What Is Biblical Dominion?
Part II 
by Brad Sherman

We must put on the urgency and commitment that comes with the state of declared war and restore the Kingdom paradigm of Christian dominion in the church and in the generation to come.
This is Part 2 of the followup to, A New Paradigm of War, an article which raised the question: "What is biblical dominion?"  This article includes:
  • Restoring the Christian Mandate: A Paradigm Changer
  • A Picture of Christian Dominion In Your Town
  • What Makes Christian Dominion a Reality

These articles, including A New Paradigm for War, can be viewed in their entirety on the Archive Page at GetPurpose.org

Note: This article is adapted from Lesson 3 of a 24 part study course called: The Kingdom Paradigm: Common Sense Theology for Politically Minded Christians

What Is Biblical Dominion?
Part II

Restoring the Christian Mandate: A Paradigm Changer
    Restoring a Christian Dominion Mandate to the Church is a critically important issue in our time. Properly grasping the concept of Jesus' Dominion Mandate is a paradigm changer. Because we have not had a dominion mentality, we have bent over backwards, given in when challenged, and ultimately compromised our very mission. We have allowed political correctness to push us to the fringe and have become virtually irrelevant in the culture. We have given up on prayer in schools. We have allowed the radical homosexual agenda to desecrate marriage, alter its definition which has existed for 5000 years, and normalize homosexuality, a deviant sexual behavior that is clearly condemned in scripture. Under the politically correct idea of sensitivity to the feelings of others, we allow one person's complaint about references to Christ in a classroom or government agency to violate the freedom of religion and speech for everyone else. This is spiritual weakness.

    Meanwhile, as we do nothing, radical Islamists have been advancing their own world dominion plans and have been doing so for more than 1000 years. The Marxists/Socialists have been advancing their dominion plans since they became a recognized movement over 100 years ago. Sadly, both have seen considerable success in recent decades.

    Our failure to influence the culture comes not only from a shallow understanding of the dominion mandate and other weak theological positions, but also from having believed a twisted and tortured version of separation of church and state that tells us that Christians should be politically neutral. We must realize that neutrality is a myth.  If Christianity isn't the dominate religion in our culture and our government, another religion will be. There is no such thing as a spiritual vacuum or spiritual neutrality. Consider this quote by the Chairman of the Board for CAIR (Counsel for American Islamic Relations).
"Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth." - Omar Ahmed, chairman of the board for CAIR.

    According to some reports, people who are traditionally Christian are converting to Islam in numbers that are alarming. Why would anyone abandon light for darkness? Good question, but one reason may be that the version of Christianity they have had is counterfeit. Maybe the light they have had isn't really light. Jesus said: "Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness" (Luke 11:35).  

    In other words, maybe they are frustrated with a version of Christianity that is so weak and powerless that it has no appeal. Maybe the church has become so heavenly minded that it offers no practical solution to earthly problems. I submit that we Christians will not be able to exert a significant influence on the culture until we embrace a biblical and practical application of dominion. We need to realize that our biblical mandate is to displace all other philosophies with the teachings of Jesus Christ. The great commission of Matthew 28 cannot be understood any other way. Though this will find its fulfillment through the return of Jesus, it is nevertheless our goal, a goal that requires our faith and our effort.

A Picture of Christian Dominion In Your Town
    So what should our culture look like when Christians are walking out Jesus's Dominion Mandate? Imagine this scenario.

A certain community has experienced a revival. There is a renewed understanding of Christian values and there are many new and renewed commitments to Christ. Many of the teachers in the local high school have been converted to Christ, and at the recent election, several Christians in the community ran for positions on the school board and won.  As a result the school board is dominated by Christians.  As a result of many people coming to Christ, including students and teachers, personal testimonies regarding Jesus, discussion about the Bible, and prayer is taking place in class and at other school activities. One person commented, "This is like a little bit of heaven on earth!"

But one student, who is an atheist, files a complaint with the school superintendent, complete with letters from his lawyers from the ACLU. Legal action is threatened against the principle and the school board. They have demanded that all religious activity cease immediately. No more prayer, no more talk of Jesus.

