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View Diary: Joseph Fuiten, the Assemblies, "Watchmen On The Walls"...and pure hate (24 comments)

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  •  In regards to dominionism and definitions (7+ / 0-)

    FWIW, there is some confusion in terms, I'll agree.  At any rate, I'll discuss a bit on what I mean here:

    Dominionism, as I am using the term, is in essence a synonym for "Christian nationalism", and neopentecostal dominionism is a subset of dominionism (based in general on the concept of "dominion theology" that originated within pentecostal circles in the 1920s and 1930s that were ancestral to modern neopentecostals).

    As I've noted, there are three separate "strains" of Christian nationalism in the US:

    a) "Christian Reconstructionism" (which is postmillenial and is based on theology in "Independent Fundamentalist Baptist" churches for the most part); some people consider this dominionism sensu stricto, although it is actually more properly applied to b) below.

    b) Neopentecostal dominionism (which has been referred to by a plethora of names including dominion theology, "Joel's Army" theology, etc.; there is not even a generally recognised term for the movement even within it) (typically premillenial or quasi-premillenial, has its origins within "dominion theology" originating within the Latter Rain movement, and has probably the best historical claim to being dominionism sensu stricto)

    c) Ultramontaine Catholicism, which is based on far-right movements within the Catholic church (Opus Dei would be a model "ultramontaine" movement).

    (As a side note, only a few researchers of dominionism use a sensu stricto definition and use the term more as a synonym for "Christian nationalism"--in part as an explicit effort to distance mainstream Christianity from nationalist groups.  The term "Christianist" is also receiving increased popularity as a general synonym for "Christian nationalist" movements, but--as we'll note below--the term "dominionism" is particularly appropriate for neopente dominionist groups.)

    All three do cross-pollinate to an extent, and there is a considerable amount of cross-pollination in recent years between Christian Reconstructionism and neopente dominionism, but they do have differing theological bases.

    In regards to neopentecostal dominionism, such as is practiced in the Assemblies of God (and the rest of this discussion will focus primarily on dominionism in that denomination), the base theology behind dominionism/"Christian nationalism" is, in essence, an extension of the concepts of "deliverance ministry" and word-faith theology.  (More on deliverance ministry here--it is in fact a core part of Assemblies theology.)  

    Rather than "taking dominion" in order to bring the Kingdom to pass (as is the emphasis in Christian Reconstructionist groups), neopente dominionists promote Christian nationalism as a form of "spiritual warfare"--a method of, in essence, national exorcism (of the sort generally promoted on a more personal level), a method of driving out "Territorial spirits" and "demonic spirits" that are oppressing the nation as a whole.  It is also rather specifically taught that if the nation is not "named and claimed" that all manner of horrific destruction--and the loss of the nation--can result; neopentecostals and Jews are seen as the "two chosen nations of God" and examples of divine smackdowns of Israel (when it has strayed) are very frequently used in Assemblies circles to justify explicit politicking.

    In other words--Christian Reconstructionists see themselves as a "Corporate Christ" bringing in the Kingdom, whereas neopentes see themselves as the Chosen Sons of God and needing to "name and claim" the country lest God remove his protection and let it be destroyed.

    The "Joel's Army" movement within the Assemblies (which can be argued to be a modern-day resurrection of Latter Rain theology) goes even further on this--it's taught that the generation of youth today are the "last generation" and have an explicit purpose as a "chosen nation of God" to do a last "naming and claiming" by sweeping the nation like locusts--a "last harvest", so to speak, before the Rapture and Tribulation.

    In other words, the "Joel's Army" folks also not only fear God removing his "covering" over the United States (if they permit gays, pagans, etc. to exist), they not only fear that allowing sin "opens doorways for Satan" in the US, but they also explicitly feel this is their one last chance to recruit as many people as possible for the ass-kicking party at the end of the Tribulation (as depicted in particularly bloody fashion in the final book of the "Left Behind" series, "Glorious Appearing").

    Neopentecostal dominionism also has a decided aspect of converting the country to a theocracy as part of an act of national repentance--again, this plays much into the concept of "US and Israel as Chosen Nations" in Assemblies circles, and is even rather explicitly documented in Assemblies reference bibles including the "we must convert the country and perform a national exorcism lest we be destroyed" aspect.

