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Strategic Trends Update:

Kingdom Now? Part 2

by Leisa Garcia, IDB Folio Specialist


As discussed in Part I, although the Kingdom of God clearly has a present and continuing spiritual aspect, Scripture still consistently describes a future kingdom on Earth which will be inaugurated by the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

This Dispensational, Premillennial belief is that the Millennium will be inaugurated at the Second Coming of Christ, and that He will set up His Kingdom and reign for an actual duration of 1,000 years (Rev 20:2-7).

In direct contrast, Postmillennialists believe the Kingdom of God must be built by believers, and that Jesus cannot come until the Kingdom has been firmly established by the end of the Millennial period. This Millennial period started with the first coming of Jesus. It will develop into a kind of utopia here on Earth culminating with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. At that time, they will present the Kingdom to Him.

Foundational to Postmillennial, Dominion Theology is the belief that the mandate given before the Fall by God in Genesis 1:28, which commanded Adam and Eve to subdue the Earth and have dominion, became operative again after the first coming of Jesus Christ, and that “the urgent mandate of God for the Church is to actively engage in transforming society.”1

Brief History of the Post-Millennial/Dominionist View

There isn’t much support for the Postmillennial view until the dawn of modern Reformed Theology. The early supporters of this view are A. A. Hodge (1823-1886); B.B. Warfield (1851-1921), A. H. Strong (Baptist, 1836-1921), and Loraine Boettner (1932-2000).2

The primary modern foundation for Postmillennialism is the Reconstructionist Movement begun by R. J. Rushdooney (1916-2001). In the 1980s, H. Wayne House and Thomas Ice wrote a book refuting much of the Reconstructionist teachings entitled “Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? An Analysis of Christian Reconstructionism.” This book comprehensively discussed the Reconstructionist Movement.

In the preface, Thomas Ice states:

After fourteen years of study it is my belief that there is not one passage anywhere in Scripture that would lead to the postmillennial system…I believe they have an agenda, such as politics or social reform…Most are attracted to dominion theology through the back door, rather than through the front door of Biblical study. They are arriving at these views not from the study of Scripture, but by the romantic attraction of changing the world. We must let Scripture set the agenda.3

This is true of a number of subsequent groups which have come up with their own version of Kingdom Now, or Dominion Theology—The Latter Rain in the 1940s, the Manifest Sons of God (basically a spinoff from the Latter Rain), and Shepherding in the late 1960s/early 1970s. But the most recent is significantly eclipsing all of them by the sheer numbers of adherents and concentrated social and political action—The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

The New Apostolic Reformation

Dubbed the “largest religious movement you never heard of,”4 the New Apostolic Reformation is a name coined in the 1990s by C. Peter Wagner, who believes we are in the Second Apostolic Age that began in 2001. This was preceded by the 1970s when the body of Christ began recognizing the gift and office of intercessor and in the 1980s began to affirm the office of the Prophet. Then finally Mr. Wagner states:

The decade of the 1990s saw a beginning recognition of the gift and office of apostle in today’s Church. True, many Christian leaders do not as yet believe that we now have legitimate apostles on the level of Peter or Paul or John, but a critical mass of the Church agrees that apostles are actually here. For example, at this writing, the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA), over which I currently preside, includes over five hundred members who mutually recognize and affirm each other as legitimate apostles.5 [emphasis mine]

(We will have to take C. Peter Wagner’s word for it that the ICA includes over five hundred members, because at this time, you have to become a member to see who the other members are.)6

In Scripture, the foundational apostles had to fit specific criteria as described in Acts 1:21-22. Nowhere in Scripture does it allow for self-appointed foundational Apostles. Affirmation by other people does not make it true. In a sense, those who are “sent out” as missionaries could be called apostles, since that is the basic meaning of the Greek word ἀπόστολος (apostolos); however, these are claiming to be foundational apostles at the level and authority of Peter, Paul or John.

The Seven Mountains of Influence

The NAR focuses on the spheres of influence which some in their movement call the Seven Mountains, or as C. Peter Wag-ner calls them, “...seven supreme molders of culture—namely religion, family, government, arts and entertainment, media, business, and education.”7

It may seem like a pretty impossible task that the NAR could reach their goal of taking over the seven mountains. However, they believe that if they succeed in first taking the Mountain of Business, which controls the money, the finances will become available to topple the other six.

As long as the business mountain is held by enemies of the gospel, funding for the other mountains will always be con-strained, and any efforts to advance the Kingdom of God will be hindered. Imagine God’s people reclaiming their cities and government, in the arts and entertainment, in the media and education, in the family, in religious influence, but only limited by their imagination, and not by a lack of finances. It’s possible, but first we must take back the mountain of business. God’s move to take this mountain back has already begun.8

As another leader in the NAR, Lance Wallnau, indicates it wouldn’t take a majority to control these seven mountains and states: “It only takes 3-5% of a population to form a tipping point that creates a culture, because the minority occupying the high places are stronger than a majority that are irrelevant.9 [emphasis mine]

C. Peter Wagner points out that the NAR is by no means a minority in the five megablocks of Religion:

David Barrett, one of our most respected researchers and author of the massive World Christian Encyclopedia, has divided world Christianity into five “megablocks.” The largest is Roman Catholicism, with over one billion members. However, of the four non-Catholic megablocks, the New Apostolic Reformation (which Barrett calls Neo-Apostolic, Independent or Post-denominational) is the largest, with over 432 million adherents, compared to smaller numbers for the Protestant/Evangelical, Orthodox and Anglican megablocks. These Neo-Apostolics comprised only 3 percent of non-Catholic Christianity in 1900, but they are projected to include almost 50 percent by 2025…Not only is the New Apostolic Reformation the largest of the four non-Catholic megablocks, but significantly, it is the only one of all five megablocks that is growing faster than Islam.10 [Emphasis mine]

If this is true, the New Apostolic Reformation appears to be a force to be reckoned with and should not be ignored.

Could it be, that while our eyes have been focused on Islam, worrying about their influence, we could be ignoring a much greater threat—a relatively large minority in control of the United States and other countries, enforcing their man-made version of the Kingdom of God? We’ll explore that issue in Part 3.

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Notes:

1.    Wagner, C. Peter. Dominion!  How Kingdom Action Can Change the Word.  pg 11.   Michigan:  Chosen Books, 2008.  Print.
2.     Geisler, Norman.  Systematic Theology:  Volume Four – Church, Last Things. pg 551.  Minneapolis:  Bethany House. 2005.  Print.
3.    House, H. Wayne and Thomas Ice.  Dominion Theology:  Blessing or Curse?  An Analysis of Christian Reconstructionism. pg 9. Oregon: Mult-nomah Press, 1985.  Print.
4.    Berkowitz, Bill. 01 March 2010 Web. 8 October 2010. http://www.alternet.org/.
5.    Wagner, pg 26.
6.    International Coalition of Apostles. Web. 10 October 2010. http://www.coalitionofapostles.com/.
7.    Wagner, pg 12.
8.    “7 Mountains of Culture.” youtube.com Web. 10 October 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xges7mFi6iY&feature=related.
9.    Walnau, Lance. “Seven Mountains” Youtube.com. Web. 9 October 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwjBei4-HU4&feature=related.
10.    Wagner, pg 23.

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