Opinion

How a Christian movement is growing rapidly in the midst of religious decline

Jesus Culture
Jesus Culture. Adam Rozanas

(The Conversation) In August of 2011, more than 30,000 people cheered wildly as the then U.S. presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry – now secretary of energy in the Trump administration – came to the center stage at The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

Perry quoted from the Bible and preached about the need for salvation that comes from Jesus. He concluded with a prayer for a country he believed to be overwhelmed by problems: The Conversation

“We see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government.”

He then proceeded to ask God for forgiveness for forgetting “who made us, who protects us and who blesses us.” In response, the crowd exploded into cheers and praise to God.

Worshippers pray with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, seen at center and on screen, at The Response, a daylong prayer and fast rally, Aug. 6, 2011, at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
AP Photo/Pat Sullivan

Five years later, on April 9, 2016, and 1,500 miles away at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, tens of thousands of people gathered to pray for the supernatural transformation of America. The event consisted of more than 16 hours of healing sessions, worship music and prophecy from some of the most popular Charismatic Christian leaders in the world.

While not directly affiliated, these two events and the leaders who organized them are central players in a movement that we call “Independent Network Charismatic,” or INC, Christianity in our recently released book, “The Rise of Network Christianity.”

Based on our research, we believe that INC Christianity is significantly changing the religious landscape in America – and its politics.

Here is what we found about INC

INC Christianity is led by a network of popular independent religious entrepreneurs, often referred to as “apostles.” They have close ties, we found, to conservative U.S. politicians, including Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry and, more recently, President Donald Trump.

Charismatic Christians emphasize supernatural miracles and divine interventions, but INC Christianity is different from other charismatics – and other Christian denominations in general – in the following ways:

  • It is not focused primarily on building congregations but rather on spreading beliefs and practices through media, conferences and ministry schools.
  • It is not so much about proselytizing to unbelievers as it is about transforming society through placing Christian believers in powerful positions in all sectors of society.
  • It is organized as a network of independent leaders rather than as formally organized denominations.

INC Christianity is the fastest-growing Christian group in America and possibly around the world. Over the 40 years from 1970 to 2010, the number of regular attenders of Protestant churches as a whole shrunk by an average of .05 percent per year, while independent neo-charismatic congregations (a category in which INC groups reside) grew by an average of 3.24 percent per year.

Its impact, however, is much greater than can be measured in church attendance. This is because INC Christianity is not centrally concerned with building congregations, but spreading beliefs and practices.

Bill Johnson, pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, Calif.
Kevin Shorter, CC BY

The influence of INC Christianity can be seen in the millions of hits on many of their web-based media sites, large turnouts at stadium rallies and conferences, and millions of dollars in media sales. In our interviews with leaders, we found that Bethel, an INC ministry based in Redding, Calif., for example, in 2013 had an income of $8.4 million in media sales (music, books, DVDs, web-based content) and $7 million in tuition to their Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry.

According to the director of media services at the Kansas City-based International House of Prayer (IHOP), their website receives over 25 million hits every year from all over the world and is one of the top 50 websites in the world in terms of viewed video content (a million hours of watched video content per month).

Appeal of INC

As part of our research we conducted in-depth interviews with senior leaders, staff and current and former participants in INC Christian ministries. We also conducted supplementary interviews with Christian leaders and scholars with knowledge of the changing religious landscape and attended conferences, numerous church services, ministry school sessions, healing sessions and exorcisms. In all, we conducted 41 in-depth interviews.

Our primary conclusion is that the growth of these groups is largely the result of their network governance structure. When compared to the oversight and accountability of formal congregations and denominations, these structures allow for more experimentation. This includes “extreme” experiences of the supernatural, unorthodox beliefs and practices and financing as well as marketing techniques that leverage the power of the internet.

In our research, we witnessed the appeal of INC Christianity, particularly among young people. We saw the thrill of holding impromptu supernatural healing sessions in the emergency room of a large public hospital, the intrigue of ministry school class sessions devoted to the techniques of casting out demonic spirits and the adventure of teams of young people going out into public places, seeking direct guidance from God as to whom to heal or to relay specific divine messages.