    Incidentially, above I noted the term "quasi-premillenialist" as well as premillenialist per se.  The specific reason I have done so is because many neopente dominionist groups--including the Assemblies--are officially premillenialist (and have Rapture theory as a major portion of their own theology) but also have major pre-Rapture theology that is similar to Christian Reconstructionist concepts about the "corporate Christ".  (The most extreme example of this is with the "Joel's Army" and "Joshua Generation" movement and the "Third Wave" in general; it's rather explicitly taught that this is part of an "end times revival" to gain as much "Territory" in the form of human souls as possible.)

    Hopefully this clears things up a bit.

    •  speaking of "Left Behind" (6+ / 0-)

      Did you ever notice the coincidence with the name of the program "No Child Left Behind"...?

      What I see there is another (and really blatant) example of how the righties in politics use "code phrases" that the dominionists and their followers will recognize and relate to.  No Child Left Behind = all children "saved" in time for the rapture.  

      Creepy as hell (no pun intended).  

    •  There has always been a tension in (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dogemperor, ER Doc, DWG, Neon Vincent

      Evangelical thinking (Evangelical and Pentecostal thinking) between the imperative to save souls and to be involved in politics.  On one level, the USA apparently does not play a role in Biblical prophecy.  The implication is that the USA will either be destroyed or irrelevant in the end-times scenario—or else will be part of the Anti-Christ's empire.  Either way, the notion of the USA as a chosen nation (alongside or instead of Israel) makes little sense.  The tension is of course between that and the notion that the USA is a nation under God (as the unbelievable number of license plates on Indiana cars these days attests), a Protestant nation that is a beacon of religious liberty and a source of missionaries for the entire world.  Thus once I heard a radio show with Hal Lindsey (The Late Great Planet Earth, the best selling book of the entire 1970s) explaining why Christians needed to support Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars"), so that the USA could play its role in the destruction of the Anti-Christ's empire (the reborn Roman Empire).

      •  Re "chosen nation" stuff (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc, eastmt, Neon Vincent

        As it is, I'd see it as making little sense myself--had I not heard it from Assemblies pastors myself (and multiple Assemblies pastors)--of note, it has tended to be worse in the groups especially embracing "Joel's Army" and "Brownsville" stuff.  (The term "Brownsville" is a misnomer, by the way--there were groups promoting this stuff, and where Paul Yonggi Cho was trying to foment "revivals", a good thirty years before Brownsville.  I am a survivor of such a church.)

        One of the more decidedly disturbing things I've read about recently is that pastors who have been speaking up against getting excessively entangled in politics--and who have been speaking up about religious abuse--have been getting run out of the Assemblies (Time for Truth is a website of a pastor who was run out of the Assemblies for just this--and has documented this from the inside; apparently it's gotten much worse within the past thirty years or so).

      •  Also, an additional note (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc, OHdog, eastmt, Dimetrodon, Neon Vincent

        In the Assemblies church I later walked away from, the birth of the pentecostal movement in the US--and the existence of neopentecostal revival movements--was seen in and of itself as proof that God had "chosen the US as a chosen nation"--their viewpoint being they were the first branch of Christianity to have "gotten it right" since Paul, and the "proof in the pudding" was the masses of people getting "slain in the spirit" and having "miraculous healings" and whatnot.

        Again, "Joel's Army" groups take it even further--they contend that each of the "three waves" of pentecostal revivalism have been to prepare for a final "mass harvest" of souls, and that the US is a "chosen nation" based on all these revivals taking place (I never stated there wasn't a lot of circular reasoning going on here...).  

        A lot of the "US as Chosen Nation" rhetoric seems to have especially ramped up after World War II, around the time of the beginning of the Cold War (and if you've ever read the Scofield Reference Bible, it's pretty obvious how America could be seen as "God's Chosen Nation" in light of international politics and Scofield's writings about Russia being the home of the Antichrist); an entire internal mythology built up especially in the Cold War regarding the US and Israel being the two "chosen nations of God" and thus the protectors of all that was truly Christian against the "Nations of the Antichrist" (the USSR and Warsaw Bloc in general, as well as the Islamic countries of the Middle East, in particular Iran).  The turmoil in the 60s was pretty much seen as a symptom that the US was "getting away from God" and was going to be clobbered by the USSR as a result, and it was partly this that resulted in the (re)birth of political dominionism in the US.

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