no matter what I might present to you to show His existence, you must interpret it in a manner consistent with your presupposition: namely, that there is no “Christian” God. If I were to have a video tape of God coming down from heaven, you’d say it was a special effect. If I had a thousand eye-witnesses saying they saw Him, you’d say it was mass-hysteria. If I had Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the New Testament, you’d say they were forged, dated incorrectly, or not real prophecies.

So, I cannot prove anything to you since your presupposition won’t allow it. They are limited. Your presupposition cannot allow you to rightly determine God’s existence from evidence — providing that there were factual proofs of His existence. Don’t you see? If I DID have incontrovertible proof, your presupposition would force you to interpret the facts consistently with your presupposition and you would not be able to see the proof. If you truly would like to seek the answer, what kind of evidence would you accept that would prove the Christian God’s existence? I must see what your presuppositions are and work either with them or against them. What are your thoughts?

So, your answer is that Christianity is a myth. Yet, you still approach me with your presuppositions. I asked you to provide me with “the kind of evidence” you would accept. You’ve only provided me with your presupposition of “myth.”

I will pray that God reveals to me the answers you need…answers that I will not have to manufacture…but will be the evidence you need.

The first step on your quest is unconditional surrender to the absolute authority of Holy Scripture; the Bible is your only hope. It is your only hope for eternity. It is also the only hope for your scientific and philosophic endeavor in this life. God has revealed Himself through nature and history. The world’s wisdom has been made foolishness with God. It is God’s plan that is being realized in and through what man does as well as in and through man’s environment. Whatsoever comes to pass comes to pass in accordance with the one all comprehensive plan or counsel of God. All the facts that confront you as you look about yourself and as you look within yourself are therefore revelational of God. The human mind as knowing no less than the trees that are known is revelational of God. For what happens according to the plan of God happens in accordance with the nature of God’s being. Nothing could exist, either as directly made by God or as made by man, the creature of God. The subject of knowledge and the object of knowledge alike are revelational of God. The apostle Paul says in the first chapter of Romans that all men know God. They cannot help but know God. Therefore they cannot help but know that they themselves are creatures of God. Human self-consciousness involves God-consciousness. Human self-consciousness would be self-consciousness in a vacuum unless it implied consciousness of God. You have the sense of deity ineradicably impressed upon you.

Therefore your freedom is the freedom of God’s creature. It is freedom to do that which is in accord with or to do that which is against the revealed will of God, but in either case that which is in accord with the plan of God. I want to place a special emphasis upon the fact that even the evil that man does by virtue of his sinful will is still in accord with the plan of God and as such is revelatory of God. Man, not God, is the responsible author of sin. But man could not sin if his sinning were not, in spite of himself, revelatory of God. Man does not sin in a vacuum. He could not sin in a vacuum. The possibility of sin presupposes the all-comprehensive plan of God. God reveals his holiness in his wrath upon the sinner. God is angry with the wicked every day. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold down truth in unrighteousness” (Rom 1:18). Paul tells us that the sinner’s conscience excuses or accuses him according as he obeys or disobeys the revealed will of God (Rom 2:14-15). Man’s self-consciousness is moral self-consciousness. And as self-consciousness in general involves consciousness of God, so man’s moral self-consciousness involves consciousness of covenant relationship to God. To know himself at all man must know himself to be a covenant being. He knows he is either keeping or breaking the covenant.

You cannot look in any direction without seeing the face and the claims of God. You walk under the brilliant spotlight of the revelational claims of God. It is the basic revelational character of all created being that constitutes the foundation of truth for man. Man is inherently enveloped in and by truth. But truth is not an abstraction. Truth is truth about God and the universe. Thus man is naturally confronted by truth. When he speaks untruth he speaks that which he knows to be untruth. When philosophers think out systems of philosophy that are not based upon the Creator-creature distinction they know, in the depth of their hearts, that they are doing this in order to suppress the truth about themselves. Knowing God to be their Creator they do not glorify him as such. From the beginning of history, even before the entrance of sin, supernatural thought-communication on the part of God to man was added to God’s revelation to man in his own constitution and in the universe about him. There are two forms of revelation, revelation in the facts of the created universe whether within or about man and revelation by way of God’s directly speaking to man, are mutually involved in one another. Just as two rafters of a house need to support one another, so these two forms of revelation need to support one another. I don’t know how, but what you have experienced in your past up to now has determined that the God of the Bible must be limited in order to make room for the freedom of man. The attitude toward the revelation of God is determined by the assumption of human freedom as a measure of independence from God. Therefore, there is no real ground for saying that the revelation of God is really ultimately the revelation of God, the self-contained and self-sufficient God of which the Bible speaks. You cannot successfully seek for truth if first you have cut yourself off from truth. It is like today…a very sunny day, and while standing in the light of the sun, you take your eyes out, and then doubt whether the sun exists.

God will provide the shock and awe, and I really don’t think you’re going to appreciate that too much when the time comes. You already have been given overwhelming truth. You have to want to be healed….

I didn’t say God couldn’t shake you to your core….I’m saying you probably won’t like it when it occurs. Not probably…but most likely you will not like it when it occurs. God will shake things up in your life – or leave you to your own devices. Which one He decides upon, I just don’t know. I will help the human race by proclaiming the freeing Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I want to ask you, what part of your “Christian” upbringing did you in?

Hey, you know there is no proof, nor convincing, except that “Someone” rocks your world in a manner that will shake you all up inside. The statement you made is very plain about water boiling but to you, regarding faith, grace & works, you have nothing to do with it nor do you truly understand it from a Christian’s spiritual viewpoint. I say this because you do not believe or profess to be a Christian.  If you can, pray and ask God to speak to you about what I’ve shared, and then give me your thoughts.

Jesus Christ came into this world to open the eyes of the blind, quench the thirst of the weary wanderer, and give the bread of Life to those who seek to be filled. Jesus Christ can fulfill every need you have, and heal every hurt you’ve acquired over the years. Acknowledge your sinfulness, turn away from it, and place your trust in God through Jesus Christ — He will give you true enlightenment.

May God bless you with Himself!



The Sons of Thunder Ministries  –  John Crowder’s Mystical School, is coming to St. Cloud, MN in January and is laden with false teaching, mysticism, lies and deception.

After reading from John Crowders website – – I discovered all these Gnostic, new age teachings, that are Antinomian in content, and express forms of witchcraft, posing as Christian ministers using unbiblical forms of teaching claimed being from early Christianity or Eastern Orthodoxy:

Deeper courses in contemplative, supernatural Christianity Operate in Trances, Raptures & Ecstatic Prayer
Experience Physical Phenomena of Mysticism
Get Activated in Creative Miracles, Signs & Wonders
Understand & Access New Creation Realities
Gain A Historical Grid of Miracle Workers & Mystics
Be Activated in the Seer Realm, Prophecy, Spirit Travel
Receive Open Heavens & Revelatory Understanding
Access and Manifest the Glory Realm

As I read through this all on his website all I can say is where is Jesus Christ in all of this? Where is the truth of the Gospel in this? When I read about “deeper”, “creative” “signs and wonders”, “new creation realities”, etc., I am reminded of Lucifer; He wanted to be greater than God, and to exercise authority over God. He wanted to be greater than the Almighty, CREATOR, LORD of all. Who did Satan think he was? He was banished from the presence of God and cast into the earth as the prince of the powers of the air. Then Satan tempted Eve, and fed her a lie that “you can really be “like” god” John Crowder is saying the same things. These are deceiving teachings! Satan has and will continue to comes as an angel of light, “appearing” to be the “next thing” thing we need.

Beware of this false teacher. There are demons at work in this man, and I would not get any closer than a ten foot pole from him. He is deceiving many, just as Scripture states, he preaches and teaches “another gospel.” It is NOT the Gospel of the Apostles.

This is a warning. Read the Word of God. Most of what is mentioned above are considered abominations to God, and incurred God’s wrath, these kinds of “ministers” and what they “perform” are specifically written of in the OT. The New Testament makes mention of these false teachers and prophets also, and some of them are smitten by God because of their behavior.

Therefore, as one who has been charged to contend for the faith once for all delivered unto the saints, it is with a heavy heart that i must warn everyone I can about this non-Christian heretic posing as a minister of the Gospel – John Crowder’s is not the Gospel, it is a false gospel with a little “g”.

For more information on these and other heresies, please read:


Section A
By Albert James Dager


In every Christian’s life there comes a genuine challenge to their intellectual honesty and, more importantly, to their commitment to God’s truth. Such a challenge is all the greater when prompted by the realization that men and women whom we’ve held in high regard are inadvertently or even knowingly leading us astray.

It isn’t too difficult to accept the truth about the aberrant teachings and dangerous practices of non-Christian cults; Christian bookstores are replete with publications on cult belief systems and activities. But the same bookstores sell materials containing false doctrines under the guise of “deep truths” and “new revelations.” Many of these teachings are gaining acceptance among a growing number of evangelical Christians, and are increasingly finding expression in the Christian Media.

Because this report strikes at the false teachings (often undiscerned) within the heart of the Christian Church, it has been with a great deal of pain and personal soul-searching that it was written. Certainly this report will have an impact upon those propagating these false teachings, as well as upon those who learn from the teachers. Certainly it will cause loyalties to be broken.
On the other hand, I’m well aware that it may cause loyalties to this ministry to be broken. So be it; if any loyalty to this or any other ministry takes precedence over loyalty to God and His truth as revealed in Scripture, then that loyalty should be broken.

Jesus taught this very thing when He said, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). In Luke 14:26 He goes even further, saying that if we love even our own lives more than we love Him we are not worthy of Him.

If we are expected to hold allegiance to Jesus whom we have not seen, even above allegiance to our own families and our very lives, how much more should we be loyal to Him above others, no matter how they impress us with their knowledge and eloquent oratory.

Are those who teach us humble? Jesus is more humble. Are they wise? Jesus is more wise. Do they love us? Jesus loves us more. Whatever virtues they possess, the greatest teachers in the Church are in poverty compared to Jesus.

When He trod this earth as a man, having relinquished all privileges of His eternal Godhood, Jesus was approached by one who addressed Him as “Good Master.” His response should humble all who hold themselves or others in high regard: “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God” (Matthew 9:16-17).

Though the words I bring you may be hard to bear, I implore all who read them to pray that God will illuminate their minds, and also for His protection from the enemy who would distort the truth of these matters as well as my motive for bringing them to light.

This is written with full awareness of my own vulnerability. For I admit that the things I have witnessed from those whose teachings I question herein have caused me to wonder whether they might not be from God. It is a fearful thing to contemplate the thought that I might in all sincerity cast aspersion upon true men of God whose work I may not understand. But I am convinced that what I present to you is the truth, given with a heavy heart for those who, by necessity, must be named for their errors.

I urge you therefore to lay aside prejudices and personal preferences for teachers and teachings. Receive this message in the spirit in which it is written, not as an attempt to sow discord among the brethren (of this I am sure to be accused), but as a humble attempt to shed the light of God’s truth upon the darkness caused by teachings contrary to His Word.

I encourage you to put this writing to the test. But no less do I encourage you to put to the test those teachings with which it deals.

Let God judge men’s hearts; that is not my intention. But each of us is responsible to judge what we are asked to believe.


With every move of God comes a countermove of Satan to snatch the seed of truth from those who desire to glorify God with their lives. From the very start of the Church Age Satan has attempted to destroy the work of God and bring liberated souls back into bondage to man-made religion. Yet in spite of the awesome power Satan’s emissaries in the spirit realm display, the gates of hell have not prevailed against the Church – nor will they ever.

It may seem at times that the Church has been subdued. But even during the twelve-hundred years of oppressive rule by the Roman papacy under the claim of apostolic authority, there were faithful saints who kept their relationship with God pure – even if at times perfect understanding may have been withheld from them. Certainly we cannot say that God’s grace was nullified during that time.
Even the Reformers of the sixteenth century and after sorely lacked the full understanding that would have allowed them to lead their followers into paths of complete harmony with God’s Word. Yet line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little, God has shed more understanding upon His Word.

The Azusa Street (Los Angeles) revival of 1906 marked the beginning of today’s Pentecostalism. During the outbreak of that revival the Baptism with the Holy Spirit became widely experienced and many Christians spoke in foreign languages with interpretations, extolling the glories of God.
Out of this move of God came the establishment of large churches that broke from the formalism of a stagnant Protestantism. Various Pentecostal denominations such as the Assemblies of God, and the Church of God, were born virtually overnight, and found great success as memberships burgeoned. Many independent Pentecostal churches sprang up as well.

The Church as a whole realized a new surge of vitality and enthusiasm for God. And if people were healed of sickness and delivered from demons in the process, so much the better.

But with this move of God came a counterattack by Satan’s forces. Recognizing that people were hungry for demonstrations of God’s power, and that in their enthusiasm many had neglected to ground themselves in the Scriptures for protection against deception, Satan, as an angel of light, began to manifest his own demonstrations of power. By this means he sought to beguile Christians away from their Lord, and focus their attention on the benefits they could derive from personal “experiences” – in Jesus’ name, of course.

I believe the Pentecostal explosion that occurred in 1906 was a mighty move of God to prepare His Church for the unique challenges that the twentieth century has presented, and to demonstrate to the world that Jesus is not dead, but alive for evermore.

The manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit are as valid for us today as they were for the first-century Church. If anything, they are more needed today than ever. We must jealously guard the gifts, and not misuse them as has been the custom of many who, overcome with zeal, have thwarted the work of God in their lives.

Signs and wonders, miracles and healings are good when they originate with God. The problem lies in our inability sometimes to distinguish whether they are from God or Satan. For Scripture gives us ample proof that Satan, as well as God, can perform marvelous miracles (Exodus 7:8-15; Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22; II Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:11-18).

It’s not a question of counterfeit versus real; Satan’s miracles are not counterfeits any more than foreign currency is a counterfeit of our own currency. Counterfeit “miracles” are those feats of legerdemain performed by professional magicians, and charlatans who create ruses to bilk people out of money. A miracle from the spirit realm is genuine, whether from God or Satan. Satan’s healings are not illusory; they are real. That’s what makes them dangerous.

The reason people believe teachings when they are accompanied by signs and wonders is that they don’t believe Satan or his demons can perform genuine miracles. Therefore they think that any teaching accompanied by signs and wonders must be from God.

The Vulnerability of Pentecostalism

There are inherent problems in every system of theological expression. Fundamentalism is often fraught with a legalism unintended by God and unsupported by Scripture. The Reformed churches have given us, among other things, “Liberation Theology” – a “social gospel” that bears little resemblance to the dynamic of true Christianity. These have sprung up to a large extent because orthodox Christianity has been content for centuries to cling to a formalism that denies the power of godliness. In short, every discipline within the Church has allowed deception to enter in.

What makes Pentecostalism vulnerable to deception is the emotionalism that has become attendant to it. Not that Pentecostals don’t love Jesus and desire to keep their doctrine true. But unless they test all teachings by the Word of God and recognize that experience must be secondary to truth, deception has an open door.

I remind the reader of Paul’s warning to the Corinthian Church in speaking of false apostles and deceitful workers transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ: “…for Satan Himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (II Corinthians 11:15-15).