‘Seven mountains of culture’

In addition to the growth numbers, the importance of INC Christianity lies in the fact that its proponents have a fundamentally different view of the relationship between the Christian faith and society than most Christian groups throughout American history.

Most Christian groups in America have seen the role of the church as connecting individuals to God through the saving grace of Jesus and building congregations that provide communities of meaning and belonging through worship services. They also believe in serving and providing for the needs their local communities. Such traditional Christian groups believe that although the world can be improved, it will not be restored to God’s original plan (until Jesus comes back again to rule the Earth).

Lou Engle, an American Charismatic Christian leader.
eden frangipane, CC BY

INC beliefs, however, are different – their leaders are not content simply to connect individuals to God and grow congregations. Most INC Christian groups we studied seek to bring heaven or God’s intended perfect society to Earth by placing “kingdom-minded people” in powerful positions at the top of all sectors of society.

INC leaders have labeled them the “seven mountains of culture.
These include business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, family and religion. In this form of “trickle-down Christianity,” they believe if Christians rise to the top of all seven “mountains,” society will be completely transformed.

One INC leader we interviewed summed it up this way:

“The goal of this new movement is transforming social units like cities, ethnic groups, nations rather than individuals … if Christians permeate each mountain and rise to the top of all seven mountains … society would have biblical morality, people would live in harmony, there would be peace and not war, there would be no poverty.”

We heard these ideas repeatedly in most of our interviews, at events we attended and in INC media materials.

Most significantly, since the 2016 presidential election, some INC leaders have released public statements claiming that the Trump presidency is part of fulfilling God’s plan to “bring heaven to Earth” by placing believers in top posts, including Rick Perry, who is currently heading the Energy Department; Betsy DeVos directing the Department of Education; and Ben Carson leading the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Changing the landscape

INC Christianity is a movement to watch because we think it will continue to draw adherents in large numbers in the future. It will produce a growing number of Christians who see their goal not just as saving souls but as transforming society by taking control over its institutions.

We see the likelihood of INC Christians taking over the “seven mountains of culture” as slim. However, we also believe that this movement is sure to shake up the religious and political landscape for generations to come.

Brad Christerson is professor of sociology at Biola University, and Richard Flory is senior director of research and evaluation at the University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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  • “the thrill of holding impromptu supernatural healing sessions in the emergency room of a large public hospital, the intrigue of ministry school class sessions devoted to the techniques of casting out demonic spirits and the adventure of teams of young people going out into public places, seeking direct guidance from God as to whom to heal or to relay specific divine messages.”
    “seek to bring heaven or God’s intended perfect society to Earth by placing ‘kingdom-minded people’ in powerful positions at the top of all sectors of society.”
    “see their goal not just as saving souls but as transforming society by taking control over its institutions.”

    As for other-believers, no worries: “society would have biblical morality”.
    (a) “love thy neighbor”?
    (b) “thrown into the lake of fire”?
    Your choice. But only if you’re one of the “kingdom-minded people”.

  • Sarah Palin who didn’t finish her term as governor, who as mayor of Wasila started building a hockey stadium on land the city didn’t yet own, who, when she campaigned in Colorado, spoke against bi-partisan supported state funding for children with disabilities, which then was voted down (the short list)? She and the bitter John McCain could do us all a favor and stay out of the public eye.

    As for money-hungry Bill Johnson and his wife and their pyramid schemes, we could all breathe easier if their cult would just go away, or, since that is unlikely, why don’t they at least follow the example of Rick Warren and Saddleback Church and increase their tithe to God each year and fund some projects which really make a difference? It is not so much about their style of preaching, but rather that their motives are suspect.

    The prosperity gospel is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. OTOH, the social gospel without a conversion to living a moral life is thinly disguised atheistic socialism and equally likely to be a tool of elites who apply different rules to themselves. The real question is how to avoid being sucked into the extremes without falling into despair or mediocrity.

  • Anywhere the sheep are there’s a butcher round the corner. Kosher, halal or just bog standard hack-it-off – the sheep doesn’t win – ever.

