Children of a Lesser God: Dominionism and Christian Nationalism Heresy Exposed, Part 4

Fighting an Epic Battle of Good and Evil:  The Manichean Heresy

(This is part of a growing series: Children of a Lesser God– Dominionism and Christian Nationalism Heresy Exposed )

I love a great movie, and as a science fiction fan I never miss a chapter in the Star Wars saga, but what makes for great movie drama makes for terrible theology.  When speaking or writing to the broader public, Dominionists and Christian Nationalists most often only share the false notions that the US is in moral decline, and we were once a Christian nation founded by holy Christian men.  Past excommunications and public criticism keep many of their core ideals and goals (some are actually shocking) out of the public eye, and are often mentioned only to a safer crowds and venues and among each other.  Although far less visible and mentioned less frequently their driving belief is only sly alluded to. This the core element of Dominionist heresy is the single most important as it ties all the others together: it is the false and heretical belief Christians are fighting some Epic Battle of Good and Evil! (Cue ominous music).

The Epic Battle of Dominionists and Christian Nationalists

Notice in the below quotes from Dominionist leaders the common thread of battle, violence, take-over and power:

“It is a battle of righteousness and wickednessThis has been a battle to try to take this nation.”  Pastor Paula White, spiritual adviser to Donald Trump

“If Christians are absent or silent at elections, progressives and those who stand for godless secularism… —will take over”; “ From A Battle for the Soul of This Nation: … The progressive left has ascended into a national political power that presents a clear and present danger to our basic religious liberties and freedoms.”  — Franklin Graham, who is invoking a clause that represents inescapable and inevitable violence.  

“If they take him out there is going to be violence in America. There are people in this country, veterans, cowboys, mountain men and I mean guys who know how to fight. They are going to make a decision that the people that did this to Donald Trump, are going to hunt them (Democrats) down” “If these Democrats ever get power, they’re going to slaughter tens of thousands of pastors, tens of thousands of Christians. They will spill blood in America. That is their purpose. That is their objective.” — Pastor Rick Wiles

“What I want to say in closing is this election is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats. It’s a battle between good and evil, light and darkness, righteousness and unrighteousness. . . . This is the last chance we have, I’m convinced, as a country to turn this country around.”

Pastor Robert Jeffress

“He’s (Beto O’Rourke) going after your guns. Now he’s going after your God,” –Tony Perkins

 “God is preparing His Church to become an invincible, unstoppable, unconquerable, overcoming Army of the Lord that subdues everything under Christ’s feet.”  –Rev. Bill Hamon

“Those who would have us ignore the battle being fought over life, marriage and religious liberty have forgotten the lessons of history.” –Mike Pence, US Vice President

“If they get the White House back, it will be open season on Christian ministries, on churches, the IRS will be able to persecute those faith-based organizations again. …They will be able to sue the Little Sisters of the Poor and drag God-fearing nuns into federal court again to make them pay for abortion. That’s what will happen” –Ralph Reed

“… What do you think of what is happening now? It’s just a bizarre time for most Americans”… Franklin Graham: “Well, I believe it’s almost a demonic power that is trying—” At which point Metaxas interjected, “I would disagree. It’s not almost demonic. You know and I know, at the heart, it’s a spiritual battle.” Graham “yes” …

Eric Metaxtas Interview with Franklin Graham

“There is a battle going on that will decide who we are as a people… we cannot sit back and hope this pendulum swings back toward sanity…. We are locked in a historic struggle between two fundamentally different systems of values… In this hostile environment, it is critically important we lawyers work to preserve the integrity of the Church and fend off encroachments on its beliefs and practices… We are being pushed steadily off the battlefield…  The third way in which the law is used to promote secularization is as a weapon directly against religion and religious institutions.”  –William Barr, Attorney General, assorted quotes.

I have hundreds of other similar quotes that all evoke this epic battle being fought today between the “Church” and the list of associated scoundrels, I could go on for pages.  Of course, there is one problem with this… it’s not biblical.  You see, Christ won complete and utter victory at the cross when he declared… “it is finished” (John 19:30).  The only battle that really matters is already won! 

The Biblical Truth of the Complete Victory of Christ at the Cross

Christ won a complete victory at the Cross and Calvary, over sin, death, Satan his demons, and all Evil, for ALL eternity.  ”And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” Col 2:15.  “ …by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Heb 2:14b-15).  “…now the prince of this world will be driven out.” (John 12:31b).   And when Jesus declared “it is finished” (John 19:30) he declared his Victory was UTTERLY complete, and there is simply nothing left for us or even God himself to do, except wait.  See also Rom 3:22 & 8:38-9 & 16:20, Rev 1:18 & 3:21, 20:13, Hebrews 2:14-15., John 12:31-33 & 16:11, Col 2:15, 1 John 2:13-4, 1 Cor 15:26, et al if you don’t believe me.  There few concepts in Scripture more certain than the COMPLETE an utter Victory of Christ at the Cross.

Any attempt to re-fight a war that Christ already has won, is an attempt to publicly declare the Cross and work of Christ… either a failure or irrelevant. We struggle against sin, and against Satan, but we don’t battle them, they are utterly defeated. We don’t and cannot truly “battle” with any force or especially with any group of people, because that very claim gives them far more power and greater position than they truly possess. When we lift any enemy up to the level of any “fight” we also bring God down.