Satan’s ministers will preach righteousness, morality, and family life. They will preach against pornography, crime, homosexuality, abortion, and the corruption of the world system.
While these are legitimate issues of vital importance, they are irrelevant in determining whether the voice is from God or from Satan. Many cults stress righteousness and morality. The only means we have to test the spirits is rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

Even the preaching of Christ crucified and resurrected is no longer a means of determining if the spirit speaking is of God or Satan. Many cults call Jesus “Lord and Savior,” and “the only Way to the Father.” Mormons believe in the Lord’s bodily Resurrection. They and Jehovah’s Witnesses testify that they are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But these declarations are nullified by deeper teachings to which adherents are gradually indoctrinated. Satan uses this same tactic through various “new revelations” within the Church itself. The tares are truly among the wheat.

For this reason, today more than ever, Christians must learn to distinguish between the words of a teacher, and the spirit behind those words. Often the purity and simplicity of the Gospel will be encroached upon by other teachings that, in aggregate, nullify the Gospel and lead the hearer astray into doctrines of demons (I Timothy 4:1).

True humility on the part of any person should prompt recognition of his vulnerability and raising of safeguards. This should be especially true of Pentecostals and others who believe in God’s continual working through supernatural means. Because we are more receptive to supernatural input we should recognize our vulnerability to the spirit realm – both God’s working and Satan’s.

God’s Word tells us that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (I Corinthians 5:6; Galatians 5:9). All the wonderful preaching and spiritual insight a man brings is nullified if he has the leaven of false doctrine sprinkled among ninety-nine percent truth.

That’s not to say that every man is unsaved who has succumbed to deception and, overcome by its “spirituality,” spreads it to others. No man has all truth, and all are tempted to make Scripture fit their personal biases and pet theories. However, greater is the condemnation upon those who teach if they lead others astray, even in the name of righteousness (James 3:1). Many desire to be teachers, “but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm: (I Timothy 1:7 NIV). This is why Jesus commended the Ephesian Church for trying the words of those who call themselves apostles (Revelation 2:2).

These truths must be kept in mind as we study this phenomenon called “Kingdom Theology” and its impact upon the Church.


Within the “Kingdom Theology” camp are several movements whose teachings are remarkably similar over all, yet divergent on some points. These movements – though to a greater or lesser degree disavowing association with each other – are sufficiently homogenous in their eschatological and theological viewpoints to place them all under a common banner: what I refer to as “Kingdom Theology.”
These movements are built upon the same foundation: the neo-Pentecostalism of the mid-twentieth century. They draw from one another the support needed to develop their strategy for gaining preeminence among Christians. All zealously propagate their “new revelations” which allegedly are to prepare the Church for “the next move of God,” bringing us closer to the Kingdom Age (the rule of God on earth).

The most prominent of these movements are:

– Latter Rain
– Identity
– Manifest Sons of God
– Restoration
– Reconstruction
– Charismatic Renewal
– Shepherding/Discipleship
– Kingdom Message
– Positive Confession

Throughout the course of this study we’ll be examining these movements and their major proponents. But first it’s important that I give a general outline of Kingdom Theology itself and its dynamic.

The Teachings

The basic premise of Kingdom Theology is that man lost dominion over the earth when Adam and Eve succumbed to Satan’s temptation in the Garden of Eden. God “lost control” of the earth to Satan at that time, and has since been looking for a “covenant people” who will be His “extension,” or “expression,” in the earth and take dominion back from Satan. This is to be accomplished through certain “overcomers” who, by yielding themselves to the authority of God’s apostles and prophets for the Kingdom Age, will take control of the kingdoms of this world. These kingdoms are defined as all social institutions, such as the “kingdom” of education, the “kingdom” of science, the “kingdom” of the arts, and so on. Most especially there is the “kingdom” of politics or government. This naturally implies the concentration of military and police power in the hands of those in control during the Kingdom Age. They are referred to as the “many-membered man child,” whom Kingdom Theology adherents believe will be the fulfillment of Revelation 12:1-5: “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars….And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron.”

Those who hold to Kingdom Theology assume that the Church (some believe only a small group within the Church, called “overcomers”), under submission to the latter day apostles and prophets, is that man child, and that it has the responsibility to put down all rebellion and establish righteousness. This necessitates the utilization of supernatural power and the full implementation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This theory is based upon the idea that all authority in heaven and on the earth has been given to Jesus. Since believers are indwelt by the same Holy Spirit that indwelt Jesus, we have all authority in heaven and on the earth; we have the power to believe for and speak into existence things that are not, and thus we can bring about the Kingdom Age. The many-membered man child must take control of the earth before Jesus can return.

Necessary to the Kingdom Age is “the Restoration of the Tabernacle of David,” defined as the completion of perfection of the Bride of Christ – a Church without spot or wrinkle. During the Kingdom Age (or after all else is subdued during that time) Satan and all enemies of God will be put under the feet of the many-membered man child. This will be the fulfillment of I Corinthians 15:25-26: “For he (Christ) must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”

The rationale that the many-membered man child will put God’s enemies under ‘its’ feet is that Jesus is the head of Christ and the Church is the body of Christ. And where are the feet but in the body? Many in the Kingdom Theology movements insist that when this Scripture refers to Christ it is really referring to the Church who is the Body of Christ. Therefore it is necessary for them to establish within the minds of Christians the idea that, as the Body of Christ, we are Christ. In other words, we have His divine nature.

Notice that this idea, similar to that of mind science and other false religions, separates the anointing of “Christ” from Jesus and bestows it upon all who come into a place of certain knowledge and spiritual attainment. This is a heresy that is as old as the Church. It is rooted in the Greek school of philosophy known as Gnosticism.

No Rapture

Critical to hard-core Kingdom Theology is the denial of “the Rapture” – the teaching that the Church will one day be caught up to meet the Lord in the air so that we will be with Him in Heaven when God’s wrath is poured out upon the earth. This event is explained away as a feeling of rapture or excitement when the Lord returns to receive the Kingdom from our hands. In other words, everyone will be “caught up” emotionally when He returns. This explanation ignores the fact that such an application of the term “caught up” is strictly an idiomatic expression peculiar to English, not Greek. “I was all ‘caught up’ in the movie” (or other excitement) is not the equivalent of ‘harpazo’ in I Thessalonians 4:17, II Corinthians 12:2-4, and Revelation 12:5, used to describe the catching up bodily into Heaven, and Acts 8:39 where Phillip is bodily “caught away” by the Spirit to another location.

Consequently, since there will be no bodily catching away – or “Rapture” – of the Church (some say not until the Church has taken dominion in the face of adversity), there will be no restoration of the nation of Israel. The proponents of Kingdom Theology are correct when they say that the Church is spiritual Israel, but they fail to acknowledge that God has promised to restore national Israel and deal with her during the coming seventieth week of Daniel.

All prophecies regarding future Israel – both in the Old and New Testaments – are made to apply to the Church. The restoration of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37:1-11 is said to be the Restoration of the Church out of Babylon (denominationalism) into perfect unity. All believers will possess the same mind, same thoughts, and same goals delineated by the apostles and prophets of the Kingdom Age through new revelations.

The Church Has Failed

Another eschatological viewpoint of Kingdom Theology is that the Great Tribulation is seen not as a time when anti-Christ will reign and war against God’s people, but rather a time of tribulation for the world brought about by God’s judgment through His people. Anti-Christ, in fact, is considered by some not to be a person, or even a system of government, but a spirit of rebellion against God’s constituted authority – the coming of Jesus in the flesh of the apostles and prophets, according to their interpretation of I John 4:2 and II John 7.

Since there will be no “Rapture,” and no Second Coming of Jesus until the Kingdom has been established by the Church under the direction of the apostles and prophets, most Kingdom Theology adherents are mid- or post-millennialists: Jesus will come back after the millennium has begun or after it has been completed. Some are amillennialists, believing He will never come back personally, or that He already came back to His own generation, leaving the Church to take dominion over the earth. Thus they see the Church as having failed in what they consider its commission to take dominion over the kingdoms of the earth.

The reason the Church has failed is because it has not understood what Jesus meant when He told His disciples that they would be witnesses of Him throughout the earth. To be a witness means to demonstrate the Kingdom on earth: to take dominion, bringing all things into obedience to Christ. In order to demonstrate the Kingdom, the Church must not only be united under the apostles and prophets, but must be prosperous, having taken control of all the material wealth of the earth. Since “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1), the world is ours as joint heirs with Christ. This sounds good, but without Jesus here to establish the dominion, we are left at the mercy of men who, according to their thinking, will have “overcome” all faults and will be operating according to the perfect will of God. Since all enemies, including death, will be put under the feet of the “overcomers,” it is therefore necessary that dominion include “immortalization” (or at least living in “divine health” as well as “divine prosperity”).

The Cloud Of Witnesses

To accomplish the great task of taking dominion over a rebellious world, the Church must have supernatural help not only from God, but from angels and from the “great cloud of witnesses” (the dead in Christ) who have preceded us. A unity between their spirits and our spirits will create a communications link by which revelations will be conveyed that will guide the Church in its mission. The apostles and prophets especially will have contact into the spirit realm through appearances of Jesus, angels, and departed saints. In fact, such contacts have already been reported in the Christian media.

Essentially then, Kingdom Theology sees the Second Coming of Jesus in two stages: first through the flesh of the believers (and in particular the flesh of today’s apostles and prophets), and then in person to take over the Kingdom handed to Him by those who have been victorious (the “overcomers”). In some circles it is believed that the overcomers will have become immortal – they will have attained what is called “resurrection life.”

Whether immortal or not, it is generally agreed in Kingdom Theology that the overcomers must purge the earth of all evil influences. “Evildoers” must be converted or they will be punished and/or “destroyed from off the face of the earth.” “Evildoers” have been variously described as drug pushers, murderers, child molesters, thieves, prostitutes, and other such “scum” that Jesus died for. It will interest the reader to learn, however, that for many who teach Kingdom Theology, the term “evildoer” applies to anyone who refuses to submit to God’s authority (the latter day apostles and prophets). Those who do submit will be sealed with the “mark of God” in their foreheads, and will escape the coming judgment.

Some Differences

As we deal with these teachings individually in successive chapters, keep in mind that some movements are more extreme than others, and each is somewhat unique in its approach to the basic tenets of Kingdom Theology. In fact, not everyone within each movement is necessarily in agreement with each other, let alone with those in the other movements. Still, each movement has teachings that are sufficiently aberrant as to warrant careful testing by the Word of God. Each in its own way has its part in propagating some or all of the elements of Kingdom Theology. Other teachings not detailed here are quite bizarre, and add to the overall occult flavor of Kingdom Theology. We’ll be dealing with them as we progress.

It’s important to understand that not everyone in the various movements mentioned believe all Kingdom Theology teachings. Many are innocently fraternizing with those whose doctrines would horrify them if they were aware of them. Yet while the adage “guilt by association” does not always hold true, a consistent pattern of fraternization and support are sufficient grounds to at least question whether one holds the views of those he supports and with whom he seeks unity.

Some Terminology

As in all fraternities, there is certain terminology peculiar to Kingdom Theology. Knowledge of that terminology can alert us to the possibility that we are hearing from an adherent to those teachings. A few occasions of word usage prove nothing, of course. But a pattern of usage and dependence upon terminology peculiar to Kingdom Theology is reason for concern and further investigation of a teacher’s doctrines. Many will hide their true beliefs to all but those within their inner circle lest they be prematurely exposed to the Body of Christ at large. Once you become familiar with their terminology I urge you not to judge arbitrarily, but to seek further knowledge of the teacher’s true beliefs (Acts 17:11). Meanwhile, be cautious until you do know what he or she believes. The following Kingdom terminology should be cause for concern even though much will be defended as “scriptural” by those who use them:

– Dominion
– Overcomer(s)
– Word-Faith
– Spoken Word
– Five-fold ministry
– Latter Rain
– Tabernacle of David
– Feast of Tabernacles
– Many-membered man child
– Manifestation of the Kingdom
– Manifestation of the Sons of God
– Ongoing Incarnation
– Birthing in the Spirit
– Get this into your spirit
– Unity (of the Body)
– Serpent’s Seed or Seed of the Serpent
– Faith in faith
– God’s faith
– God-like faith
– Kingdom language
– Kingdom principles
– Christ principles
– Elijah Company
– Bride Company
– The Christ
– Ecclesias

I wish to reiterate that the use of some of these words – at least moderately – is not grounds for judging harshly the speaker or writer (see John 7:24). I stress this because I know I’ll be accused of jumping to conclusions and lumping everyone together. I urge caution in accepting or rejecting anyone on the basis of their terminology alone. By the time you’ve read through this report, however, I’m certain you’ll see why these terms are good indicators of the teacher’s beliefs.
At the end of the final installment you’ll find a sample questionnaire which you can use to test any teacher’s position relative to Kingdom Theology. This may be used as a precaution against erroneously prejudging anyone – teacher or disciple. This said, we will examine now the roots and the effects of Kingdom Theology and its various movements.


It becomes apparent through study that Kingdom Theology had its beginning in the teachings of the more prominent leaders of the mid-twentieth-century phenomenon known as “The Latter Rain Movement.” These teachers blended Pentecostal fervor with supernatural manifestations which, when examined, are found to have been heavily influenced by occult activity.

The unwary believers of that time, whose lives were touched by these supernatural phenomena, were unversed in the occult sciences and accepted these manifestations of power as from God. Now we are seeing at the same time within Pentecostalism, both the true manifestations of the Holy Spirit and the occult manifestations of Satan.

To determine which are of God and which from the adversary, it helps to know the history of this movement called the Latter Rain. Therefore I have endeavored to lay out in a semblance of chronological order the various influences the teachers of that period had upon each other, and how those influences are affecting the Church today.


In the fall of 1946, a “major fasting and prayer daily revival center” was established in San Diego, California. Under the leadership of Franklin Hall (assisted by Jack Walker, father of child evangelist “Little David” Walker), the teaching of fasting as a means of bringing about revival and the “restoration” of the Church spread throughout the Pentecostal world.1 Other ministers who helped establish the fasting and prayer center were: Dr. Waltrip (Kathryn Kuhlman’s husband); Stanley Comstock; Earl Ivy; Tommy Baird; Myrtle Page; and Franklin Hall’s brothers, Delbert, Harold, and Virgil. (Delbert Hall and his wife, Florence, were pastors.)2

According to the Summer, 1985, issue of Franklin Hall’s newsletter, ‘Miracle World,’ in which is revealed some of the early history of his ministry, “A fasting chain came about. Several were on major fasts around the clock. Many were fasting for not only days but weeks at a time. One lady, Sister Mary Sommerville, fasted without food for eighty-three days. She was so strong on this notable fast that she ran and danced all over the place, being drunk on both the inner and outer filling of the precious Holy Spirit.”3

Hall claims more than one thousand converts during the first year of the center’s existence, with scores being healed of diseases, through fasting and prayer.

