Dominionismism: A conspiracy theory unmasked

Jeremy Pierce writes:

I’ve determined that there’s a political faction out there that needs a name, because it’s a group of conspiracy theorists with a particular agenda that’s becoming somewhat influential, and it’s achieving its agenda fairly well. Its agenda is to discredit mainstream evangelicalism by confusing it with extremist figures who have nearly zero influence on much of any importance.

Abraham KuyperWhat is this conspiracy theory which the always careful philosopher Jeremy has unmasked? He calls it “Dominionismism”, because it started with the invention of a Christian tendency called “Dominionism”. This non-existent -ism has been manufactured by a conflation of three quite different theologies: the Christian political activism of Abraham Kuyper and Francis Schaeffer; the “Dominion Theology” associated with “third-wave Pentecostalism”; and the Christian Reconstructionism of R.J. Rushdoony and others. In fact I already started to unmask this conspiracy theory in my June post Taking over mountains from the grass roots.

Francis SchaefferI would agree with the “Dominionismists” in condemning Christian Reconstructionism, a bid to impose Old Testament laws and punishments on modern society. However, I am glad to say that this is very much on the fringe of Christian teaching today and has “nearly zero influence on much of any importance”. The Christian involvement in politics promoted by many evangelicals today, including several US presidential hopefuls, is something quite different, summarised by Jeremy as

attempting to do what good we can in the world, and that involves seeking to implement policies that Christians agree with.

Now it is hardly unexpected that atheists and liberal Christians object to evangelicals seeking to implement the policies that they, the evangelicals, agree with, but the atheists and liberals do not. But that is no excuse for anyone to confuse quite different theologies and manufacture a non-existent conspiracy.

The really sad thing is that otherwise good mainstream and more-or-less evangelical Christians like my blogging friend Joel Watts have been led astray by this conspiracy theory and are using it to divide the church and discredit good evangelical teachers. To be fair, Joel has not tagged any posts “dominionist” since 2008. But only last month he posted This Week in Dominionism, the Presidency, and 2012, in which he wrote

I haven’t posted much on Dominionism/Christian Reconstructionism lately, … but it is something which people should be concerned about.

That is enough to show that he has bought into the conspiracy theory which Jeremy has unmasked.

Joel, I agree with you in not liking the politics of Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann, or for that matter of any of the Republican presidential hopefuls, to the limited extent that I know those politics. But if you want to oppose them, please do so by telling the distasteful truth about their policies and their likely effects, not by smearing them with meaningless labels like “dominionist” or linking them with movements like Christian Reconstructionism which I am almost certain that they reject.

But my real concern is not so much for politicians. After all, most of them deserve the abuse which is heaped on them. And I am not going to treat Rick Perry as a good Christian after the revelation reported by Jim West that Perry gives just half a percent of his income to churches and religious organisations. But I do think Joel is going far too far when he condemns a whole slate of widely respected Christian leaders as “heretical” on the basis of short quotations taken out of context and a completely unjustifiable attempt to assert guilt by association with the word “dominionism”. This is completely irresponsible spreading of dissent and division in the church.

Joel, I know you are a reasonable man and prepared to change your views and admit it publicly. I appeal to you to reconsider what “dominionism” actually means, and to accept that the Christian leaders whom you name, although they may have said some stupid things, do not teach anything like Christian Reconstructionism, but only the kind of generalised Christian involvement in politics which in your saner moments you actually seem to support.

41 thoughts on “Dominionismism: A conspiracy theory unmasked

  1. ` meaningless labels like “dominionist” or linking them with movements like Christian Reconstructionism which I am almost certain that they reject.’

    Good, careful use of the word `almost.’ John Eidsmoe, M Bachman mentor figure certainly bears googling, as does the org
    ORDO SUPREMUS MILITARIS
    TEMPLI HIEROSOLYMITANI™
    KNIGHTS TEMPLAR INTERNATIONAL that Eidsmoe lists in his cv at the bottom of his page. I’m not suggesting they are `the same’ as the Masonic order of the Templars..but as an org (with early assistance from Napoleon?) they bear looking at. As do some of the books advertised on Eidsmoe’s page……

