What is dominion theology?
Question: "What is dominion theology / theonomy / Christian reconstructionism?"
Answer: Dominion theology refers to a line of theological interpretation and thought with regard to the role of the church in contemporary society. Dominion theology is also known as Christian reconstructionism and theonomy. Dominion theology states that biblical Christianity will rule all areas of society, personal and corporate. Christian reconstructionism reasons that society will be reconstructed by the Law of God as preached in the gospel and the Great Commission. Theonomy is a post-millennial view believing that all of the moral laws contained in the Old Testament are yet binding today. Although these might sound somewhat disparate, they have all been closely linked together to the point that people often use the terms interchangeably.
Those who hold these views believe that it is the duty of Christians to create a worldwide kingdom patterned after the Mosaic Law. They believe that Christ will not return to earth until such a kingdom has been established. The principal goal, then, of dominion theology and Christian reconstructionism is political and religious domination of the world through the implementation of the moral laws, and subsequent punishments, of the Old Testament (the sacrificial and ceremonial laws having been fulfilled in the New Testament). This is not a government system ruled by the church, but rather a government conformed to the Law of God.
Dominion theology / Christian reconstructionism is largely based upon a post-millennial view of covenantalism. Post-millennialism is the belief that Christ will return to earth after the thousand-year reign of God’s kingdom, and covenantalism refers to the belief that biblical history is divided into three major covenants supposedly described in Scripture—of redemption, of works, and of grace. Adherents believe that we currently exist under the covenant of grace, that the church and Israel are the same, and we are now in the millennial Kingdom of God. Man, under the covenant of grace, is responsible to rule the world, to hold dominion over it in obedience to the laws of God.
We believe that the Bible teaches a premillennial view of the Kingdom of God (Zechariah 14:4–9; Matthew 25:31–34) and that Israel and the Church are distinct throughout biblical history and prophecy. We don’t see that God ever commanded the Church to take charge of and revamp society. Instead, we see the command for believers to preach the gospel as in Matthew 28:19–20. God intends to implement worldwide social reform Himself (Revelation 19:11 — 20:4).
Once at home solely within Reformed circles, dominion theology and Christian reconstructionism are making an impact on the beliefs of many Charismatic churches in the form of Kingdom Now theology.
Recommended Resource: Five Views on Law and Gospel edited by Stanley Gundry
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What is dominion theology / theonomy / Christian reconstructionism?