Washington Post On Faith Columnist's Flawed Article Dismisses Dominionism
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Aug 29, 2011 at 12:37:52 AM EST
Samuel Rodriguez, who joined the International Coalition of Apostles in 2009, was a regular contributor to the Washington Post On Faith column from 2007 to 2010, publishing 49 articles. (ICA list 2009) He often claimed support of religious pluralism. But Rodriguez was simultaneously a leader in a movement that literally demonizes other religions as well as other sectors of Christianity. He is vice president of the Oak Initiative, a religio-political entity which produced a video in 2010 claiming that the nation is in the grips of a Marxist insurgency.  The Oak Initiative is currently working with its affiliate Transformation Michigan to prepare for The Call Detroit on 11/11/11, promoted as a massive spiritual warfare effort against Islam. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. This is an excellent example of why we need to know about the New Apostolic Reformation. We did not gain any insight from Lisa Miller, also writing for On Faith, when she described the New Apostolic Reformation as a "previously unknown group" and Dominionism as the "paranoid mot du jour."
In her On Faith column on August 18, Lisa Miller dismisses the concerns about Dominionism and the New Apostolic Reformation.  The NAR has drawn attention since leaders in the movement coordinated and led Rick Perry's Houston prayer rally. Curiously, Miller describes Pat Robertson as "actually a dominionist," using a fairly tame quote that pales in comparison to those coming from the apostles of the NAR.  She also sources Mark DeMoss as her expert on the obscurity of Dominionist ideology, quoting him as saying,
"You would be hard-pressed to find one in 1,000 Christians in America who could even wager a guess at what dominionism is."
Mark DeMoss founded the DeMoss Group, which is advertised as the largest public relations firm in America representing faith-based organizations. Clients include: Jay Sekulow's American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), founded by Pat Robertson; the Jerry Falwell-founded Liberty University; and Campus Crusade for Christ, founded by Bill and Vonette Bright.  Vonette Bright made an appearance at Perry's event, calling for prayer and the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms, and her late husband is credited with being given a vision from God in 1973 for the Seven Mountains mandate. This is a campaign to take over the institutions of society and government, currently marketed across the nation by the Dominionists which Lisa Miller sarcastically dismisses.

A Time Magazine article from 1999 describes the foundation of the family of the late Arthur DeMoss and its many millions of dollars of contributions to evangelizing projects, organizations, and the Republican Party, including 1.6 million dollars to the Robertson-founded ACLJ in 1997.

"Nancy [Arthur DeMoss' widow] plays host at evangelizing dinners for the rich and powerful at her houses in Florida and Manhattan (one invitee estimated the events' cost at $80,000 each). Privately, she contributed $70,000 to Newt Gingrich's political-action committee, GOPAC. A daughter, Deborah, worked for Senator Jesse Helms as a Foreign Relations Committee aide, specializing in the right-wing Latin American parties Helms favored in the 1980s. (She has since left the foundation board.) Mark, a board member, worked for Jerry Falwell before founding the DeMoss Group, a p.r. firm for evangelists like Billy Graham's son Franklin. Mark's father-in-law is Art Williams, the insurance magnate who bailed out Falwell's debt-ridden Liberty University with a $70 million gift."

The 1999 Time article is about Power for Living, a 27 million dollar campaign by the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation to promote a booklet also titled Power for Living.  The Time article states that at one point ads for the somewhat mysterious campaign were on CNN fifty times a day, in Time magazine, and on the walls of transit stations. The first printing of the booklet was published in 1983 by Gary DeMar's American Vision and the authors included DeMar, David Chilton, and Ray Sutton, all leading Reconstructionists. (Chilton died in 1997.)

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In an effort to point out that evangelicals are divided in their support of Republican candidates for president, Miller states that DeMoss is "working to persuade evangelicals to vote for Mitt Romney" without mentioning that DeMoss was hired as a senior advisor for the Romney campaign. But this is beside the point. Those warning of the NAR's support of Rick Perry's event have not claimed that all conservative evangelicals are Dominionists, or involved with the NAR, or uniformly supporting Rick Perry for president.  Quite to the contrary, the NAR is controversial among evangelicals and fundamentalists.

Frederick Clarkson has written in a previous Talk2action article about Lisa Miller's column, stating

"If the knocking down of straw men is remarkable in this piece, so is the use of false equivalence."
Miller's arguments are disingenuous.  She accuses those warning about Dominionism of "lumping all evangelicals together and associating them with the fringe views of a few," but it is actually the refusal to acknowledge Dominionism and the NAR that will likely result in other Americans believing that NAR's activism must be representative of the evangelical world at large.

The NAR's Dominionism Compared to Christian Reconstructionism

The apostles and prophets of the movement dubbed as the New Apostolic Reformation have packaged Dominionism as a more attractive and less draconian-sounding product, but their agenda is similar to that of the Christian Reconstructionism of Rousas Rushdoony.  Reconstructionism has a limited number of admitted adherents, but the apostles and prophets of the NAR have marketed their version of Dominionism to tens of millions worldwide.  They have demonstrated their ability to initiate grass roots organizations in all 50 states and to access politicians from Africa to Asia and from Hawaii to Florida.