  • Not a bad comment except, Socialism is not inherently atheistic, it was created by God when he created the family, practiced by hunter-gathers when the tribe shared a meal, and mentioned in the Bible (Acts 2:44). Free Market Capitalism, 9th, was invented by the Dutch in the 1600s.

    The problem is not Socialism, or even Capitalism (both have advantages and flaws (welfare, for example, is not socialist but necessary under capitalism due to capital’s inability to provide full employment, it compensates those Capitalism fails)), but a Christianity who worships Mammon wearing a Jesus Halloween costume.

  • Doesn’t it seem as if INC is trying to be a new political party, powerful enough to take over government and rule the world? Christianity has a long history of getting too close to government/power and eventually being overcome by it.

  • Gregory Boyd’s (I think he wrote it) The Myth of a Christian Nation made a lot of excellent points. Including the fact that all of the Christian Nations of Europe became done of the most secular nations in the world. The excesses of the Spanish Inquisition created modern atheism.

    On the one hand, it is true that, in a Democracy, the #Christian shares in the responsibility of governing, on the other, our citizenship is another government and we look forward to the return of Christ that, finally “justice might flow like waters and righteousness like a never failing stream.” In the meantime, it’s best not to get to “unevenly yoked with unbelievers” in political parties.

  • Pulled out from this article itself, believe or not, the headline of this fake news should’ve read:

    “John Templeton Foundation: We see the likelihood of INC Christians taking over as slim”.

    Get that? – “slim” – as in, Don’t worry about it. Check it out: Every word of that preferred headline comes from this article whose agenda is – right! – to make us all worry about it!

    And so, overcome by the power of this fake news, we all go bananas and suicidal and drunk, not in that order, “INC Christians taking over! INC Christians taking over!” Mission accomplished. Courtesy of John Templeton Foundation, the best in this business of re-inventing Christianity.

    They know we the readers – all into 81%-white-Protestant-Evangelicals-bashing and all since November 8, 2016 – can’t deal with or get past these traumatic magic-words: “‘Independent Network Charismatic,’ or INC, Christianity … have close ties … to … Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry and more recently President Donald Trump … (so as) to ‘bring heaven to Earth’ by placing believers in top posts, including Rick Perry, who is currently heading the Energy Department; Betsy DeVos directing the Department of Education; and Ben Carson leading the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”

    Good one, Richard Flory and Brad Christerson, you’ve fooled us all here with this CUNNING JUNK of yours!

  • What part in the article of “We see the likelihood of INC Christians taking over as slim”, don’t you get, Tom Downs? Or are you so easily influenced by fake news?

  • And, according to this article, chances for neo-“Dominionism”, hmm, what’s the word I’m looking for, oh, yeah – “Domin”-ating America is … wait for it … “slim”. Let me capitalize that for desired effect for your own edification: “SLIM”. No? OK, how about – S.L.I.M.? Oh, well, then go back to your Doomsday Syndrome courtesy of John Templeton Foundation, the best in this business of re-inventing Christianity.

  • Good point. For if this article itself promises you, “We see the likelihood of INC Christians taking over as slim”, then chances are for “Muslims wanting to bring Sharia to America” that it’s also – what’s that word again? – oh yeah – “slim”. Over-“concerned” still, are you, Jim Johnson? Be smarter than that: this is John Templeton Foundation, the best in this business of re-inventing Christianity, in action.

  • What, you didn’t see this article’s byline? “John Templeton Foundation: We see the likelihood of INC Christians taking over as slim”. They even fooled you, I see. Too bad. I say, let’s all wise up against these … over at The Conversation.

  • Leave that to Canada and Professor Katherine Bullock from the University of Toronto

    “from an Islamic point of view this absolutely nothing radical about wanting Caliphate or wanting Sharia. These are completely normal traditional points of view.”

    Or, go read up on Dr. Ewis El Nagar head of the Islamic Edicts Committee of Quebec Council of Imams who also serves as the Imam leader of Dawah at the Canadian Islamic Centre in Montreal or Dr. Ingrid Mattson, a Canadian convert to Islam and the London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College at Western University in Canada.

