John Fea on Ted Cruz's Dominionism

Several authors have tried to tease out the differences between the evangelicals supporting Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Jon Ward did a nice job on this topic for Yahoo News, noting that Ted Cruz followers enthusiastically consider America a Christian nation while Rubio’s followers are not as convinced.
Now, Messiah College chair of History John Fea has written a piece identifying Ted Cruz as a seven mountains dominionist. I think the evidence is there and because of that I believe political reporters should be asking Cruz some questions about the implications for public policy.
Here is a little of Fea’s article.

Cruz’s approach to politics is inseparable from this theology. His goal is to lead a Christian occupation of the culture and then wait for the Second Coming of Christ.
He’s also a good politician. He knows the theological affirmations of his father, Barton or Huch might be too much for some Americans to swallow. He does not use the terms “dominionism” or “seven mountains” when he is campaigning. But it is also worth noting that he has never publicly rejected these beliefs.
Cruz’s campaign may be less about the White House and more about the white horses that will usher in the God’s Kingdom in the New Testament book of Revelation, Chapter 19.

Read the rest of Fea’s op-ed here.

Anyone who has studied seven mountains dominionism knows that Fea is on target. I would add to Fea’s analysis that Christian Reconstructionists see themselves as different than apostolic dominionists. Joel McDurmon writing on behalf of American Vision denies that Christian Reconstructionists want to rule in a top-down government. After agreeing that reconstructionists believe all of life should be governed by the Bible, he describes how seven mountain dominionism is at odds with his brand:

With these things—generally stated—I wholeheartedly agree. But there is much to be concerned with in the 7MD version of Dominion Theology. For this reason, we must announce clearly and maintain a stark distinction between 7MD and the traditional Christian Reconstruction movement, or traditional Dominion Theology.

The First and most concerning point is that the 7MD version does what critics of traditional dominion theology have falsely accused us of doing the whole time: planning to grab the reins of influence through whatever means necessary, usurp the seats of political power, and impose some tyrannical “theocracy” upon society from the top down with a “whether you like it or not, it’s for your own good” mentality.

We have responded, consistently, that our blueprint is about the rollback of tyranny, not the replacement of it—the removal of unjust taxation, welfare, warfare, government programs, etc. We favor privatization, local control of civil and criminal law, hard and sound money, and private charity for cases of poverty, all led by families, businesses, and churches—not large, centralized, top-down solutions. Yes, we would properly recriminalize sodomy, adultery, and abortion, but in a decentralized world like we want, you could leave easily if you didn’t like that.

We have also said, consistently, that such a world will never exist without successful evangelism ahead of it. If there is no personal revival and recourse to God’s Word, there will be no free society, no Christian Reconstruction, no godly dominion in the land.

We have said all of this, mostly to no avail in the ears of even our closest kin-critics—Reformed Christians like the boys at the White Horse Inn, and prominent evangelicals like Chuck Colson, and others—who continue to imply and sometimes openly state that we theonomists and donimionists desire to grab power and execute everyone who disagrees with us. This is utterly false and slanderous.

There is no doubt, however, that the 7MDs do have a goal of top-down control of society. This is explicit in their literature in many places. The exception to this is when they are in PR mode: then they downplay and even completely deny that they believe in dominion. But otherwise they give our old critics the ammunition they need to continue their slander.

I think Fea is correct that Ted Cruz is appealing to the seven mountain dominionists.

With this in mind, I think Cruz should be asked if he agrees with his father that he has been anointed to be a king apostle to rule in the political sphere. Does Cruz believe that adultery, unruly children, and homosexuality should be recriminalized? Does Cruz believe that civil law should reflect and restate his interpretation of biblical morality? Does he believe in an “end time transfer of wealth?”

Since Cruz is using his religion as a facet of his appeal to voters, we have a right to know what the implications would be for his public policy positions as president. Political reporters might find those questions difficult but, as Fea suggests, such questions would get at the heart of what the public needs to know about Ted Cruz and those animate his campaign.

More on dominionism:

Information on dominionism, information for dominionism deniers, recriminalizing violations of Mosaic law, what dominionists want, and  an NPR piece on the difference between dominionists and evangelicals.

