Dear Albert James Dager, June 25, 1987
Greetings in the name of our glorious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I wrote most of this letter earlier this year, then became occupied with other projects and only now decided to send it to you, as-is, rather than forgetting forever.
First of all, I know you meant well. I only intend that you right a wrong you have done in your publication, or at least discontinue publishing the wrong, just as you would like Pat Robertson to apologize to Cumbey for twisting her words, just as you would like a “straight answer” from Paulk.
You should take this, not as a personal attack, but as reproof, and as a grim reminder of the responsibility one assumes when publishing without investigating heresay.
I received the “Kingdom Theology” articles earlier this year. I would like to express my rebuttal to your inclusion of Reconstruction in your debunking of “Kingdom Theology,” beginning with page 14 of the first of the two parts.
Kingdom Theology Defined?
Reconstruction is certainly not specific to the 20th century! The Mayflower Compact of 1620 contains:
“We… have undertaken for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith,… [to] solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and of one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for … furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hearof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.”
Robert Winthrop said, in 1849, about the Constitutional period:
“It may do for other countries, and other governments to talk about the State supporting religion. Here, under our own free institutions, it is Religion which must support the State.”
I therefore assert that Reconstruction is not “built upon” a twentieth century foundation any more than teaching the “trinity” is built upon the Latin language of the fourth century.
Genesis 1:28 established man’s responsibility (not merely a right as some suggest) to have dominion. This is the basic premise of Reconstruction and of the ancient Dominion theology of which I write. A premise that is based on forfeiting dominion is worthy of our ire. The rest of your section on “The Teachings” has no connection to Dominion theology as taught by the Reconstruction.
Reconstruction does not deny the rapture of the church. Only the dispensational teaching of its timing is questioned. It is not explained away as a mere feeling. The Rapture is the next event! But Reconstruction questions the concensus for its timing.
The Church Has Failed?
Now then, has the Church failed? Well, in some respects, of course. In the presence of a supposedly Christian president, federal funding of abortions has been increased to an all-time high dollar value and percentage value. It is illegal in some states for a youngster to say grace, even if silently, over his lunch. But on the other hand, this nation has lasted longer than any other of its kind– a testimony to the bedrock principles of God’s word in which it once trusted. Reconstruction carries a Revelation 2:5 message. I would like to see your contrasting assertion that the church has succeeded! Other than this, the despotic concepts you mention in this section have nothing at all to do with Reconstruction.
The Cloud of Witnesses?
This mystical teaching is unrelated in any way to Reconstruction.
Some Differences, Some Terminology?
You list Dominion as the first of the buzz-words (and only word in the list used by Reconstruction) used by so-called Kingdom Theology teachers, yet dominion and kingdom occur respectively 60 and 400 times in the Scripture. You and I are followers of Jesus Christ- but there are probably more “Churches of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” in your phone book than any other type of “church” using the name Jesus or Christ. If you were to be consistent in your application of fraternization of nomenclature, then you and I as followers of Jesus Christ would be labelled guilty of Mormonism.
Before you question the apparent aberration of the theology of the “Kingdom,” you might first question the aberration of your own understanding (or teaching, if you have taught it) on the timing of the rapture. The teaching of an any-moment rapture and return of Jesus is a new development in history. It was first taught in the early nineteenth century. I defy you to find any reference to this teaching in all history between the fall of Masada and 1830 AD. You would do well to study a little history and find out whose teaching is really aberration and whose has been stable and unwavering throughout these centuries. George Ladd, in The Blessed Hope, writes:
“We can find no trace of pretribulationism in the early church, and no modern pretribulationist has successfully proved that this particular doctrine was held by any of the church fathers or students of the Word before the nineteenth century.”
William Kimball, in The Rapture, lists several research efforts into the origins of pretribulation rapture teaching. The earliest trace he cites is chronicled by eye and earwitness Robert Norton:
“Marvelous light was shed upon scripture, and especially on the doctrine of the second Advent, by the revived spirit of prophecy. In the following account by Miss M. Macdonald, of an evening during which the power of the Holy Ghost rested upon her for several successive hours, in mingled prophecy and vision, we have an instance; for here we first see the distinction between that final stage of the Lord’s coming, when every eye shall see Him, and His prior appearing in glory to them that look for Him.”
In this statement summarizing the account of Margaret Macdonald in March of 1830, Norton claims that she was the first individual to distinguish two stages of the Lord’s coming.
You claim that the age of a teaching is not a criterion for its truth. You should take issue with Josh McDowell’s Evidence books.
