Sunday, February 8, 2015

Kingdom Now? Cultures Being Redeemed? No and no. (A Few Problems With Dominionism)

Posted by Christine Pack

This article will (hopefully) expose how Dominionism, which is a view held by some Christians, often outworks itself in ways never prescribed by Scripture. Please note that there are often very varied beliefs among Christians who hold Dominionist views. For instance, not all Theonomists will be Christian Reconstructionists, not all Christian Reconstructionists will be Patriarchal, not all Patriarchals will be Quiverfull. However, what undergirds all of these movements or ideologies is their Dominionist worldview, and because of this, there is often a natural dovetailing of ideas between these groups and ideologies. The Dominionist view almost always flows out of the Postmillennial eschatalogical view. But as Pastor Hall noted in the recent completed Theonomy debate, whenever you've got your eschatology driving your Christian walk, you've got  problem.
"At the culmination of Jesus' kingdom, with his glorious appearing, our King will conquer culture and subdue it with the rest of his enemies. We do not redeem culture, because culture needs no redemption. People need redemption. So we preach Gospel to save people, not bring cultural change. Cultural change might happen (and it's extremely, extremely rare historically), but our mission is Gospel, not cultural reconstruction.......We should all pray as our Lord did that God's Kingdom should come, just as we cry out 'Maranatha! Come quickly, Lord Jesus.' This does not mean that we are kingdom-builders. We are not. We are kingdom-pronouncers." (J.D. Hall, Pulpit and Pen)
The above comment by Pastor J.D. Hall exposes the Kingdom Now language, and other assorted "Kingdom" talk (including from the Theonomy/Christian Reconstructionist camp), for the foolishness that it is.


Incidentally, Pastor J.D. Hall has an upcoming debate (Feb 19-20, 2015) with leading Theonomist Joel McDurmon......more to come on that.

For more on the problems with Theonomy, please read our article The Fault Lines of Christian Reconstruction/Theonomy.  You may also listen to J.D. Hall's pre-debate radio programs, in which he did a 2-part series on Theonomy: Part 1 here and Part 2 here.)

[UPDATE: The debate can be watched in its entirety here.  Also, J.D. Hall discussed the debate immediately afterwards on this podcast from the Bible Thumping Wingnuts.]  


* * * * * * *

Pastor Tim Keller, author of
Center Church
Kingdom Now ideology, which are a form of Dominionism, are also sometimes buried in concepts such as those taught by Tim Keller. Pastor Keller doesn't use straight up "Kingdom Now" language, but he does talk about "redeeming the culture." But as Jordan Hall pointed out in the opening quote, as Christians we know that it is individual souls who are redeemed, not cultures.

Tim Keller is a contributor to the aggressively evolutionary think-tank BioLogos (you can read about that here in Ken Ham's article, Misrepresented By Leading Pastor). His "redeeming the culture" view, which has a strong social justice/social gospel slant is espoused in his book Center Church. His article Redemption and the City is excerpted from Center Church, and can be read here. And from the Cripplegate review of Center Church:
"Throughout large portions of (Center Church).......Keller is evaluating positions and approaches to the culture.  (Keller) believes that the mission of the church must be balanced between the great commission and (a) cultural mandate to advance human flourishing.
"The mandate (given to the church) is about being witnesses, testifying to the resurrection.  The mandate of the church is about testifying to the gospel until He returns (Keller agrees).  The mandate of the church is exclusively about testifying and not about establishing ‘shalom’ or cultural renewal in some sort of kingdom sense (Keller doesn’t agree).  After receiving the commission to witness, the apostles remain undistracted......Instead of leading the church into cultural renewal, (the apostles) point to the only One who can restore the creation.  The apostolic message is repent and believe so that Christ can come and reverse the curse placed on this earth.
"Peter preached that cultural renewal was a work of Christ by virtue of His imminent return as King.  Keller, however, believes that our pursuit of cultural renewal, social justice, mercy ministry, and human betterment are based on the fact that Jesus created and redeemed body and spirit.
(Center Church and Common Grace, Cripplegate, my emphasis)
Here is also an interview by a friend of mine (Jonathan Cousar) about Tim Keller. Jonathan attended the church where Tim Keller preaches (Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC) for almost 20 years, and in this interview, he discusses Keller's views, and his attempts to talk about them with Keller.
Interview With A Long-Time Member of Redeemer Presbyterian
Here is one longish (but good) article by Sam Horn of Northland Baptist Bible College that addresses the problems with Tim Keller's "Redeeming the Culture" view.
An Assessment of and Response to Tim Keller’s Theology of the City
Here is a series of articles by Dr. Paul Elliott about Tim Keller's problematic views:
Tim Keller: Dangerously Influential (Part 1)
Tim Keller's Gutless Gospel (Part 2) 
Tim Keller's False Gospel: Changing Both the Method and the Message (Part 3)
Tim Keller's False Gospel: A 'Sandwich' Made Without the Bread of Life (Part 4)
Tim Keller's False Gospel: A Point-By-Point Analysis (Part 5)
And here is the entire Cripplegate series of articles reviewing Tim Keller's Center Church:
Center Church: Summary and Contextualization 
Center Church and Common Grace
Center Church and The True Church

 ADDITIONAL RESOURCES 

 Theonomy / Kingdom Now / Dominionism 

The Fault Lines of Christian Reconstructionism/Theonomy (Sola Sisters)

J.D. Hall's Discusses His Debate With Theonomist Joel McDurmon (Bible Thumping Wingnut)

Christian Submission vs Belligerent Discontentment Before Civil Authorities (Justin Edwards, airo)

Brother's Keeper.....Some of the Problems With Theonomists (Fred Butler, Hip and Thigh)

What Is Kingdom Now? (Got Questions?)

What Is Dominionism? (Derek Gilbert interviews Sarah Leslie of Herescope, beginning at 1:08:00 mark)

 Tim Keller 

Tim Keller's Social Justice (Gospel Masquerade)

Tim Keller's Environmental Gospel (Gospel Masquerade)

Redeemer's Tim Keller and the Problems with Ignatius of Loyola (Sola Sisters)

Redeemer's Tim Keller Recommends Ignatius of Loyola? (Sola Sisters)

Ignatius of Loyola, an Examination of His Teachings
 (Pastor Gary Gilley)