News from the Alternative Universe: David Barton Builds Support for Ted Cruz in the Midwest

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Public domain from Archive.gov

I confess I didn’t see this coming.
In August 2012, when Thomas Nelson pulled David Barton’s flawed book on Thomas Jefferson, I hoped that the event would cause some reflection among culture warriors about the Christian nation narrative that threatens our First Amendment freedoms. I thought debunking the extreme claims would cause reflection about the real heritage of our nation’s founders and the actual role of religion in that time period.
I now realize I was wrong.
If anything Barton now has more power to spread his alternative view of reality. An article in CNN yesterday drove that awareness home. In it, CNN cites a statement from Barton, who now manages Ted Cruz’s Super PAC.

“As Sen. Ted Cruz is rising in polls nationwide, we are excited to establish and build support for him,” said David Barton, the head of the super PACs, in a statement. “Americans know one of the strengths of our great nation is in the ideals held by Midwesterners.”

It is surreal that Barton is in the position to spend great sums of money to promote a presidential candidate who shares his alternative view of America. Let that sink in. As strange as it seems for me to write this, Cruz could win the nomination. If so, we could have a Christian reconstruction/seven mountains theological hybrid in the White House.
Christian historian friends, are you paying attention?
 

Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, and Mike Huckabee and the Alternative Reality Conference

Kevin Swanson appears to be a tortured soul. It is beyond ridiculous that Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee spoke at a conference organized by this fellow.
During the conference Christian reconstructionist minister Phil Kayser distributed a publication calling for the death penalty for gays and others who violate Mosaic law. I brought Kayser’s views forward four years ago when he endorsed Ron Paul. Paul initially was thrilled to get Kayser’s endorsement until I pointed out Kayser’s views on gays.
One speaker at the conference said the movie “Frozen” was satanic.
Here is Swanson saying gays need more time to repent.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgZU6pGKgRk[/youtube]
Religious liberty is a cherished right. However, the right to impose one’s religious views on a minority is not a right and should be resisted by followers of Christ.
Cruz, Jindal, and Huckabee have offered a legitimacy to Christian reconstructionism that is frightening. Even Ron Paul distanced himself from Kayser and his reconstructionist views 4 years ago. It is appalling that these three went anywhere near that conference.

Salon Article on David Barton

Julie Ingersoll posted on David Barton’s historical misadventures today at Salon. The article is a lengthy section from her book Building God’s Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstructionism.
Julie’s article brings together several strands of thinking which have influenced Barton and is a good introduction for those wanting some background on the collector of historical documents. It is a plus that she includes a mention of Getting Jefferson Right (one correction, we published our book in 2012, not long after The Jefferson Lies by Barton came out).

Barton’s work has been the subject of extensive critique by bloggers, reporters, and other critics, some of whom are scholars publishing peer-reviewed critiques, but, for the most part, scholars have not devoted a lot of attention to debunking his claims. Beginning in about 2011, two conservative Christian professors from Grove City College, Warren Throckmorton, professor of psychology, and Michael Coulter, professor of humanities and political science, published a critique of Barton’s The Jefferson Lies entitled Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President. The book was received well by scholars, and the authors’ credentials as conservative Christians undermined Barton’s defense that criticism of his work was ideological rather than factual. The Jefferson Lies was withdrawn by its publisher. One might expect under the weight of such resounding rejection, Barton would disappear into obscurity. Yet Barton’s supporters remain as devoted as before. Criticism from scholars (whether Christian or not) is dismissed as liberal, socialist, and even pagan. Discredited in the larger culture, Barton remains influential in the conservative Christian subculture.

Go read the rest at Salon.

Institute on the Constitution, God and Government, and Christian Reconstructionism

Yesterday, the Institute on the Constitution dropped a press release about their God and Government program. From the Christian Newswire release:

The “Institute on the Constitution” has launched “The God And Government Project” the purpose of which is to remind elected officials, and those who seek civil government offices, that government is from God and their first duty must be to obey God and His Word (Romans 13.)

The folks at IOTC want citizens to use open mic time before city council meetings to tell officials that they need to use the Bible as the basis for civil law. IOTC encourages followers to use IOTC-prepared scripts.  See an earlier post on the subject and this article for more on what IOTC encourages their followers to do.
The GaG (appropriate) program is consistent with IOTC’s Christian reconstructionist worldview. During his course on the Constitution, Peroutka twists history to make it appear that the founders deliberately created a biblical form of government in line with IOTC views. In a current commentary on his IOTC website, Michael Peroutka makes a case that civil government officials are obligated to govern in accord with his view of the Bible.