    I’m also aware of the clear distinctions between the `Reformed’ Theonomic Reconstruction figureheads such as Rushdoony, and those travelers in a different kind of `realized eschatology’ coming out of The Latter Rain/Manifest sons of God/Elijah Generation (etc) and cropping up a bit in the third wave/New Apostolic emphasis……….theoretic distinctions, yes. Overlapping circles, yes also (personally witnessed at events/conferences). Not the Rushdoonian extremes, certainly…but a certain triumphalist mindset (linked to?)
    the latest rounds of neo latter rain type flourishing (and many things can be traced back there…) and perhaps some disaffection with the (pre trib) dispensational paradigm that (seemed) to dominate evangel/fund circles here in US. I’m not saying there’s a bona fide conspiracy, but there’s more going on in my observation, and this generation are (even) less able to grasp the fine theoretic/theological distinctions.

  2. Thank you, Steve. But do you have any evidence of people at “the Rushdoonian extremes” being welcomed at “third wave/New Apostolic” events or conferences? I accept that there may be some fringe groups trying to combine these emphases. But I still have no evidence at all of links between the major Third Wave leaders, including the ones listed by Joel, and true Christian Reconstructionism. As for your alleged link between Bachmann and the Knights Templar, that is disturbing but irrelevant to this issue.

  3. I am a liberal Christian and consider myself to be born again. I don’t share Rick Perry’s politics but I am struck by his public prayer effort when it comes to making the admission that we are probably in this economic predicament largely due to the fact that we do not act in accordance with God’s will when it comes to money. We, all of us to some extent, make idols of those things which can be collectively called the American Dream. We have all bought into this lie. We have come to think that individual rights and freedom are more important than the greater good. The morality which I see as being the basis upon which we live is do whatever you want so long as you do not hurt anyone. I say this not because I am anti-civil rights, but I am against the secularization of this society in the name of civic and religious plurality. I am against the fact that everything under the sun and under heaven seems to be a commodity for sale, including God’s word. I think Francis A. Schaeffer illustrates this in his work. It’s sad that the religious right have made him their poster boy. It saddens me that the liberal class (to paraphrase Chris Hedges) both secular and religious have failed to take a stand against this commodification. This makes all of us complicit. Yes, the Antichrist is preparing the nations to accept him, or her. But we have been living in the age of Antichrist for a very, very long time. I think Dominionism is of the Devil and it’s sad that those whose faith is being deceived are buying into it. They could be using their faith to bring glory to God. At the same time, those who claim to know better and those who are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, without being deceived themselves, are not really taking a stand that is effective, as they are themselves are imperfect sinners. When I say “taking a stand” I don’t necessarily mean political counteraction, thought it might entail that – so long as it is nonviolent. I mean that they need to do more than just call a spade a spade. If Dominionism is in the church, then so does its countering agent. Why do the Dominists have all the power, all the voice, all the say? At the same time, why do liberal Christians allow secularism to infect them, which, in my opinion, makes them impotent to address the issues with their brothers and sister, in the body of Christ? Why are liberal Christians so easily persuaded by the world, instead of wielding the power of the Holy Spirit in them, instead of tolerating its misuse and abuse by their fellow brethren and kindred in Christ?

  4. Pingback: Dominionism: term of the hour | Bits & Pieces

  5. Matteo, thank you for your comment. I would agree that “we are probably in this economic predicament largely due to the fact that we do not act in accordance with God’s will when it comes to money”. But Rick Perry has shown that he is guilty of this with his personal finances. I don’t mean to promote tithing as a law, but he is clearly not showing personal generosity towards the poor or towards God’s work.

    I am a bit confused by the last part of your comment. Who do you mean by “Dominists”? Presumably not Schaeffer’s followers. But almost no one is buying into Christian Reconstructionism. I suspect that you are fighting against a phantom enemy.

  6. Who is Dennis Peacocke?

    No (re: your above Q about Rushdoonian extremists) I’ve not heard anyone in the workshops and teaching sessions I’ve attended advocate the death penalty for homosexuals (for example)

    Yes. (I’ll agree )I think that `conspiracy’ language is probably ill advised, and self defeating. I think there has to be a saner, more circumspect way of talking about the very real overlaps and deep connections.

  7. Steve, I have no idea. Where did Dennis Peacocke come into this? If you have evidence of “the very real overlaps and deep connections”, please post it, or links to it, here.

