Since WHEN does Kingdom = Dominion?

[[edit: 500th post at Hacking Christianity! w00t!]]

One of the important conversations coming out of the Uganda "kill the gays" bill is the theology behind those supporting and espousing it. Box Turtle Bulletin has a lot on it specifically here but in this space I'll be looking more at the theological concerns.

In short, it's been dubbed "Seven Mountains Theology" and here's a brief description from an adherent's website:

[We must be] Kingdom-Minded: Priorities are revealed in the proportionate use of time, funds and abilities directed to seeking His Kingdom with a perspective that intends to His Pleasure. The Kingdom must be our top priority, the principal thing to place before others as most important.

To establish The Kingdom of God on the earth, we must claim and possess The Seven Mountains of Culture namely: Business, Government, Religion, Family, Media, Education and Entertainment.
Here's a video that outlines it with computer-graphicy goodness:


Read on to talk more about the tension between kingdom and dominion.

To adherents, the name "Seven Mountains" is a reference to the seven mountains that the whore of babylon sat upon and ruled the world in Revelation. It is from these seven mountains that culture is influenced and if the whore is to be toppled, Christians must control these mountains.

For them, influence = control. From the video above:
When we lose our influence, we lose the culture.
When we lose the culture, we fail to advance the kingdom of God.
They embrace the term "kingdom" wholeheartedly, with its hierarchical structure as the top exhibits the strongest authority. A great band name ministry called Extreme Prophetic has this to say about what the kingdom looks like (video at minute 22, h/t Throckmorton):
While Christians are in pursuit of the supernatural, or the glory or prosperity, but they’re missing the apostolic assignment. They are to take over spheres and adminstrate them for the glory of God. They’re to take over spheres and administrate them for the glory of God. That’s the only way you can teach nations is when you take over a sphere and administrate it for the glory of God.
If your kingdom is top-down dominion, then yes, from the top of these "mountains" seems the best way to go about it.

In response, however, I can't help but be influenced by the Advent season where we welcome the Christ-child who came not as a conquering Messiah but as a powerless infant to a family in the midst of a top-down genocide (Herod's purge of the infants). A Christ-child who let the authorities kill him rather than dictate culture from the top-down (which he could have easily done and the Romans were so afraid of the possibility).

Of course, this church suckled up to Constantine and allowed the seven mountains to dictate its theology ever since the 4th century. So it is little wonder that hierarchical expressions of the kingdom get intertwined and find historical/biblical support against the reality of the Christ. It is little wonder that people who want to find something will find it in our history to justify their own positions today.

I think the Kingdom is more bottom-up than top-down, and these efforts to control spheres of culture are not only wayward but dangerous (look at Uganda's religiously-supported bill) and lead us closer to a cynical Constantine than to a compassionate Christ.

So, your turn:

  • Is the kingdom dominion, in that we are to control the spheres of culture and influence how the world or our communities operate?
  • Is the kingdom weakness, in that we are not to control the spheres but operate within them with grace and integrity?
Thoughts?

4 comments:

Anonymous,  December 14, 2009 at 12:18 PM  

I've always felt that the genius of the Gospel stories was their kenotic aspect. The radical thing is not that God became human (this occurs in many religions) but that God emptied God's self of power so that our clearest image of God and the apex of humanness is one divested of power, one whose radical divestment of power and call for a different exercise of power so unsettled the powerful the Christ needed to be killed.

Fighting for power over the "Seven Mtns." does not displace "the whore" it turns those who wield the power into "the whore." Power is not a thing to be grasped and struggled for. By its very nature power will corrupt those who crave it.

JA

Charles Augustine Rivera December 14, 2009 at 2:21 PM  

I think you've got a false dichotomy here between ruling over culture and operating within culture. Both of these options treat the culture as something with real power or authority, either to be taken control of (your 'dominion') or cooperated with (your 'weakness'). Shouldn't we rather be witnessing to the fact that Jesus Christ is the only real power or authority, regardless of how this relates to the powers of this world? That is the dominion of our being more than conquerors through the weakness of him who loved us.

Rev. Jeremy Smith December 15, 2009 at 10:55 AM  

@Kurt, I like the push marketing v. viral marketing comparison...interesting idea that might get some mileage here (will h/t ya if I do!).

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