Since civil government is ordained by God in order to protect God-given rights, then the function of civil government is to obey God and to enforce God’s law – PERIOD.
It is not the role of civil government to house, feed, clothe, educate or give heath care to…ANYBODY! (Or to operate a Panda-cam at the National Zoo.)

According to Peroutka, government can only do what he thinks God says government can do.
The IOTC website enshrines Rousas Rushdoony, the father of Christian reconstructionism. IOTC’s Director of Communications, John Lofton, calls Rushdoony his “theological mentor” on more than one occasion.  Rushdoony’s articles on theocracy and dominionism, politics, taxation, and religion in law are available along with many others. Mark Rushdoony’s (son of Rousas) speech on Christian reconstructionism is cited approvingly as well.
According to Mark Rushdoony, Christian reconstructionism sees the church as Israel.

In 1987 Ross House Books (which is now part of Chalcedon) published a book on covenant theology by Charles D. Provan called The Church Is Israel Now.That title sums up the heart of covenant theology, that the Christian church is heir of the promises to and the responsibility of the Hebrew nation of old.

Thus the proper society is ruled by an Old Testament style regime where the Christian reconstructionist’s understanding of the Bible is the basis for civil law. This is exactly what IOTC’s God and Government program promotes as the message followers should tell elected officials.
Even after his death, Rushdoony’s views are controversial. IOTC does not back away from this. On the IOTC website, readers are directed to an interview given to Bill Moyers in 1988 by Rousas Rushdoony.  In this interview, Rushdoony affirms that civil government should be based on the Bible, including injuctions that would lead to the death penalty for 15 crimes, including adulterers, homosexuals, and truly incorrigible sons.  Roll the tape:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paL2s4HJScg[/youtube]
Listen to the entire segment to get the context. The section on the death penalty is as follows:

Moyers: You’ve written that the Bible calls for the death penalty, and I’m just running down a variety of things as you can see. You’ve written that the Bible calls for the death penalty of some 15 crimes: rape, sodomy, adultery.
Rushdoony: Adultery because in the Bible the basic institution is the family. There’s no law of treason against the state. The Bible doesn’t even imagine anything remotely like that. But the basic institution is the family. And so, several of the death penalties are associated with the family and its life.
Moyers: So adultery was considered a theft of the family.
Rushdoony: It was, yes, it was treason to the family.
Moyers: Homosexuality.
Rushdoony: Yes, it was treason to the family.
Moyers: Worthy of the death sentence?
Rushdoony: What?
Moyers: Worthy of the death sentence?
Rushdoony: Yes.
Moyers: Deserving of the death sentence?
Rushdoony: Yes, that’s what Paul says.

Moyers: But you would re-instate the death penalty for some of these or all of these Biblical crimes?
Rushdoony: I wouldn’t—
Moyers: But the reconstructive society–
Rushdoony: I’m saying that this is what God requires. I’m not saying that everything in the Bible, I like. Some of it rubs me the wrong way. But I’m simply saying, this is what God requires. This is what God says is justice. Therefore, I don’t feel I have a choice.
Moyers: And the agents of God would carry out the laws.
Rushdoony: The civil government would, on these things.
Moyers: So you would have a civil government, based upon–
Rushdoony: Oh yes. I’m not an anarchist. I’m close to being a libertarian. But–
Moyers: But the civil law would be based on the biblical law. And so you’d have a civil government carrying out a religious mandate.
Rushdoony: Oh yes.

Given their reverence for Rushdoony and the link to this interview, I think it is a fair assumption that IOTC is in sympathy with these views. Since they won’t answer my requests for information, I will ask here publicly – IOTC leaders (Peroutka, Lofton), do you agree with Rushdoony here? Would you, in the government you are calling for, put people to death for adultery, homosexuality and the other crimes delineated by Rushdoony?
One thing I don’t need to ask about is the IOTC view of public schools. In the citation above, Peroutka says civil government has no role in education. Historically, reconstructionists have been strong supporters of Christian schools as alternatives to public education. One of the leading reconstructionists, and Rushdoony’s son-in-law Gary North, said this about the relationship between Christian schools and religious liberty (for a longer quote and commentary, see this article).