Alleged appearances of the Holy Ghost in fire and smoke are also related in Hall’s newsletter:
“Once or twice the Fire department was briefed by folk seeing the Holy Smoke and Fire through the windows upstairs. They came running up the steps with the hoses to put out the fire. Some of the firemen, seeing that it was not a natural fire, sat down in the large revival center hall and worshipped the Lord getting saved.”4

Spreading The Word

Hall and his wife, Helen, sold off some assets and borrowed against their home to finance the printing of “millions of pieces of literature” to send to people all over the world.5 The Hall’s claim this mail campaign resulted in the great healing revivals of the late forties and early fifties.
It was during this time (1946) that Franklin Hall wrote his book, ‘Atomic Power With God Through Fasting and Prayer,’ which was to have a significant impact upon the world of Pentecostalism. Many people, little known at that time, were greatly influenced by Hall’s literature. Gordon Lindsay’s publication, ‘Voice of Healing,’ helped spread the fasting message, as well as did Thomas and Evelyn Wyatt’s worldwide radio broadcasts.

Hall’s newsletter records how others received his message:

“Rev. Walter Frederick, former Assembly superintendent in Canada, sent Brother Hall’s literature to every Pentecostal preacher in Canada….A few of the others (not too well-known then) ministers [sic] who had major fasting experiences by our writings in the 1946, 1947 to 1950 fasting era and who also became famous are:
Wm. Freeman
Gordon Lindsay
A.A. Allen
O.L. Jaggers
Gayle Jackson
Oral Roberts
David Nunn
Wm. Branham
W.V. Grant
Wm. Hagen
Dale Hanson
Tommy Hicks.”6

Hall’s writings on fasting and diet as a means to spiritual restoration might easily be seen as the primitive beginnings of today’s “Christian holism.”

Occult Influences

As evidence of God’s favor upon those who fast, Hall points out that even the prayers of pagans will be answered by God if they are accompanied by fasting: “Many, if not all, the American Indian tribes sought revelation of the Great Spirit through Prayer and Fasting. When they had famines, food shortages, lack of rain, etc., the Great Spirit was sought through prayer and fasting, and their prayers were answered.”7

Hall uses this as an example of how fasting is necessary to have our prayers answered. In fact, he states that “Without fasting, prayer becomes ineffectual.”8 In other words, those who pray to demons will have their prayers answered if they fast, but Christians will not have their prayers answered if they don’t fast. At the least, it would seem, they would be hindered greatly. This is a good example of how a person can extol a faith in Christ while negating all the effects of that faith and the relationship with God it entails. By giving credit for answered prayer to the demon gods of pagan religions, Hall displays a mindset characteristic of occult science.

That there is a definite occult influence on Hall’s career is evident in other writings. His book, ‘The Return of Immortality,’ suggests that Christians can learn how to become immortal through stages of spiritual growth. This involves experiences with “UFO’s, and the UIO gravitational and levitation control.”9 His teachings on attaining immortality in this life through psycho-spiritual exercises and righteous living were the foundation upon which many in the Latter Rain and subsequent movements based their immortalization theories.

Hall’s main point in his immortalization theory is that “the sleeping, so called, unfoundationally built church” must awaken to “a real cause and calling, that when God’s word is completely acted upon and complied with, will result in bringing about the real gushers and torrents of the long, past due, RAIN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. A rain of IMMORTALITY UPON THE EARTH that so many prophets have written about and portrayed in their prophesies”10 (emphasis Hall’s).

Hall’s premise is not, however, predicated upon God’s promise of immortality for the faithful after their resurrection. This is evidenced by his following words: “Permanent, lasting Freedoms from all sickness, harmful accident things and defeat will come about. Freedom from the imprisonment of all gravitational forces will also be brought upon the whole man.

“This study teaches one the power and secrets of space flight. Space floatation [sic] and hovering ability. It gives the Bible formula for weightlessness, the ‘raising up’ power of those who come to immortality. (Jn.6 chapter and Rom.2:7).”11

In his book, Hall gives “evidence” of his already having attained a degree of “immortality” (which allegedly affects everything that comes in contact with the immortal person’s body):
“Brother Hall’s light colored jacket is seven years old and has never been pressed or cleaned or aerated in 7 years, since new, yet it has been worn repeatedly in many overseas countries and regularly in all crusades everywhere (excepting one). It has been on more than 200 airlines in travels. It has no spots, stains, discoloration or body odors anywhere on it or inside it – similar to the children of Israel’s clothes under the Glory, Immortality Cloud of Fire Power.”12

The attainment of “Immortality blessings” are alleged by Hall to be more successfully attained through open-eye prayer. “Coming with closed eyes,” he stated, “destroys faith.”13

Hall claims that there is an “Immortal Substance” that comes upon the believer who feeds upon it “from within Christ’s now body” – the “FIRE – IMMORTAL – PACKED – BODY” (Emphasis Hall’s). This “Immortal Substance” is claimed to be seen on those who attend Hall’s meetings, as a fine gold and silver, sparkling material that emanates from sometimes visible “Immortal Heavenly Objects” (IHO’s), “Unusual Heavenly Objects” (UHO’s), and “Unidentified Flying Objects” (UFO’s). In Hall’s words, “The sparkling shining FINE GOLD and SILVER are seen upon their SKIN, brought about through the faith-power of impartation. The polished brass, the beryl stone appearances are even now manifested today.” He challenges the reader to see and behold these phenomena by attending “the International Holy Ghost and Fire Seminars of Brother and Sister Franklin Hall.”14 This sparkling material Hall calls, “The shiny metal like, Jesus’ substance.”15 While Hall has many excellent things to say about fasting from the standpoint of good health, when it comes to spiritual matters he often transcends sensibility and delves into areas of the occult. The book upon which many healers of the Latter Rain period publicly acknowledged their dependence, ‘Atomic Power With God Through Fasting and Prayer,’ is evidence:
“In the zodiacal sign, ‘Scorpio,’ which is the eighth sign of the Zodiac, we have a picture of a scorpion with its stinger lifted ready to strike. This is the sign of death, and is supposed to govern the sex area. Just before this sign in the heavens, there is a sign of the Judge, Jesus, who is the giver of LIFE. Jesus proceeds toward death and pulls the STING OUT OF DEATH. ‘O, death where is thy sting? O, grave, where is thy victory?'”16

There is today a growing acceptance of the idea that the Zodiac is a representation of the Gospel. More will be said about this when we examine the teachings of some current Kingdom Theology proponents. But I feel that I should at least point out at this time that the Zodiac is an arbitrary assignment of images to certain stars by the priests of the Babylonian mystery religion. No matter how one tries to make it fit Scripture by claiming Genesis 1:4, there is no scriptural evidence that the “signs and seasons” spoken of in God’s Word have any relation to the astrologists’ Zodiac. We have the more sure written Word of God for guidance; we tread on dangerous ground when we try to accommodate His Word to occult science, or try to make the two equal.

Hall’s penchant for a form of “Christian astrology” is evidenced further in his statement that, “In 1848 A.D. the Aquarian Age was introduced to the world.”17 Those familiar with the New Age Movement, will recognize the Aquarian Age as the “Golden Age” of enlightenment when mankind will take a quantum leap in his evolutionary stages, to immortalization. The Aquarian Age will not be completely entered into until around the year 2000 A.D. Hall’s writings are replete with strange, even weird statements difficult to decipher. The following, though a bit lengthy and poorly written, are examples:
“So much has been said about the travels of the astronauts, about conquering space and even going to Venus or Mars, about the power behind the saucers. The overcoming saints, however, are hundreds of years ahead of our scientists. These heaven projected saints will be so clothed and covered with the Immortality, supernatural, ZOOMING sparkling Substance, that it will be no more trouble at all for them to take off.

“Where will they go?
“They will fly right into the Glory Cloud residence of our Lord and Savior, Heaven in Him. Into His Cloud Fire Body. (Rev.12:5)
“What distance will they go?
“The distance, at first, may not be very far away, however, as the 8th church from out of the 7 churches of revelation, called the ‘overcomers,’ become more and more adjusted and acclimated to Holy Ghost Space flight, great distances taken, will seem like no distance at all.

“Jesus taught a small, but precious group of His followers – those who were able to bear it, that gravity would be completely loosed from them, in the last days, when they learned how to train their appetites into a different channel. We must learn to labor for the meal that endures unto everlasting (IMMORTAL) life. The meat that draws us away from gravity holding things. Jn.6:27.
“The ‘not-perisheth’ menu is the menu of Immortality, weight releasing power. The ‘endureth unto everlasting life’ menu.

“…The quickening power of the Holy Spirit brings about Immortality REVERSE ENERGY EMPOWERMENT.”18
“Gravity-freed, great people will run up walls, not break rank, and if they fall on a sword, the Immortality power from Jesus’ body, on them, will protect them. It appears that, they also can walk or run upside down. See Joel 2:3-11.”19 (emphasis Hall’s in all quotes).

In an ad for another of his books, ‘Formula for Raising the Dead,’ Hall cautions the potential purchaser, “This volume is only for very advanced Holy Ghost people. Do not order unless you are open to an apostolic teaching and have read four other books by Bro. Franklin Hall.”20

I would not question Hall’s sincerity and desire to attain spiritual enlightenment. But the heavy flavor of occultism in his teachings should have been sufficient warning even back in 1946. Yet many prominent teachers credit the empowerment for their ministries (especially healing ministries) on his book on fasting and prayer.

It’s clear that Hall’s teachings are a blend of occultism with Christianity. And since his teachings formed the basis of those that came after, and since the influence of those teachings upon neo-Pentecostalism is so great, close scrutiny of every ministry they touched is necessary.

Part One Section B

Inscribed on a pyramid-shaped tombstone in a Jeffersonville, Indiana cemetery, are the names of the seven churches of Revelation, “Ephesian” at the base representing the beginning of the Church Age, “Laodicean” near the top the end of the Church Age. On the opposite face are the names of seven men whose impact on the Church throughout its history has been significant.

Were the two faces of the pyramid juxtaposed one over the other, we would see the names of the churches superimposed over the men’s names in the following order, from bottom to top:
Ephesian – Paul
Smyrnean – Ireneaus
Pergamean – Martin
Thyatirean – Columba
Sardisean – Luther
Philadelphian – Wesley
Laodicean – Branham

Among most major proponents of Kingdom Theology these men are considered the great reformers of the various stages of Church history. To many Kingdom Theology proponents William Branham was perhaps the greatest “prophet” for the Church’s final age.

In 1948, Branham, a Baptist preacher turned Pentecostal, and influenced by Franklin Hall, gained notoriety for his teachings on what he called, “God’s Seventh Church Age” (supposedly the final move of God before the manifestation of His Kingdom on earth). Branham based this teaching primarily on Joel 2:23 and Revelation 1:20-3:22, the latter recording Jesus’ messages to the seven churches in Asia Minor.
Branham claimed that the angels (messengers) to the churches were men who appeared at various times throughout Church history to usher in revelations that would lead the Church in new directions according to the purpose of God. As indicated on his tombstone, Branham was thought to be the angel to the Church of Laodicea – the end-time Church.

In his teachings on Joel 2:23, Branham defined the “latter rain” as the Pentecostal movement of his day. God’s promise to restore what the locust, cankerworm, caterpillar, and palmerworm had eaten, he defined as the “restoration” of the Church out of denominationalism (which he equated with “the Mark of the Beast”).

Although denying he was a believer in the “oneness” doctrine, Branham had his own form of “oneness” teaching that defined God as one person who manifested Himself as three different “attributes”: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, rather than three Persons comprising one Godhead.21 He believed the doctrine of the Trinity was the “Babylonian Foundation” of the denominations, inherited from Roman Catholicism.22

Branham also believed that the Word of God was given in three forms: the Zodiac, the Egyptian pyramids, and the written Scriptures.23 The Zodiac theory was not new, having been put forth by Franklin Hall previously, and as early as 1893 by historian E.W. Bullinger in his book, ‘The Witness of the Stars.’ The idea that the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt was constructed by God (possibly through Enoch) is at least as old as the Zodiac theory, and is popular with the Dawn Bible Students, an offshoot of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

It can be said of Branham that he had a simplicity and apparent humility which attracted many followers. “Gordon Lindsay told of how he impressed audiences with his utter and complete consecration.”24
The Serpent’s Seed

In spite of his apparent humility and consecration, Branham had great difficulty controlling a strident, hateful attitude toward women. In his own poor English, transcribed from a sermon, Branham stated, “But I remember when my father’s still up there running, I had to be out there with water and stuff, see young ladies that wasn’t over seventeen, eighteen years, up there with a man my age now, drunk. And they’d have to sober them up and give them black coffee, to get them home to cook their husband’s supper. Oh, something like that, I said, ‘I…This was my remarked [sic] then, THEY’RE NOT WORTH A GOOD CLEAN BULLET TO KILL THEM WITH IT.’ That’s right. And I hated women. That’s right. And I just have to watch every move now, to keep from still thinking the same thing.”25

This attitude toward women may have played a part in the development of Branham’s bizarre “Serpent Seed” teaching. This was based on a twisted interpretation of Genesis 3:13, where Eve is recorded as saying, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” The word “beguiled” Branham defined as “seduced sexually.” He claimed that Satan and Eve engaged in an adulterous affair out of which Cain was born. Since that time evil has passed from generation to generation through women, who keep the seed of the serpent alive.26 He seemed to think that women are responsible for the evil in the world because of their enticements.

The “Serpent’s Seed” teaching obviously indicated that Branham didn’t take the Scriptures literally, where we read, “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived and bare Cain…” (Genesis 4:1).
His animosity toward women led to the preaching of a rigid moral code that lambasted them on their manner of dress, and may have been responsible for his “revelation” that allowed for divorce.27
Supernatural Manifestations

From the time of his infancy it was evident to his parents that William’s life had upon it the touch of the supernatural. Born in 1909 in a mountain cabin near Berksville, Kentucky, William Marrion Branham’s childhood was spent in extreme poverty. His father was only eighteen years of age, and his mother fifteen when he came into the world weighing a scant five pounds, the first of nine boys and one girl.28

The following account may be legend or fact, but it was part of Branham’s testimony from the start: On the day of his birth, after being washed, he was placed in his mother’s arms by the midwife who then went to a window to open the shutter. (There was no glass in the Branham house in those days.) As dawn broke sending a few rays of light into the room, there was seen a small circular halo about a foot in diameter, above the bed where little William lay in his mother’s arms.29

Thousands of people have supposedly seen this halo, which is ostensibly revealed in a photograph taken in Houston, Texas, during a January, 1950, campaign. (The best we’ve been able to obtain is a photostatic copy of a copy which, though poorly reproduced here, will allow the reader to see what has been taken for a “halo.” Whether this is a halo or a flaw in the negative – whether it is a manifestation from God or Satan or poor photography, we will leave to the reader’s judgment.)
When he was three years of age, Branham experienced for the first time what he called “the Voice.” At age seven “the Voice” commanded him, “Don’t you never drink, smoke, or defile your body in any way. There’ll be work for you to do when you get older.”30

This “Voice” accompanied Branham throughout his lifetime, and eventually made itself known as an “angel” that directed him in every aspect of his personal life.31 During healing services Branham would often fall into a trance during which his angel would work through him. Asked once if the healings were done by the Holy Spirit, Branham replied, “No, my angel does it.”32

Branham was one of the foremost proponents of the theory of healing and imparting the Holy Spirit through the “laying on of hands.” He would often feel a heat in his hand as he touched affected parts, and exhibited a remarkable clairvoyancy in knowing intimate details of the lives of people he had never seen before. No doubt this was due to the angel’s possession of his mind.

