Saturday, April 6, 2013

One Piece At A Time, And It DIdn't Cost Me A Dime...

  • "Some years ago I felt the term “religious right” was accurate enough for describing a large segment of the church world’s involvement in American “conservative” politics, but it seemed inadequate as a term when one struggled to understand the theological underpinnings that were driving the movement. Questions kept surfacing such as, “Why were so many religious conservatives becoming so politically militant?” It seemed like a contradiction in terms. And it wasn’t sufficient to argue that political issues such as the right to have an abortion, the right of same sex couples to marry or concerns over the environment were polarizing the nation—for the nation was often divided over difficult issues, especially when the morality gauge tilted back and forth like a see-saw with weighted opinions on both sides.

    It had to be something else that was going on in the churches that explained the new demand for political involvement. In fact, it became obvious that a new religious doctrine was being taught that urged Christians “To take back America!” not just as a political objective but also as a theological and religious necessity.

    However, the ultimate goal was not always stated openly and it was only after much study over a period of years, that included transcribing over 1,300 pages of statements of religious radio and television superstars, and comparing the wording of similar passages from different authors’ books, and creating parallel columns of quotes, that I finally uncovered an unmistakable reliance among Christian Right leaders upon the teachings of R. J. Rushdoony, who as it turned out, was indeed the theological founder of dominionism.

    Only then did I begin using the words dominion, dominionists and dominionism. For it had become apparent that dominion was in fact the predominant self-determined word of the movement, and that “taking dominion” was considered a religious as well as a political act. Consider that Webster’s Third New International dictionary defines “dominion” in its primary meaning:

    “A supremacy in determining and directing the actions of others or in governing politically, socially, or personally: acknowledged ascendancy over human or nonhuman forces such as assures cogency in commanding or restraining and being obeyed: sovereignty.”

    Thus the word dominionism grew out of the religious leaders’ own use of the term ‘dominion,’ which in turn led me to the writings of the intellectual and spiritual father of the movement: Rousas John Rushdoony. His work was picked up and broadcast by those he influenced—and over the course of time, he reached literally millions of people across America, including D. James Kennedy, the late pastor of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida, who was selected in 2005 by American pastors as the “most trusted spokesperson for Christianity,” along with Pat Robertson who also made it in the top ten.[1] Kennedy’s messages are still being broadcast by television and radio to over 40,000 cities in America and 202 foreign countries.[2]

    Both Rushdoony and D. James Kennedy were repeated guests on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club show.[3] (Be aware that at the time, Robertson was reaching a projected monthly audience of 28.7 million viewers). Rushdoony also appeared on Kennedy’s television program. But Rushdoony remained relatively unknown, largely because his ideas were often transmitted without credit to him. (See my essay, published on the web in 2006, titled “Outing Creeping Dominionism,” which includes a link to the parallel—eye-opening—quotes that reveal Robertson’s failure to attribute his material to Rushdoony.) And see the Robertson/Rushdoony parallel quotes here.

    It is important to understand that R. J. Rushdoony didn’t just use the term “dominion,” he also created the theological foundation for it in his writings. For instance, he wrote:

    “Man was created to exercise dominion under God and as God’s appointed vice-gerent over the earth. Dominion is thus a basic urge of man’s nature…. Dominion does not disappear when a man renounces it; it is simply transferred to another person…or the state. The meek are the redeemed whom God has burdened, oppressed, and broken to harness, so that they are tamed and workable…. Man has a God-given urge to dominion, to power.” [4] (Emphasis Rushdoony’s)

    In addition, Rushdoony linked the primeval Genesis account with what he called, “God’s cultural mandate,”[5] a term that is now synonymous with “Dominionism,” but more obscure in its meaning and therefore tends to be a more acceptable and “convenient” term. However, as Rushdoony described it, the words are interchangeable:

    “The cultural mandate is thus the obligation of covenant man to subdue the earth and to exercise dominion over it under God (Gen. 1:26-28).”[6]