  8. Re; Who is Dennis Peacocke? Thank you. Here are some sites that feature Dennis Peacocke. I drew together links both `pro’ and `con’ Peacocke to give what I hope is a balanced intro to his priorities and perspectives. In some cases (i.e the piece on Shepherding/ the fort Lauderdale 5′) DP doesn’t show up until the end. This is not my attempt to address the larger issues re: conspiracies et al, merely to suggest from both pro and con sources that Peacocke has a foot in both `reconstruction’ and `Third wave’ camps. The more general piece at the end also talks about the confluence or overlapping of these influences.

    http://www.seekgod.ca/shepherding.htm
    http://www.gostrategic.org/
    http://herescope.blogspot.com/2006/04/nation-or-nations.html
    http://chalcedon.edu/blog/2011/4/27/law-and-liberty-podcast-dennis-peacocke-remembers-rush/
    http://endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com/category/dennis-peacocke/
    http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/8/15/9328/35473

  9. Steve, I’m afraid I don’t take at all seriously what Peacocke’s enemies might have to say about him, at least unless they have clear evidence from quotes. I might be interested in what he himself has to say. Also I don’t have time to listen to a half hour podcast. So I will accept on trust that Peacocke does consider Rushdoony’s book to be “among the most signficiant books next to the Bible”. That does not imply that he holds the same views as Rushdoony. Indeed on the “beliefs” web page of his Strategic Christian Services he seems to disavow important parts of Christian Reconstructionism, on the assumption that he personally accepts the beliefs expressed here which include: The Separation of Church and State; Personal Freedom; and that “God’s “cultural mandate” of Genesis 1:26-28 requires a voluntary submission of mankind to Christ’s Lordship” (my emphasis). He is by no means calling for Old Testament law to be imposed on society by force. Indeed his position seems to be more Schaeffer than Rushdoony.

    Anyway, even if Peacocke were some kind of bridge between Christian Reconstructionism and Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation, that would by no means imply that the two are one movement with one goal.

  10. With thanks…I take your point, and agree that informal connections and/or threads of emerging consensus should not necessarily lead to the conclusion(that) one party is totally buying into the perspective and methodology of the other party (in this case New apostolic/Theonomic Reconstructionism)….even if there are points of contact between their respective visions. My goal in the last post was to answer the question `who is Dennis Peacocke?’ and the implied question `what is his relevance to the conversation about perceived overlaps between (reformed) movements with `Kingdom’ agendas and Neo Pentecostal and charismatic movements with similar ideas.?’ The cited sites both pro and con DP, introduced the man and his place in the conversation. All of this was enfolded into my larger response to some initially sensed concerns…… I wanted to suggest that the documented overlap between reconstructionist and restorationist agendas (without suggesting that they would all sign on for Rushdoonian Mosaic legislative extremes) could be viewed by some as less intermittent/marginal and more a cause for concern.

  11. Many years ago I heard Dennis Peacocke speak at a meeting of Christian leaders in Scotland. Can’t remember anything of what he said except the title which was, ‘Bringing lions and tigers together’. Unknown to him when he prepared his message the meeting was held in the conference suite at Edinburgh Zoo!

  12. Thank you, Gordon. Maybe Peacocke wanted to bring together the lions of the New Apostolic movement and the tigers of Christian Reconstructionism. Maybe he has even succeeded in engendering a few hybrids. But that doesn’t mean that a lion is the same thing as a tiger.

  13. Peter, welcome back. I visit quite a few high-energy Pentecostal churches in the course of a year. A few dozen. At least. Working with pastors who refer cases to me. California and Nevada. Two different cultures – those two states. I like many of these churches. Nice refrains from sitting in Quaker silence. I get to dance too. Pretty fun. I frequently hear sound-bytes about taking dominion. Sound-bytes about reconstructing society. Sound-bytes about restoration of biblical stuff in society. Sound-bytes. Sound-bytes. Sound-bytes. Same in evangelical churches. Liberals too have theo-speak to rectify social injustices. Sound-bytes. Back to Pentecostal churches: these sound-bytes could be harvested by ill-meaning and suspicious (parsimonious – mean spirited) evangelicals (or atheists, or anyone else) who want to make conspiracy theories about such sound-bytes – all in a conspiracy stew. It’s rather Faustian. These conspiracy theories. I don’t see this stuff in real life churches. Sound-bytes, yes. Mixed in with plenty of other reasonable factors. I’m not competent to say about Joel Watts. Nor Jeremy Pierce. I’m not assaying them. I do wonder just how many real-life churches these critics visit? – how much of these conspiracy gobsmacks are based on internet sound-bytes? – with vanishingly trivial real life experience in real churches? ~ Jim