Difficulties With The Brethren

Branham’s unorthodox methods of healing and allegedly imparting the Holy Spirit by the laying on of his hands came under severe criticism by the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. These practices became major sources of controversy between the Latter Rain Movement and the established Pentecostal denominations who held to their belief that one must “tarry” in prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

In spite of his bizarre healing methods and aberrant doctrines, Branham enjoyed remarkable popularity among many Pentecostals, and was warmly received by such notables as Demos Shakarian (founder of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International), Oral Roberts, W.V. Grant, A.A. Allen, Gordon Lindsay (founder of Christ for the Nations), O.L. Jaggers, George Warnock, and Franklin Hall.
Although many Pentecostals were willing to embrace Branham as an “apostle” and “prophet” while overlooking his aberrant teachings, his popularity declined in the late 1950’s after his numerous bold proclamations of “thus saith the Lord” to establish his doctrines. Many Pentecostal churches became reluctant to allow him to speak.33

No one conversant with Pentecostalism will deny that, for better or for worse, William Branham had a tremendous effect on the neo-Pentecostalism of his time. From all accounts, he did exhibit remarkable healing powers which no doubt played a significant part in giving credibility to his teachings.
Branham was warmly welcomed by Pentecostal churches and organizations such as the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International. This organization in particular provided his most reliable support. In 1961, the editor of FGBMFI’s magazine, ‘Voice,’ wrote, “In Bible Days, there were men of God who were Prophets and Seers. But in all the Sacred Records, none of these had a greater ministry than that of William Branham.”34

It should be noted that often what Branham taught as a guest speaker differed from what he taught at his own church, Branham Tabernacle, where he felt freer to disclose his more aberrant teachings.
Toward the end of his career, however, Branham’s public espousal of his strange doctrines became even more controversial and he was used less and less by the FGBMFI, though for several years his speaking engagements were underwritten by local chapters. For years he had been a frequent speaker at regional and national conventions.


Branham’s life ended abruptly. While on a trip to Arizona, his car was hit head-on by one driven by a drunken driver. For six days he lay in a coma and, on Christmas Eve, 1965, he passed away.
The entire Pentecostal world was shaken by the tragedy. “A number of old friends – Oral Roberts, Demos Shakarian, T.L. Osborn – telephoned their concern.”35

When Branham died, Demos Shakarian wrote, “Rev. Branham often made the statement that the only Fellowship to which he belonged was FGBMFI. Often, when called upon to speak at various conventions and chapter meetings, he has traveled long distances to keep those engagements. His spirit of service was an inspiration.”36

Many of Branham’s followers believed that he had truly come in the spirit of Elijah; some believed him to be God, born of a virgin.37 They fully expected him to rise from the dead and come back to them at the end of three days.

Five days after his passing, William Branham was buried, and his grave was soon marked by the pyramid-shaped tombstone.

To date, William Branham’s body is still in the grave. But his occult approach to healing was picked up by hundreds of pastors and teachers who have traded on it to a greater or lesser degree.


In the fall of 1947, two former pastors for the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, George Hawtin and Percy G. Hunt, joined with Herrick Holt, a pastor of the North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Church of the Foursquare Gospel, in an independent work. That work – Sharon Orphanage and Schools which Holt had originally started in a large residence in North Battleford – had come to occupy about one thousand acres of farmland about ten miles distant from the city limits.

With Hawtin and Hunt came seventy students from Bethel Bible Institute where both had formerly taught before Hawtin was asked to resign for lack of cooperation, and Hunt resigned out of sympathy. George Hawtin’s brother-in- law, Milford Kirkpatrick, and Ernest Hawtin, George’s brother, soon joined in ministry at Sharon.38

Herrick Holt had been preaching that God was going to be doing a “new thing” in accordance with the prophecy of Isaiah 43:18-19:

“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.

“Behold I will do a new thing; Now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

Of great influence upon the work at Sharon were the teachings of William Branham. Several of the school’s brethren visited one of his campaigns shortly after George Hawtin and P.G. Hunt had come on staff. With renewed fervor, the brethren took Branham’s teachings back to Sharon, unaware that the supernatural power bestowed upon them by Branham would make their ministry the focal point of the Latter Rain Movement for several years to come.39

Another influence, on the Hawtin brothers in particular, was J.E. Stile’s book, ‘The Gift of the Holy Spirit,’ which asserted that if one were truly repentant, and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, all that was necessary for him to receive the Holy Spirit was for another believer to lay hands on him.40

Franklin Hall’s book was especially utilized at Sharon. Ernest Hawtin wrote: “The truth of fasting was one great contributing factor to the revival. One year before this we had read Franklin Hall’s book, entitled ‘Atomic Power With God Through Fasting and Prayer.’ We immediately began to practice [sic] fasting. Previously we had not understood the possibility of long fasts. The revival would never have been possible without the restoration of this great truth through our good brother Hall.”41

On February 11, 1948, a young woman at the Bible school prophesied that a great revival was about to break out. The next day, according to Ern Hawtin, the Holy Spirit fell with great power. “Day after day the Glory and Power of God came among us. Great repentance, humbling, fasting and prayer prevailed in everyone.”42

Because of the manifestation of power at North Battleford, news of the outbreak spread, and soon people were coming from everywhere to receive that power. They believed that the long drought was over for Pentecostals, whose use of the gifts had gradually declined since the advent of Pentecostalism at the turn of the century.43

A striking characteristic of the Sharon revival was the effort to avoid the establishment of another denomination as had happened during the earlier Pentecostal Movement. George Hawtin was especially adamant about this and labored to instruct those who were touched by his ministry not to fall into that trap. He felt that the unity of the Church was essential to bring about its restoration, and therefore encouraged the establishment of autonomous, local congregations.

It became a hallmark of the Latter Rain Movement that innumerable independent churches sprang up with no denominational affiliation. This did not set well with the Pentecostal denominations, which lost many members to this “new thing.”

A major point of controversy between the North Battleford brethren and some Pentecostal denominations was the teaching by the former that there are present-day apostles and prophets for the Church.44 And though George Hawtin wrote in the June, 1948, issue of ‘The Sharon Star’ (the school’s newsletter) that “no church exercises or has any right to exercise authority of jurisdiction over another church, its pastors or members,” the traveling “presbytery” from Sharon, of which he was a part, did indeed exercise authority over people in other congregations through personal “directive prophecy.”45
In spite of the Sharon group’s insistence upon autonomy, they eventually became sectarian to the extreme, holding to the notions that no teaching was valid unless it originated with them, no fellowship was to be engaged in with anyone outside their own confines, and they alone were the purveyors of God’s truth. If anyone would be an “overcomer,” it must be through obedience to their authority.

Even some who were endorsed as apostles and prophets by the Sharon group eventually became disillusioned and broke ties from Sharon. Among these was Reg Layzell who wrote: “At the first camp meeting you were made a member of the Body of Christ by the Spirit of God. And even if you said you were not in the Body you still were. No man could put you in or take you out. Now the error: they claim you are only put in by them and can be put out by them.”46

A significant event in the history of Sharon Orphanage and School was its July 7-18, 1948 Camp Meeting, during which thousands of people from Canada and the United States flocked in hopes of receiving something special from God. Residents from at least twenty states attended, and the great Latter Rain Movement burst upon the world.

From that time the movement spread rapidly and Sharon shortly became just one of many centers of teaching for the Latter Rain Movement.

In his thesis on this movement, Richard Riss states: “It should be noted however, that prior to the revival, these practices [laying on of hands and acceptance of apostles and prophets] were already commonplace in some places, including Elim Bible Institute, which was at that time in Hornell, N.Y., and which, until the revival, had not had contact with North Battleford.”47

“It should also be noted…that prophecy was a major distinguishing mark of the Latter Rain Movement, whereas, in the case of the healing evangelists, healing was more prominent, and in the case of the early pentecostal revival, tongues had prominence.”48

Elim Bible Institute was for years prior to the outbreak of the Latter Rain Movement a center for neo-Pentecostal teachings. Although it was Sharon Orphanage that gave real impetus to these teachings, it is Elim Bible Institute that has continued even to this day with its influence, while the Sharon group has largely been relegated to obscurity.


Among those present at the Sharon Camp Meeting in July, 1948, was George Warnock who at one time had been personal secretary to Ern Baxter (an associate with William Branham’s healing ministry).49 At this meeting one of the teachers, James Watt, made a passing remark that the third of Israel’s feasts, the Feast of Tabernacles, was yet to be fulfilled.50 This struck Warnock and he began to associate it with the end-time ministry of the Church, and the concept of restoration.

In the fall of 1949 Warnock took up residence at Sharon, “assisting in the office work, and helping in the Bible School and in the local church.”51

In 1951 Warnock wrote his book, ‘The Feast of Tabernacles,’ in which he laid out a specific doctrine for the Latter Rain Movement, and those who came after. He taught that the Church was about to usher in the completion of God’s feasts for Israel, through perfection of the saints and their dominion over the earth.

Essentially, this Latter Rain teaching implies that the three great annual feasts of the Lord in Israel’s worship (Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles) pre-figure and typify the whole Church Age, beginning with the death of Jesus on the cross, and consummating in “the manifestation of the Sons of God” – the “overcomers” who will step into immortality and establish the Kingdom of God on earth.52
Warnock teaches that this will be accomplished through the restoration of the Church in unity and, once done, the saints will “eat the Lord’s Supper in reality.”53 (as if we are not doing so now).
“Unity” as defined by Kingdom Theology entails the putting on of “the mind of Christ” so that we all think, say, believe, and confess the same things.54 What we will think, say, believe, and confess will be told to us by the apostles and prophets.

Unity without regard to “doctrine” (except the doctrine of those imposing the unity) is the great cry among those today who think that the Body of Christ has thus far failed in its commission. We will deal with these teachings in more detail later.


Many teachings of the Latter Rain Movement have been retained in the Church through the influence of various men and women, many of whom are still alive, and active in groups that spun off from the Latter Rain Movement.

Although the Latter Rain Movement has had lasting effects upon Pentecostalism in general, its effects upon the major Pentecostal denominations were minimal after the mid-1950’s. This was due in part to the role the Assemblies of God played in confronting the Latter Rain extremes. That denomination, as well as others, lost many pastors and members to the Latter Rain as a consequence of their opposition.
Today, the influence of the Latter Rain Movement upon traditional as well as Pentecostal denominations is growing. And although by all appearances the name has died out, the Latter Rain Movement has surfaced under other names and is held together by a network of teachers and organizations which are finding new acceptance on a wide scale in the Christian media.

1. Franklin Hall, “Miracle Word” (Phoenix; Hall Deliverance Foundation, Inc., Summer, 1985) p.10.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid, p.9.
6. Ibid.
7. Franklin Hall, ‘Atomic Power With God Through Fasting and Prayer’ (Phoenix: Hall Deliverance Foundation, Inc., 5th Ed., 1975), p.19.
8. Ibid., p.9.
9. Franklin Hall, Catalogue of Publications (Phoenix: Hall Deliverance Foundation, 1986).
10. Franklin Hall, ‘The Return of Immortality’ (Phoenix: Hall Deliverance Foundation, Inc., 1976), pp.2-3.
11. Ibid., p.3.
12. Ibid., Inside Front Cover.
13. Ibid., p.10.
14. Ibid., p.48.
15. Ibid., p.20.
16. ‘Atomic Power With God Through Fasting and Prayer’, pp.29,31.
17. Ibid., p.7.
18. Ibid., p.53
19. Ibid., p.55.
20. Catalogue of Publications.
21. William M. Branham, ‘Adoption’ (Jeffersonville, IN: Spoken Word Publications, 1960), p.21.
22. William M. Branham, ‘The Serpent’s Seed’, taped sermon, undated.
23. ‘Adoption’, pp.31,104.
24. David E. Harrell, Jr., ‘All Things Are Possible’ (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976), p.162.
25. William M. Branham, ‘My Life Story’ (Spoken Word Publications, undated), p.27.
26. ‘The Serpent’s Seed’.
27. ‘All Things Are Possible’, p.162.
28. ‘Brother Branham’ (Jeffersonville, IN: Spoken Word Publications, undated), p.19.
29. ‘My Life Story’, p.21.
30. Ibid., p.24.
31. Kurt Koch, ‘Occult Bondage and Deliverance’ (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1972), p.50.
32. Ibid.
33. ‘All Things Are Possible’, p.159.
34. Ibid., p.161.
35. Ibid.
36. Ibid.
37. Ibid., p.164.
38. Richard Riss, ‘The Latter Rain Movement of 1948 and the Mid-twentieth Century Evangelical Awakening’ (Vancouver, B.C.: Thesis), p.79.
39. Ibid., p.80-81.
40. Ibid., p.83-84.
41. Ibid., p.86.
42. Ibid., p.89.
43. Ibid., p.89-90.
44. Ibid., p.101.
45. Ibid., p.102.
46. Ibid., p.154.
47. Ibid., p.108.
48. Ibid., p.116.
49. Ibid., p.104.
50. Ibid.
51. Ibid.
52. George Warnock, ‘The Feast of Tabernacles’ (Cranbrook, B.C.: George Warnock, 1951), p.14-20.
53. Ibid., p.22.
54. Ibid., p.23.

PART II – Section A
by Albert James Dager


In Part I we examined the roots of today’s Kingdom Theology, and defined the movement in terms of its theological and eschatological doctrines as well as some of its historic proponents. We delineated the basic premise of the movement which, simply stated, is that before Jesus can return, the Church must establish the Kingdom of God on earth by taking control over every aspect of life through the establishment of a theocratic government.

Before we proceed further, I feel it necessary to point out that there is a legitimate “Kingdom Theology” based upon proper exegesis of Scriptural prophecy. Jesus will return at the end of this age to establish God’s authority over the nations of the earth. Until then, the Kingdom of God continues to operate through the administration of the Holy Spirit resident in the hearts of God’s people. The Kingdom of God already exists therefore, and will one day be manifested throughout the earth during Jesus’ millennial reign.

To differentiate between God’s legitimate “Kingdom Theology” and man’s attempt to bring it into existence through his own efforts before Jesus’ Second Coming, we’ll call man’s attempt “Kingdom Now Theology,” or “Dominion Theology” (using these terms interchangeably). This will help us separate the error from the truth.

To accomplish the monumental task of taking dominion, a significant number in the Church must come into “unity” of thought and purpose to that end. While the goal of the Kingdom builders is total unity, they realize that partial unity may be all they can attain. Whatever the case, the realization of any significant degree of unity necessitates a single voice of authority: a hierarchical structure through which individual believers will receive the necessary pronouncements to exercise dominion.

