Getting the Troops Interested in Dominion
You’ve converted to an optimistic eschatology. Congratulations. Now you want to get to work. This is commendable, but where and how to start?
The first observation you will make is that one of the greatest obstacles to Dominion comes from “within the camp”.
We believe that the dark, humanistic, satanic forces that rage against the Son will simply not be able to stand against the onslaught of a faithful, worshipping church. “…I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mat. 16:18)
The power of the Spirit of the risen Lord will empower us all in our mission to apply our faith to all of life.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mat. 28:18-20)
The defeat of the demonic forces is the easy part. But what to do when the troops don’t believe in the battle? This can prove to be a much greater obstacle than the battle itself.
A wise elder once told me that the theology you’ve most recently abandoned typically becomes the greatest heresy you fight. You jettison XYZ from your worldview basket, and it suddenly becomes an absurdity that others should still believe it. It is within the realm of possibilities that pride and arrogance could result… This is the stage where it would be best if you were kept in a cage. You would do less damage, for you will certainly do little good.
The first thing which most new converts set their hands to is the (inadvertent) wholesale alienation of friends and family who disagree. You want them to see. They don’t, or they won’t. How can’t they? Why won’t they? You’re convinced they won’t, so you keep pressing. Relationships are hurt and no good comes from it.
Understanding the Hierarchy in the Dispensational Battle
We need to recognize that there are two fronts in this battle. First, against the intellectual movement, the leaders and thinkers, and secondly, against the followers, the individuals who have been influenced by it.
The intellectual Dispensational movement (sic) needs to feel the boot of Reformed thought to the head. We want to crush their movement, because their movement hurts Jesus. I’m for a no-holds-barred Biblical attack on the crippling theology of Dispensationalism. But we need to recognize that Generals and Colonels are different from regular troops who are just following orders. If we put the Reformed Intellectual boot to the soldier’s neck, 1) he’s going to miss the point, because he doesn’t understand the battle, and 2) you’re going to alienate and lose him.
Your friends and family are likely soldiers. Be gentle.
Sounds fluffy, right? No, it’s a wise strategy for furthering the Kingdom of Christ by reducing the damage of pessimistic theology, as you will see below. I’d like to first point out that the intellectual battle is all but won. I agree with Dr. North when he wrote over 20 years ago that the intellectual movement is dead. Dispensationalism, as an intellectual system, died about two decades ago. There is no head, but the body is still wiggling…thrashing. RIP. 
While there is still a need to shine light onto the systematic failures of Dispensationalism (as Dr. McDurmon writes “It’s simple.”) , the hard part is how to deal with a huge populous of Christians in America who have been influenced by parts of this theology, but who may not grasp all of it’s complicated systematics and do not hold to a thoroughly Dispensational worldview. You could kick out all the pillars undergirding their worldview and they wouldn’t notice that it collapsed into itself. They don’t need the intellectual boot.
I’m talking about the 99% who haven’t read Scofield, Walvoord, or Ryrie (except his notes, maybe). I’m talking about the average Dispensational influenced Christian who is simply nostalgic and taught to look to the newspaper for all of the bad news to buttress their pessimistic presuppositions.
We must assume that the Blessed Hope of the ultimate death of Dispensational thinking (I can thank my wife for that reference) is a generation or two away, along with it’s subsequent hamstinging of the church. It’ll come. The Generals are dead and/or dying…But how to handle the troops? (By the way, if you find a Colonels, feel free to give him the boot.)
As a young Christian I was exposed to Pascal’s Wager as an apologetics tool. I think it has little merit as an evangelistic tool. If we’re talking about a robust defense of the Christian faith I would much prefer a presuppositional apologetic, rather than Pascal’s probability-based one. But here is the logic of the argument summarized from Wikipedia:
1. “God is, or He is not”
2. A Game is being played… where heads or tails will turn up.
3. According to reason, you can defend either of the propositions.
4. You must wager. (It’s not optional.)
5. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
6. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.
Again, I don’t think this is the best approach to be used to convince an unbeliever in the existance of God, or persuade him to submit to Christ, but the logic is clear:
God exists, or He does not.
- If He exists and you believe ->; you gain all.
- If He exists and you don’t believe ->; you lose all.
- If He does not exist and you believe ->; you lose nothing.
- If He does not exist and you don’t believe ->; you lose nothing.
Let’s apply this logic to our discussion of faithfully applying God’s word to all areas of life, i.e. Dominion.
Some basic, simplistic definitions to keep in mind:
Dominion thinking = Laboring in hope that our work of faithfulness to God’s Word in all areas of life is actually and realisticaly advancing Christ’s Kingdom on earth, by the power of the Spirit of the risen and reigning Christ, to save souls and redeem cultures and nations, by defeating His and our enemies through the means of the Great Commission’s intrinsically comprehensive application of God’s Law-Word, within the time frame of historical development. And…it’s working.
Dispensational thinking = Laboring to save souls only; Christ’s enemies will only get stronger until the church gets smaller, weaker, more apostate, and is almost snuffed out, then the secret rapture removes us from earth. And…it’s getting worse.
So the Dispensational Christian can be presented with this simple argument:
- If Dominion is correct and you are laboring towards it, you are advancing Christ’s Kingdom by faithfully executing the Great Commission. Congrats!
- If Dominion is correct and you are fighting against it, you are really and truly hamstringing the Great Commission and retarding Christ’s return. Knock it off.
- If Dominion is not correct and you are laboring towards it, you failed at your attempts to fight against evil forces, were silly, misguided, and Pollyanna, but hey – at least you still get raptured out with your Dispensational brethren.
- If Dominion is not correct and you are fighting against it, you still get raptured out, and as a bonus: you get bragging rights for eternity. Touché, Dispensationalist friend, well played.
As you can see, dominion thinking includes concern for the saving of souls, but it encompasses much more. In other words, you have nothing to lose by embracing dominion thinking – souls and nations are discipled!
Don’t ruin relationships. If you need a cage to control yourself, buy one. If you cannot winsomely and effectively win your Dispensational friend to dominion theology, so be it. There are walls that, at times, are impenetrable. Sometimes the emotional or intellectual investment into a worldview is too great to be easily abandoned. Books are expensive and pride is hard to swallow. The best we can hope for with some is a change in orthopraxy. If this can be achieved it is still a giant win for the Kingdom, for it is progress. Let’s take it upon ourselves to get Dispensationalists on board with the dominion mandate. Remember, we have time on our side.
A Final Word to Dispensational Readers
Dispensationalist friend, if you really, truly believe you will get raptured out of this mess – okay. I can’t convince you otherwise. I’m not being rude, mean, contentious, nutty, or any of the other many accusations I’ve faced. What I hope to convince you here is to live like you don’t believe it. What if there is no escape hatch? What if we’re stuck here, and our Great Commission job is to actually clean up the mess by the power of the Spirit and application of His word? What if the Great Commission is not as parochial as simply fire insurance, or getting as many as possible into the lifeboats?
We live our lives either thinking that Christian faithfulness will advance the Kingdom this side of eternity, or we think that it won’t. Maybe you think it’s a losing battle, that Jesus will fix it all when he comes back. Maybe you’re right. But you have nothing to lose by trying.
It’s a battle I implore you to join, regardless of your belief.
All we are saying…is give dominion a chance.
1. Bahnsen and Gentry, Jr., House Divided: The Break-Up of Dispensational Theology (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), xix.
2. Dr. Joel McDurmon, “It’s time for radical long-run optimism,” The American Vision, Nov. 29, 2012 (http://americanvision.org/6691/its-time-for-radical-long-run-optimism/).