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:

Is South Korea an Example of Dominionism in Action?

Che Ahn is a one of the leaders in the New Apostolic Reformation. Ahn is Chancellor of the Wagner Leadership Institute and co-founder, with Lou Engle, of The Call. He was an endorser of GOP Presidential candidate Rick Perry’s prayer meeting in Houston last month. He also believes the President of South Korea Lee Myung-bak illustrates how government apostles can fulfill their dominionist duties. Ahn says President Myung-bak is “an apostle on the government mountain.” Watch this clip at Bruce Wilson’s You Tube page:

Among other things in this clip, Che Ahn said, “Once we do get to the top, we can make decrees and declarations that shift and influence that whole mountain.” Ahn also referred to South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak as an apostle on the government mountain. While mayor of Seoul, Myung-bak offered the city to Jesus Christ, angering the countries Buddhist community. The tensions continued when Myung-bak became president, leading to a rare public protest from Buddhists.
In this clip, Ahn referred to the unhappiness of the Buddhists, but dismissed this, saying, “When you get to the top, you can start doing some radical things for the Lord.”
One of the radical things you can do is bring other apostles into the top:

With 11 million believers, Buddhism is Korea’s largest religion, but Buddhists have accounted for only 7.7 percent of Lee’s Cabinet appointments, 12.5 percent of his appointments to senior presidential secretary, and 4.8 percent of his other Blue House secretaries. Meanwhile, in the view of Buddhists, members of Lee’s Somang Church look like they have taken up all the important positions in government.

Not long into his term, President Myung-bak sent a video supporting a large Christian youth meeting. During that meeting, a prayer leader prayed that the Buddhist temples would crumble. Understandably, this upset the Buddhists and Myung-bak offered an olive branch to the Buddhists later.
These tensions continue in Korea and sound extremely similar to tensions here at home when one religion seeks political dominance.
In this country, GOP Presidential candidate Rick Perry conducts a rally calling on his God to save the nation and religious minorities became uncomfortable. A prominent spokesperson for the organizer of the rally has publicly declared that no more mosques should be built. New Apostolic Reformation leaders get behind this event in a big way. Other organizers have various nasty things to say about religious and political opponents.
I think anyone with their eyes open can see what New Apostolic Reformationists hope happens with the 2012 election. As mega-Apostle C. Peter Wagner suggests, they want to gain the “necessary influence” to eatablish dominion. They want an apostle at the top of the government mountain, because when “you get to the top, you can start doing some radical things for the Lord.”

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.

Janet Mefferd joins left-wing plot against dominionism

Not really but that is what you would have to believe if you are a Christian conservative saying that dominionism doesn’t exist.
Right Wing Watch notes today that Janet Mefferd, a very conservative talk show host (Peter LaBarbera has been a guest), examined the dominion theology movement yesterday with guest Robert Bowman. Bowman and Mefferd did a pretty good job of comparing and contrasting dominion theology (the New Apostolic Reformation) and Christian reconstructionism. As I have pointed out, these movements are not the same, but oddly come to similar conclusions about how Christians should operate in politics.
Did these two follow their evangelicals brothers and sisters and deny the existence or importance of dominionism? Not at all. Instead, they warned Christians against participating with NAR even for political goals.
You can hear the relevant section at RWW and get the entire program here. Here is some money from the program:

Mefferd: So if Christians go for instance to a prayer rally and there are a lot of dominionist people there, people who are interested in this theology and ascribe to this theology, is there any particular problem with those who don’t subscribe to dominionist theology joining hands, and having a big get together, theologically, if they have a prayer rally together, is there any sort of problem with that?
Bowman: Boy you’re gonna get me in trouble here. First of all, I gotta say that mature and well-meaning Christians can have different point of view on this thing. But my own personal opinion is that I do think it’s a problem. If you’re a Christian who does not subscribe to these neo-Pentecostal, fringe ideas about apostles and prophets being restored to the Church in the Last Days to establish a Kingdom of God movement before the Second Coming of Christ, mixed in with all the Word of Faith, health-and-wealth gospel stuff.
If you don’t agree with that, and of course I don’t, then participating in rallies and conferences and conventions where these teachers and leaders of that movement play a prominent role, I’m not just saying they happen to be there along with other people, but if they are playing a prominent role in one of these activities, then I think participating in that lends credence and support to that particular movement. And I find that personally troubling, I wouldn’t want to do that.
Mefferd: I think that’s very well stated and I think it’s very fair. You ought to know what you’re getting into. I think no matter what you’re joining in, if you’re going to a conference, going to a revival meeting, going to a prayer rally, I think it always benefits you to know exactly who the organizer is, what they believe, and then you can discern whether or not it’s something you really want to participate in.