The voice of authority, it is believed, will reside in certain latter-day apostles and prophets operating in conformity to their own peculiar interpretation of Ephesians 4:11-12: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” In order for the saints to be perfected (made sinless) there must be a restoration of the offices of apostles and prophets. It is a major prerequisite, therefore, that the apostles and prophets be recognized by the Church at large. (It’s interesting that we are currently seeing certain well-known Christian leaders referring to one another as “apostles” and “prophets”.)

Once they are acknowledged, these apostles and prophets will bring forth new revelations from God, which will be the guiding principles in establishing the Kingdom. These revelations will be given to the Church through the evangelists, pastors, and teachers who accept the hierarchy’s authority.
One manner in which the apostles and prophets will receive these new revelations will be through communication with heavenly beings (angels and departed saints), as well as with God – and specifically Jesus. It’s expected that many of these “new revelations” will be authenticated through demonstrations of power in the working of miracles, signs and wonders.

Some also believe that for dominion to be effected the world’s wealth must be under the control of the Church. Hence the emphasis on prosperity and “divine health” as well as the ability to speak into existence things that are not as though they are (God-likeness).

After the Church has taken dominion, its task will be to purge the earth of evil, which is defined as lawlessness against God’s moral laws and against the established authority of the apostles and prophets. This accomplished, the earth will be ready to be turned over to Jesus when He returns (some say ‘if’ He returns).

We will find as we continue our study that at the heart of Dominion Theology is the belief that man is a god and, as such, must exercise his godhood through dominion. The current teaching that man is a god is essentially a theosophic concept which can be traced to the beginning of man’s history.


The conflict of the ages upon which the spiritual battle for men’s souls resides is founded upon this single truth: that God is supreme and His creation must be subject to Him. In his rebellion, Satan (“Lucifer”) originated the scheme to establish oneself as an equal to God (Isaiah 14:12-15). This was the nature of his temptation of Eve: “…ye shall be gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). Satan’s lie is not just that man ‘is’ God, as espoused in Eastern mysticism, but that he could become ‘like’ God through acquisition of certain knowledge. In essence, man is, or could become, a god himself.

This appeal to man’s pride comprises the essence of the esoteric religions which seek, by initiation, to bring certain chosen individuals to perfection through obedience to an unseen spiritual hierarchy. This hierarchy – known as “Ascended Masters,” among other titles – is allegedly comprised of highly evolved men existing in the spirit realm who are leading mankind through stages of evolution to higher planes of consciousness which will eventually result in the attainment of godhood.

Throughout history the ancient mystery religions have taken many forms, from paganism and witchcraft to humanism and some elements of psychology. Today they may be classified under the general name of “theosophy” – the blending of science and religion to create a universal brotherhood of man under a one-world utopian state. The term “theosophy” (lit. “Divine Wisdom” or “Wisdom of the Gods”)55 has several synonyms, some of the more common being “the Esoteric Philosophy,” “the Wisdom-Religion,” “the Secret Doctrine,” “the Ancient Wisdom,” and “the Esoteric Tradition.”56

The esoteric (“hidden,” “secret”) religions have many expressions throughout the world, and include such notable movements as Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, and Jewish Kabbalism, among others. The basic beliefs of esotericism, as well as the Eastern religions, form the basis for what has come to be known as the “New Age Movement” – today’s vulgar expression for the masses of the “higher” mysteries.
The essence of esoteric religion is that man can attain godhood through knowledge and positive living. From time immemorial man has fallen for this delusion, and has sought spiritual power through mastery of so-called “immutable laws” of Nature operative in the spiritual realm. The learning and mastering of these laws allegedly work for man’s purposes and “validate” his position as a god. Though modern theosophy, in all its forms, makes certain teachings of the ancient mysteries available to the masses, these are only the exoteric teachings. The deeper esoteric mysteries are reserved for those initiated through secret rites, sworn to secrecy under penalty of death.

Those teachings permitted for the masses have found their way into the Church. They have developed into a form of “Christian” theosophy which has affected many otherwise uncompromising Christians who, if they would keep their heads about them, would suffer death to maintain the inviolable position that deity is an attribute of God alone.

There is a reason for Satan’s emissaries infecting the Church with the damnable heresy that we are or can become gods. To the esotericist, bent upon establishing ‘men’ as gods, all monotheistic religions are anathema and their adherents must be converted or at least subjugated to the spiritual hierarchy (the spirit beings guiding mankind). Since the Church alone has the power of God to resist the deceptions of Satan, it ‘must’ be made to believe his lies. If the Church can be corrupted or neutralized Satan will have a clear path toward uniting the world against God. Thus any opposition to deception in the Church must be stifled under the pretense that such opposition sows discord among the brethren and hinders unity.
Satan’s lies have found fertile ground in the Church not only because many Christians lack knowledge, but because they lack the necessary humility that can protect them against deception. Seeking their own wills above God’s will, they are easy prey for deceivers who exalt men and/or the Church to the status of godhood and promote Satan’s lies within the Church, lies characterized by the following teachings:

– Men are gods;
– Men may become gods;
– Men may become like God;
– Faith is a “law” or “force” that may be activated by anyone – believer or not;
– The ability to perform miracles, signs, and wonders is latent within all; we need but learn the techniques that activate the spiritual laws upon which faith is based;
– God is bound by these spiritual laws, and must respond to anyone – even His worst enemies – who exercises knowledge of them;
– as “gods” (“divine beings”) we have the “divine right” to health and prosperity’
– Jesus is our “Elder Brother” who mastered the spiritual laws of Nature, and is therefore our example to do the same;
– Men may become perfected spiritually and physically by mastering these spiritual laws;
– The Kingdom of God will be established on earth when a sufficient number of people have been perfected.

No doubt many who teach these things would deny they are theosophists. In all probability they think of themselves as true Christians who have received special revelations from God. But whether they adhere to theosophical doctrines consciously or are merely pawns in the battle of the ages is immaterial. A child playing with matches needn’t have knowledge of the damage he can cause.

It’s evident from the recent emergence of these aberrant teachings within the Church that – through schooling and/or personal association – theosophy is having a significant impact upon some of today’s prominent teachers. I believe some of these teachers, though sincere in their profession of faith in Jesus, are themselves victims of esotericists who knew how to use biblical and Christian terminology to gain their confidence, or they learned from others who were victims.

Esotericists have made special efforts to merge their secret teachings with the basic tenets of the Christian faith, resulting in some rather interesting esoteric interpretations of Scripture.
The major Christian doctrines – the deity of Christ; His Virgin Birth, His sacrifice for sin, His Resurrection, and His Second Coming – can be made to fit perfectly well into the theosophical model of religion. But their aberrant interpretations of these basic doctrines, unless openly stated, will escape the average Christian and deceive him into placing his trust where he ought not.

As we look at these doctrines from the standpoint of theosophy as opposed to that of Scripture, some may find our expositions of interest; others will no doubt find them tedious and may wish to pass over them. I’ve included them for purposes of documentation, and to demonstrate how esotericists might use certain terminology to convince Christians – even Christian teachers – that they are brethren in Christ, specially “anointed” to teach new revelations. I should add that it is not these interpretations of essential doctrines with which I am concerned (any mature Christian would reject them at the outset), but the inroads into the Church of other teachings based on these interpretations. Though there are few in the Church proper who would agree with these interpretations, many have bought the rest of the package which is bringing many in the Church into damnable heresies. These are offered as a warning to learn as much as possible what a teacher believes before accepting what he says.

The Deity Of Christ

Theosophists would agree that Jesus is divine. But then so are all men, if not actually at least potentially. It is therefore not inconsistent for theosophists to speak of Jesus as “Son of God,” “God in the flesh,” “truly God and truly man,” and use similar “Christian-sounding” phrases implying His deity. Nevertheless, whereas Christians believe that God became man (exclusively in the person of Jesus), theosophists believe that a man named Jesus became a god.

To most theosophists, Jesus was one of many men who displayed an exceptional expression of the divine nature. They include Him among such notables as Confucius, Buddha, and Mohammed. To some, however, Jesus was unique among all men in His expression of the divine nature; they would say that no one has ever attained His status of spiritual enlightenment. However, they also believe that all men and women have the potential to reach that same degree of spiritual enlightenment, i.e., to be equal with Jesus. Some even go so far as to say that, theoretically at least, we have the potential to be greater than He, by further mastering the spiritual laws of Nature to do good for mankind.

Jesus’ uniqueness, to them, lies not in His person as the Word of God incarnate, but in His particular anointing as “the Christ” to bring enlightenment and truth for His time in history, just as Buddha and Mohammed did for their eras. Though it is believed that there are exceptional “Christs” for different stages of man’s evolutionary journey, we may all become expressions of the “Christ principle” and thus achieve divinity. Theosophists, therefore, have no problem with calling Jesus the “Son of God.” As John H. Dewey, the leading apostle of “Christian” Theosophy during the previous turn of the century stated:
“The law of FAITH as announced by Jesus and exemplified in his life, is the supreme law and method of all divine realization for man.”57

“That he was fully and absolutely human, the veritable “Son of man,” no sane mind will deny. That he was also fully and absolutely divine, the veritable “Son of God,” we with equal positiveness claim and affirm.”58

On the basis of these statements alone Dewey might easily have been accepted into Christian fellowship. But further on we find that he qualifies his remarks:

“This incarnation of the Divine in Jesus, however, but reveals and demonstrates the innate capacity of our common humanity as the offspring of God, for receiving into its unfolding life the full Spirit of the Father, and becoming divine, as illustrated in the life of our great Exemplar [Jesus].”59
“The manifestation of God in one man [Jesus], demonstrates the possibility of a like demonstration in all men.”60

Were these teachings confined to the inner sanctums of the Masonic, Rosicrucian, and Mormon temples – were they bandied about only among theosophists seated around their tables of discussion – they would pose no genuine threat to the Church. But we are now hearing from prominent teachers in the Christian media that man was created with a divine nature which was lost due to the introduction of sin. By being born again by the Spirit of God we lose our sin nature and regain our divine nature.61
There is no such teaching in Scripture. Rather, it is based upon a theosophical interpretation of II Peter 1:4 which, properly understood, tells us no more than that the believer in Jesus Christ is a partaker of the divine nature through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But it is the divine nature of the Holy Spirit, not ourselves, to which Peter was referring.

The quality of divinity belongs exclusively to God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. As the Word of God incarnate, Jesus is divine, as is the Holy Spirit through whom God accomplishes His purposes. The First Commandment of God is, “I am the Lord thy God….Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2-3). Some may beg the question by stating that the word “before” qualifies the statement to mean only that Jehovah is the God who must come first. But the historically accepted meaning from the context is that we are to have no other gods in His presence: none are to be before His face.

Yet many Christians today have bought the lie that they themselves are gods, and perfectly legitimate ones at that, whereas God has stated that there are no other gods besides Himself (Deuteronomy 4:35). Therefore, whenever the Scriptures speak of other gods, they are speaking of false gods: demons, idols or men (Christian or non-Christian) who attempt to usurp the rightful position of Jehovah.

The Virgin Birth

The various schools of theosophy generally deny the doctrine of the Virgin Birth of Jesus. However, in an attempt to spiritualize what the Scriptures plainly state as applicable to the physical – i.e., that Jesus was born of a virgin woman by the power of the Holy Spirit – there are those who might say they accept the idea of the virgin birth. But their affirmation would be qualified within their minds in the following manner:

“…[Jesus’ virgin birth] was originally a highly mystical and philosophical teaching, which became in time a theologic dogma and legend….It is a mystical or symbolic tenet referring to the birth of the Christ in man from the virgin-part of one’s being, i.e., from the spiritual or highest portions of man’s constitution. It also has a cosmical significance – the Virgin-Mother of Space giving birth through the Child, the Cosmic Logos, to her multitudes of children of various kinds. There are thus two aspects of this mystical or symbolical doctrine: there is, first, the Cosmical Virgin, and, second, there is the mystical ‘virgin-birth’ of an initiate. An initiate is one ‘reborn,’ or, as the saying goes, ‘born a second time.’ He is not born of course in initiation from a physical father and mother, for his body is born in the usual manner, but in initiation, the ‘new man,’ the inner man, the Christ-man, is born ‘from himself’ because of his bringing out or unfolding into active manifestation the divinity within him and over-enlightening him; and his ‘Virgin-Mother’ is that part of himself which is the root of his being, the spiritual soul in its spotless and unstained purity. From the Virgin or Spiritual Soul is born the human Christ or the human Buddha, without admixture of extrinsic elements of any kind, and without other means than the man’s own yearnings and strivings to become the god within himself.

“The Christian Church has interpreted these very mystical doctrines physically and thus has largely lost the far nobler and really profound symbolic sense….”62

Such esoteric interpretations of Scripture are difficult to recognize without careful scrutiny. One may say he believes in the virgin birth of Christ, but hold an entirely different view from that of Christianity – in this case applying an occult analogy to the Scriptures.

This ploy of esoteric religion is becoming increasingly evident in some circles of Christianity, most notably among charismatics. The current penchant of some teachers to cloud the simple truth of the Gospel with teachings that impress the unlearned with man’s wisdom is evidence of a new Gnosticism based on salvation through knowledge springing up in our midst. Paul warned of such in II Corinthians 11:3: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear [agree] with him.”

In light of today’s deceptions, we would be wise to see that the meanings applied by teachers to the doctrines of the Church are clearly stated, and backed up by the whole of Scripture.


As in many other Christian doctrines, Jesus’ death as atonement for sin is given an entirely different meaning by esotericists from that stated in Scripture. As Christians we believe that Jesus’ blood is the element that cleanses us from sin, provided we come to God in faith and allow Him to apply that blood to our own lives. As God incarnate and sinless – the only begotten Son of God – only Jesus could pay the price for our sins. No one else’s suffering and/or death as a vicarious sacrifice has any merit with God. The esotericist, however, holds a different view:

“If a man loves another greatly, can he not save his friend from future sorrow by taking upon himself his friend’s karma [consequences of actions destined to follow from reincarnation to reincarnation]? The question is purely academic in a way, because when the last word is said, the karma of the friend is the friend himself, and therefore the answer in general is comprised of an emphatic negative; nevertheless, there is a possibility, not indeed of taking upon oneself the friend’s karma, but of shouldering by means of a powerful will and a high intelligence directed to that end, a certain portion, be it large or small, of the consequences which in the normal course of Nature, with heavy and perhaps crushing effect, would fall upon the friend. The secret in such a situation lies in allying one’s own life intimately with the life of the one whose heavy karma it is thus hoped to aid in carrying or exhausting…

“In those cases where such noble and altruistic action be taken for the benefit of all that lives or for the results which it is hoped will benefit a large portion of mankind, it is a Buddha-like thing to do, it is a Christ-like thing.”63

The esoteric view of atonement does make room for Jesus’ sacrifice for mankind, but only to a point. Any person whose motives are pure can take upon himself the consequences of the sins of another through altruistic acts of piety and self-denial. So the theosophist and other esotericists can say they accept Jesus’ death on the cross as atonement for “sin,” but their doctrine is faulty, and Christians who lack understanding of this fact can be misled into thinking they are on the same spiritual level. The efficacious sacrifice of Jesus which provides for the taking away of sins for all who come to Him by faith is actually denied by all schools of esotericism:

“This doctrine of vicarious substitution, both in form and spirit, is diametrically opposed to the positive teachings of Jesus, which makes righteousness itself salvation, obedience to the righteous law of God in the doing of the Father’s will in the personal and social life….
“These authoritative words of the Christ, with the whole Sermon on the Mount, from which they are taken, and the full tenor of all his teaching most unmistakably emphasize the ‘doing’ of the Father’s will, and unity with him in a righteous life, as the only salvation possible or desirable for mankind, while not a precept or parable of his can be brought to sustain in the slightest degree this doctrine of substitution; as though it were possible for the absolute justice and goodness of the All-Father to demand or accept the punishment of the innocent for the guilty, or could impute the righteousness of the sinless to the sinner, or accept any as righteous who are not really so. But as righteousness of life is secured only through personal obedience to the law of right, no man can become righteous before God, except by his own act of obedience. If this were possible in the economy of God, then the very idea of justice would be a delusion and a sham, and the thought and talk of a changeless moral order a pitiable and unmeaning farce.