Reconstruction agrees with your second article’s assertion that the Kingdom of God already is established. It may be that Reconstruction has made the unfortunate choice for the word Dominion. Then again, you have done a great disservice to Reconstruction by lumping it in with the Eastern mystics you mention, just as you might lump the followers of Christ in with Mormons. Early in the second article you list teachings which characterize the deceivers you selected: Men are Gods; men may become gods; men may become like God; Faith is a “law” or “force: that may be activated by anyone– believer or not; The ability to perform miracles, signs, and wonders is latent within all; God is bound by these spiritual laws, and must respond to anyone– even His worst enemies– who exercises knowledge of them; As “gods” (“divine beings”) we have the “divine right” to health and prosperity; Jesus is our “Elder Brother” who mastered the spritual laws of Nature, and is therefore our example to do the same; Men may become perfected spritually and physically by mastering these spiritual laws; The Kingdom of God will be established on earth when a sufficient number of people have been perfected.
Then you strongly link this teaching to theosophy, which in your chart, you suggest is an ancestor of Dominion Theology. I have read thousands of pages of R. J. Rushdoony, G. North, D. Chilton, J. B. Jordan, and I defy you to find even just one of these teachings in any of their work (or any other Reconstruction work for that matter). I submit that you spent too much time studying a man dead for twenty years, who in your own admission, is disavowed even by the radical FGBMFI. I suggest that you respond specifically to a single claim of Reconstruction teaching instead of painting with such a broad brush an accusation so general. I accuse you of painting a guilt-byfraternization picture, then putting Reconstruction in the middle, without mentioning a single non-Biblical teaching. You are in error in your assertion that Reconstruction is seeking a theocracy, and I defy you to find this teaching in their works. I withdraw my allegation if you relax the definition of theocracy to include any attempt to bring godly principles into our fallen institutions.
Perhaps you have misunderstood the meaning of Church. A dispensationalist is usually confused on the subject, defining the word in no less than five ways: The local church, the true church within the local church, the true church outside the local church, the entire true and universal church, assemblies of some secular nature and finally, a singular exception for Acts 7:38. You admitted earlier in part I on page 15 that the “Church is spiritual Israel.” True, but the word “church” comes from a Greek word which occurs only twice in the Bible, and in neither case is it actually rendered “church”! Perhaps you could use your own statement as background and reconsider the claims of Reconstruction. They assert that people in the church will individually seek God and seek to apply His standards in their actions. Some of them will become politicians and educators (or both, as did Robert Thoburn), and having been changed by Christ, as Paul assured us in Philippians 1:6, they will apply their Godgiven moral excellence in all that they do. Now if you call that theocracy, then you might publish your own aberrant definitions beforehand so people can decipher your criticisms more accurately.
You have falsely accused Dr. North of being a proponent of Positive Confession, and your excerpt makes Reconstruction out to be an insidious influence. In reality, he is only saying that the Positive Confession movement has expanded one of the few correct aspects of their teaching, and abandoned the recent pessimistic development we call dispensationalism.
The present teaching that we should not subject our legal system to God’s standards is pietism and borders on phariseeism. The State is taking the Pharaoh or big-brother position; the reconstructionists and others are taking the Moses or “let My people go that they may serve Me” position; the pietists have taken the position of the slaves: One of them envied Moses’ priveleged position (Exodus 2:14), and the whole nation was another forty years in bondage. During the plagues and the reactions of the Pharaoh, the slaves said that they would rather be let alone to serve the Egyptians (Ex 14:11-12). Similarly, today’s Christians teachers are advised by Christianity Today to serve the existing state, and just wait for a zap from heaven to take them away from this mess, and give them a feast. This is a simplistic summary of Dr. North’s book, Moses and Pharaoh. If you are going to deal with Reconstruction, you’ve got to answer Moses and Pharaoh.
Similarly, Reconstruction does not deny the Deity of Christ, the Virgin Birth, the Atonement, the Resurrection, any more than you do.
You’ll probably not print any apologies, but in the future, while you disagree, you may still represent Reconstruction more accurately.
Mike Macintosh of Horizon in San Diego (affiliate of Calvary Chapel) was quoted saying that Christians missed an opportunity to engage media in advocating godliness but forfeited it to anti-God humanists. Will we more honor God by taking dominion of this fallen institution for Him, or forfeiting it through mere abandonment and criticism?
Yours in Christ,
Bryan G. Moore
Note: Albert Dager did send a short note indicating that he intended to respond to this rebuttal. However, I have received nothing further on this subject from him as of June 2, 1988.
Mr. Dager also uses words like “utopia” incorrectly. Perhaps he is referring to a supposedly Christian concept of paradise. Actually, Utopia was named by a socialist–one who believes that everyone should be made equal. This is heresy–since God clearly makes some seeing, some blind, some deaf, and some dumb (so He said to Moses). Man always likes to think up some way to defeat God’s order of things- and “Utopia” was one such creation- a bit more like Marxism than anything allegedly suggested by Robertson or anybody else supposedly aligned with the Reconstruction.
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