& "Mandatism" Philosophy
In the recent
Readers Circlediscussions on Registered to Pray and Discerning the Tiers of Divine Purpose, we've taken yet another foray into discerning between true and false kingdom teaching, and between legitimate and illegitimate intercession / prophetic declaration regarding nations.
One factor we have never examined is a root philosophy underneath all the carnal teaching regarding the church's role in impacting society. This philosophy was originally called the "Cultural Mandate," expanded later to become the "Dominion Mandate." The modern form of this teaching began in the Dutch Reformed Church around 1900, then migrated into the 1950s movement called "Reconstructionism," eventuating in the 1980s charismatic/prophetic adaptation called "Kingdom Now."
In the mid 2000s, the confluence of these teachings was given a face lift and renamed "The Seven Mountains," based in a supposed word of the Lord given independently to Loren Cunningham (YWAM), Bill Bright (Campus Crusade) and the philosopher Francis Schaeffer in the 1970s. This word instructed the church to influence / permeate seven spheres of human culture, namely: business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion. (Whether this word was actually a whisper of satan into three independent minds, or the mis-applying of something the Lord genuinely spoke to these men doesn't matter at this point.) Seven Mountains teaching has now come into most prominent focus through the ministries of Peter Wagner, Dutch Sheets, Lance Wallnau and a host of other lesser known names.
Let's comment first on some of the terms used in mandate teaching, (which throughout this treatise we will refer to as mandatism) and then get to the heart of the problem.
Defining the Mandate
To begin, there is a fine line between the terms cultural mandate and dominion mandate. The first refers rightly only to influencing culture, the latter to taking over cultural institutions. Within each is an issue of context that divides true from false kingdom teaching.
Cultural mandatists believe in more or less influencing and permeating the spheres of culture without necessarily taking over actual leadership authority in their institutions. But since the Lord expects all Christians to influence the culture as salt and light, the real point to discern pertains to what priority we are to give to this in our faith, in what context we are supposed to exert that influence, and what is the expected result of such influence.
Dominion mandatists (or dominionists) go beyond the concept of cultural permeation to advocate various dimensions of Christian take over of every cultural sphere—even to establishing biblical law and principle as the basis for all institutional law in all nations (similar to the Islamic concept of Sharia).
Within dominionism a deeper distinction appears. Some believe by "taking dominion" to obtain actual positional power within world systems. Others speak only of exerting spiritual authority over the systems. As above however, since all believers are to exert spiritual authority with Christ in heavenly places, the real issue regarding dominion involves discernment of priority, context and expected result.
Though mandatism philosophy draws a technical distinction between permeation and dominion, in the rhetoric of its purveyors, there is very little difference. Prophetic mandatists freely weave between the ideas of Christian influence and authority in culture without defining the bounds of their ideas.
Importantly, amidst this interweave, mandatists cannot agree between themselves from nation to nation on the legitimate definitions and boundaries between right and wrong applications of Christian cultural permeation and dominion. (Witness the American mandatist perplexity over Ugandan mandatists successful 2009 law to execute homosexuals according to Old Testament standard as reported in Charisma Magazine.)
For our purposes, what's important is not whether we are talking about our influence or authority over culture as believers, but what defines our priority, context and ultimate intention behind either. This is what divides true from false kingdom teaching.
In due course, we will draw the necessary lines regarding the concepts that separate genuine kingdom teaching from mandatism. To help in this, we will restrict our use of the term mandate to false teaching only. We will divide between the terms "cultural / dominion mandatism" (false) and "kingdom influence / authority" (true).
New Meadow Neck, Rhode Island
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created May 26, 2012