  14. Thank you, Jim. Yes, I’m sure a lot of people are taking their information from soundbites taken out of context from motivational talks (aka sermons, very often) without any real familiarity with what these people really teach. And the speakers are perhaps at fault for using hyperbole which can easily be misunderstood.

    But I know that Joel Watts, for one, has real ongoing experience in a church. However, it is currently a United Methodist church which may be remote from this kind of teaching.

  15. Peter, sometimes what identifies a person as a “dominionist” or Christian reconstructionist is how much they talk about God.

    I like our current Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He’s a conservative evangelical but doesn’t say much in terms of his Christian faith. If he did, he might be accused of Christian reconstructionism but he’s currently on the safe side because his God- and bible-talk is kept to a minimum. I don’t blame him. The liberal media doesn’t cut him any slack.

  16. Kevin, I understand, and I think Harper’s position is wise, as was that of our Tony Blair, and for that matter our current David Cameron, who are not so evangelical Christians but don’t talk about it much. Then the USA is different from the UK and Canada. But it is sad when people confuse what people choose to say about themselves with a doctrinal position which they don’t hold.

  17. There are two kinds of reconstructionism. One version seeks to get enough Christians in positions of power to implement Torah rules as civic laws, even if a large minority doesn’t support those. Another seeks to get enough people converted so that the laws they support will more naturally reflect their Christian values, but the reconstructionist element is that those values will be to implement the Torah rather than some more nuanced view of how the OT and NT relate.

    The view that we shouldn’t impose our beliefs on others unwillingly is compatible with the second kind. So you need to distinguish between that approach and Schaeffer’s, which doesn’t seek to implement Torah rules across the board but instead has a pretty mainstream approach to OT-NT relations and also doesn’t consider political goals to be all that primary to begin with, aside from a few more important issues like abortion.

  18. Thank you, Jeremy. That is a helpful distinction. Many people seem to think that the Schaeffer-like approach being advocated by many, including as far as I can tell Perry and Bachmann, is the same as you first version of Reconstructionism. It is certainly very different.

    But I do understand how some of the anti-abortion and anti-gay-marriage rhetoric, with its references to Old Testament “abomination” language and its attempts to get the law changed by appointment of Supreme Court justices rather than by proper democratic means, can be misunderstood as the first version of Reconstructionism.

  19. The appointment of Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v Wade would overturn the judicial decision that prevents proper democratic means. It’s those who want to preserve that decision who oppose proper democratic means. The Supreme Court won’t allow states or the federal Congress to set the law on abortion. They haven’t yet done anything like that on marriage law, but many state courts have. The religious right on this issue is not being anti-democratic. Whatever else is true of them, that charge is patently unfair. They want to let legislative bodies set the law. They also have a view on how legislative bodies should do so, as does the left, but the left is much more comfortable with courts stepping in than the right is.

  20. Jeremy, I see what you mean. I’m sure you know more about these issues than I do. But you can see why the process might be perceived as anti-democratic. I see there is a movement for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. I would have thought a better constitutional amendment to propose would be one clarifying that these matters, abortion as well as gay marriage, are for states to decide individually. No one could portray that as anti-democratic.

  21. Yes, that’s a particular debate among those who oppose same-sex marriage at the federal level in the U.S. There are those who are libertarians who don’t want the government taking a stand on marriage at any level but perhaps will allow for civil unions. There are those who are federalists on the issue like Ron Paul and don’t want the federal government deciding the issue but are happy to have states decide (and in his view they should decided against it, but there are federalists who go the other way). Then there are simple social conservatives who want same-sex marriage resisted in whatever way they can, and they’re happy with federal laws and even constitutional amendments if they can get away with that. Then there are social conservatives who want the federal government to have laws on the matter but don’t think it deserves a constitutional amendment. Senator Robert Byrd had such a view. All of these views would oppose judicial or legislative institution of same-sex marriage, but they would do so in very different ways and for very different reasons.

