& "Mandatism" Philosophy
The "Genesis Mandate"
Whether speaking of permeating or taking over society, all mandatists ground their philosophy in a single verse referred to as the Genesis mandate. This one passage lies at the heart of all:
God blessed them; and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth. Gen. 1:28
Based on this passage, mandatists reason very simply: God ordained man to subdue and rule over the earth. God never withdrew the command. It is therefore the church's rightful biblical mandate to pick up the mantle of this forgotten charge and take back that influence or authority to whatever degree in the world system it may be obtained. As a matter of fact, the Genesis charge to subdue modern world culture is also the real meaning of the gospel of the kingdom and the means of fulfilling Jesus prayer for the bringing of the
to earth. kingdomof God
Sounds like a pretty convincing and lofty connection, no? The connection between subduing the earth and taking over world culture is certainly clever enough to sound prophetic. (And that is the first problem God's sheep have--which is to accept what really is a philosophical proposition as revelation from God just because it sounds both clever and novel!)
But is this connection between Genesis and the kingdom Gospel true revelation, or is it just smart rationalization grown from the over-extended minds of Christian thinkers? Is the proposed tie between God's charge to Adam over the pristine creation and a supposed charge to the church to subdue by permeation the world's fallen systems at all legitimate?
In reality, this modern interpretation of the kingdom gospel has serious problems. Once these problems are surfaced, all mandatism including the
is readily seen to be false. Lets look at the main problems: Seven Mountains
The Lost Mandate
The foundational problem with mandatism is that it fails to acknowledge that the Genesis Mandate was spiritually surrendered to satan when Adam sinned. When man sinned, he ceded his effective role as the earth's subduer to Satan who now controls fallen man. Man no longer has practical objective dominion based in his original image in God! Adam gave up his dominion over the earth the same way that Esau gave up his birth right.
That this is true is why satan could say to Jesus in the mount of temptation, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me," (Lk. 4:6). John concurs with satan, "We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." (I Jn. 5:19). Why is the whole world with its seven mountains of culture in the power of the evil one? It is because man gave it to him.
God never gave satan dominion over the world. Man did. But the fact is that, having done so, man no longer has self-standing authority for subduing the earth under the original mandate he received from God.
In process of yielding up his dominion to satan through sin, man became satan's slave under sin by default. It is in this servitude that man lost all capability to independently or objectively subdue the earth. He is unable to do so apart from satanic control. Man became a puppet of the evil one as the Destroyer manipulates human culture in all its spheres. So when we see rulers and presidents and prime ministers and CEOs and whatever leadership position one wants to name over whatever mountain of the culture, we are not seeing a true subduer of the earth. We are seeing slaves and puppets of satan at work in his kingdoms.
As an aside, this reality underlies all the fallacious talk of liberty and democracy in the nations and the various liberty and liberation movements throughout the world. People everywhere clamor for freedom as if freedom was something that man is inherently born into and to which all men are entitled as children of God in His image.
The truth however is that we were all born into slavery under sin. We were not inherently born into sovereign freedom under the Genesis Mandate. There is no true freedom without freedom first from sin. As Jesus said, all who sin are the slaves of sin (John 8:34). This slavery is part of the general slavery under satan's domain in the nations. And whatever self-governing freedom is available in this life is available contingent on the self-discipline brought to us only through the effects of the grace of Christ's redemption on a society that acknowledges its servitude to God through Jesus Christ. (For more on this see my article Unmasking the Beast of World Democracy.)
And mandatists would partly argue in response to this: "Right, even if Adam did lose the pure mandate, as believers we are no longer under satan. We are in Christ now, He has set us free, and Christ has all dominion over all things, therefore the mandate is rightly ours to take back the culture."
There is a germ of truth in this argument--but only the germ. Though it raises the truth about our new place of spiritual freedom (hence authority) in Christ and so appears quite persuasive, this argument as presented remains blind to other fundamental spiritual realities about 1) the nature of culture itself beginning in our own fleshly lives which Christ does not and cannot change--and about 2) the nature of the actual mandate given to Adam. We will come to these shortly.
Now just to be clear, let me emphasize that this treatise is not arguing that even in Christ man has no way to practically regain authority over the earth from satan. Not at all. There is indeed a way. But it has nothing to do with trying to convert by permeation, dominion, intercession or prophecy the current world culture systems out of their fallen estate based in the Genesis Mandate, nor is any such concept an expression of the true gospel of the kingdom.
Toward the end we will describe how believers will truly subdue the earth in Christ as well as discuss the legitimate present role of kingdom influence and authority the church is to demonstrate in the world now. But we must proceed first to thoroughly expose and deal with the two fundamental spiritual realities mandatism ignores and violates. We begin with the reality of the nature of world culture, demonstrating why believers in positions of societal influence and authority cannot convert culture back to God based in the Genesis Mandate. The answer is found in four words: inseverability, identity, incompatibility and irreformability.
New Meadow Neck, Rhode Island
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created May 26, 2012