& "Mandatism" Philosophy
I. The Nature Of World Culture
The Inseverability of World Culture from the Domain of Darkness
To understand the nature of world culture, the first concept we must grasp is that human culture is inseverable from satan's domain. On the fact that man yielded earth's dominion over to satan, Paul makes further descriptions of satan's worldly kingdoms directly connecting them to his evil nature:
Eph.2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience—6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.—Col. 1:13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
- Culture: The "Course of this World" and "the Power of the Evil One"
The phrase "course of this world" applies to the entirety of what we call "culture." Culture simply means the "world" and its systems under sin in which all people are raised and live. The world of human culture is succinctly identified in I Jn. 2:15-17,
15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
The modern word "culture" does not appear in the Bible. But it is synonymous with the term "world" which the Bible does use. Somehow by using the word "culture" we think we are talking about something more noble and other than the "world" which the Bible repeatedly derides—something with its own nature apart from the world under satan. From this, mandatists believe that somehow culture itself is "neutral." And so if we just get "believers" in there to "influence" it and "take over," the culture can and will become the manifestation of the
on earth. kingdomof God
But culture is not something other than the "world." They are the same. Culture is not neutral, but is of the essence of the "world" which Paul describes as functioning according to a certain "course." That course is "according to the prince of the power of the air" which Paul and John go on to describe as "darkness" and "wickedness."
Interestingly, the New American Standard translation of I Jn. 5:19 above which says "the whole world lies in the power of the evil one" is translated in the King James as "the whole world lieth in wickedness." The meaning is clear: all human culture is intrinsically sinful. This includes apparently "good" culture as well as more obvious "bad" culture. Hence it is not "neutral." Culture is after all what man himself is—inherently sinful. As we shall see, whether superficially good or bad under the knowledge of good and evil, all culture is inherently sinful under the law of sin and death.
- Realm of the Flesh, of the World and of Darkness
Under slavery to sin, man is in the flesh, hence all his culture is empowered by the flesh, and we know that in the flesh "dwells no good thing." (Rom. 7:18). In Rom. 7:5 NIV, Paul says, "When we were in the realm of the flesh..." a concept clearly synonymous with "the course of this world" (Eph. 2:2) and "the domain of darkness" (Col. 1:13). These three concepts—the realm of the flesh, the course of this world, and the domain of darkness—are of one and the same sinful essence, and are the Bible's description of our modern word "culture." In reality, culture is nothing more than "collective flesh." (In evangelical days of old, the negative link between "the flesh, the world and the devil" was clearly understood and openly preached.)
- "In" but not "Of" the Cultural Domain
The domain of world systems "with all its glory" that satan offers to Jesus in Luke 4:6 is the same as the "domain of darkness" out of which we have been transferred in Col. 1:13, even though we are still "in" the world (Jn. 17:11,15). This is why Jesus says we are no longer "of" this world but are rather called "out of" it (Jn. 15:9; 17:6,14,17).
Jesus' explanation of the disciples' out calling from the world domain also shows why He would not accept the devil's offer of that same domain to begin with. He didn't want it! Who in their right spiritual mind would want ownership of such a filthy domain?? (If Jesus had believed in the "dominion mandate" and wanted these kingdoms, here was His opportunity to "take it all back.")
We are translated into a kingdom that is not of this world's domain, a domain whose ownership Jesus Himself refused to accept. To be no longer "of the world" means we are no longer of the people, the heritages, the cultural spheres or the domains of this present fleshly world with their innate corruptness.
Spiritual Identity Confusion and Holiness Failure Underlying Mandatism
Why is it so critical to belabor what should be obvious, and was obvious to the average evangelical believer two or three generations ago? It's because mandatists suffer from a fundamental spiritual identity crisis in their relationship to this world. They really do not know who they are in Christ as called out (meaning "severed from" or "crucified to") the world. Nor can they distinguish the true concept of "converting men" from a false concept of "converting the flesh." (Men can be converted from the flesh. Flesh cannot be converted from itself.)