The major churches of any society are all maneuvering for power, so that their idea of lawful legislation will become predominant. They are all perfectly willing to use the ideal of religious liberty as a device to gain power, until the day comes that abortion is legalized (denying the right of life to infants) or prohibited (denying the “right of control over her own body,” after conception, to each woman). Everyone talks about religious liberty, but no one believes it.
So let us be blunt about it: we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God. Murder, abortion, and pornography will be illegal. God’s law will be enforced. It will take time. A minority religion cannot do this. Theocracy must flow  from the hearts of a majority of citizens, just as compulsory education came only after most people had their children in schools of some sort. But religious anarchy, like “democratic freedom” in ancient Greece, is a temporary phenomenon; it lasts only as long as no single group gets sufficient power and accepted authority to abandon the principle. Religious anarchy, as a long-term legal framework for organizing a society, is as mythical as neutrality is. Both views assume that the institutions of civil government can create and enforce neutral law. They are cousins, and people believe in them only temporarily, until they make up their minds concerning which God they will serve.

While I doubt this will ever happen, it seems clear that the IOTC and like-minded reconstructionists will keep on trying to make it a reality. For IOTC supporters who love the First Amendment, you have a rude awakening coming. As Peroutka and Lofton proclaim, civil law should obey and enforce God’s law, and by that they mean their interpretation of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. Someone’s religion must be obeyed according to Rushdoony, and the folks at IOTC want to make sure it is their religion. For now, they will use freedom of speech and religion at city council meetings to get their voices heard but if ever they get their way, one cannot count on these rights remaining. If you really believe in freedom of conscience and religious liberty, then you cannot fully embrace IOTC’s GaG program. While the folks at IOTC want freedom of religion to speak at public meetings, they very openly proclaim that they want civil government to obey their religious views to the exclusion of all others.
In contrast, I want the reconstructionists to be able to speak their mind, but I don’t want civil officials to use one religion as the basis for their governing. In contrast to Peroutka’s odd construction, using one religion as the basis for civil law is prohibited by the First Amendment. Gary North says no one really believes in religious liberty. He is wrong; the framers most certainly did.

The Daily Beast examines Ron Paul’s Reconstructionist roots

Last week, I reported that Ron Paul hired Mike Heath (is he still AFTAH board chair?), and that Ron Paul touted an endorsement from an Omaha pastor who wants to implement Mosaic law, complete with executions for gays, adulterers and delinquent children.

Today, the Daily Beast’s Michelle Goldberg examines the topic and notes that many evangelicals who are coming Paul’s way today in Iowa lean toward the Reconstructionist side of the evangelical world.  The other interesting aspect of her article is the brief examination of the difference between dispensational and covenant theologies. The covenant folks believe that the Church is a replacement of sorts for Israel and that the Church will bring back the Kingdom of God on Earth. Dispensationalists believe that God will keep his promises to Israel and will remove the Church from the Earth during the “rapture” thus setting the stage for the coming Kingdom of God.

Often dispensationalists think political action is pointless since the world is coming to a bad end. Covenant adherents, among which are Reconstructionists, think that political takeover is necessary. One can see how the New Apostolic Reformation can work with the Christian Reconstructionists. However, as I pointed out last week, they part company over political ends. Reconstructionists favor a decentralized central government which would allow them to set up enclaves where Christian law dominates. New Apostolic Reformationists (e.g., Lou Engle, Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs) want the law at the Federal level to reflect Christian teaching in order to offset the judgment of God on the nation.

Does it seem odd and perhaps disconcerting that one must understand the nuances of Christian eschatology in order to understand what is happening in the GOP race for the nomination? Some reporters, like Goldberg, Pema Levy and Benjy Sarlin at TPM are getting it. I know Sarah Posner with Religion Dispatches is in Iowa today and she gets it. The gentlemen over at Right Wing Watch get it.

Do evangelical writers get it? Gentle reader, please enlighten me if I have missed it, but I cannot recall an evangelical writer or news source examining end times theology (and all it involves) as an influence on political theory.

Related:

Phil Kayser’s endorsement of Ron Paul is the tip of the iceberg

Yesterday, I reported that Omaha pastor and Christian reconstructionist, Phil Kayser, endorsed Ron Paul for President. I pointed out that Kayser advocates the death penalty as viable for gays, juvenile delinquents and those committing other biblical offenses. Paul enthusiastically accepted the endorsement and, in turn, endorsed Kayser’s assessment of Paul politics. Kayser claimed that Paul’s views were the closest to biblical teaching of any of the other candidates. After Talking Points Memo posted an article about the endorsement, the Paul campaign removed the press release touting the “eminent” pastor’s endorsement.