Social conservatives continue to minimize the integration of the New Apostolic Reformation into the mainstream of evangelical circles and accuse lefties of creating a straw man. As more conservatives speak up, this narrative will be harder to maintain; unless you want to see Janet Mefferd as a leftist liberal.

Will Hawaii be 2nd dominionist state?

TalkToAction asks this question using different words.

This information is important to help evaluate the rise of Lou Engle and Cindy Jacobs in Republican politics during the last decade.

For our Ugandan friends worried about American intervention in your nation: Check it out, Uganda, Hawaii and Alaska – The United States of the New Apostolic Reformation (USNAR).  

These efforts to win political entities (states, nations) rest on what I believe to be a faulty understanding of God’s OT covenant with the nation of Israel. In short, the NAR folks take the covenant God made with Israel to apply to the Church. One of the key verses identified in the TalkToAction post is Deuteronomy 28:13:

The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.

Even though the ministry of Jesus was to usher in a new covenant, the adherents of NAR want the old one to apply prescriptively to the present day. They seem to believe Christians can take these promises to the cosmic bank if they take over the nation (state, city, etc.). Likewise, listening to Lou Engle, it becomes clear, he believes that the problems America faces derives from failure to follow the law of Moses.

However, none of these promises or threats of curse apply to anyone but Israel as is clear from the first verse of the next chapter (Deut. 29:1):

These are the terms of the covenant the LORD commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb.

I do not think the United States of America as a nation is referenced in the Bible. In my view, viewing these promises and curses directed toward Israel as applying to the US or any other nation is egocentric thinking.

All of this may seem like theological inside baseball, but given the continuing merger of NAR religious leaders and some elements within the GOP, understanding these theological foundations will be key to understanding at least the next two elections.

Are you awake yet?

We’re here for a great awakening to understand that politics are simply the ideological vessel that God has allowed to be in society today that will determine what happens in the soul of the nation. So we cannot be idle and we cannot be silent.

       -Cindy Jacobs, Generals International, Liberty University, April 15

Cindy Jacobs, co-founder of Generals International, wants to wake you up. Her ministry sponsored a conference March 4-6 called Convergence: A Cry to Awaken a Nation which brought together charismatic leaders who have

a sharp and strong message of prayer and crying out to see the nation experience a Great Awakening that turns us back to God.

And then April 15-16, she was a prominent speaker at the Freedom Foundation’s confab titled, The Awakening 2010. While there, she said some remarkable things about the relationship between Christianity and government. You can hear some of her views here.

In addition to the citation at the beginning of this post, Jacobs said,

But the point is, we have to say this: does the Creator have a right to say how nations are governed? Of course he does. I think it’s John Wycliffe, I know it is, in 1382 that said “the Bible is the government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

The quote she attributes to Wycliffe was not delivered accurately.  According to the Columbia Dictionary of Quotations, Wycliffe said

The Bible is for the government of the people, by the people, for the people.

The preposition “for” could imply that the Bible is “for the purpose of” government or it could mean that the Bible is “in favor of” government of, by and for the people. However, the meaning is probably a moot point for two reasons. One, it doesn’t really matter much in the modern context what Wycliffe said and two, Wycliffe probably did not write the quote about the Bible being the government.

I don’t fault Ms. Jacobs for assuming the accuracy of the quote but several respected sources doubt it. For instance, Eugene Volokh is a widely followed law professor and blogger on legal issues who investigated this quote attributed to Wycliffe. His cursory review found no primary source evidence that the quote came from Wycliffe or the Wycliffe Bible, saying,

This provenance, though, smacked of myth to me, and it appears likely that it is indeed a myth. I haven’t checked the prologue myself, because it’s long, the only version I could find was in a very bad font and not searchable, and the matter is too tangential to my article to track down. (The article is about Thomas Cooper, and I decided just not to mention the possibility that his earlier version might have been the indirect source for Lincoln’s famous quote.) But here’s what our reference librarian Stephanie Plotin reports:

You will need to read Plotin’s lengthy review to get the fullness of why I think the quote is wrongly attributed to Wycliffe. In any event, the authorship is not as important as Jacobs’ misquote. She misquotes it, probably inadvertantly, to bolster her view that the Bible is a proper document for civil governance.