As mandatists cannot grasp the difference between their own new identity in Christ and their flesh, neither can they grasp the difference between the souls of men as objects of God's love, and the fleshly works of fallen human culture as the objects of that same love. To mandatists, "God so loved the world" refers not merely to the souls of men, but to their fleshly culture, which God hates and has told us not to love.
This identity crisis and lack of discernment exists because mandatists have not let the cross of identity separation put their own remaining carnal earthly identity to death as clearly instructed and exemplified by the apostle Paul. Consequently, they cannot tell the difference between that which is of the spirit and that which is of the flesh, and how inviolably separate these realms are.
If mandatists realized the true nature of their own flesh as believers, they would realize the truly incorrigible nature of the world system constructed upon the power of the flesh of fallen man and why they were "called out" of it. They would not be trying to "transform" it nor identifying "with" it as if they were part "of" it. The idea of converting the world system requires one to fundamentally consider himself to be of it, not separated from it. Therefore they "speak as from the world" (
Dominionism and all mandatist teaching is ultimately based in a false and deficient view of personal holiness. Mandatists really believe in the perfectibility of their own flesh under the rule of the spirit. They believe that because they "have the Spirit," that therefore they can please God in the flesh—that somehow their fleshly activity "under the anointing" is righteous and sanctified. They can keep all the laws and the rules and all the "kingdom principles" or righteousness through their flesh. They can even justify their own self-indulges under the anointing. (Anyone remember the name Earl Paulk?) They really have no concept of the difference between the Spirit and their own fleshly efforts "for God" in whatever enterprise they undertake.
It is merely as an extension of faulty holiness belief that mandatist "thinkers" are thus able to believe in the ultimate convertibility of fallen fleshly culture by their participation in it ("in the power of the Spirit," of course). Mandatist teaching is just false personal holiness teaching applied to the world level. Uncrucified to this world, mandatists believe that by their life in Christ together with the anointing, they have the ability to fundamentally change the nature of something from which Christ's life sets us apart (sanctifies us.), something against which we struggle within our own bodies! They believe that they can detach the concept of "world culture" with its spheres from "satan's domain" over those spheres, and on that basis then go on to "redeem" it.
Incompatibility of Knowledge Bases
All world culture is built on the fleshly works of men. These works are empowered by the knowledge of good and evil under imprisonment to sin and death. This applies to all the seven spheres of human culture. Understanding then the role of the knowledge of good and evil as the functional chassis of world culture and its utter incompatibility with the knowledge of God underneath God's kingdom becomes critical.
When Adam ceded his mandate to satan, man's entire power base for relating to the earth became removed from the knowledge of God to the knowledge of good and evil through the flesh. Under the realm of the evil one ever since, all of earth's "seven spheres" have been constructed on the basis of the knowledge of good and evil. This is where for instance in the sphere of government, the concept of civil and criminal law is derived. The governmental "mountain" of every kingdom on the planet is inescapably constructed on this dead knowledge base, one entirely incompatible with that of God's kingdom—i.e., the knowledge of God.
Here is what we must get: The difference between the functionality of fleshly culture under the knowledge of good and evil and the functionality of God's kingdom under the knowing of God is not like a difference in which one can just switch out a "broken component" for a "good component" using the same computer operating system. It is a difference between operating systems themselves. It's the difference between a "PC" and a "MAC." The entire computer needs to be swapped out!
So it is, the nature of a kingdom cannot be changed without changing out the knowledge base on which a kingdom is built. Here it means that the only way that the
based in the knowing of God can come to earth is to replace the kingdoms of this world founded on the knowledge of good and evil. It can't "convert" their base and see them retain their essential identity as we know them. kingdomof God
The tree of Life in the knowledge of God replaces the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It does not convert it. It does not sanctify it. As is true for the two trees, so too for everything derived from each of their knowledge bases. All world culture is based on the fleshly knowledge of good and evil under dominion of satan. God's kingdom is entirely based on the spiritual knowing of Him which is the Tree of Life. The latter can only replace, not convert, the former.