Although the Paul campaign has not commented on the removal of the endorsement, it seems clearly connected to the adverse press generated by publication of the minister’s views on the death penalty. One might argue that Paul did not know of the minister’s views. He has claimed that he did not know about the racist and bigoted material that went out in newsletters bearing his name in the 1980s and 90s. He would probably claim he did not know Kayser’s views.

This seems implausible to me for two reasons. One, my impression as an evangelical is that Kayser is not well known outside of Christian reconstructionist circles. The Paul campaign’s description of Kayser as “eminent” is curious given that he teaches at a very small theonomist college and he does not pastor a well known mega-church. Someone with the campaign clearly researched his background and decided to glowingly tout the endorsement.

Second, Ron Paul ties to Christian reconstructionism go back a long way. Prominent Christian reconstructionist, Gary North, worked for Paul in the 1970s and periodically writes in glowing terms about Paul. North also favors the death penalty for homosexuality, adultery and other offenses listed as warranting death in Mosaic law.

In a 2007 article, North compared Paul to Mahatma Gandhi, writing on the same website where Paul also prolifically posts, North claimed:

What has this to do with Ron Paul, who is running for President? At least this much: he also opposes violence, he also opposes empire, and he also believes in the long run that justice will prevail. So, he does what Gandhi did. He keeps telling the story of how a better society can be built, must be built, and will eventually be built when men reduce their commitment to violence as a way of shaping the world. This includes violence committed by the civil government.

They called Gandhi the mahatma: the great self. Ron Paul is the mahatma of self-government.

Earlier this month, North a suggested speech for Ron Paul’s inauguration in 2013. It is clear that North, a consistent reconstructionist, believes Ron Paul is promoting a message which resonates with reconstructionism. The message now is essentially the same message now as when North worked for Paul in the 1970s. North wrote on December 21:

In June of 1976, I was Ron Paul’s speechwriter. Shortly after I joined his staff as his newsletter writer and economic analyst, I recommended that he do what I had been doing for a year: buy a Code-A-Phone telephone answering machine and make a weekly 3-minute recording for people in his districts to call. He could send the tape to his office in the district, where the machine would be set up at a local phone number. Residents could call it for free. He thought this was a good idea. So began his weekly speeches.

I wrote his first talk. He later told me that he didn’t like reading a script written by anyone else, so he had decided to record his own. As far as I know, that was the last speech anyone ever wrote for him.

He used that machine for the next two-and-a-half years. After his defeat in November 1976, he posted a weekly phone message. The weekly report became a tool for a comeback. In 1978, he defeated the man who had barely defeated him (268 votes) in 1976.

North was briefly a staffer for Paul when Paul was first elected to Congress and wrote his newsletter (I wonder if Gary North knows anything about those Ron Paul reports). Given this background, Kayser’s endorsement is really not at all out of the ordinary for Paul. I could be wrong, but I think Paul’s views are shaped and driven by a belief that central government is the enemy of freedom and prosperity. As I understand him, Paul wants all politics that matter to be local, allowing states and local governments to decide how to handle matters of private conduct, such as sexuality, drug use, marriage.

I think this rejection of a strong central government is what brings Paul and reconstructionists together, and has for a long time. Paul apparently believes laws criminalizing homosexuality are faulty but he defends the rights of local jurisdictions (e.g., Texas in the Lawrence v. Texas case) to determine via legislation how to handle such things. Reconstructionists, such as Kayser in Omaha, want freedom from the central government to apply biblical law to willing local jurisdictions. Apparently, that is ok with Dr. Paul, unless of course, saying it out loud hurts him politically. In that case, the endorsement just goes away.

Why Ron Paul appeals to Christian Reconstructionists

I think I may have this figured out.

I have been thinking about why New Apostolic Reformation dominionists like Rick Perry, and Michelle Bachmann but Christian reconstruction dominionists like Ron Paul. We know why they don’t like Mitt Romney (hint – in Christian dominionism of any sort, Mormons can’t implement biblical law).

But back to NAR vs. Christian reconstructionists; the focus of control is different. The NAR folks want to rule America as a Christian nation from the seat of centralized power in Washington DC. The Christian reconstructionists want to deconstruct central government in favor of state or local control of law. Bachmann and Perry promise to govern biblically and impose their view of Christian America on the nation. Paul promises to dismantle the federal government in favor of the states.

In fact, the Christian reconstructionists are afraid of the NAR dominionists. Recontructionist Joel McDurmon wants biblical law in place but he thinks the NAR approach is a dangerous power grab:

Can you imagine John Hagee as Secretary of State?