  • “Slim” is expanding these days: Citizens United, Shelby County, Hobby Lobby, Obama is “Kenyan” and “not a legitimate President”, Trump wins, lies are “alternative facts”, free press is “the enemy”, investigative reporting is “fake news”, civility is oppressively “PC”…

    The “likelihood of INC Christians taking over” may indeed be slim, but that doesn’t mean we should passively ignore them and instead spend our valuable time and energy actively submitting multiple comments to disparage as “fooled” those who speak out against them.

  • I think you miss the point.

    In an advanced technological society with well-educated, confident members there should be no – absolutely no – possibility of religious activists (christian, muslim, hindu or whatever) taking over and pursuing the imposition of their sectarian idiosyncrasies upon others.

    That there is considered even a slim possibility is an indictment of the society in which it occurs.

  • I was being sarcastic. I don’t care if American Muslims favor Sharia. Just like I don’t care if Americans favor communism or even fundamentalist Christianity – which has it’s Sharia-like beliefs. It’s the ACTIONS that matter in the eyes of our system of laws and government. When they start breaking the law then lock them up. Evangelicals are using the political system to implement their backward beliefs – it’s their right. Let the Muslims flex their political muscle as well.

  • Dominionists have a much higher chance of wreaking havoc on our nation and civil liberties than Islamicists. Even if a theocratic America is unlikely, collateral attacks on the rights of political minorities, tons of Supreme Court fur balls, and erosion of personal freedoms is highly likely. There are no Sharia loving Muslims in positions of power here. Dominionists have people in control of state governments and infest the White House cabinet.

  • One twists the Bible and the other twists the Quran and Hadith. One kills in the name of Allah and the other would gladly kill in the name of God (although God and Allah are translations of each other). (John 16:2) The costumes are actually cultural, an Islamist from Indonesia, for example, wouldn’t necessarily wear traditional Arabic attire.

  • Y’all can continue worshipping the great god Paranoia if you want to. But WE will continue worshipping the Lord God of the Bible, thanks.

    Frankly, **our** deity looks a lot more pleasant and a lot less stressful than **yours** !!

  • About the only thing making the current situation bearable is the complete and utter incompetence of many of the Dominionists in positions of power. They can do a lot of damage nonetheless.

    For example nobody has ever accused Rick Perry, Ben Carson or Betsy DeVos of being brilliant or knowing what they are doing.

  • That is prohibited by our constitution. The courts have been ruling (mostly) favorably against that – displays of the ten commandments, other displays in government property, teacher-led prayer, etc. Even on Trump’s travel ban.

  • Well, I accused them of brilliance once. They responded with charges of libel and slander. Unfortunately for them, they lost the court case. So we’re back to assessing them for how they really are.

  • We are going to witness the undoing of Trump and all his minions starting Monday. (I’d like to hope)

  • Tell me why God made ?, disease, pestilence, birth defects, cancer, torturers , poverty, hatred, earth quakes etc…

  • They are dumb sheep.And they are bring played by people who lie to themselves as well as to others. They’re getting rich off the backs of the poor, literally…see The DeVos’ pyramid scheme that has made them billionaires.

  • A much better argument for creating atheism comes from the reformation. The Catholic Church lost its absolute authority with that. Once you start questioning absolute authority, where do you stop? You might even begin to think that religion held its absolute authority not through the intention of god, but through its unholy fornication with the coercive power of the state, to the benefit of the historically inportant, the rich, the church, or all three at once!

    And if you go that far, you’re just a step away from atheism, or religious freedom, or both. And we really, truly, can’t have that.

  • I’m sure the Reformation had a role, but much of the Inquisition predated Reformation. And the brutalities of the Inquisition at the hands of the Church lead some to question the existence of God.

  • Dominionism already influences govt through The Family and leading administration officials, including Franklin Graham, Sarah Palin, Former Gov Perry, etc.

