For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. Romans 1:19
Apologetics and discernment ministries have a wide range of responsibilities. It is our aim to assist the church in equipping Christians to enter the marketplace of religious ideologies within our culture and present a credible case for the truth claims of Christianity. This is a joyful task.
But passion for the truth of Christ also calls us, as faithful stewards of the grace of God, to confront errors arising within the body that have the potential to discredit the church in the eyes of the world and distort the gospel. This task is far less enjoyable but it is essential. We, as believers, cannot allow the message of the church to be diluted and distorted without sounding a cry of warning.
One such error that continues to trouble the church is dominion theology. If you are paying attention at all to the modern prophetic movement, you are aware that dominion theology, also known as kingdom now theology or the manifest sons of God teaching has permeated this branch of Christendom.
Dominion theology is not new. Its roots go back to William Branham in the late 1940’s. The teaching was essentially dormant for a time but began to be resurrected in the 1980’s and now influences a major segment of the Christian population through teachers like Mike Bickle, Rick Joyner, Paul Cain, Francis Frangipane, Jill Austin, Kim Clement and literally a host of others.
Essentially, dominion theology arises from a distorted interpretation of Romans 8:19 and a few other passages. It teaches that a perfected, glorified church will usher in the kingdom of God by taking dominion over the world. To this end, the church must be placed in order by coming under the authority of present-day apostles and prophets. Many of these prophets are foretelling a great civil war that will take place within the church between the “grays”, associated with the brain or gray matter who focus on the scripture, and the “blues”, those associated with the sky who are open to new revelation. This is a gross oversimplification and not all dominionists would accept all that was just said but these are many of the central tenants of the movement.
Associated with this major teaching are a host of other doctrines and practices necessary to facilitate the rise of this perfected body of Christ. These can be found interspersed throughout the writings and messages of those in the movement.
It is taught that Christ must be incarnated within the church before He can return. The church will literally become the fullness of Christ. Francis Frangipane states, “When the Spirit of Christ comes into the physical world, He must enter through a physical body…When Christ first entered our world as a child, it was Mary whom God chose to give Christ birth….God is preparing us as He did Mary to give birth to the ministry of His Son. Even now, in the spiritual womb of the virgin church, the holy purpose of Christ is growing, awaiting maturity; ready to be born in power in the timing of God….the virgin Church is “in labor and in pain to give birth” (Rev. 12:1-2)…I say to you, once again, the virgin is with child. Before Jesus Himself returns, the last virgin Church shall become pregnant with the promise of God. Out of her travail, the Body of Christ shall come forth, raised to the full stature of its Head, the Lord Jesus. Corporately manifested in holiness, power and love, the Bride of Christ shall arise.” (Francis Frangipane, “In the Presence of God”, 1994 emphasis mine) But it must be noted that, in context, the manifestation of the sons of God spoken of in Romans 8 does not occur until the redemption of the body at the resurrection. The scriptures are clear that it is Christ who brings the kingdom not the church.
Much, though not all, of the modern emphasis on spiritual warfare has its root in dominion theology. In order for God to move, the heavens must be cleared and opened. It is therefore necessary for believers to discern the territorial demons over their cities, engage in spiritual mapping, claim the gates of their cities, bind these demonic forces, etc, etc. The list is endless. One of the newest versions of this is a teaching by Jill Austin, Mike Bickle and others that the church must pray for a “breaker anointing” defined as a “catalytic deposit of the Holy Spirit where eternity breaks through into the natural realm. It is a holy invasion where the gates of heaven are opened!” (Jill Austin, “The Breaker Anointing-A Holy Invasion where Eternity Breaks Through” found at www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=2083) This teaching is based on a bizarre interpretation of Micah 2:13. One also wonders how it is possible to have a “catalytic deposit” of a person such as the Holy Spirit.
Space will not allow for a discussion of other doctrines such as the restoration of the tabernacle of David, prophetic worship, the Zadok priesthood, judicial intercession and so on.
I am grateful to those in the movement for a renewed call to the church for prayer, worship and ministry to the poor. However, there are several causes for deep concern. Including:
- Neglect of the word. The church is woefully illiterate when it comes to the scripture. The modern prophetic movement, instead of calling people to the scriptures, distracts them from the sure foundation into supposed revelations God is giving today. But Paul said that it is by the scriptures that “the man of God is perfected, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
- Misuse of the Word. Modern prophetic teachers are poor handlers of the bible playing fast and loose with the text in order to justify their doctrines.
- Misguided activity. Instead of involving Christians in praying and laboring along in biblical means that God can truly bless, Christians are being led into a host of non-biblical activity. Jim Goll tells Christians that they must discern the demonic enemies opposing them, then they are to bring them to the courtroom of heaven and lay out a reasoned case against these thieves. They are then to petition God for “the appropriate amount of compensation that is due to the same degree as the offense.” Then God punishes this demonic entity and blessings flow. (Jim Goll, “A New Intercessory Assignment: Judicial Intercession” 5/2/04 at www.elijahlist.com) Even if one assumes that the book of Daniel teaches the concept of territorial demons, which is dubious, where does the scripture teach by precept or example that we are to do any of the things advocated by warfare teachers like Goll in order to deal with them?
- Exaltation of man. For all the talk about the need for humility, there is a tremendous elevation of men within the movement. These are the true super apostles. They will do exploits greater than those in the book of Acts. God waits for man before He can act.
- Frustration. What happens when the prophets are wrong? On January 13, 2004, Kim Clement prophesied that Osama Ben Laden would be uncovered within 35 days. Both the prophecy and Clements attempt at an explanation can be found at elijahlist.com. Chuck Pierce said that when he was in Washington for the national day of prayer, God told him to ask for hailstones as a confirmation of the prophetic word. He claims that by the end of the day, the city was covered with hail. The only problem is, that on the day in question, May 4, 2004, D.C. reported no precipitation. At some point, many of these people will grow tired of being misled. What will happen to them then? How does the church appear in the eyes of the world?
- Neglect of Christ. For all of the talk about Jesus and love for Him within this movement, the real longing that comes across in the writings and messages is a desire for power and signs. Jesus does not appear to be sought for who He is as God and Savior but for the power He can bring to the church. This is the most tragic loss of all.