This is exactly the threat—top-down threat, totalitarian threat, eschatological holocaust threat—that 7MD presents to us.

American Vision is not that; they are not us; we are not them.

Perhaps more should be written on these guys and the threats they pose to society. They may have a few better political ideas, but they are just as dangerous in degree as the most radical of the left.

McDurmon distinguishes his view of government from the NAR (7Mountains) approach:

The First and most concerning point is that the 7MD version does what critics of traditional dominion theology have falsely accused us of doing the whole time: planning to grab the reins of influence through whatever means necessary, usurp the seats of political power, and impose some tyrannical “theocracy” upon society from the top down with a “whether you like it or not, it’s for your own good” mentality.

We have responded, consistently, that our blueprint is about the rollback of tyranny, not the replacement of it—the removal of unjust taxation, welfare, warfare, government programs, etc. We favor privatization, local control of civil and criminal law, hard and sound money, and private charity for cases of poverty, all led by families, businesses, and churches—not large, centralized, top-down solutions. Yes, we would properly recriminalize sodomy, adultery, and abortion, but in a decentralized world like we want, you could leave easily if you didn’t like that.

So at least some of the ends are the same, but the Christian reconstructionists want to rollback the central government and allow states and local governments to make and enforce law with the Bible as a guide. Those who didn’t agree could go somewhere else. The reconstructionist desire to locate power away from the central government is what, I believe, brings in endorsements from reconstructionist pastors, like Phillip Kayser.

A very explicit reconstructionist case for Ron Paul was made recently on the Theonomy resources website by Bojidar Marinov. As a reconstructionist, his support for Paul was based not on his personal views but on his overall philosophy of governance. Marinov wrote:

It is not Ron Paul that we are looking at when we vote for him; we are looking at God’s purpose for our generation; at what enemies He wants us to rout in our generation; and at what must be done in our generation to advance the Kingdom of God.

The great Battle of Our Time is the battle against the socialist welfare-warfare state. While the issues of abortion and sodomy – the two issues that Stephen criticizes Ron Paul for – are important, they are to a very great extent subservient to the issue of the socialist state. Sodomites and abortionists are protected by the centralized government in Washington, DC. The theonomic solution to the problems of sodomy and abortion can not be achieved at the Federal level because at that level liberals outnumber conservatives 20 to 1. And theonomic Christians are almost non-existent at that level. It is only when the socialist state is dismantled and power returned back to the states and the counties that we will be able to successfully deal with the other social and moral issues. As long as sin is protected at the Federal level, our political job as Christians is to dismantle the Federal bureaucracy and return all power to the local communities. Therefore, the great battle is against the socialist state.
Given that, Ron Paul is the man with the best position to work for that goal on the national level. We must join him not because of him but because we recognize the great battle, and recognize where our place is. Once we win that battle, we can move to the next one. But refusing support to an ally for the most important issue we are facing today only because we find deal-breakers in smaller issues is not wise.

The job of theonomists (those who believe the Bible should be the civil law) is to dismantle the Federal government. When issues of morality (sodomites and abortionists) are taken from the central government and put into to the localities can the real Christian reconstruction begin (see this post if you want to know what that means).

Does Paul fit the reconstructionist vision? Given the current political alternatives, I can see why reconstructionists would think so. Consider Paul’s criticism of the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that overturned laws against sodomy.

Consider the Lawrence case decided by the Supreme Court in June. The Court determined that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th amendment “right to privacy.” Ridiculous as sodomy laws may be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution. There are, however, states’ rights — rights plainly affirmed in the Ninth and Tenth amendments. Under those amendments, the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards. But rather than applying the real Constitution and declining jurisdiction over a properly state matter, the Court decided to apply the imaginary Constitution and impose its vision on the people of Texas.

Viewed from the lens of state’s rights, Paul’s praise of the voter recall of Iowa Supreme Court judges over gay marriage and his support for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, incomprehensible to the NAR dominionist who wants ideological purity, make sense and is actually a plus for the Christian reconstructionist. In Paul’s vision, the people in the states do what they want with various sinners, the Feds will just protect their right to do so. Your civil rights in this kind of world would depend on the state in which you live. If you live in California, then the sky is the limit; if you live in Mississippi then, as recontrustionist McDurmon advises, you better either move, or, as Paul supporter Phillip Kayser hopes, get back in whatever closet you came out of.