  • As a staunchly conservative evangelical with past experience in the charismatic movement, and with friends who are charismatic in their approach to Christianity, I think the approach being adopted by INC will in the end prove largely unfruitful and ineffective, with perhaps some nominal gains to Christianity as measured by conversions. The dominionist paradigm has never proved successful in the history of Christianity, at least not on the macro level. The Roman Catholic Church, the Holy Roman Empire, nor the Calvinists of Switzerland ever wholly achieved or sustained their aims spiritually or politically. How many times have different Christian sects proclaimed the advent of a theocratic approach to governance that will lead to a golden age prior to the Return of Jesus Christ, and how many times have we been misled and disappointed?
    The Kingdom of God is with us now, and at the same time, not yet. I have no objection to Christian people in government, local communities, and other venues, bringing the mindset of their values with them in the daily responsibilities and duties of their lives, but a “network” as described above is problematic in nature. While endeavoring to function as an ambassador of Christ in this present world, I await the Kingdom Age to be established upon His Return in the near or distant future.

  • What is the difference between the goals of these people and the goals of those preach the message that “Let us use the government to advance God’s Will by setting up Single Payer health care or ending GMOs or eliminating the military or …..” ?In both cases, it is the assumption that God’s will needs to be done only through the government, and I find both ends of the spectrum disturbing.

  • I know you better than this, G Key. Remember these 2 John Templeton Foundation recipients’ entitled emphasis is on “How [INC] is growing rapidly in the midst of religious decline”, much like those emphases you cited: “Obama … ‘not a legitimate President’ … ‘alternative facts’ … investigative reporting is ‘fake news'” etc. The fact they’ve de-emphasized, however, is of “the likelihood of INC Christians taking over as slim”, and that doesn’t belong to your list. It would, had you pointed out the counter-fact to “Obama … ‘not a legitimate President'”, for instance, such as what an investigator had put out there yet ignored by MSM that the official birth certificate had been Photoshop-ped, or what his half-brother said about him. I think you know what I’m getting at. Try again, please. Thanks.

  • “Dominionists” are old, Spuddie, back-in-the-1980s stuffs which Chris Hedges had exposed. He tried to make that book of his relevant to present-day scenarios and failed (for that you’ve got to check out comments to his videos on MintPress News and The Real News Network). Islamicists, however, they were around pre-1948 Israel incorporation, they’re still around via ISIL & Co. Not comparable, in other words. The latter’s inner workings still unknown, mysterious, suspicious; they’re not what they seem. Neo-Calvinistic Dominionists are buck naked, pretentious, and to be ignored. Their Dispensationalist cousins, the Christian Zionists, are more equipped, etc. and have more scary stories to tell, only because State of Israel backs them. Nobody backs Dominionists. Just get your facts straight first, before commenting, is what I’m saying. These 2 John Templeton Foundation recipients are more into rumors-of-war-mongering than anything else and they got you scaredy cat-like for sure.

  • If you would just write something clear, comprehensible, discursive even, maybe “Laughing all the way to the bank” wouldn’t be the wisest reactionary gutsy feeling you’ll always yield to. Comment on the article, comment on the comments, you know, for discussion’s sake. How does anyone discuss with you on “Laughing all the way to the bank.” Try again, please, and thanks.

  • Has-beens, they, or soon shall remain so. And that’s Dominionism’s story of their lives too. They rose in 1980s, think about that. 40 years later and they are worth just this article’s fake-news coverage and that’s it? Not even grocery tabloids would cover Dominionism throughout those 40 years, but these mega-rich John Templeton Foundation invested themselves in this fake news? What does that tell you, SongBookz, please, please, what?

  • OK if that’s all your take is – “That there is considered even a slim possibility is an indictment of the society in which it occurs” – I buy that. Majoring in the minors, like. I can respect that, but only because you think that’s an important thing to consider. Roger that, Givethedogabone.

  • “discursive” philosophically = “Proceeding by argument or reasoning rather than by intuition.”

    Not nagging. Not attack the commentator instead of the comment. You can do it, mary barnes, yes, you can. God’s not through with you yet. Just kidding. Calm down.