    My own view on this matter is closest to Ron Paul’s, but I’m all right with civil unions, and I think he’s not. There’s very little I agree with him on, but this is one place where I think he happens to be close to correct.

    For the record, there’s no worry that a constitutional amendment would come close to getting the kind of support it would need. You need a higher number of states to pass it in the legislature than is plausible, and you need a higher number of members of the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate to pass it than is plausible (and you need a even higher number if the president won’t sign it, as this president surely wouldn’t, but that could change with a Republican president). People pushing a U.S. amendment are doing so for political reasons. It shows they’re on the side of their majority-conservative electorate. No one thinks it could pass in the current political climate. States have been passing such amendments, though, to avoid judicial declarations like what we’ve seen occurring in a number of states, but the smarter state legislatures who want that result are now going ahead and passing it legislatively, as New York just did (and New Hampshire did before).

  22. Thank you, Jeremy. I was not aware of these details, and indeed not particularly interested in the details of a proposal which is unlikely to succeed and is being put forward mainly as political posturing. But I would have thought that an amendment to take issues of sexual ethics and marriage out of federal control and back under state control would be popular in individual states, if not in DC. And there would have to be limits e.g. one would not want to allow states to reintroduce bans on interracial marriage.

  23. Your observations and study is interesting. I have just begun to look into Dominionism. The reason for doing so is The New Apostolic Reformation and the various people of faith who are that persuasion. It may be factions of no consequence in either area, but even so there are a number of Christians who hear them or their message and feel id addresses their concerns they follow.
    The reason I am concerned is that this religious idea appears to be visible, but dangerous to our form of government. At the moment Governor Perry of Texas has indicate he will follow their lead to get elected. Rep Michelle Bachemann is also far right with ideological and religious ideas similar to the Christian organization mentioned above. I believe that Faith is individual. Not Political.

  24. Peter, Jeremy,

    It’s old knowledge that little direct correlation exists broad spectrum between religious conviction and political choice. Kent Greenawalt’s prose treatment ( Religious Convictions and Political Choice, 1988) has been filled in with hundreds of empirical studies showing disconnects between religion and political choice.

    The idea that front-loading the Supreme Court with ideological bias either way is a violation of democratic functions is never going to die. I think Jeremy is correct in saying that the right wants a fair shake. The problem is that we’ve had ultra-conservative Supreme Courts which upheld the sanctity of contract law as a means to crush labor strikes. The Supreme Court is a structural component of minority protections and it too is a structural part of democratic process – like it or not. Roe is widely criticized by legal academics. And might (guess: not conclusion) be overturned only to be upheld on alternative grounds. I don’t understand British parliamentary process. Analogues must be in place.

    The empirical studies of religious conviction and political choice (post Ken Greenawalt) aren’t obsessing with theological dominations of politics. For good reason. Theology is not a threat. The studies bank on religious folk generally adhering to violent-conflict avoidance (avoiding violence), and holding too to economic non-violence in general. The slowness of movement from democratic process to violence by the institutionally weak (theologies in the minority), and the questions of theological salience (what theological feature will voters really vote for?), and how theology is co-opted into game economics and game-politics are all highly studied. And published features of political science (even Rick Beck has a series on game theory co-opting theology in discrete cases).

    The colonies were religious balkanized fragments. And they had good schizophrenic reasons for why American political processes failed ratification of the Articles of Confederation and required some sense of compromised Constitutional separation between religion and politics. For all the silly debates over the appropriate verbal formulae to express separation, it’s really an engram in American memory. A few good case reminders – like the Salem Witch Trials – go a long way toward making Americans think twice about any theological domination of politics.

    Jim

  25. Thank you, Vincent and Jim. I don’t have time today (or tomorrow) to continue this conversation in any detail. Let me just say that I strongly reject the idea that “Faith is individual” to the exclusion of broader action e.g. political against corporate evil. However, I would not want to impose my faith or its consequences on others by law. That means that I am actually ambivalent about Christian attempts to ban abortion – although I would accept that some aspects of basic morality e.g. no murder, no theft do need to be imposed by law.

