An Examination of Kingdom-, Dominion-,
and Latter Rain Theology
An Apologetics Index research resource
An Examination of Kingdom Theology - Part 2/3
A Brief History of the Heresy
Scripture chronicles man's attempts at godhood: the rebelliousness that led to the flood and the tower of Babel, and the sorcery and witchcraft that dominated not only pagan cultures, but God's chosen people Israel. Jewish Kabbalism, thought by some to be a phenomenon of the Middle Ages, is really a blending of apostate Judaism with the Egyptian mystery religion learned while in captivity. The resultant paganism of Israel was the source of revolt against God's prophets. When the Church was established, the same spirit of rebellion was immediately at work to destroy the simplicity and purity of the Gospel. Heretics led many away from the truth into errors which either demeaned the person of Christ or exalted the position of the believer - or both. During the Church's early years the Gnostic "gospels" and Essene teachings mixed the ancient mystery traditions with Christian teaching, and provided esoteric interpretations of Scripture that remain with us today. One of the earliest heresies declared that the resurrection of the saints had already taken place. Paul wrote to Timothy that this teaching was overthrowing the faith of some (II Timothy 2:18). Consider that, if the resurrection had already occurred, then there was no hope that Jesus would return to establish His Kingdom on earth. It follows, therefore, that that task would have to fall to the Church. This was essentially the first postmillenial teaching. Kingdom Now proponents are correct in stating that postmillenialism is a teaching as old as the Church. But that doesn't make it a true doctrine. It was just one heresy among many that found acceptance among some in the early Church. The age of a teaching is not a criterion for its truth. Only its conformity to the strict and clear Word of God validates it. The Roman Catholic Church is an example of one of the earliest attempts within the Church to establish the Kingdom of God on earth by human effort. With the Reformation came not only freedom for many from the bondage of Rome, but there also arose attempts by some radical sects to establish themselves as the "only true Church," destined to overcome sin and usher in the Kingdom. The history of the Church, though obscure in many areas regarding its early stages, demonstrates how religious men, not content with God's rule over them, dissatisfied that they may die before the Kingdom of God was manifested on earth, chose to believe the lie that they could become immortal and establish the Kingdom themselves. This dissatisfaction continues among today's Dominion proponents. I suspect that such are really afraid of death. Lacking the faith necessary to trust God, they wish to work their way to immortality rather than pass through the valley of the shadow of death. Recent history has seen the rise of certain cults out of Christianity which purport to teach the true "gospel of the Kingdom": Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church (Moonies), the late Herbert W. Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God (not to be confused with The Church of God) [The latter movement has recently undergone some major doctrinal changes, bringing it more in line with orthodox Christianity. Some splinter groups still hold to Armstrongism.], and other, lesser-known groups, are seeking to establish themselves as the only true Church, destined to reign over earth's governments and people. A premise upon which some build their case is that there are two gospels: the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of the Kingdom. They maintain that no one has preached the Gospel of the Kingdom before they themselves came on the scene to proclaim that their church (not Jesus) will usher in the Kingdom of God. Paul tells us there is only one Gospel, and he delineates it in I Corinthians 15. The entire chapter is a retelling of the complete Gospel through the Second Coming of Jesus. Nowhere does Paul separate the Gospel of Christ from the Gospel of the Kingdom. Nor does he indicate that the church will institute the Kingdom of God on earth before Jesus returns. The teachings with which we deal in this study are, therefore, not new, but centuries old, most traceable to certain groups that sprang from the Radical Reformation as opposed to the Reformation proper; some go further back to primitive Christianity's early heretical groups, and even to the dawn of man's history. All these teachings reside in man's prideful refusal to accept his station in life in humble obedience to his Creator. Yes, those who remain true to Christ will one day be glorified; we will be exalted to rule with Him. But if we will be glorified - if we will be exalted - let God glorify us; let Him exalt us. We must glorify and exalt only Him. And if we are to boast in anything, let it not be in our 'position' in Christ, but in Christ himself.
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