An Examination of Kingdom-, Dominion-,
and Latter Rain Theology
An Apologetics Index research resource
An Examination of Kingdom Theology - Part 1/3
Kingdom Theology Defined
Within the "Kingdom Theology" camp are several movements whose teachings are remarkably similar over all, yet divergent on some points. These movements - though to a greater or lesser degree disavowing association with each other - are sufficiently homogenous in their eschatological and theological viewpoints to place them all under a common banner: what I refer to as "Kingdom Theology." These movements are built upon the same foundation: the neo-Pentecostalism of the mid-twentieth century. They draw from one another the support needed to develop their strategy for gaining preeminence among Christians. All zealously propagate their "new revelations" which allegedly are to prepare the Church for "the next move of God," bringing us closer to the Kingdom Age (the rule of God on earth). The most prominent of these movements are:The Teachings
Throughout the course of this study we'll be examining these movements and their major proponents. But first it's important that I give a general outline of Kingdom Theology itself and its dynamic.
The basic premise of Kingdom Theology is that man lost dominion over the earth when Adam and Eve succumbed to Satan's temptation in the Garden of Eden. God "lost control" of the earth to Satan at that time, and has since been looking for a "covenant people" who will be His "extension," or "expression," in the earth and take dominion back from Satan. This is to be accomplished through certain "overcomers" who, by yielding themselves to the authority of God's apostles and prophets for the Kingdom Age, will take control of the kingdoms of this world. These kingdoms are defined as all social institutions, such as the "kingdom" of education, the "kingdom" of science, the "kingdom" of the arts, and so on. Most especially there is the "kingdom" of politics or government. This naturally implies the concentration of military and police power in the hands of those in control during the Kingdom Age. They are referred to as the "many-membered man child," whom Kingdom Theology adherents believe will be the fulfillment of Revelation 12:1-5: "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars....And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron." Those who hold to Kingdom Theology assume that the Church (some believe only a small group within the Church, called "overcomers"), under submission to the latter day apostles and prophets, is that man child, and that it has the responsibility to put down all rebellion and establish righteousness. This necessitates the utilization of supernatural power and the full implementation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This theory is based upon the idea that all authority in heaven and on the earth has been given to Jesus. Since believers are indwelt by the same Holy Spirit that indwelt Jesus, we have all authority in heaven and on the earth; we have the power to believe for and speak into existence things that are not, and thus we can bring about the Kingdom Age. The many-membered man child must take control of the earth before Jesus can return. Necessary to the Kingdom Age is "the Restoration of the Tabernacle of David," defined as the completion of perfection of the Bride of Christ - a Church without spot or wrinkle. During the Kingdom Age (or after all else is subdued during that time) Satan and all enemies of God will be put under the feet of the many-membered man child. This will be the fulfillment of I Corinthians 15:25-26: "For he (Christ) must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." The rationale that the many-membered man child will put God's enemies under 'its' feet is that Jesus is the head of Christ and the Church is the body of Christ. And where are the feet but in the body? Many in the Kingdom Theology movements insist that when this Scripture refers to Christ it is really referring to the Church who is the Body of Christ. Therefore it is necessary for them to establish within the minds of Christians the idea that, as the Body of Christ, we are Christ. In other words, we have His divine nature. Notice that this idea, similar to that of mind science and other false religions, separates the anointing of "Christ" from Jesus and bestows it upon all who come into a place of certain knowledge and spiritual attainment. This is a heresy that is as old as the Church. It is rooted in the Greek school of philosophy known as Gnosticism.No Rapture
Critical to hard-core Kingdom Theology is the denial of "the Rapture" - the teaching that the Church will one day be caught up to meet the Lord in the air so that we will be with Him in Heaven when God's wrath is poured out upon the earth. This event is explained away as a feeling of rapture or excitement when the Lord returns to receive the Kingdom from our hands. In other words, everyone will be "caught up" emotionally when He returns. This explanation ignores the fact that such an application of the term "caught up" is strictly an idiomatic expression peculiar to English, not Greek. "I was all 'caught up' in the movie" (or other excitement) is not the equivalent of 'harpazo' in I Thessalonians 4:17, II Corinthians 12:2-4, and Revelation 12:5, used to describe the catching up bodily into Heaven, and Acts 8:39 where Phillip is bodily "caught away" by the Spirit to another location. Consequently, since there will be no bodily catching away - or "Rapture" - of the Church (some say not until the Church has taken dominion in the face of adversity), there will be no restoration of the nation of Israel. The proponents of Kingdom Theology are correct when they say that the Church is spiritual Israel, but they fail to acknowledge that God has promised to restore national Israel and deal with her during the coming seventieth week of Daniel. All prophecies regarding future Israel - both in the Old and New Testaments - are made to apply to the Church. The restoration of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37:1-11 is said to be the Restoration of the Church out of Babylon (denominationalism) into perfect unity. All believers will possess the same mind, same thoughts, and same goals delineated by the apostles and prophets of the Kingdom Age through new revelations.The Church Has Failed