  • Do I detect a warm smile there, finally? Uhm … 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, please, stirred, not shaken, or whatever they say “discursively” in the James Bond movie.

  • Shilling? I’m reporting how someone who has been used by the religious right to support conversion therapy (which you seem to be against) has now turned against them.

  • My own site? I’m just pointing out a comment from a Christian forum, written by Glatze. The very anti-gay and Rapture-believing website WorldNetDaily is promoting a movie based on Glatze’s life (I Am Michael) to support the ex-gay movement, seemingly without knowing what he now thinks about evangelicals.

  • To paraphrase Edward Rutledge’s song in the musical 1776 [not the real Rutledge, a Continental Congress Delegate fro South Carolina who led the Southern bloc, but the musical character, magnificently played by John Cullum in the movie version – later he showed up as the tavern owner Holling on “Northern Exposure”. He broke into song about the “Triangle Trade in which New England merchantmen brought slaves to the British holdings in the Carribean, rum and molasses to New England, and gold back to Africa to buy more slaves, concluding “Hail, Boston! Hail Charleston! Who stinketh the mo-o-o-o-o-o-st?” – Hail, Dominiism! Hail, Sharia! Who stinketh the mo-o-o-o-o-o-st?” I’ll take my Grammy now, thank you. Seriously a musical about these mooncalves in a secret plot with radical imams to split the world in twain has legs. I wonder if Sheffield (the Broadway money man Fran married on “The Nanny” would be interested in executive producer credit. Have his people call my people.

  • Very good! Did you ever read “Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World” by Mark Kurlansky? It’s an old book these days, so you can probably get an inexpensive used paperback copy if interested. It tells how cod helped fund the American Revolution and discusses the triangular trade where good cod went to markets in Europe (bypassing Great Britain), sub-prime cod went to the Caribbean Islands where it was fed to the slaves, working them 14 hours a day until they died, and, of course, the rum and molasses coming back to New England. (It also tells how the Portuguese probably discovered America and kept the cod fields in the NE United States and in Newfoundland secret because of the competitive advantage and huge profit.) At any rate, Kurlansky is a food writer, so he has cooking recipes scattered throughout the book which you can either enjoy or ignore, but the narrative is a page-turner.

    And, Dominionism? We need look no further for historical examples than William Walker and his filibustering expeditions in Latin America, or, more “recently”, the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état carried out by the CIA and benefitting the Dulles brothers and United Fruit Company. Meanwhile, Turkey’s Erdogan would restore the Ottomans and have everyone practice a form of Sufism. The deformation is happening and the magical plants are growing in the dung.

  • Indeed! 1 John 2:15-17 reads: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever.”

  • I’m not sure if your response is an endorsement of my comment, or whether your “Indeed!” is indicative of a “Balderdash!”

  • Endorse in part, disagree in part. I thought I’d quote from the Bible instead. I think the Church has a prophetic role to speak to people, calling all to conversion and repentance. No malarkey!

  • Bottomline, “We see the likelihood of INC Christians taking over the ‘seven mountains of culture’ as SLIM”, Brad Christerson and Richard Flory admit (The Conversation, March 15, 2017), as if to say, but we made you read this report anyway, though, didn’t we, for its intended fake-news-like effect? Good. For it’s no secret that, as Raw Story already disclosed March 16, 2017, “Brad Christerson receives funding from John Templeton Foundation. Richard Flory receives funding from the John Templeton Foun(d)ation.” That’s right, it’s the same John Templeton Foundation that AlterNet’s very own John Weaver on August 13, 2015 labels, “WEIRD ~ One of America’s Largest Philanthropies Is Dumping Cash into Faith-Healing: The Templeton Foundation has sought to create a rapprochement between science and religion. … Today, the $3.34 billion-endowed John Templeton Foundation awards some $100 million in grants yearly to organizations and projects that study the intersection of religion and science. … The DANGER here is … that the Templeton study will be utilized … as a justification for preexisting Pentecostal and Charismatic healing initiatives in the developing world: a new wrinkle in an old colonial tale. This may not be the future the Templeton Foundation has envisioned for their work; yet it’s the future the Templeton Foundation has helped make possible.”

