An Examination of Kingdom-, Dominion-,
and Latter Rain Theology
An Apologetics Index research resource
An Examination of Kingdom Theology - Part 2/3
One must be careful when including the Charismatic Renewal in the list of Kingdom Now movements, simply because a significant number of charismatics do not have a definitive understanding of any such eschatological viewpoint. In fact, many charismatics see the return of Jesus as imminent. They believe in the "Rapture," whether pre-, mid-, or post-Tribulation, and would reject the notion that the Church must establish a theocratic rule before Jesus can return. Yet if there is any distinction between the charismatism of the mid- to late-twentieth century and the Pentecostalism that preceded it, it's that charismatics tend to lean more heavily on supernatural manifestations as conclusive evidence that God is at work. They are also actively seeking unity within the Body of Christ on the basis of those manifestations, many times at the expense of biblical truth. The charismatic ideal seems to have developed into this: in the interest of unity we must overlook differences in doctrine as long as those with whom we seek unity confess the name of Jesus and appear to exhibit the gifts of the Spirit - particularly speaking in tongues. It's on these points that Roman Catholic priests have been given platforms to teach on Christian TV, and that Mormons have been welcomed into fellowship among some charismatics. (And what could find more compatibility between Mormonism and Kingdom Now Theology than the idea that men are gods?) If there is any reason or rhyme to this it is that many charismatics, having come out of denominationalism, have lacked sufficient grounding in the Word of God to be able to separate the true work of the Holy Spirit from that of Satan. Having had little or no experience with supernatural power in their denominations, they are sorely lacking in discernment in that area. Still, many of today's most prominent leaders in charismatism hail from Pentecostal backgrounds. So whether traditional or Pentecostal, when one attaches more importance to experience than to the rightly-divided Word of Truth, the chance for error is greatly increased. Due to its interdenominational thrust, charismatism presents especially fertile ground for the propagation of Dominion Theology. The saying, "All roads lead to Rome," isn't limited to the heyday of the Caesars or to the papacy's former domination of western culture. It's through the charismatic movement that Roman Catholicism has regained much of its credibility among Protestants and other non-Catholics, capitalizing on that credibility to make overtures for unity. Because some Roman Catholics speak in tongues and exhibit an attitude of acceptance toward non-Catholic charismatics, it's been stated that Roman Catholicism is changing - that there is now an opportunity to bring about a unity which has been lacking since the Reformation. Besides the issue of tongues, ecumenical charismatics point to the use of Christian hymns sung at "charismatic masses" to the accompaniment of modern musical instruments as evidence that differences are minimal. This naiveté is being exploited by Catholic clergy who, though professing "love" and "unity" toward non-Catholic Christians, refuse them the elements of communion on the basis that non-Catholics do not recognize the pope as their spiritual head. Though some Roman Catholics, even among the clergy, have undoubtedly been touched by the Holy Spirit and are coming into a greater understanding of what it means to have a personal relationship with God, Roman Catholicism itself has not changed. It is still as strong a political system as ever, ruled by a hierarchy whose intent has been from its inception (and remains) to establish the Kingdom of God on earth under the headship of the pope. The danger to the purity of the Faith is a genuine reality. The Charismatic Renewal has opened doors which it may find difficult to shut when Satan's demonstrations of signs and wonders increase to the point where spiritual life or death hang on the basis of one's discernment.
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