The next big gathering which is designed to operate like aftershave on the nation’s face is MayDay2010. Ms. Jacobs is all over that one as well, along with main mover and awakener, Janet Porter. Probably waking up a lot of liberals, GOP Congressmen (e.g., Randy Forbes, R-VA), tea partiers (Allen Unruh) and religious right luminaries (e.g., James Dobson, Tim Wildmon, Mat Staver) will share the stage with New Apostolic Reformation charismatic leaders (e.g., Jacobs, Dutch Sheets, Chuck Pierce). This political-religious coalition wants to wake all of us up to the need to reclaim the seven mountains of culture.

Speaking of the seven mountains, check out this prior post and this video:

In the program of the May Day 2010, the Seven Mountains teaching appears with a variety of reclamation objectives. 

Prayers of Repentance for the Seven Mountains of Culture

The Seven Mountains as listed decades ago by Bill Bright, Francis Schaeffer, and Loren Cunningham with sub-points for each mountain developed by the May Day 2010 Committee

Family

-Repent on behalf of our individual sins—ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit.

-Repent for divorce and how we have re-defined marriage — Invite God back into marriage.

-Repent for how we have treated family members, including the elderly and disabled.

-Invite God back into families, hospital decisions, hospices, etc.

Religion

-Repent for pastors — Invite God to direct the Church’s role in the culture.

-Repent for churches that are “asleep.”

-Repent for churches that have compromised the truth in an attempt to be more popular.

Education

-Repent for how we have kicked God out of school, prohibited prayer, and punished Christians.

-Repent for what has been taught with godless, evolutionary textbooks.

-Repent for how children have been taught about homosexuality and led astray from the truth.

-Invite God back into our classrooms, teaching, and policy.

Arts & Entertainment

-Repent for how we have desecrated God with our music — Invite God to reign supreme in music and the arts.

-Repent for how we’ve assaulted God in our movies and television programs and exported our sin to other nations.

Business

-Repent for greed and stealing from God what rightfully belongs to Him in tithes and offerings.

-Repent for the businesses that perform abortions, produce obscene material, or offend Him in other ways

-Invite God back into the managing of our finances.

Government

-Repent for how we have turned from God in Congress and our legislatures— Invite God to direct our lawmaking.

-Repent for how we have turned from God in our military — Invite God in every area from prayer in Jesus’ name to our military strategies and defense.

-Repent for our judicial system, for shedding innocent blood, desecration of marriage, and unrighteous verdicts — Invite God back into it and every decision we make.

-Repent for the executive branch (President & Governors) — Invite God back in to guide, direct and govern.

Media

-Repent for how the media has turned its backs on God and the truth.

-Repent for how they have become activists for evil.

-Invite God back into the media to guide and direct reporting in a truthful way.

There is a lot I could discuss but let’s start with the media.

Leading the MayDay2010 rally is Janet Porter. Ms. Porter also spoke at the Jacobs’s Convergence conference noted above. Before she spoke she prayed for the reclamation of the media mountain.  Give a listen…

I want the media to report truthfully but I think that prayer could be directed at several Christian media outlets as well who do not report accurately even when errors are pointed out. Christians in the media do not guarantee accurate and truthful reporting. What worries me about this, beyond the obvious totalitarian tone here, is how misguided this request is. If CBS was the Christian Broadcasting System, what would change? Would there be no bias in reporting or would there be a different kind of bias? The Christian view of human nature doesn’t inspire confidence that the situation would improve much.

Whether it be media or government, I am bothered about the prospects of a religiously based takeover. Even if one believes that Christian people would make the best rulers, judges or reporters, one must ask which Christians will rule and reign? Reformed, apostolic, orthodox, liberal, anabaptist, Catholic?  The state instituting one view of Christianity does not have a good history. There is much more I could say but for now, let me close with a quote from Baptist minister, John Leland (1754-1841), (see page 6):

It has often been observed by the friends of religion established by human laws, that no state can long continue without it; that religion will perish, and nothing but infidelity and atheism prevail. Are these things facts? Did not the Christian religion prevail during the first three centuries, in a more glorious manner than ever it has since, not only without the aid of law, but in opposition to all the laws of haughty monarchs? And did not religion receive a deadly wound by being fostered in the arms of civil power and regulated by law?

I would add that in Romans 13, Paul wrote that the new believers were to submit to those “haughty monarchs.” On the other hand, Paul did not argue that politics was the “ideological vessel that God has allowed to be in society today that will determine what happens in the soul of the nation.”  

Postscript: One of the other conferences which was to usher in the Third Great Awakening was canceled recently due to lack funds, which I take to mean, lack of participation.Perhaps, some people are waking up.