    Significantly, Rushdoony added this revealing statement: “All enemies of Christ in this fallen world must be conquered.”[7]

    This new muscular theology spread like wildfire and D. James Kennedy, America’s “most trusted spokesman for Christianity,” held conferences titled “Reclaim America” that attracted hundreds of believers from all over America. In 2005, he wrote this message to the conferees:

    “Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors—in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.”[8]

    Yet eighteen years earlier, on September 30, 1987, the same D. James Kennedy testified before the House Subcommittee on Oversight, “Our television ministry engages in the same sort of activities for which the church was established, namely: the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; the inculcation of His teachings; and the fulfillment of the Cultural Mandate…”[9] (Emphasis mine.) Surely, it is reasonable to assume that not one member of that congressional committee knew or understood the real meaning of “the cultural mandate.”

    Kennedy added, “The Founders of this country believed that God owned the church and that God owned the state. God is letting the Government use a lot of His real estate in America.”[10]

    However, in Kennedy’s use of the term “Cultural Mandate” at the congressional hearings, he was careful to make a distinction between moral and political issues. He said, “We do not speak out on partisan political issues or on candidates.” (Of course if the church had taken partisan political positions, it would have jeopardized its tax-exempt status.) Therein lies the heart of the matter and the thorny problem is whether, by adopting Dominionism and the Cultural Mandate, churches are converting the Gospel into a new political party with political goals at the same time they are maintaining their right to a tax-exempt status and in that process, also creating a new anti-Christian religion.

    Similarly, Pat Robertson, also following Rushdoony’s lead, described the biblical basis for the new political religion’s agenda this way:

    “Almighty God wants us to recapture the dominion man held in the beginning… Remember, at the time of creation man exercised authority, under God’s sovereignty, over everything. He was God’s surrogate, His steward or regent. …The Genesis account uses two colorful words to describe this. One… we translate ‘dominion.’ The word means to ‘rule over’ or ‘tread down,’ as with grapes…” [11]"
    Like · · · · 2 seconds ago
  • "The influence of the Reconstruction movement, also known as Theonomy, is quite broad despite the admission of one of its founders that it is “a recently articulated philosophy,”(1) “unquestionably new,” “a major break” with two thousand years of Church history, and a “theological revolution.”(2) Even though Reconstructionists often claim Dutch Reformed theologian Cornelius Van Til as the forerunner of their movement,(3) the true “father” of Reconstructionism was the late Rousas John Rushdoony,(4) a former ordained minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church who published the “bible” of the movement — Institutes of Biblical Law — in 1973. About the same time, Greg L. Bahnsen wrote his Th.M. thesis entitled "The Theonomic Responsibility of the Civil Magistrate," which was later published as Theonomy in Christian Ethics. This work caused an uproar throughout the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, of which body Bahnsen was also an ordained minister.(5) Both Rushdoony and Bahnsen are now deceased, but their work is continued by The Chalcedon Foundation in Vallecito, California, The Southern California Center for Christian Studies in Placentia, California, and The Bahnsen Theological Seminary, which offers theological degrees through its correspondence courses.

    However, the most articulate and influential of the movement’s spokesmen is Gary North, who “studied directly under Rushdoony,”(6) and has written nearly two dozen volumes over the last thirty years, some of which are well over 1,000 pages in length.(7) North did serious damage to his own credibility with his failed predictions that the “Y2K computer bug” would bring the world to a standstill,(8) and he is now attempting to establish a new public image as a website design consultant.(9)