The Salt Factor: Understanding the Preservational Element in the Developmental Scheme of Kingdom Replacement
does not convert culture, in God's broad developmental plan for its replacement, the kingdom has a limited preserving role toward the "good" side of culture meant to facilitate that final replacement. The kingdom temporarily preserves culture under the knowledge of good, using the good as a "loom" on which the living knowing of God can be woven. But that is all. kingdomof God
The kingdom makes use of the "good" aspects of culture under the knowing of good to mirror and thus lead to that which is eternal and glorified. In this it uses good knowledge as a standard of reference. This is pointedly exemplified by the Mosaic Law relative to the Grace of Christ. As God ordained the Law in the face of Canaanite evil to serve a limited function of knowing good to point toward Christ, so the true kingdom has a limited interest in preserving or "maintaining" the functionality of good in world systems, protecting them from outright satanic destruction, until their replacement by the kingdom of glorified life.
This limited interest of kingdom preservation of good culture is the "salt" factor referenced by Jesus:
"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men." Mt. 5:13
Salt is a preservative. The key point here is that salt only preserves what is dead or dying. It does not give it eternal life. This is for example the essence of the healing ministry. Healing temporarily returns health to bodies which are otherwise still destined to die.
The same is true of the influence of the
on human culture. The kingdom has a strategic but limited preservational purpose toward the dying world underneath which it is working toward the ultimate goal of world replacement. (We will discuss this further in consideration of our legitimate influence and spiritual authority on the seven mountains of culture.) kingdomof God
Despite this limited "salting" function the kingdom has in culture, the undergirding temperaments of world culture and God's kingdom are, as we have seen, entirely incompatible and are in fact at war. The world functions based on the fleshly knowledge of good and evil. The
functions on the eternal life of the Spirit in the knowing of God. As Paul says, the Spirit is at war with the flesh. The Spirit is not interested in converting the flesh. He is interested only in killing it. So it is between the kingdomof God and world culture. When the kingdom has finished using the good of human culture to point to itself, it will then upend it altogether and allow it to collapse of its own dead weight. kingdomof God
The Final Irreformability of Culture
What does the imperative of kingdom replacement ultimately mean for our understanding of world culture? It means that, though to be temporarily preserved, world systems are ultimately not "reformable" as if to be "reconstituted" or "restored" or "convertible" to some imagined intrinsically pristine edenic condition, any more so than a pig can be washed and stay "clean."
Genesis Mandate teachers are always calling for the "transforming" or "reforming" of culture, confusing the limited and permanent meanings of these words. The problem is they offer no distinction between the limited temporal reformability as salt that the true kingdom offers, and the idea of permanent cultural "convertibility," taking the illegitimate liberty to extend the limited meaning into a permanent one. Thus whenever they use the words reform and transform, they are ultimately talking about a "live happily ever after" permanent convertibility of that which is flesh into that which is of the Spirit. And this is false.
Whenever the apostles refer to the world systems of human culture, they never speak of "converting" them or "reforming" them. They always speak of being "saved out of" or "separated from" and otherwise "overcoming" them:
I Jn.5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world ; and this is the victory that has overcome the world -our faith. 5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
There is no biblical idea conveyed anywhere of "converting" or "transforming" the intrinsic nature of any cultural "mountain" to some original estate under the rule of men based in Genesis 1:28. (And seeing how foundational such an idea is to our outlook on the kingdom, do you think God would have waited until 1900 to reveal it to us?? Would not the founding apostles have already explained it?)
This does not mean the apostles express no interest in limitedly influencing the culture. They in fact do. There is a definite role for the people of God to play in this respect. As mentioned earlier, we will reserve discussion for this further down.
- Converting the Flesh?
The flesh is inconvertible and unreformable. Culture is but the extension of the flesh of the individual man. Culture is merely the flesh of the corporation, or "corporate flesh."
If one's own flesh as a believer is not reformable, how much less is that of fallen corporate man? Yet to hold to an idea of permanent cultural reformability (ie, redemptability) as mandatists do is really no different than believing we can please God in our own flesh after converted to Christ. Where mandatists believe that sinful flesh life in Adam can be "purified" and separated of its sinfulness by the Spirit, scripture instead says it must be put to death.