C. Peter Wagner, the major architect of the movement, writes that theocracy will not be necessary in order to take dominion, and that it can be achieved inside a democratic framework. He uses language that is less threatening than the legalistic tome of Rushdoony's 1973 The Institutes of Biblical Law.  Wagner states in his 2008 book Dominion!,

"The rules of the democratic game open the doors for Christians, as well as for non-Christians who have Kingdom values, to move into positions of leadership influential enough to shape the whole nation from top to bottom."

Under the heading "The Majority Rules," Wagner adds,

"If a majority feels that heterosexual marriage is the best choice for a happy and prosperous society, those in the minority should agree to 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."

Wagner is also not insistent on forcing uniformity in end times narratives or eschatology, as long as there is agreement on the need to take dominion over society as soon as possible.  He argues that one's belief about the timing of the events of the end times and Jesus' return should not hinder their goal of taking dominion, because,

"... if He does come sooner than later, we have not lost anything in our efforts to take dominion.  We win either way!"

Gary North, son-in-law of Rushdoony and one of the leading thinkers of Reconstructionism, also talks about working inside the democratic system to achieve the goal of dominion. He promotes a long term agenda. In this quote, he is referencing the work of Rushdoony, who is touted as the father of modern homeschooling and source of Christian Nationalist histories of the U.S.

"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."

Peter Wagner, a professor for 30 years, seldom uses language as threatening as that of North and other Reconstructionists, and Wagner would lead us to believe that despite the demonization, other religions will be tolerated when his brand of Christianity takes dominion. Some of the other promoters of the Seven Mountains campaign have spelled out their intentions more clearly.

Johnny Enlow is author of the book, The Seven Mountains Prophecy, endorsed by  Wagner.  Enlow describes a developing Elijah Revolution which will be the "body on earth" of Jesus and will "crush" his enemies before he can return.  "You" in the following quote is referring to Jesus.

"The last generation will be the 'foot' generation and will rule on Earth over Your enemies.  Until they do so, You are not going back to rescue, rapture, save, or anything else. Your body, in fact, will not be a beautiful bride until she has accomplished this crushing of Satan.  

...The world will come to learn, for example, that though God passionately loves every homosexual, remaining in that sin will cause someone to fall under the sword of His judgment."

Another dismissal of Dominionism was posted on the Acton Institute's Power Blog.  The Acton Institute has been a sponsor of  American Vision's annual conference featuring Reconstructionists Gary North (quoted above), Joseph Morecraft, and John Eidsmoe, mentor to Michele Bachmann.  

This is the same American Vision which first published the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation's Power for Living. That booklet was revised later in 1983 by Jamie Buckingham, editor of Ministry Today magazine, published by Strang Communications.

This year's denials about Dominions and the NAR are reminiscent of 2008, when Sarah Palin's involvement with leading NAR apostles began to make the news.  The naysayers that year included the editor of Strang Communication's Charisma magazine, J. Lee Grady.  He failed to mention that at that time both he and owner/publisher Stephen Strang were members of C. Peter Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles.

It is those dismissing the threat of Dominionism who threaten to paint all evangelicals with one brush. I agree that it is true that most evangelicals have no theocratic intentions, but as the New Apostolic Reformation's activism becomes more widely publicized (and it will), some Americans may assume that the apostles are representative of American evangelical belief.  Lisa Miller and the other naysayers are not helping to educate the public on the differences between the New Apostolic Reformation and the majority of conservative evangelicals and this is tragic, most of all for evangelicalism.  

See Part Two of "Dismissing Dominionism, a look at Samuel Rodriguez and The Oak Initiative. Also note that the syndicated article Bachmann and Dominionism, in which the author attacks Ryan Lizza's article and interview on Michele Bachmann and Dominionism, is written by Richard Weikart. Weikart is a senior fellow of the Center for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute and author of "From Darwin to Hitler."

[Author's note: I changed the title and slightly altered the introductory paragraph of this article on 8/29/11 for clarity.]




Display:
"What, then, is a dominionist? In the context of American evangelical efforts to penetrate and transform public life, the distinguishing mark of a dominionist is a commitment to defining and carrying out an approach to building society that is self-consciously defined as exclusively Christian, and dependent specifically on the work of Christians, rather than based on a broader consensus." (Barron, 1992, Heaven on Earth? p. 14).
_ _ _

Chip Berlet: Research for Progress - Building Human Rights
by Chip Berlet on Mon Aug 29, 2011 at 08:58:07 AM EST

Donb't give up Rachel.  We find folks who do not understand appear to think these things are exagerated to make a point.  From experience, our own denomination never knew what hit them when this train ran over them.  Some like you tried to tell them but they were like many, still in a state of denial.  

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