    Other less visible notables in the Reconstruction camp are Kenneth L. Gentry, Gary DeMar, and the late David Chilton. Christian political conservatism (often referred to by its opponents as “The Religious Right”) has become so infiltrated by Reconstructionism that the two have become almost synonymous terms of late. One of the most tenaciously-held beliefs of Christian conservatives is that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and must therefore be restored to its biblical roots.(10) The Christian homeschool movement has also proven to be fertile soil for the growth of Reconstructionist ideas and Rushdoony is often credited with being the “Moses” who led the exodus of Christian children from the public school system. In fact, the Homeschool Legal Defense Association was founded in 1983 by Michael Farris, one of Rushdoony’s followers, gaining over fifteen thousand members within the first seven years of its existence. Other organizations which have openly adopted or have at least been heavily influenced by Reconstructionism are Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, his Christian Broadcasting Network and Regent College, Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice, Randall Terry’s Operation Rescue, Howard Phillips’ Constitution Party (formerly, the U.S. Taxpayers Party), and David Barton’s Wallbuilders, Inc. Some organizations which formerly were associated with Reconstructionism, such as the Rutherford Institute, have now distanced themselves from the movement.(11)"
    Like · · · · a few seconds ago
  • "Few things are more commonly misunderstood than the nature and meaning of theocracy. It is commonly assumed to be a dictatorial rule by self-appointed men who claim to rule for God. In reality, theocracy in Biblical law is the closest thing to a radical libertarianism that can be had.

    In Biblical law, the only civil tax was the head or poll tax, the same for all males twenty years of age and older (Ex. 30:16). This tax provided an atonement or covering for people, i.e., the covering of civil protection by the state as a ministry of justice (Rom. 13:L-4). This very limited tax was continued by the Jews after the fall of Jerusalem, and, from 768-900 A.D., helped make the Jewish princedom of Narbonne (in France) and other areas a very important and powerful realm (see Arthur J. Zuckerman: A Jewish Princedom in Feudal France 768-900; New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, 1965,1972). This tax was limited to half a sheckel of silver per man.

    All other functions of government were financed by the tithe. Health, education, welfare, worship, etc., were all provided for by tithes and offerings. Of this tithe, one tenth (i.e., one percent of one's income) went to the priests, for worship. Perhaps an equal amount went for music, and for the care of the sanctuary. The tithe was God's tax, to provide for basic government in God's way. The second and the third tithes provided for welfare, and for the family's rest and rejoicing before the Lord (see E.A. Powell and R.J. Rushdoony: Tithing and Dominion: Ross House Books, P.O. Box 67, Vallecito, California 95251).

    What we today fail to see, and must recapture, is the fact that the basic government is the self-government of covenant man; then the family is the central governing institution of Scripture. The school is a governmental agency, and so too is the church. Our vocation also governs us, and our society. Civil government must be one form of government among many, and a minor one. Paganism (and Baal worship in all its forms) made the state and its rulers into a god or gods walking on earth, and gave them total over-rule in all spheres. The prophets denounced all such idolatry, and the apostles held, "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29)."-- Bull.Shit.
    Like · · · · about a minute ago
  • "We need to stick with the tradition. This is a traditional thing we don't need to change and stuff like that, but why? No one can answer my question."

    hmm... kinda sounds like a discussion about gay marriage, but that comment actually came from a senior in high school, in Georgia, in 2013, who wants to have...ready for this?


    Did I mention that this is 2013?
    Like · · · about an hour ago via mobile

    • 3 people like this.
    • Joe Manning I was referring to the NYTimes Georgia case where it seemed like everything was private.
    • Jacqueline Marie Ok, but let me ask you something... If we were to privatize basically everything, and you're arguing that because something is private they would have the right to do this, being that it's private funds, and whatnot, couldn't we potentially have schools that were ONLY Arab Catholic commies? Or different police for Christians and Muslims? Or a fire department that only put out fires for Bosnian people?
  • AMY GOODMAN: The initial report aired by Al Jazeera included footage of Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, calling on soldiers to hunt people for Jesus.

    LT. COL. GARY HENSLEY: The Special Forces guys, they hunt men, basically. We do the same things as Christians: we hunt people for Jesus. We do. We hunt them down, get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into kingdom. Right? That’s what we do. That’s our business.
    Like · · · · 18 minutes ago

No comments:

Post a Comment