As we have thoroughly proven then through the four "I" concepts, the premise that human culture itself, not just the souls of men, can be separated from the satanic domain, and thence converted and sanctified so as to become the manifestation of the kingdom of God is in complete error. Scripture offers no thought that satan's domain of darkness is in any way separate or divisible from the cultural domains and systems of this world that he offered to Jesus and out of which Jesus says He separated us. As seen in Luke, the kingdoms of this world belong in principle to the evil one (having been ceded to him at the fall) and so they are one with his domain of darkness as outlined by Paul, based in the unconvertible power of human flesh—against which the Spirit is at war.
Comprehending the indivisible unity of man's fleshly cultural spheres with satan's domain of darkness and hence their irreformability is vital to this discussion. The darkness by which Paul describes world systems is not superficial as if it could somehow be externally "scrubbed off" the cultural spheres with a lot of intercession and prophetic declaration to make them "clean, transformed" expressions of the
. Their darkness and all the corruption it bespeaks is inherent to the nature of the kingdoms themselves. Their essence cannot be changed without a complete change-out of their knowledge bases and identity. kingdomof God
The End Time Knowledge Explosion and the Nature of the World
"But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase." Dan. 12:4
Not only is the course of world culture built on the sinful kingdom-incompatible base of knowing good and evil, but in accord with the prediction of Daniel, that base is being increasingly energized and intensified in opposition to the Spirit of God. The angel's word to Daniel that "knowledge will increase" describes not only the amount of knowledge, but the intensity of its nature, which is one of sin and death. The power of human knowledge on which culture is built is energizing at an exponential rate. It is said that the entire compendium of human knowledge doubles every few years. So too does its corrupt energy.
This energization is evident in all cultural spheres through what we call the "technology revolution." It is most apparent in the spheres of media and of arts and entertainment (not to mention the unnamed sphere of science). So the question is, how does one "transform" or "restore" demonically energized mediums of expression? How does one "reform" cultural expressions and developments of the knowledge explosion that are inherently debilitating to the mind itself?
Television is a good example of this. The medium of television has been scientifically demonstrated to be individually and socially detrimental—inducing a hypnotic trance-like state in the uncritical viewer and replacing genuine social interaction and senses of responsibility with laziness. No degree of "sanctifying" the content of television can change those effects. They are inherent in the technology. The medium's nature cannot be "reformed" in this regard. In a world as envisioned by the Genesis Mandate, it must be eliminated.
As the fleshly power behind media technology is aggravated, it results in an unrelenting bombardment of the human senses with artificial images. The world over, the human mind is now saturated and connected by artificial media technology. People are no longer just glued to the TV, but to cell phones, ipods, "blackberries," computers and laptops (this one included!). People now walk around like cyborgs with "Bluetooth" devices clipped to their ears. Television dominates most public establishments from restaurants to airports. It is so unreal and unnatural—hardly what one would find in
under "the mandate." Yet the idea of reforming the television and film industries is a major thrust of mandatists. Eden
Take also arts & entertainment The entire technological basis for modern arts and entertainment is artificial. How can it be redeemed? Media is in fact ultimately nothing more than one grand enterprise in idolatry through the fashioning of images. (Recognition of this is why for example the Amish refuse to have their pictures taken.)
Now the truth is that we live with this and have had to learn to adapt to mental image saturation and aggravation. But in reality, though we think ourselves to be so culturally enriched for having television and film technology, the truth is we are mentally deprived and impoverished. (Think about the
with its techno-media theater in this light.) Again, though we have learned to adapt and it has become second nature to us, the reality is that technological imaging not only inherently breeds and exploits idolatry but is detrimental to the mind and counter-sanctifying. churchof Laodicea
Against this backdrop of the knowledge explosion and its intrinsically negative effects on the human mind, the concept of cultural redemption as preached based on the Genesis Mandate becomes seen as silly.
had no use for TV or radio or film or photography. And though it may adapt to it now, when it comes into true manifestation, neither will the Eden have use for such technology. kingdomof God
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Page created May 26, 2012