Another eschatological viewpoint of Kingdom Theology is that the Great Tribulation is seen not as a time when anti-Christ will reign and war against God's people, but rather a time of tribulation for the world brought about by God's judgment through His people. Anti-Christ, in fact, is considered by some not to be a person, or even a system of government, but a spirit of rebellion against God's constituted authority - the coming of Jesus in the flesh of the apostles and prophets, according to their interpretation of I John 4:2 and II John 7. Since there will be no "Rapture," and no Second Coming of Jesus until the Kingdom has been established by the Church under the direction of the apostles and prophets, most Kingdom Theology adherents are mid- or post-millennialists: Jesus will come back after the millennium has begun or after it has been completed. Some are amillennialists, believing He will never come back personally, or that He already came back to His own generation, leaving the Church to take dominion over the earth. Thus they see the Church as having failed in what they consider its commission to take dominion over the kingdoms of the earth. The reason the Church has failed is because it has not understood what Jesus meant when He told His disciples that they would be witnesses of Him throughout the earth. To be a witness means to demonstrate the Kingdom on earth: to take dominion, bringing all things into obedience to Christ. In order to demonstrate the Kingdom, the Church must not only be united under the apostles and prophets, but must be prosperous, having taken control of all the material wealth of the earth. Since "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Psalm 24:1), the world is ours as joint heirs with Christ. This sounds good, but without Jesus here to establish the dominion, we are left at the mercy of men who, according to their thinking, will have "overcome" all faults and will be operating according to the perfect will of God. Since all enemies, including death, will be put under the feet of the "overcomers," it is therefore necessary that dominion include "immortalization" (or at least living in "divine health" as well as "divine prosperity").The Cloud of Witnesses
To accomplish the great task of taking dominion over a rebellious world, the Church must have supernatural help not only from God, but from angels and from the "great cloud of witnesses" (the dead in Christ) who have preceded us. A unity between their spirits and our spirits will create a communications link by which revelations will be conveyed that will guide the Church in its mission. The apostles and prophets especially will have contact into the spirit realm through appearances of Jesus, angels, and departed saints. In fact, such contacts have already been reported in the Christian media. Essentially then, Kingdom Theology sees the Second Coming of Jesus in two stages: first through the flesh of the believers (and in particular the flesh of today's apostles and prophets), and then in person to take over the Kingdom handed to Him by those who have been victorious (the "overcomers"). In some circles it is believed that the overcomers will have become immortal - they will have attained what is called "resurrection life." Whether immortal or not, it is generally agreed in Kingdom Theology that the overcomers must purge the earth of all evil influences. "Evildoers" must be converted or they will be punished and/or "destroyed from off the face of the earth." "Evildoers" have been variously described as drug pushers, murderers, child molesters, thieves, prostitutes, and other such "scum" that Jesus died for. It will interest the reader to learn, however, that for many who teach Kingdom Theology, the term "evildoer" applies to anyone who refuses to submit to God's authority (the latter day apostles and prophets). Those who do submit will be sealed with the "mark of God" in their foreheads, and will escape the coming judgment.Some Differences
As we deal with these teachings individually in successive chapters, keep in mind that some movements are more extreme than others, and each is somewhat unique in its approach to the basic tenets of Kingdom Theology. In fact, not everyone within each movement is necessarily in agreement with each other, let alone with those in the other movements. Still, each movement has teachings that are sufficiently aberrant as to warrant careful testing by the Word of God. Each in its own way has its part in propagating some or all of the elements of Kingdom Theology. Other teachings not detailed here are quite bizarre, and add to the overall occult flavor of Kingdom Theology. We'll be dealing with them as we progress. It's important to understand that not everyone in the various movements mentioned believe all Kingdom Theology teachings. Many are innocently fraternizing with those whose doctrines would horrify them if they were aware of them. Yet while the adage "guilt by association" does not always hold true, a consistent pattern of fraternization and support are sufficient grounds to at least question whether one holds the views of those he supports and with whom he seeks unity.Some Terminology
As in all fraternities, there is certain terminology peculiar to Kingdom Theology. Knowledge of that terminology can alert us to the possibility that we are hearing from an adherent to those teachings. A few occasions of word usage prove nothing, of course. But a pattern of usage and dependence upon terminology peculiar to Kingdom Theology is reason for concern and further investigation of a teacher's doctrines. Many will hide their true beliefs to all but those within their inner circle lest they be prematurely exposed to the Body of Christ at large. Once you become familiar with their terminology I urge you not to judge arbitrarily, but to seek further knowledge of the teacher's true beliefs (Acts 17:11). Meanwhile, be cautious until you do know what he or she believes. The following Kingdom terminology should be cause for concern even though much will be defended as "scriptural" by those who use them:
I wish to reiterate that the use of some of these words - at least moderately - is not grounds for judging harshly the speaker or writer (see John 7:24). I stress this because I know I'll be accused of jumping to conclusions and lumping everyone together. I urge caution in accepting or rejecting anyone on the basis of their terminology alone. By the time you've read through this report, however, I'm certain you'll see why these terms are good indicators of the teacher's beliefs. At the end of the final installment you'll find a sample questionnaire which you can use to test any teacher's position relative to Kingdom Theology. This may be used as a precaution against erroneously prejudging anyone - teacher or disciple. This said, we will examine now the roots and the effects of Kingdom Theology and its various movements.
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