“Surely salvation from sin in this life, by lifting man above the power of temptation, as promised by the Christ, and exemplified in his own life, would prevent all consequences of sin in this world or any other. And this is the only salvation worthy of the name.

“How is this to be accomplished but by the perfection of human life itself, through the unfolding and bringing forth of the divine or spiritual nature in that life.”64

Through the clever manipulation of the word ‘atonement,’ esotericists have devised the doctrine of “at-one-ment,” which states in effect that once a person has attained mastery over his physical nature he becomes “at-one with the Divine,” and may exercise mental influence over the physical realm for the effecting of healing and other manifestations of psychic power:

“The casting out of devils and reforming the vicious, the reclaiming of drunkards and restoration of the insane to soberness and reason, giving strength to the weak and courage to the lowly and disheartened, and working “not after the law of a carnal commandment but after the power of an endless life,” for the universal emancipation, enlightenment and uplifting of mankind, become the easy and true work of life.

“Man then becomes one in spirit and purpose with the divine, and is led, governed and crowned with wisdom, sympathy and power. It is the Christ or God-anointed life; the true at-one-ment of man with God, the human with the Divine, Christianity as Christ taught and lived it.”65
“…when man has thus learned to specifically direct the force of life in the control of the elements in his own organism, he may then accumulate power within himself to master and control the elements and forces of the world outside himself; but as this is to be acquired through cooperation with divine power, he can attain absolute control over himself and that which is below only by first becoming at-one with the Divine, which is within and above him.”66

This esoteric view of “at-one-ment” – coming into the expression of godhood in order to control the elements of nature – is a major tenet of mind science. Though expressed in different terms, it has crept into the Church through the Positive Confession teachings which declare that man is a god, and “faith is a force” that God used to create the universe, and that anyone can use for his own purposes.67

The Resurrection

The Resurrection of Jesus following His death as sacrifice for our sins is a primary focus of the Christian faith. For if He had not been resurrected we would still be lost in our sins (I Corinthians 15:12-26).

The esotericist does not believe in resurrection, but in reincarnation – the evolutionary process by which souls are allegedly perfected by working out their karmic consequences from one lifetime to another. Yet the term “resurrection” does find its way into esoteric philosophy, specifically in relation to reincarnation, and its use can be misleading:

“No sane man, it is to be supposed, today can or does believe that the physical body, as regards its physical elements – or rather when once its elements have been returned to earth – shall be gathered together again into one component and perfect whole at some future period which Christians call the Judgment Day; when the ‘last trump’ shall be sounded, according to the quaint imagery of older times….Yet back of this idea of the ‘resurrection of the body’ there actually is a most beautiful truth or fact of Nature. This truth may be expressed in two forms; or, as the mathematicians say, it is expressible in both a general and in a special case.

“This special case involves a mystery – a teaching of the ancient Mysteries; but hinted at, it might be phrased thus: When a man has received his final degree of initiation he is said to be ‘raised’ to Masterhood in the same physical body. This point need not be elaborated further here.

“The general case, however, is to be explained by the reassembling of the life-atoms in the manner described in preceding paragraphs. These life-atoms are man’s own offspring, at least most of those which build man’s constitution are; inbuilt into his body during the physical life which he leads on Earth, although they are not derivative from outside but spring forth from within himself. Therefore they are psycho-magnetically attracted back to the Reimbodying Ego on its return journey to the new earth-life, and the Reimbodying Ego can no more avoid or escape receiving these life-atoms again into itself than it can avoid or escape being itself. To it they are again drawn because out from it they formerly went. They too, these life-atoms, during the Reimbodying Ego’s term of devachanic rest and peace, have had their own wonderful adventures – adventures in the different spheres and on the different planes of the seven globes of the planetary chain; and thus when the ‘descending’ individual or Reimbodying Ego reaches the grades of our physical plane, and the baby-body is finally born, its growth thereafter is assured by and through and because of the aforesaid magnetic attractions and repulsions, and by the body’s receiving into it and expulsion from it of these its former life-atoms. These are continuously attracted to and built into the physical body, as it passes from babyhood into childhood into youth, and from youth into manhood – the very life-atoms which had made the Reimbodying Ego’s physical body on Earth in the last earth-life. Thus it is that the body of the former earth-life is resurrected – is ‘arisen.'”68

This fanciful account of reincarnation has no basis for proof and is in direct opposition to God’s Word: “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: For Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:27-28).

Jesus died only once; and we will die only once. There is no reincarnation by which we may eventually attain spiritual perfection through works of our righteousness. It is only the precious blood of Jesus that cleanses us from sin and provides for our salvation if we trust in Him by faith.

The Second Coming

On April 25, 1982, many were surprised by the appearance of full-page ads in some twenty major newspapers worldwide, proclaiming that “THE CHRIST IS NOW HERE.”69 These ads, placed by a New Age organization known as Tara Center, declared that the Christ had come to lead mankind into an era of peace and brotherhood. The Christ, according to these ads, is Lord Maitreya, an Ascended Master whose message of hope was, and still is, conveyed by an Englishman named Benjamin Creme (Krehm). Creme contends that Maitreya had embodied himself somewhere in the Himalayas, and is currently living in London awaiting the opportune moment to emerge and be recognized by the population of the world as the Christ for the New Age.70

Maitreya is said to be the embodiment of the aspirations of the world’s major religions. According to the newspaper ads, “He is known to Christians as ‘the Christ,’ to Hindus as ‘Krishna,’ to Jews as ‘the Messiah,’ to Moslems as ‘Imam Mahdi,’ and to Buddhists as ‘the fifth Buddha.'” The Christ for the New Age is not Jesus. Jesus, it seems, has been reincarnated and will stand with Lord Maitreya to convince Christians that they, along with the rest of humanity, must follow their new spiritual leader.71
While Maitreya waits in the wings for the consciousness of humanity to be sufficiently raised to make us worthy to receive him, the resultant media exposure has fanned an interest among many who are expectantly awaiting a “man of peace” to come along and solve the world’s ills.

Creme claims that the emergence of Maitreya as “the Christ” will be validated by demonstrations of miracles, signs, and wonders.72 In Matthew 24:24 Jesus warned of such demonstrations of power by God’s enemies: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

Whether or not Maitreya really exists no one can say at this time, but we can learn from this that when the esotericist speaks of the Second Coming, it is certain that he is not speaking of Jesus’ Second Coming. He is speaking of the coming of “the Christ” for the New Age. According to Creme and other New Agers, Jesus was the Christ for the age of Pisces, and Maitreya is the Christ for our age, the age of Aquarius.73 This is to be the “Golden Age” of utopian bliss to begin around the turn of the century. It is the New Agers’ version of the millennium – the Kingdom Age – run by men who have attained godhood.
Since the office of “Christ” is not considered by esotericists to be exclusive to Jesus, they do not affirm ‘His’ Second Coming. Rather, they make mention of the “Coming of Christ,” or even “Second Coming of Christ.” This is because they separate the “Christ ‘principle'” from the ‘person’ of Jesus, and apply it to all men.

In the broad sense, therefore, they teach that the “Second Coming” of “Christ” will take place through the raising of humanity’s consciousness to the point where a significant number will believe that ‘they’ are the embodiment of the Second Coming. Then the world will be prepared to receive the “Christ” who will lead the nations into the New Age of peace and brotherhood. The central figure of the “Spiritual Hierarchy” (the “Ascended Masters”) will represent the full manifestation of the office of Christ for that age.

In Dominion Theology, this teaching has a parallel which states that the Church is the “ongoing incarnation” of God. Yes, Jesus is Christ, but so is the Church as the body of Christ. Therefore, the Church is Christ.74

An Esoteric ‘Statement of Faith’

A clear definition of terms is essential for a proper understanding of the theological stance of those who teach us. Though holding erroneous interpretations of any or all the doctrines represented, one may make a declaration of faith like this: “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, true God and true man, God incarnate, virgin born, that His death was an atonement for my sins, that he has been resurrected, and that Christ is coming again.” And on the basis of this confession, that person may gain the confidence of Christians to fill their minds with other teachings that will sway them from the truth essential to their salvation. The teachers with which we deal in this study might not be theosophists on these important points of doctrine, but there is sufficient evidence to suggest that they have been infected by esoteric philosophies, possibly by having been exposed to wolves in sheep’s clothing themselves.

The various schools of theosophy that grew out of the Gnostic traditions and other apostate “Christian” sects have found their way into the Christian media, greatly diluting the strength of the true Gospel and polluting the thinking of many in the Church. Some Christians, perceiving themselves spiritually-minded, have fallen for the lie that they can become gods. But this is not spiritual-mindedness; it is carnal-mindedness, demonstrating a lack of understanding of the basic premise upon which the battle between God and Satan rages.


Scripture chronicles man’s attempts at godhood: the rebelliousness that led to the flood and the tower of Babel, and the sorcery and witchcraft that dominated not only pagan cultures, but God’s chosen people Israel. Jewish Kabbalism, thought by some to be a phenomenon of the Middle Ages, is really a blending of apostate Judaism with the Egyptian mystery religion learned while in captivity. The resultant paganism of Israel was the source of revolt against God’s prophets. When the Church was established, the same spirit of rebellion was immediately at work to destroy the simplicity and purity of the Gospel. Heretics led many away from the truth into errors which either demeaned the person of Christ or exalted the position of the believer – or both.

During the Church’s early years the Gnostic “gospels” and Essene teachings mixed the ancient mystery traditions with Christian teaching, and provided esoteric interpretations of Scripture that remain with us today.

One of the earliest heresies declared that the resurrection of the saints had already taken place. Paul wrote to Timothy that this teaching was overthrowing the faith of some (II Timothy 2:18). Consider that, if the resurrection had already occurred, then there was no hope that Jesus would return to establish His Kingdom on earth. It follows, therefore, that that task would have to fall to the Church. This was essentially the first postmillennial teaching.

Kingdom Now proponents are correct in stating that postmillennialism is a teaching as old as the Church. But that doesn’t make it a true doctrine. It was just one heresy among many that found acceptance among some in the early Church. The age of a teaching is not a criterion for its truth. Only its conformity to the strict and clear Word of God validates it.

The Roman Catholic Church is an example of one of the earliest attempts within the Church to establish the Kingdom of God on earth by human effort. With the Reformation came not only freedom for many from the bondage of Rome, but there also arose attempts by some radical sects to establish themselves as the “only true Church,” destined to overcome sin and usher in the Kingdom.

The history of the Church, though obscure in many areas regarding its early stages, demonstrates how religious men, not content with God’s rule over them, dissatisfied that they may die before the Kingdom of God was manifested on earth, chose to believe the lie that they could become immortal and establish the Kingdom themselves. This dissatisfaction continues among today’s Dominion proponents. I suspect that such are really afraid of death. Lacking the faith necessary to trust God, they wish to work their way to immortality rather than pass through the valley of the shadow of death.

Recent history has seen the rise of certain cults out of Christianity which purport to teach the true “gospel of the Kingdom”: Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church (Moonies), the late Herbert W. Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God (not to be confused with The Church of God), and other, lesser-known groups, are seeking to establish themselves as the only true Church, destined to reign over earth’s governments and people.

A premise upon which some build their case is that there are two gospels: the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of the Kingdom. They maintain that no one has preached the Gospel of the Kingdom before they themselves came on the scene to proclaim that their church (not Jesus) will usher in the Kingdom of God.

Paul tells us there is only one Gospel, and he delineates it in I Corinthians 1:5. The entire chapter is a retelling of the complete Gospel through the Second Coming of Jesus. Nowhere does Paul separate the Gospel of Christ from the Gospel of the Kingdom. Nor does he indicate that the church will institute the Kingdom of God on earth before Jesus returns.

The teachings with which we deal in this study are, therefore, not new, but centuries old, most traceable to certain groups that sprang from the Radical Reformation as opposed to the Reformation proper; some go further back to primitive Christianity’s early heretical groups, and even to the dawn of man’s history.

All these teachings reside in man’s prideful refusal to accept his station in life in humble obedience to his Creator.

Yes, those who remain true to Christ will one day be glorified; we will be exalted to rule with Him. But if we will be glorified – if we will be exalted – let God glorify us; let Him exalt us. We must glorify and exalt only Him.

And if we are to boast in anything, let it not be in our ‘position’ in Christ, but in Christ himself.


There are many ways by which men within the Church are attempting to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. They are not always in agreement on the methods to attain that end; nor are they necessarily in agreement as to the philosophical direction that should be taken to accomplish their purpose. One area in which most if not all are in agreement is that the Church must be united in a dominion mindset.
Of a certainty, some branches of the Kingdom Now Movement are more militant in their stance, and/or more zealous in the propagation of their particular brand of Dominion Theology. As we outline the more prominent of these movements we’ll see how they work together, often without conscious collaboration, to establish the dominion mindset within the Church. Some have even attained cult status among many Christians. Whether one ascribes to the radical element or the passive, or rests somewhere between the two, is not as important as the overall threat to the Church that these movements present through their aberrant teachings.

Yet in spite of these dangers, I’m convinced that there are many true and sincere Christians who have become involved in these movements because they are fed up with the increase of the sinful actions and perverse attitudes of society. They long for a world with a more sane and moral social structure, and are easily led to believe that if Christians can only take control, God’s righteousness will reign on earth. How His righteousness will be implemented – whether by legislation, coercion, example, or by a miraculous move of the Holy Spirit upon the hearts of all men – is not fully agreed upon even among the leaders in the Kingdom Now movements.

Nevertheless, close scrutiny reveals that all hold certain elements in common, making it difficult to discern one from the other. For example, some Manifested Sons of God teachings are indistinguishable from some of the teachings of Restorationism.

We are more concerned, therefore, with the teachings themselves and the men who promote them, than we are with the movements, which are little more than a networking of various individuals and groups. Yet it is important to this study that we briefly outline these movements and deal with some of their peculiarities.


The Identity Movement teaches that the Anglo-Saxon race and their kin (Scandinavians, Irish, Welsh, Scottish, etc.) are the “lost tribes” of Israel, who are destined as God’s chosen people to rule the world. The full name of Identity is “Anglo-Israel-Identity Movement.”75

It is believed that, as God’s chosen people whose king (or queen) sits on the throne of David (the British throne), and whose lineage can be traced back through the Jewish patriarchs to Adam, the Anglo-Saxon race has special favor with God.76

“Israel-America” (comprised of Anglo and related descendants in the United States)77 has a special anointing.