The Manichean Heresy

This belief in a Battle of Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, Right versus Left is not a new heresy, it was first promoted by an ancient Christian sect of Manicheanism.  This was a strange hybrid of Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism and Gnosticism. It was enormously popular from the 2nd Century until the 7th century (despite being renounced immediately) still gathered enough followers that it spread through half of the known world, from Rome to China and rivaled the truch Church in size.   Manicheanism may be why the Nicene Creed includes the passage “one Baptism for the remission of sin” because the Manichean’s practiced multiple baptisms for sin.  This Christian heresy all revolved around an epic righteous battle that we must fight and a moral war we must win against “darkness”.   The summary of their belief system was really… a more Christian and moral version of Star Wars.  Give Jesus a light sabre and some moral lessons and you have Manicheanism nailed.

Any belief system that upholds an epic and ongoing battle between good and evil no matter how it tips the scales in “goods” favor or declares a future victory is Manicheanism.  Dominionism and Christian Nationalism is like the Star Wars they are drawn from always entertaining, but its fundamentally and inescapably heretical.

This “Epic Battle” heresy creates other problems as well.  Soldiers in combat are not judged by the same moral standards as “civilians”.  Today it’s easy to excuse and even justify the sins of those who “battle” with us especially political leaders, but in doing so we distort the righteousness of Christ to the world. In biblical Christianity the ends NEVER justify the means (the means are EVERYTHING, because the means ARE CHRIST himself, and the “end” is Christ’s alone), but the belief in epic battle begins to excuse all forms of sin and even atrocities as necessary evils in fighting for a larger goal.  As a consequence of this false battle, the ENTIRE perception of what is right and wrong has shifted in American Evangelicalism in only a few years, as vastly more Evangelical’s approve of immoral acts from leaders.  If you look back at atrocities committed by Christians through history, either the Catholics during the Crusades or Evangelical Nazi Germans during WWII, and wonder what they were thinking… this heretical belief in “a battle” we must fight and win quickly moves the moral goal posts into the realm of insanity.  As a result the true work of Christ is destroyed by the Church itself to the point that the damage can linger even a half millennium. Atheism is epidemic in Europe today because of the Catholic belief for centuries that the ends did justify the means.

Anyone who claims or even implies that Christians fight “a battle” with any human group or to spiritualize and temporal elements like politics, is to believe the Manichean heresy.

We can see evidence of utter and complete take over of Manichean heresy in many public Evangelical leaders today (note that he never mentions Jesus).

“What I want to say in closing is this election is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats. It’s a battle between good and evil, light and darkness, righteousness and unrighteousness. . . . This is the last chance we have, I’m convinced, as a country to turn this country around.”

Pastor Robert Jeffress

Evangelical’s Love of Guns and the Future Promise of Violence

Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Eliot Engel, Brad Sherman, and Charles Schumer are compelling calm, law-abiding, middle-class American citizens to prepare for the unthinkable: a violent civil war in America fought between the pagan left and the religious right. … The Democrats are forcing me to stockpile ammunition, food, water, and medical supplies to defend my family, home, and church. This is a bad dream that won’t end, and it’s brought to you by the Trump haters. I strongly encourage you to take immediate action to prepare your home and family for the worst. Don’t foolishly dismiss my warning that a revolution could erupt, or widespread civil disruptions, even civil war.

Pastor Rick Wiles

One of the elements that surprises and turns-off non-Christians to Evangelicalism is our love, neigh, obsession, with guns and especially assault rifles. You’d think the Second Amendment to the Constitution was taken word from word from Jesus. Historically this false belief and cult-like enthusiasm came into Evangelicalism from Rev. Sun Myung Moon, but its popularity is driven by this false belief the Church is fighting an epic battle and at some point this battle will get physical. Moon’s Unification Church actually owns 2 gun manufacturers, but its not driven by profit alone, its driven by our need and love for an epic Battle, and for our role in it to make us feel important. its likely that any “Christian” who is obsessed by guns and defending the 2nd Amendment has crossed fully in the Manichean heresy. It also creates the impression that Christians are obsessed with violent solutions to the world problems and power. And its extremely damaging to the true work of Christ and the Church.

It get’s worse. Dominionist and Washington state lawyer and legislator Rep. Matthew Shea (R), wrote a pamphlet called “Biblical Basis for War”. Shea is involved in training young people to fight a “holy war”, replacing the government with a theocracy and “the killing of all males who do not agree.” Shea’s actions and comments are such a severe degree he is being actively investigated for Domestic terrorism.

Its Our Ego That Gets in the Way

Of course if there is a battle fight, a hero is needed to step up and do the dirty work and this reveals why this heresy is so enduring and enticing: It makes us feel important. We are important, but not for the reason’s the Manichean/Dominionist/Christian National heretics beleive. We are important because we were all created in the Imago Dei (Image of God) and that Christ died for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), as Paul said “you were bought at a price” (1 Cor 6:20, 7:23). True and biblical humility is realizing our great value comes not from our own deeds, but is whole the work of both Father and Son at Creation and the Cross.

But an epic Battle needs an epic enemy to fight, it takes another heresy to create a worthy enemy…

>>> NEXT: Part 5: Creating an Enemy: The Heresy of Dualism

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