Update: Talking Points Memo spoke to Phillip Kayser today and he confirmed my thoughts above. Paul is appealing because reconstruction would be easier in a decentralized America. Now, what will Paul do with that information?

Related:

What Does Ron Paul Really Believe About Gays?

What do Dan Savage and AFTAH’s Mike Heath have in common?

Ron Paul touts endorsement of pastor who defends death penalty for gays, delinquent children & adultery

Ron Paul touts endorsement of pastor who defends death penalty for gays, delinquent children & adultery

Phillip Kayser is pastor of the Dominion Covenant Church in Omaha, Nebraska, just across the border from Iowa. Yesterday, Rev. Kayser endorsed Ron Paul for President.  The Paul campaign clearly welcomed the endorsement calling Kayser an “eminent pastor.” Ron Paul’s Iowa Chairman, Drew Ivers, commended Kayser’s view of Paul’s approach to government, saying

“We welcome Rev. Kayser’s endorsement and the enlightening statements he makes on how Ron Paul’s approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs.  We’re thankful for the thoughtfulness with which he makes his endorsement and hope his endorsement and others like it make a strong top-three showing in the caucus more likely,” said Ron Paul 2012 Iowa Chairman Drew Ivers.

Dr. Kayser has degrees in education, theology and philosophy/ethics.  He is the author of over 40 books and booklets.  The name of one organization that he founded describes well his ministry: Biblical Blueprints.  His passion is to see the comprehensive blueprints of the Scriptures applied to science, civil government, education, art, history, economics, business, and every area of life.

For his part, Kayser said he had some disagreements with Paul but endorsed Paul due to Paul’s views on limited government, non-intervention abroad and civics. Kayser said Paul’s view of civics is “far closer to Biblical civics than any of the other candidate’s…”

Kayser’s endorsement and the Paul campaign’s response (“…how Ron Paul’s approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs”) is of note because what Kayser believes about government. It appears that Kayser is a Christian reconstructionist (see this post about their views) who believes that the penalties associated with Mosaic law should be implemented today. Also, known as theonomy, the adherents generally believe biblical rules should be promoted by Christians in politics and implemented by legislation.

Kayser’s work is promoted on the website Theonomy Resources which is run by Stephen Halbrook. I wrote about Halbrook’s book on biblical law here and noted that he promoted the idea that homosexuality, adultery, idolatry and rebellion in children should be considered capital offenses today (see What would dominionists do with gays? Part 3).

In his own writing, Kayser has similar views. In defense of the death penalty, he writes:

Whereas Hebrews 2:2 gives a blanket endorsement of all Old Testament penology as justice, the rest of the New Testament gives specifics. It teaches that homosexuals who come out of the closet are “worthy of death” (Rom. 1:32). It teaches that juvenile delinquents who abuse their parents can in certain circumstances “be put to death” (Mt. 15:3-9) and that rejection of this provision was to “transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition” (v. 3).

Kayser nuances his teaching somewhat by saying the death penalty is not required by the Old Testament, but instead may be implemented by the state if parents press charges.

Would the church of today receive the same scathing denunciation because we do not want the state to enforce this law? In America we have juvenile delinquents who threaten their parents, abuse their parents and keep their parents in constant fear. There should be some provision where this could be stopped. Keep in mind that in the Old Testament the parents couldn’t put their children to death, only the state could. On the other hand, the state couldn’t put them to death unless the parents testified against them. And there are many other checks and balances in Biblical jurisprudence that are outlined in Appendix A. But Christ gives no indication that this commandment has been annulled. Instead, he reproves those who would seek to annul it.

Regarding gays, Kayser’s vision for a nation being restored to biblical law allows for a variety of responses:

For example, in a society that was being converted, homosexuals could continue to be converted as they were in the church of Corinth. Even after a society implemented Biblical law and made homosexuality a crime, there are many checks and balances that would be in place. (See Appendix A page 40 for specifics.) The civil government could not round them up. Only those who were prosecuted by citizens could be punished, and the punishment could take a number of forms, including death. This would have a tendency of driving homosexuals back into their closets. (p. 24)

I don’t know if Ron Paul believes this way or not, but Rev. Kayser and the Paul campaign certainly seem to endorse each other on their views of government. I think Rep. Paul should be asked if he would support the right of a state to implement such a system. If he is consistent with his past writings and current endorsers, I don’t know on what basis he would believe that a federal court could overturn laws recriminalizing homosexuality.