  • This event is no surprise to those of us–even “liberal” Christians like myself!–who believe that mankind needs a personal encounter with God through the reconciling work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

    “the importance of INC Christianity lies in the fact that its proponents have a fundamentally different view of the relationship between the Christian faith and society than most Christian groups throughout American history.”

    This statement gets it really wrong! Throughout history, most Christian groups have trusted this personal relationship with Jesus Christ, rather than politics, to transform the harmful pathologies rampant in American society!

  • Where did you get that idea, Tom? This INC movement is about as far from anything political as you can get! It’s abundantly clear that these folks who trust in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, do NOT place any of their trust in politics to transform society! It would indeed be a miracle if “getting to close to government/power” eventually caused Christianity to be overcome by that government/power! If they are advocating for anything, these folks simply want the Love of God to rule the world!

  • “I haven’t seen this much sh1t since my last bowel movement”
    -Jack Warner, “Feud-Bette & Joan”

    Dominionists are not only alive and well but have more political power and influence than they ever had in the 80’s. One need only look at the cretins placed in our department of education, energy and interior to see them in the flesh.

    Islamicism although dates back to the early 20’s was hardly a major political/religious/ideological force until the Iranian revolution of 1979 and Arabian reaction. But it really didn’t take off until after the cold war. Prior to that period radicalism (such as the PLO and FLN) and Post Colonial Secular Nationalism (Ba’athists, Kadafy, Nasser…) were the guiding ideas.

    “Nobody backs Dominionists”

    Other than the Republican Party. Their entire social platform is based on Dominionist ideas.

  • Heads up, Spuddie, and you’re welcome to my doing YOUR homework:

    “Journalist Anthony Williams charged that such usage [of ‘dominionist’ and ‘dominionism’] aims ‘to smear the Republican Party as the party of domestic Theocracy, facts be damned’. [2005-05-04, FrontPage Magazine] Journalist Stanley Kurtz labeled it ‘conspiratorial nonsense’, ‘political paranoia’, and ‘guilt by association’, [2005-05-02, National Review] and decried Hedges’ ‘vague characterizations’ that allow him to ‘paint a highly questionable picture of a virtually faceless and nameless “Dominionist” Christian mass’. [2005-04-28, National Review] Kurtz also complained about a perceived link between average Christian evangelicals and extremism such as Christian Reconstructionism: ‘The notion that conservative Christians want to reinstitute slavery and rule by genocide is not just crazy, it’s downright dangerous. The most disturbing part of the Harper’s cover story (the one by Chris Hedges) was the attempt to link Christian conservatives with Hitler and fascism. Once we acknowledge the similarity between conservative Christians and fascists, Hedges appears to suggest, we can confront Christian evil by setting aside “the old polite rules of democracy”. So wild conspiracy theories and visions of genocide are really excuses for the Left to disregard the rules of democracy and defeat conservative Christians—by any means necessary.’ [2005-05-02, National Review] Joe Carter of First Things writes: ‘[T]here is no “school of thought” known as “dominionism”. The term was coined in the 1980s by Diamond and is never used outside liberal blogs and websites. No reputable scholars use the term for it is a meaningless neologism that Diamond concocted for her dissertation.’ [First Things, 10 August 2011] Diamond has denied that she coined the broader sense of the term ‘dominionism’, [Talk to Action, August 31, 2011] which appears in her dissertation and in Roads to Dominion solely to describe Dominion Theology. Nevertheless, Diamond did originate the idea that Dominion Theology is the “central unifying ideology for the Christian Right”. [South End Press, 1989, page 138] Jeremy Pierce of First Things coined the word ‘dominionismist’ to describe those who promote the idea that there is a dominionist conspiracy, writing: ‘It strikes me as irresponsible to lump [Rousas John Rushdoony] together with Francis Schaeffer and those influenced by him, especially given Schaeffer’s many recorded instances of resisting exactly the kinds of views Rushdoony developed. Indeed, it strikes me as an error of the magnitude of some of Rushdoony’s own historical nonsense to consider there to be such a view called Dominionism that Rushdoony, Schaeffer, James Dobson, and all the other people in the list somehow share and that it seeks to get Christians and only Christians into all the influential positions in secular society.’ [First Things, 14 August 2011] Lisa Miller of Newsweek writes that ‘”dominionism” is the paranoid mot du jour’ (referring to the French for ‘word of the day’) and that ‘certain journalists use “dominionist” the way some folks on Fox News use the word sharia. Its strangeness scares people. Without history or context, the word creates a siege mentality in which “we” need to guard against “them”.’ [Newsweek, 18 August 2011] Ross Douthat of The New York Times noted that ‘many of the people that writers like Diamond and others describe as “dominionists” would disavow the label, many definitions of dominionism conflate several very different Christian political theologies, and there’s a lively debate about whether the term is even useful at all.’ [New York Times, 29 August 2011]” (Wikipedia, “Dominion Theology”, updated 23 March 2017)