  26. Thank you, Jeremy. This is in fact a lot more fair than some of the other articles I have seen, in that it carefully distinguishes the dominionism she is talking about from Christian Reconstructionism. But I suspect the Messianic Jewish issue is a distraction – for these “dominionists” the restoration of Israel is not an important matter as it is in the dispensational system. And by no means all of them follow the Tea Party ideals for government.

  27. Jeremy, thank you also for the link on Facebook to a much more sensible mainstream news article about the myth of dominionism, in the Washington Post, including:

    As always, this argument proves too much, making a Dominionist of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Obama, by this standard, would be a theonomist as well, on the evidence of his Call to Renewal speech in 2006 — a refutation of political secularism.

  28. Jeremy, good call to attention. I peer reviewed a much earlier book edited by Wagner, Wrestling With Dark Angels, for the section in which Pennoyer made an anthropological (cultural anthro) argument in the book. Nothing like a Mary Douglas (anthro) or Eliade (comparative religions) approach in this book despite the fact that Wagner (PhD, USC, history) prefaced the spiritual warfare project as experimental. Lots of special pleading. Not enough cultural anthro. The political problem is how these religious leaders love the political limelight. Now, it’s Perry. Until politicians dump them later on. Happens frequently. This too will wash out. See Obama and Wright. See McCain dumping a few evangelicals. It will wash out. And even some group-select evolutionary biologists (DS Wilson) are asking open-ended questions about the adaptive value of such practices which are culturally ubiquitous. Evangelicals in love the Enlightenment rationalism aren’t really dealing at all with the population (as a population) having about a 70% belief in the existence of demons. Rationalist evangelicals just seem to get excited only about freaky anomalous cases. Usually only the cases which they dislike theologically. Now, Wagner. Despite the fact that supernaturalist beliefs are ambient. ~ Jim

  29. Jim, are you making a division between Enlightenment evangelicals and Peter Wagner demon-behind-every-tree evangelicals? I’m sure most evangelicals fit into neither category. Most evangelicals, like me, believe fully in the reality of demons but do not think we can identify the specifics of how they operate and believe we should address our prayers to God with a focus on God rather than the enemy, because that victory has been won, even if real battling still occurs on the spiritual plane. I have plenty of criticisms of Peter Wagner, but none of it has anything to do with skepticism about the reality of demons. In my experience with mainstream inter-denominational college ministry (which is pretty vast), a good amount of time spent in a number of evangelical churches of several denominations, and quite a lot of experience on the forefront of the evangelical blogosphere (including belonging to a number of group efforts among evangelical bloggers of some influence), I think my view is pretty close to the mainstream among evangelicals.

  30. Jeremy, great riff. You put the evangelical perspective much better than I. Thanks for that. What I meant by the triage between Wagner, the Enlightenment, and evangelicals involved a sightly different focus. Wagner’s humanities and history background makes Wagner expert in rational-speak when he needs to speak rationally to specific rational (Enlightenment or Tom Paine types) audiences. Wagner knows multi-vocalism. Per audience. I’m not a Wagner supporter for his apostolic stuff. What I’m saying is that his promised theme of open experimentation (a rationalist promise) did not have any pay-off in the volume I reviewed. Still (today), I’m in favor of the same Wagner who has hired Margaret Paloma (stats, soc) to do objective sociological studies of the apostolic movement to determine if unwanted and undesired hierarchy is creeping in. The news doesn’t report this side of Wagner. I’ve had exchanges with Paloma about this. For example, you may know of the new ASA (sociological) studies saying marginally educated whites are not attending church as frequently as in the past. I think that’s a miscue. Slightly. Many of these whites are attending charismatic/Pentecostal churches which do not keep census. Calvary Chapels, Vineyards, and thousands of independent Pentecostal churches, and so on. I’m still studying the underlying data; but, my point is that Wagner knows how to shift gears in multi-vocal speak and appeal to this quasi-rationalist white crowd. Wagner’s academic training in history and his time at Fuller prepped him for this tactical equivocation. Jeremy, sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that evangelicals were somehow a homogenized flat plane of Enlightenment rationalist convictions! My mistake. Poor wording. Please forgive that. That’s a theme Langdon Gilkey took up systematically – but Mark Noll (history) has rather countered, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, observing evangelical anti-intellectual bias. I sincerely don’t know where Noll’s patient professional observations (and generally accepted) of evangelical anti-intellectualism fit into observations of Wagner? The second point: the news reports will almost always lift Wagner’s weirdest stuff. That’s what sells news. So that the particular theological condemnations of Wagner (theologically motivated) seem to feed off of these news reports and not off of a sort of Mark Noll-like objective historical work of Wagner’s multi-vocalism. In other words, there’s at minimum a three-way bias: 1) Wagner’s and, 2) the news about Wagner and, 3) whatever theological group is judging Wager (Wager as presented in the news).