The nation of Israel that exists today in the Middle East is considered a pretender to the name of Israel, being allegedly comprised of certain Asian peoples known as “Kazars.” Thus any biblical references to God’s prophesied dealings with Israel in the last days are believed to have been fulfilled. Daniel’s seventieth week has come and gone, as has anti-Christ, and now we must look forward to the establishment of Yahweh’s Kingdom on earth. This is to be administered through the Anglo-Saxon Christians who have come to recognize their unique destiny.

Though Identity is overtly anti-Semitic, its proponents claim that those who are against them are the true anti-Semites. But there is a deeper reason for the anti-Israel stance taken not only by Identity, but by other dominion-oriented movements.

Should national Israel remain established, the belief that God is going to save a remnant of Jews to be a witness for Jesus in the last days would be validated. Hence, the Church will have to be taken out of the world before Jesus sets His feet upon the earth, and before God’s wrath is poured out upon rebellious mankind (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Revelation 6 & 7). If this is true, then the dominion theory falls apart: the Kingdom of God will not be established on earth until Jesus returns with His saints to destroy the anti-Christ’s kingdom. While we who are outside the Kingdom Now Movement understand that Jews, like all men, are lost until they come by faith to recognize Jesus as their Messiah, we also recognize that the nation of Israel does have a purpose in God’s plans for the last days.

Identity’s hatred is not limited to Jews, however. Blacks and other non-whites are looked upon as inferior beings who may be allowed to enjoy the benefits of the kingdom as long as they remain subject to their Anglo-Saxon superiors. They cannot hold positions of significant authority, however, because the promises to Israel belong only to the “true” Israelites: the Anglo-Saxon believers.
The snag in Identity’s plans for America is the tremendous influx of non-white immigrants whom they see as parasitical and detrimental to the establishment of God’s white-dominated world government. The fewer non-whites that are left to enter the Kingdom, the better, as far as Identity is concerned.
As a side note, there is a black counter to Identity known as the Yahweh sect. This cult believes that American blacks are the true descendants of the biblical tribe of Judah, living in the land of the “white devil.”78 Maybe the black Yahweh sect and white Identity are both right. Perhaps they’re related and don’t know it.

In view of Identity’s racial policy, it isn’t surprising that radical racist groups such as the neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan have joined.79 For all their error and their attacks against non-whites, these groups are zealously moralistic (by their convoluted standards). Although Identity’s members consider themselves Christians their ideology is more akin to salvation by race than salvation by grace. They welcome Aryan pagans into fellowship while mounting hate campaigns against Christian Jews, blacks, and other non-whites.

This isn’t to say that all Identity People are overtly racist, but their philosophy reflects a dangerous mindset that threatens to exacerbate an already tense situation between races. Their para-militarism and rebellion against constituted authority combine to create a volatile situation that could someday erupt into full-scale racial warfare.

Part II – Section B
Written by Albert James Dager

Even older than the Latter Rain Movement, Identity found fertile ground to propagate its own brand of Kingdom Theology among the neo-Pentecostals of the mid-twentieth century. Seeing the opportunity to cloak itself with the respectability of the Church, Identity has aligned with neo-Pentecostalism, and today presents the Anglo-Israel-Identity Movement as “just as much a result of the work of the Holy Spirit as the Charismatic renewal.”80

Not all who believe in British-Israelism are part of Identity. But on the basis of little more than conjecture and hearsay, British-Israelism has found credibility in the eyes of many otherwise sensible Christians.

Yet even if true, the very nature of British-Israelism and the strife it engenders is contrary to the warning of Scripture that we not be concerned with endless genealogies (I Timothy 1:4; Titus 3:9).
True Israel consists of all who have come to God by faith in Jesus Christ, whether Jew or Gentile (Romans 2:28-29). To God no one has any standing except by His grace. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, rich nor poor, bond nor free, male nor female, but we are all one in Him (Galatians 3:26-29). As Jesus said, God is able to turn stones into children of Abraham (Matthew 4:9), so who is anyone to boast of his ancestry, especially an ancestry built on little more than fanciful conjecture?

Charismatic Renewal

One must be careful when including the Charismatic Renewal in the list of Kingdom Now movements, simply because a significant number of charismatics do not have a definitive understanding of any such eschatological viewpoint. In fact, many charismatics see the return of Jesus as imminent. They believe in the “Rapture,” whether pre-, mid-, or post-Tribulation, and would reject the notion that the Church must establish a theocratic rule before Jesus can return.

Yet if there is any distinction between the charismatism of the mid- to late-twentieth century and the Pentecostalism that preceded it, it’s that charismatics tend to lean more heavily on supernatural manifestations as conclusive evidence that God is at work. They are also actively seeking unity within the Body of Christ on the basis of those manifestations, many times at the expense of biblical truth. The charismatic ideal seems to have developed into this: in the interest of unity we must overlook differences in doctrine as long as those with whom we seek unity confess the name of Jesus and appear to exhibit the gifts of the Spirit – particularly speaking in tongues.

It’s on these points that Roman Catholic priests have been given platforms to teach on Christian TV, and that Mormons have been welcomed into fellowship among some charismatics. (And what could find more compatibility between Mormonism and Kingdom Now Theology than the idea that men are gods?)
If there is any reason or rhyme to this it is that many charismatics, having come out of denominationalism, have lacked sufficient grounding in the Word of God to be able to separate the true work of the Holy Spirit from that of Satan. Having had little or no experience with supernatural power in their denominations, they are sorely lacking in discernment in that area. Still, many of today’s most prominent leaders in charismatism hail from Pentecostal backgrounds. So whether traditional or Pentecostal, when one attaches more importance to experience than to the rightly-divided Word of Truth, the chance for error is greatly increased.

Due to its interdenominational thrust, charismatism presents especially fertile ground for the propagation of Dominion Theology. The saying, “All roads lead to Rome,” isn’t limited to the heyday of the Caesars or to the papacy’s former domination of western culture. It’s through the charismatic movement that Roman Catholicism has regained much of its credibility among Protestants and other non-Catholics, capitalizing on that credibility to make overtures for unity.

Because some Roman Catholics speak in tongues and exhibit an attitude of acceptance toward non-Catholic charismatics, it’s been stated that Roman Catholicism is changing – that there is now an opportunity to bring about a unity which has been lacking since the Reformation.

Besides the issue of tongues, ecumenical charismatics point to the use of Christian hymns sung at “charismatic masses” to the accompaniment of modern musical instruments as evidence that differences are minimal. This naiveté is being exploited by Catholic clergy who, though professing “love” and “unity” toward non-Catholic Christians, refuse them the elements of communion on the basis that non-Catholics do not recognize the pope as their spiritual head.

Though some Roman Catholics, even among the clergy, have undoubtedly been touched by the Holy Spirit and are coming into a greater understanding of what it means to have a personal relationship with God, Roman Catholicism itself has not changed. It is still as strong a political system as ever, ruled by a hierarchy whose intent has been from its inception (and remains) to establish the Kingdom of God on earth under the headship of the pope.

The danger to the purity of the Faith is a genuine reality. The Charismatic Renewal has opened doors which it may find difficult to shut when Satan’s demonstrations of signs and wonders increase to the point where spiritual life or death hang on the basis of one’s discernment.
Manifested Sons Of God

One of the most militant movements attempting to establish the Kingdom of God on earth is the Manifested Sons of God. This aberration came out of the Latter Rain Movement under the “apostleship” of John Robert Stevens, a William Branham disciple whose church in Redondo Beach, California, operated for a number of years as the headquarters for the movement.

The Manifested Sons of God teachings are perhaps the most definitive among Kingdom Now doctrines. They have all the elements of classical dominion theory: immortalization, restoration of the offices of apostles and prophets, absolute authoritarianism, attainment of godhood – you name it, the Manifested Sons of God have it.

The Manifested Sons of God Movement suffered massive dissipation as the result of many scandals that attended the extreme cult status to which it had attained. Nevertheless, its devotees, fervent in their beliefs, covertly continue to spread its doctrines to other churches.

Because association with the Manifested Sons of God Movement has proven a source of extreme embarrassment, there are few today who would admit they are Manifested Sons of God devotees. Much as a communist would deny his affiliation with the party because he doesn’t carry a card, Manifested Sons of God adherents deny they are what they are. The test is what they believe and teach, however, not whether they are “officially” members of a Manifested Sons of God church.

Central to Manifested Sons of God doctrine is the idea that sonship comes through higher revelation. The Christian life is fragmented into stages of maturity: the first step is that of servant of God; the next step is to become a friend of God; following this is to become a son of God and, ultimately, gods ourselves. Yet the Scriptures demonstrate that we are already all three: servants (Galatians 3:10), friends (John 15:14-15), and sons (I John 3:1). Yet there is nothing in Scripture to support the idea that Paul or any apostle or prophet ever put aside his servanthood to attain sonship (many epistles begin with the salutation by the apostle identifying himself as a servant of God), or that they ever believed they would become gods themselves.

Apart from John Robert Stevens’s disciples, there are many whose teachings would qualify them as Manifested Sons of God, the essential ingredient being a peculiar interpretation of Romans 8:19-23:
“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
“For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same hope, “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
As a doctrine crucial to the Manifested Sons of God, perfection (success in living sinlessly) will result in incorruptibility. This will qualify those who “overcome” as worthy to rule in the Kingdom of God.

Whether Jesus will return at the beginning, during, or after the Millennium is open to conjecture. Some who have been touched by the Manifested Sons of God influence even believe He will not return physically, but rather that Christ and the Church are becoming one in nature and essence, and that the Church, as the incarnation of God, will manifest Christ on earth.

There are even those who believe that they have already attained perfection and, as a result, will never die. They have attained a higher degree of spiritual evolution, so to speak.

For all the elaborate surmising’s with which these people have deluded themselves, a careful reading of Romans 8:19 will show that the “manifestation of the sons of God” alluding to the redemption of our bodies (verse 23) cannot be properly understood apart from I Corinthians 15:51-52, which states that we shall all be changed, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

From these verses it is clear that the “manifestation of the sons of God” – immortality – will take place at the last trump. First Thessalonians 4:15 makes it even clearer that this will not occur before the resurrection of the dead at the coming of Christ:

“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [go before] them which are asleep.

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

The teachings of most Kingdom Now groups can be traced to the Manifested Sons of God. And not only do they come from the Manifested Sons of God, they must ultimately return to the “pure” Manifested Sons of God doctrine: man need not die; by taking hold of secret knowledge he can become like God.
Whether or not the Manifested Sons of God will ever make a comeback as an organized segment of the Christian community only the Lord knows. But their influence has been more far-reaching through undercover proselytizing than it would have had there been no breakup. And they continue to affect more and more Christians who are sufficiently naive to think they can become immortal by acting spiritual. The grandiose promise of ruling over the world as implementers of God’s righteousness holds special appeal for the prideful, “god-consciousness” persons who perceive authority as rulership rather than servanthood.


Inherent to all Kingdom Now Theology is the idea of “Restoration.” The premise of Restoration is that since the first century, the Church has not functioned as God planned, and must therefore be “restored” to its original purpose of achieving dominion. This involves the “restoration” of the offices of apostles and prophets, the “restoration” of the Tabernacle of David (signified by the restoration of worship and praise), and the “restoration” of power (signs and wonders).

As a less cultic form of Manifested Sons of God, the Restoration Movement believes in immortalization through perfection. Thus Restoration’s emphasis on purifying the Church through repentance and holy living.

Certainly no one can find fault with repentance and holy living. But at the heart of Restoration is the goal of establishing the Kingdom of God on earth in the physical absence of Jesus. Holy living, forgiveness, and unity of the Body of Christ are essential to the attainment of that purpose.
Restoration preachers appear to be among the humblest of God’s servants, confessing their own sins before the people and presenting themselves as examples of how Christians should examine their own hearts.

One of the Scriptures most often quoted by Restoration preachers is Matthew 7:1: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” In their view, it is especially imperative that the people not judge teachers, regardless of doctrine. We are to let the Holy Spirit judge them.

I believe many Restoration proponents are truly humble men who have unwittingly opened themselves to error. But so, too, many of those who cry “Touch not God’s anointed,” or “Judge not,” do so out of fear that their own doctrines might come under close scrutiny. They totally ignore the context of Matthew 7:1, which implies hypocritical judgment, not the judgment necessary to preserve the purity of the Faith. We are often exhorted in Scripture to judge, not those outside the Body of Christ, but those in the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 5:12, 6:5; John 7:24).

In Romans 14:10-13, one of the strongest Scriptures about judging, we find that the context reveals we are not to judge a brother for what he eats or drinks. But we are to judge stumbling blocks that others put before the brethren. Certainly false doctrine would fall into that category. We are not to judge men’s hearts, but we are to judge actions and teachings that lead others away from God’s truth. Why those who cry against judgment propagate error, and why, contrary to their own teachings, they condemn those who judge those errors is between them and the Lord.

Again, there is nothing wrong in holy living, or in unity with brothers in Christ. These we should desire. But what Restoration and Dominion Theology in general seek is not so much unity of the faith as uniformity of the dictates of self-proclaimed apostles and prophets.


More than any other movement, Reconstruction is the intellectual arm of Dominion Theology. Offering articulate and intelligent arguments for the Church to establish theocratic rule by taking dominion over politics, economics, science, the arts, and every other expression of human social structure, Reconstruction attracts thinking people who see God’s laws as the only answer to the present chaos. No right-thinking Christian would deny that this is true. However, unless Jesus is present to administer the affairs of that theocracy, human fallibility, no matter how well-intentioned, would ultimately result in religious totalitarianism.

Now, I’m one who believes that Christians should become involved in politics and in every other area of civic life in order to be a light to the world and salt to the earth. If we are to win souls and influence people for Christ, we cannot cloister ourselves from the world. But we are deluding ourselves if we think we can establish any man or religious group of men as saviors of the world.

Reconstruction’s noble ideas of bringing about a transformation of society through which righteousness will be manifested are doomed to failure. But that does not mean we cannot use the information on politics and other fields of human endeavor that notable Reconstructionists provide. Their analyses of world affairs from a Scriptural perspective are often intelligent and well-documented, and can be of significant help to Christians who wish to be informed on current events. (Just beware the leaven.)
Nor does it mean we shouldn’t continue to wage spiritual warfare and take authority wherever God grants it to us. But a theocracy administered without the benefit of Jesus’ physical presence begs for subjective reasoning based on the intellectual whims of man’s faulty wisdom.

Yes, the Holy Spirit can keep such a theocratic rule in line. But He won’t if it exists apart from the will of God. And based on His Word, no such theocracy will be established by God without Jesus present. Should any such theocracy be established, it would not be a true theocracy, but a totalitarian state of man’s own making.