  • You have no online attribution for your quotes which leads one to believe you are engaging in a quote mining effort coming from a single source of questionable objectivity.

    How about this, when we no longer see people claiming in discussions that “America is a Christian Nation”, attacks on public education in favor of Christian schools, talk of banning any given religion, and David Barton no longer appears in any kind of media due to lack of interest, then you claim Dominionists have faded away into obscurity.

  • Didn’t you see this at the end, Wikipedia, “Dominion Theology”, updated 23 March 2017? Let me do you Google 101. Copy that reference, paste it onto Google search, look at hits, click to wikipedia webpage. Quotes come from there, and are all footnoted, some with active URLs still (you know what they are, right?). References are National Review, First Things, Newsweek, New York Times – good grief, Spuddie, you are unbelievable. Train yourself, please!

  • Rebranding, same old Iron age religion. Selling hope to the hopeless. I would be more impressed if the leaders didn’t develop into superstar wealthy sales people. But, it is a racket as old as man, selling hope in times of hopelessness. It is funny how these people’s goal align with big business. They have been able to make Capitalism = Christianity.

  • The flaw in the argument, from the horse’s (leader’s) own mouth: “… if Christians permeate each mountain and rise to the top of all seven
    mountains … society would have biblical morality, people would live in
    harmony, there would be peace and not war, there would be no poverty.”

    Jesus said the poor would be with us… ALWAYS.

    Jesus said there would be wars and rumours of wars in the End Times just before His return.

    So, do these people really believe Jesus is not coming back soon, so they have some responsibility – even a mandate – to “take over the world” through their 7 mountains dogma? This is dominionism defined.

    We are not commanded to take over the world, and then upon Jesus’ return, present it to him as a conquered and now “biblical” place. He will look at them and say, “I never told you to do this.”

    To which they will respond, “But, Lord… did we not…”

    And Jesus’ response: “Depart from me you workers of iniquity, for I never knew you.”

  • It’s certainly a denial of Christ. I think the whole point of history is that man cannot govern himself, which is we need Christ to return and setup a kingdom where “justice flows like waters and righteousness like a never failing stream.”

    Dominionism, or whatever you choose to call it, is part of the Great Delusion (2 Thes 2:11).

  • These are false teachers. The INC is also known as the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation). They are all about power seeking and nothing about growing in the Word of God and Christian character. I have family in it and my last church, which kicked me and my family out because I refuted Bill Johnson’s teachings. My daughter and son-in-law refuses to see us (her parents) with our grandchild because I told her it’s a cult.

  • A moderate Islamist is determined to legally keep, or change its government into, an Islamic theocracy. A Dominionist strives for a Christian theocracy.

  • I have been saying the following for the last year. The one thing that has preserved the Republic so far has been the laziness and incompetence of those in power who have been trying to bring it down.

  • Betsy DeVos and her supporters and followers are makin scary progress toward her goals. She see’s the purpose of educating children the spreading of Gods Kingdom.
    She is getting federal private school funding at the expense of the Public Schools. Also funding for creating religious curriculum to support private schools and home schoolers.

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