Word is sent out and an emergency school board meeting is called. The options are clear. Force everyone to stop all religious activity or face legal action. But wait! This is a school board with a Christian dominion worldview and they are backed by a significant portion of the community. They decide to take a stand.  They issue a statement to the ACLU and to all concerned.  

"We recognize there are those who in our school who hold religious beliefs different from Christianity or hold no religious belief at all. We respect and protect their right to freedom of religion and will insure that they are not coerced or bullied in any way to become Christian. However, we also recognize that Christians also have freedom of religion. Therefore we will not prohibit or curtail the freedom of speech or the freedom of religion in our school."

Good for them! That is standing up for your rights! But this is not the end of this hypothetical saga. Having made their position clear, the school district is taken to court and legal battles continued for some time which ultimately resulted in a ruling against the school district. Either they prohibit religious speech and religious freedom or lose all state and local funding.

The school board holds another emergency board meeting which reveals that their resolve has not changed. They decide to reject all state and government funding and conduct their school with local support only. As a result, the community rallies. Local businesses and individuals donate computers and other equipment and supplies. The entire staffing plan and schedule is restructured to facilitate volunteers, local tutors, and apprenticeship programs. People who have specific skills and abilities volunteer to teach various subjects. Being free from state and federal control, the schools throw out much of the old curriculum and introduce new materials, including books that teach creation and the biblical worldview held by the founding fathers. Students' scores go up and they learn real skills instead of humanistic philosophy. Non Christians are still welcome and treated with respect in the school and they are free to practice and discuss their religion as they please. Or they are free to attend another school; the choice is theirs.

    This hypothetical story could be extrapolated much farther, but you get the idea.  This is a picture of Christian dominion. In fact, it is very much the way education was conducted in early America-back when literacy was about 100% and it wasn't uncommon for young people to enter a university at the age of 14 years. This is a picture of Christians who believe in that dominion mandate we call  "The Great Commission" and are not afraid to act like it. This is a picture of people who are no longer intimidated or controlled by a centralized bureaucracy and are willing to take responsibility for the world they live in.

What Makes Christian Dominion a Reality?
    Imagine if school districts all over America took a stand as the hypothetical community described above did?  That would be wonderful but, as pointed out earlier, there are two key factors that must be a reality before it can happen. Obviously there must be a grassroots movement, which in spiritual terms is what we call revival. There must be a wide-scale spiritual shift in a community to create a base of support.

     The other is a dominion mentality. A biblical understanding of civil responsibility must be in place or the full potential of the local revival will not be realized. Both are related to the spread of knowledge/truth. In other words, bringing light where there has been darkness.

    We can see historically, ever since the Reformation, how God has sent revivals with a degree of regularity. Each major revival has not only caused the salvation of souls, but has restored major elements of foundational truth in the Church. But did that element of truth come about because of the revival or did the revival come about because of the element of truth? I believe it was the latter. 

     Someone in our hypothetical community carried the vision of Christian dominion before the revival came and was likely the spark that started the revival. The people who were converted and renewed their commitment to Christ were not suddenly transformed to members of the status quo. They were a kind of "new breed" who possessed a new paradigm.  They knew that the definition of insanity was to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result, so they were willing to change. They were Christians who were willing to think outside the box.

    The same is true in history. People like Martin Luther were willing to think outside the box and dared to think in a new paradigm, declaring that justification was not by works, but by faith alone. The ultimate result was a revival that we call the Reformation. Luther and those who sowed the seeds of reformation paid a high price for being pioneers, a price which included hardship of every kind, sometimes even death.

    In this chapter, I have attempted to provide a scriptural foundation regarding biblical dominion without getting into the exhausting subject of eschatology. However, simply using the word "dominion" often raises eschatological questions and triggers preexisting conclusions that threaten to cause misunderstanding of what has been said. Therefore, a general understanding of different eschatological views is important and is addressed in a later lesson.

    To summarize, the kind of dominion that can be experienced in this age is a taste of the powers of the age to come (see Heb 6:5), not the whole meal.  The full manifestation of the Kingdom of God on earth will only be seen when Jesus returns. However, we are called to play a dynamic part in preparing the way for His Kingdom to come on earth, as it is is heaven.


Note: This article is adapted from Lesson 3 of a 24 part study course called:
The Kingdom Paradigm: Common Sense Theology for Politically Minded Christians

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