God’s Word is clear that before Jesus returns tremendous evil will encompass the governments of the world (Matthew 24, Mark 14, Revelation 6 & 7). We might not like that prospect, but God’s Word is without error. The question is whether Reconstruction seeks to impose the will of man in the name of God. This, I believe, is the direction in which Reconstruction, like all Dominion movements, is headed.
Positive Confession

If there is one teaching of Dominion Theology that has come to characterize the Positive Confession Movement of late, it is the deification of man. While most of the aforementioned movements employ this theme, Positive Confession is coming to the forefront.

This is a paradox of sorts because there are many in Positive Confession who are not consciously linked to Dominion Theology, looking instead for the imminent return of Jesus, whether pre-, mid-, or post-Tribulation, and do not see man’s efforts as the answer to anything. They would reject the idea that they are or can be gods, even though in their acting out the Positive Confession scenario they are acting out the role of God. This by their insistence that they can speak into existence things that aren’t as if they are.

But it isn’t the conscious adherence to Kingdom Now Theology that makes Positive Confession so compatible (though there are many who do adhere consciously to Kingdom Now Theology). It’s the strong dominion mindset and the increasingly prevalent teachings on the believer’s alleged “god-likeness” that will eventually draw a great bulk of Positive Confession people into the Kingdom Now camp.
Reconstructionist Gary North, in his book ‘Unholy Spirits,’ demonstrates how the reconstructionists have influenced the charismatics and, most specifically, the Positive Confession Movement, without their being aware of the historicity of Dominion Theology:

“Some of the charismatic groups believe in tightly knit church convenants. The reconstructionists have been the major theologians of the biblical convenant. Other charismatics have preached personal financial victory and health through prayer and by obeying God’s ‘principles.’ The reconstructionists have been the major defenders of the continuing legitimacy of God’s law in New Testament times. Some of these ‘positive confession’ charismatics (also called ‘word of faith’) have begun to preach that the optimism which God offers to individuals also applies to God’s other convenanted associations: families, churches, and civil governments. This represents a major break with the traditional pessimistic eschatology of fundamentalism, called dispensationalism. These charismatic leaders have not self-consciously made the break from premillennialism to postmillennial optimism, but the term ‘dominion’ implies it. Again, the reconstructionists are the only Protestant theologians to have forthrightly preached postmillennialism after 1965. (R.J. Rushdoony was the pioneer here.) Thus, the ideas of the reconstructionists have penetrated into Protestant circles that for the most part are unaware of the original source of the theological ideas that are beginning to transform them.”81
The concept of dominion fits the Positive Confession mold. If all that’s necessary for the Church to take dominion is to speak and act “in faith,” then the only problem is to get enough Christians to do so.

Positive Confession’s belief in faith as a “force” into which anyone can tap is a tenet of witchcraft. It places God at the disposal of anyone who can learn the formulas (or “principles”) of “faith,” and tries to force Him to work on their behalf regardless of His will.

Positive confession is not prayer; it’s not communication with God. Rather, it’s mental affirmation of what the person “confessing” wants accomplished with little or no practical consideration of what God’s will might be.

While Positive Confession has no definitive eschatology, it has established certain teachings that prepare Christians to accept Dominion Theology.
The Shepherding-Discipleship Movement which attained its greatest impetus during the 1960s and 70s exemplifies the extreme authoritarianism which would probably be necessary to implement and sustain any attempted theocracy. In spite of extreme abuses against personal freedom in Christ, the thought control that characterized that movement continues to rear its ugly head among Kingdom Now groups. Former leaders of that movement have gained new respectability among other leaders within charismatism. They have much to offer in the way of instruction on how to bend the wills of others to their own – a talent vital to any human attempt to set up the Kingdom of God.

There is no doubt that a great need exists within the Church for ‘scripturally-based’ discipleship and authority. Such must be founded on the concept of authority as servanthood, ministered in love and humility by those mature in the faith.

Shepherding-Discipleship as the movement it became, however, is nothing less than spiritual child-abuse. Through intimidation by the instilling of fear and unfounded guilt, it bludgeons babes in Christ into obedience to the wills of the “shepherds” in authority. And not only babes, but many “mature” Christians have fallen prey to this evil due to the misuse of Scripture to establish “coverings” over every member. Ephesians 5:11-14 is used to convince the unwary that in order to be perfected they must submit to those in authority, regardless of what that authority requires of them. Thus, abuses are rampant in Shepherding-Discipleship.

In extreme Shepherding-Discipleship many are compelled to live a communal lifestyle in total obedience to their “shepherds.” They may not marry, work, minister, buy or sell, or exercise their own wills in any matter without their shepherd’s approval. They live in strict conformity to religious and temporal duties within their communal society. Disobedience, and even weariness common to such a stringent lifestyle, meet with strong disciplinary action. There have even been reports of physical abuse to keep the “sheep” in line.

In such a scenario the individual’s personal relationship to God is subordinated to the corporate structure of their religious society. One is not allowed to hear from God directly, because God only speaks to them through their shepherd. Should a person leave the “covering” of his shepherd to pursue his freedom in Christ, he is threatened with reprisals from the hand of God: loss of salvation, sickness, divorce, financial ruin. He is shunned by the community of which he was a part, and spoken of as a servant of Satan or in some other derogatory way.

Even the marriage relationship is subordinate to the relationship of the shepherd with his disciple. Broken homes and divorces are not uncommon among those marriages where one spouse develops a stronger bond to the shepherd than to his or her mate. All these abuses exceed the parameters of disciple- ship intended by Jesus, and establish the babes in Christ as disciples of men rather than disciples of Christ.

The Shepherding-Discipleship mentality is such that self-prideful humanity finds it appealing. Those disciples who obey are rewarded by being made shepherds over others. Thus is propagated a brutal and demeaning society governed by fear and guilt.

Though these are the extreme abuses of Shepherding-Discipleship, the mentality is the same throughout the movement. Such a mentality is critical to Kingdom Now Theology. For how can a significant portion of mankind be made to conform to the dictates of the apostles and prophets except through the instilling of fear and guilt? No one wants to miss out on what appears to be a move of God. Ignorance on the part of those who are unsure of their relationship to God breeds indecision which, in turn, results in acquiescence to authority at the expense of their personal relationship to Christ.

Inherent Fear And Guilt

The use of fear and guilt to bring people into line with the dictates of self-appointed authority is not the exclusive property of Shepherding-Discipleship. Were we to analyze each movement germane to Kingdom Now Theology we would find strong elements of such fear and guilt at the core of their structures. They all subordinate the individual’s relationship to Christ to the dictates of the religious leaders. To illustrate, let’s take the other movements with which we’ve already dealt and briefly see how fear and guilt play a part.

Identity: Fear and guilt are essential ingredients in any racist, authoritarian structure – especially where the use of para-militarism is utilized to foment hatred and threaten bloodshed.
Manifested Sons of God: Extreme fear and guilt for those who do not move forward to perfection in order that the Kingdom of God may be established.

Restoration: A strong condemnation of utilizing judgment breeds guilt in those who question the teachings of others, resulting in fear that God’s displeasure will be the consequence. This applies even to the righteous judgment of sin and doctrinal error.

Reconstruction: Guilt results from not becoming involved in attempting to establish the Kingdom of God through politics and other societal strategies.

Charismatic Renewal: Guilt is instilled in those who balk at attempts to meld them into unity with others whose doctrines are seriously in conflict with Scripture. This results in a fear of God’s displeasure for hampering unity, and fear of men’s reprisals for speaking out against error.
Positive Confession: Fear that if one doesn’t act and speak in a prescribed manner God will not answer. Guilt that one’s faith is deficient should his prayers not be answered to his satisfaction.
These are sketchy but accurate assessments of how religion based on fear and guilt has encroached upon the modern Church. The individual relationship of the Christian with his Savior is a sacred trust to be nurtured and strengthened by the teaching and counsel of the elders in his church. While the corporate expression of faith is vital to the life of the Church, that life is only as strong as the strength of the individual links in the corporate chain.

The subordination of the individual to the corporate body at the expense of individuality actually weakens the Church in its ability to stand against deception and, ultimately, even against the overt evil influences of the world.

Coming Up

In our next installment we’ll detail the various teachings within Kingdom Now Theology, quote those who hold those teachings, and name the particular movement or movements with which they are associated. Hold on to your hats.

55. G.dePurucker, ‘The Esoteric Tradition,’ 2 Vols.(Point Loma, CA: Theosophical University Press, 1935),p.24.
56. Ibid.,p.29.
57. John H. Dewey, ‘Christian Theosophy'(New York: J.H. Dewey Publishing Company, 1888),
58. Ibid.,p.ix.
59. Ibid.
60. Ibid.,p.xi.
61. Randy Shankle, Video Tape of Trinity Broadcasting Network “Praise the Lord” program, c.August, 1986.
62. ‘The Esoteric Tradition,’ pp.1104-1105.
63. Ibid.,pp.513-514.
64. ‘Christian Theosophy,’pp.28-30.
65. Ibid.,p.291.
66. Ibid.,p.135.
67. Ken Copeland, Trinity Broadcasting Network,”Praise the Lord” program, c.September, 1985.
68. ‘The Esoteric Tradition,’pp.788-791.
69. Los Angeles Times, Part 1,p.31.
70. Benjamin Creme, press conference at The Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, CA, May 14, 1982.
71. Ibid.
72. Ibid.
73. Ibid.
74. Earl Paulk, video tape of church service in which he refers to the Church as “the ongoing incarnation of God,” c.October, 1986.
75. Curtis Clair Ewing, Tract: “For the Benefit of Our Pentecostal and Charismatic Brethren!” (Waynesville, NC: New Beginnings, undated),p.1.
76. ‘Time,’ October 20,1986,p.74.
77. Ibid.
78. Orange County ‘Register,’ Orange County, CA, October 30, 1986,p.A23.
79. ‘Time.’
80. “For the Benefit of Our Pentecostal and Charismatic Brethren,” p.1.
81. Gary North, ‘Unholy Spirits,’ (Fort Worth: Dominion Press, 1986), pp.374-375

PART III – Section A
By Albert James Dager


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.

Looking Back

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 the Manifested Sons of God and 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 III, 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 other’s 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, and morality. Many German Christians rejoiced when he assumed power.

In light of these dangers we must identify the sources of Dominion 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 Kingdom 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 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 kingdom 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, psychology, 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 position 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 programs 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 because 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 Christian Broadcasting Network): 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 without 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 naiveté 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 increase 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 you’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.

Part III – Section B
Written by: Albert James Dager

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 Corinthians 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 challenged 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.

ROYAL CRONQUIST (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 darkness, 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, thoroughly 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 legitimately 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


Jim Ammerman Freda Lindsay*
Tommy Barnett* Francis MacNutt
Charles Blair Ralph Mahoney
Jamie Buckingham* John Meares*
James Buskirk* Mike Murdock*
Happy Caldwell* Charles Nieman
Charles Capps John Osteen*
Morris Cerullo Paul E. Paino
Ed Cole Earl Paulk*
Paul Crouch Carlton Pearson
Gerald Derstine Fred Price
Richard Dortch Tommy Reid*
Ed Dufresne Evelyn Roberts*
Quentin Edwards Richard Roberts*
Mike Evans Roy Sapp
Kenny Foreman Jerry Savelle*
Gerald Fry Charles Simpson
John Gimenez* Carlton Spencer
Kenneth Hagin, Sr.* Stephen Strang*
Ronald Halvorson Lester Sumrall*
Buddy Harrison* Hilton Sutton*
James N. Haynes Vinson Synan*
Wallace Hickey Robert Tilton*
Roy Hicks Larry Tomczak
Benny Hinn Casey Treat
Charles Hunter Ron Tucker
Frances Hunter Tommy Tyson
Dick Iverson Jeff Walker
Vicki Jamison-Peterson Paul Walker
G.L. Johnson Bob Weiner
James E.’Johnny’ Johnson Austin Wilkerson
Larry Lea Ralph Wilkerson

*Founding Trustees31

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 questionable 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.


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:

1) God will supernaturally strike dead those who oppose His apostles and prophets;
2) God will send, or allow satanic forces to send, plagues upon those opposers;
3) The Church (or certain “overcomers”) will pronounce God’s judgment upon their enemies, thus moving God to destroy them;
4) The Church will, out of “necessity,” use physical force by which it will judge, sentence, and execute penalties (including death) upon the opposers;
5) 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.
FRANKLIN HALL (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.

JAMES McKEEVER (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 a 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.]


“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).

DAVID EBAUGH (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

SAM FIFE (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 fullness 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 its 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.
1. “Harvest Time” (Atlanta: Chapel Hill Harvester Church, December, 1984), p.15.
2. Earl Paulk, ‘Held In The Heavens Until…’ (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, 1985), p.234.
3. Ibid., p.235.
4. Earl Paulk, ‘Thrust in the Sickle and Reap’ (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, 1986), p.73.
5. Earl Paulk, ‘Form With Power’ (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, undated), p.5.
6. Ibid., p.4.
7. Earl Paulk, ‘The Great Escape Theory’ (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, undated), p.14.
8. Gary North, ‘Unholy Spirits’ (Fort Worth: Dominion Press, 1986), p.394.
9. Gary North, ‘Paradise Restored’ (Fort Worth: Dominion Press, 1985), p.339.
10. Ibid., p.331.
11. David Chilton, ‘Paradise Restored,’ p.12.
12. Ibid., p.213.
13. Ibid., p.214.
14. Ibid., p.10.
15. Ibid., p.53.
16. Pat Robertson, speech at Dallas ’84, Maranatha Campus Ministries convention.
17. Ibid.
18. Orange County ‘Register.’
19. Pat Robertson, speech at Dallas ’84.
20. Ibid.
21. Ibid.
22. Gary North, ‘Paradise Restored,’ p.328.
23. Ibid., p.329.
24. Earl Paulk, guest appearance on “Praise The Lord,” Trinity Broadcasting Network, March 4, 1986.
25. Earl Paulk, ‘The Betrothed’ (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, 1985), p.7.
26. Royal Cronquist, “Your Daily Cross Is Giving Up The Throne Of Self” (Spokane, WA: Love Ministries), p.3.
27. Ibid., p.4.
28. Ibid., p.7.
29. Ibid., p.6.
30. Ibid., p.4.
31. Ad for Charismatic Bible Ministries, “Charisma,” May, 1987, p.53.
32. Franklin Hall, “Subdue The Earth, Rule The Nations” (Phoenix, AZ: Franklin Hall Ministries, 1966), p.10.
33. Ibid., p.11.
34. Ibid., p.57.
35. Royal Cronquist, p.4.
36. Royal Cronquist, “Why the Feast of Tabernacles?” (Spokane, WA: Love Ministries Newsletter, August, 1984).
37. Ibid.
38. Earl Paulk, “Thrust in the Sickle and Reap” (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, 1986), p.103, 104.
39. James McKeever, “When Is The Rapture?”, ‘End-Times News Digest,’ Special Introductory Issue (Medford, OR: Omega Ministries, 1985), p.8.
40. Earl Paulk, “The Proper Function of the Church” (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, undated), p.13.
41. Dean Gross, “Melchisedec Order Decree” (Chattanooga, TN: Word by Word Association).
42. Sam Fife, “One Corporate Man” (Miami: The Body of Christ), p.22.
43. Earl Paulk, “Harvest Time,” July, 1984.