Adultery is also listed by Kayser as a potential capital crime. Um, Newt…

UPDATE: Phillip Kayser’s endorsement has been scrubbed from Ron Paul’s website.

Related:

What Does Ron Paul Really Believe About Gays?

What do Dan Savage and AFTAH’s Mike Heath have in common?

Christian reconstructionist warns of threat from New Apostolic Reformation dominionism

Note to dominionism deniers: Not only is dominionism real, there are at least two types alive and well within evangelical circles. In the category of it-takes-one-to-know-one, American Vision’s Joel McDurmon spells out the differences between the theonomy of Christian reconstructionism and the dominionism of the New Apostolic Reformation. In all seriousness, if you want to understand the two movements, this is an important article to read. I bring the highlights with some supporting information; you should read the whole thing.
Let me begin at the end of McDurmon’s post. He concludes that the Seven Mountain teaching of the New Apostolic Reformation is a dangerous top-down power grab.

Can you imagine John Hagee as Secretary of State?
This is exactly the threat—top-down threat, totalitarian threat, eschatological holocaust threat—that 7MD presents to us.
American Vision is not that; they are not us; we are not them.
Perhaps more should be written on these guys and the threats they pose to society. They may have a few better political ideas, but they are just as dangerous in degree as the most radical of the left.
Perhaps I am wrong about them. Perhaps I have misread them as national-power grabbers when they are not. If not, they should disavow everything I have quoted here clearly and unequivocally in print, and provide their viable limited-government, free-market alternative.

McDurmon, who openly believes that national civil law should be the same as Old Testament law, quotes several NAR writers, including the driving force behind the movement, C. Peter Wagner. He does not offer this quote but I want to point out what Wagner says about dominion from his book Dominion: How Kingdom Action Can Change the World. FIrst he says that “if a Christian majority wants to allow praying to God in the name of Jesus, the minority should follow the basic rules of democracy and attempt to prohibit such a practice. If a majority feels that heterosexual marriage is the best choice for a happy and prosperous society, those in the minority who disagree should conform — not because they live in a theocracy, but because they live in a democracy. The most basic principle of democracy is that the majority, not the minority, rules and sets the ultimate norms for society.” (p. 17)
If Wagner’s movement is ever successful with this view of democracy, the 14th Amendment will need to be repealed. Having defined away minority rights, Wagner then describes how dominion might work in a society:

In light of this, taking dominion or transforming society does not imply a theocracy. Taking dominion comes about by playing by the rules of the democratic game and, fairly and squarely, gaining the necessary influence in the seven molders of culture to ultimately benefit a nation and open society for the blessings, prosperity and happiness God desires for all people. God rules those who are faithful to HIm. Such people, filled with God, are the ones who I believe will govern the transformed societies of the future. This is not a plea for a theocracy. (p. 18)

Rick Perry’s The Response prayer meeting last month was full of New Apostolic Reformationists which is the kind of thing one would expect. Play the game, fair and square; get your people elected and then the majority will make rules to which the minority should conform. McDurmon calls this a threat.
McDurmon agrees with some tenets of NAR dominionism, saying:

Before my critical remarks, however, let me note a couple of great acknowledgements and key teachings associated with the 7MD movement. First, there is generally an emphasis on making disciples and not just converts. The church has too much focused only on “saving souls” and not enough on training those souls in obedience to all the teachings of Christ. This I affirm and applaud.
Second (and based on the first point), the leaders almost all make a point to acknowledge that the gospel and the Great Commission are so much greater than just the visible church itself. Rather, the gospel applies to every area of life, and the Great Commission is a renewal of the dominion mandate of Genesis 1:28. Thus, we should apply God’s Word to things like business, economics, government, family, media, art, etc., with the goal of dominion throughout the earth.
With these things—generally stated—I wholeheartedly agree.

However, he then notes that NAR dominionists propose getting control of the various segments of society “by any means necessary” which he asserts is at odds which reconstructionist thinking. In contrast, reconstructionists believe that government should be decentralized with local governments making rules for local entities. He favors implementation of Mosaic law but believes anyone who doesn’t like it could leave and go elsewhere. He adds that reconstructionists believe that such a reconstructionist society would come because a majority of people convert to Christianity without any top-down enforcement.
For anyone interested in what is shaping up to be a defining issue in the 2012 campaign, McDurmon has clarified some theological issues of importance.
Hat tip to Right Wing Watch for the McDurmon link.