    Hope this helps.

    My two-cents.

    Jim

  31. Jim and Jeremy, thank you for the interesting discussion. I have read some of Wagner’s works, and tend to agree that he is rather being misinterpreted by people who have an anti-evangelical agenda. While I don’t think he has backed down on his spiritual warfare teaching it doesn’t seem to have been a major emphasis more recently. His focus has turned towards a more rationalistic, if controversial, attempt to rebuild the church (not take over the world) through his new apostolic movement. But as with almost anyone who has written extensively, sentences can be found which taken out of context make him look weird.

  32. In regards to Wagner and his beliefs I will be reading a book shortly about him and his ideas. I will share my perceptions once I have read it. I don’t have the title on hand right now. As a person who tries diligently keep an open mind, I do my best to limit or eliminate items I write from being out of context. I am sure his writings has been misconstrued, or completely changed by those who wish to discredit him.
    Evangelicals have there interpretations and ideas based upon their teachings. I believe it is important to be informed and that is why I have not made many comments lately. I am looking forward to the book on Wagner’s views.

  33. Peter, (Vincent too) for fun –

    I visited my friendly Quaker bible study blog this morning. We’re going through the Bible. Today – Luke 8.18.

    “Take care, then, how you listen; for the man who has will be given more; while the man who has not will lose even what he thinks he has.”

    Okay, Peter. I had a dream this morning. So I post to the Quaker bible study blog –

    Take “care.” Here’s a straightforward imperative. “Heed” (KJV, NKJV), “pay attention” (NLT), “consider carefully” (NIV), “see” (Young, maybe the most literal, as in “watch” how you hear).

    I take it – hearing carefully means more hearing because more to hear is given. Like my dream this morning. I ignore the dream long enough and fail to write it down in time and what I thought I had evaporates into thin air. I pay attention to the dream and I get more during the process of writing. So many novel insights in the process. Some make sense now. Some make sense later. Some never seem to make sense – maybe requiring more careful hearing.

    Peter, here’s the deal. I admit I’m a Quaker, and I’m a heretic once! I admit I’m a charismatic Quaker, and I’m a heretic twice! I admit I’m a charismatic Quaker with some liberal political convictions, and I’m a heretic thrice!

    How can I hit a grand slam here? – go for four bases?

    Fox News has enough to spin this stuff any way it wants!

    Vincent – on Wagner generally. And reading. Peer review requests are like covenants. Solicitations for rigorous criticism. “Better the blows of a friend than kisses of an enemy.” It’s an act of love to read critically. And then listen for replies. Like Peter Kirk noted – some convictions change and others don’t. In the mix. I’m not sure where Wagner is – today.

    Jim

  34. Thank you, Vincent. I will be interested to see a brief summary of what you find. But you may do better to read some of Wagner’s own books.

    Jim, that’s interesting but I’m sorry I don’t quite know what to make of it, except that I welcome here “heretics” like you!

  35. Pingback: Francis Schaeffer was not a "Dominionist" - Gentle Wisdom

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  37. Hi Peter,

    I wanted to thank you for your writings on the myth of Dominisonismism,,as you put it. Even though I had a good picture that dominisonism is not big and influential enough to be a concern, I still have spent about 20 hours studying up and found a couple of your articles to be the best I have found exposing dominionism as mostly a myth. THANK YOU!!!

    It looks like I’ll be studying much more, so I can write on the topic myself. I amy cntact you in the future with some questions,, if you don’t mind. But right now I would like to ask can you refer me to any specific references on the topic,, do you know if any books have been written addressing the false claim of and straw-man representations of dominionist?

  38. Damon, you’re welcome. I don’t have any reading to recommend beyond what I have mentioned or linked to above. If you want to study this seriously, you need to read and compare the works and positions of the people mentioned above e.g. Kuyper, Schaeffer, Rushdoony and Wagner.

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