07 February 2017

Dominionism Infecting Romania's Evangelicals

Romanian Evangelical leader and aspiring political player Adrian Petrice claims he isn't looking for a theocracy or seeking political control but he's using all the language and concepts found in Dominion Theology. It's obvious that he has picked up these concepts from Western Evangelical influence.

He speaks of:
There is a real need for more Christians to pursue a political career as a calling, not as to a job.
I strongly believe that every legitimate human activity can be redeemed by the power of the gospel, and that we should have enough faith to include politics, in spite of being deemed as of the most corrupt area(sic) in our society.
Were these attitudes and concepts derived from the study of Scripture? Not at all. These impulses have been planted. These seeds arrived with the Lausanne Movement and are now bearing serious fruit. Dormant for a generation the current social and political climate is giving these ideas a new context and thus a new lease on life.
Romania is currently in a state of turmoil due to a corruption scandal. The people have taken to the streets and in numbers not seen since the 1989 uprising that led to the downfall of Nicolae Ceaușescu.
Petrice believes it is the obligation of Evangelicals to take to the streets and challenge the legitimacy of the political order.
He says:
What we see these days is that the civic conscience of professing Christians, and particularly evangelicals is stirred up by these outrageous measures and many are taking the streets to join the massive protests. This is a step forward, that goes beyond just praying on Sundays in churches for those in authority, according to 1 Timothy 2:1,2. Hopefully more Christians will understand that under a democratic regime, citizen rights come citizen duties, and that "when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty', to use the quote by Thomas Jefferson, that was widely used these days in Romania.
To be quite honest these statements anger me. Petrice has not discovered these notions through the study of Scripture. In fact repeatedly throughout the interview he quotes Scripture and then indicates the idea, the posture of Christian vis-à-vis the state as presented in the New Testament is not only insufficient, but deficient.
Once again, Dominion theology clearly demonstrates a rejection of Scripture's Sufficiency or to put it in the common parlance... The Gospel is not enough. At least that's how Charles Colson put it. While it does not diminish the magnitude of the error, his candor is to be appreciated.
Scripture does not advocate democracy nor ratify it. If it is the form of regime in power then so be it, but nowhere are we told to support the state, participate in its rituals or agenda and we're certainly not called to politically resist it, and especially not in the name of the Church. Petrice like all Dominionists has turned Romans 13 on its head. He has corrupted the words of Christ with regard to Caesar and read obligations into the statement of Christ that were not part of his message.
And further this is buttressed by the sinful and erroneous statements of the apostate and enemy of Christ, one Thomas Jefferson. How heartening to know that American Evangelicalism with its fusion of Enlightenment Liberalism and Christianity has now exported this filth to believers abroad. Scripture is denigrated as now the task of the Christian is to transform culture and whether Petrice is being honest (even with himself) or not... to gain control and make the Kingdom of God manifest through cultural and political expression. Once again it's the Tower of Babel with a cross on top. Such is the vision of Billy Graham and Lausanne.
Thank-you for exporting this heresy to Europe and infecting a new generation with it.
These ideas have been growing and developing for a generation. Previously they couldn't gain a lot of traction, but with the end of the Cold War a generation that has grown up with Islamic terrorism, political and economic crises and now resurgent nationalism in the form of populism... everything is on the table.
The corruption in the Romanian political system is disappointing to be sure, but hardly anything new. Study the history and context of Romania and you will better understand why its culture is the way it is. To expect Romanians to embrace Western Liberalism within a generation of 1989 is to misunderstand their reality. Of course this also assumes that Western Liberalism is a good thing and appropriate in every situation and setting. I do not for a moment subscribe to such views.
And in no way shape or form will I agree the values associated with Western Liberalism represent what Scripture teaches. Petrice's own quotations condemn his views as sub-Scriptural at best and demonstrate once more the deep flaws and Biblically subversive attitudes present within Evangelicalism.


  1. American religion is such a bizarre phenomenon. Naive people (like Verduin among many others) supposed that the American experiment represented a break with the European tradition of Constantine and its many variants. There was no pope and no established church, whether as an erastian department of state or in the Lutheran sense of alternative, but many time subordinate, society viz. Two Kingdoms. But what happened was something that boggles the imagination: over the centuries we have an establishment churches, depending less on the State than a cultivated public ethos, and a form of an erastian settlement where missionaries and preachers are used as the 4th(5th) branch of the government. In our more secularized society, this has expanded to include the NGO and the non-profit, which is many times only a secularized version of a previous ecumenical, extra ecclesial arm.

    The question reveals bafflement and a lack of category: American Christianity, what is it? And how is it exported? Why would others want it? There are other ways to accumulate American support, or is this a new strategy of tapping directly into Evangelicals rather than going through a middleman, like an Evangelical-elected US Presidency?

    Still, it's such a bizarre phenomenon. It defies the more simple consolidations of erastians or Roman caesaropapism. Its strength is its decentralized organization, which no one can merely squelch. And yet, at times, it is like the comical two-headed ogre, each head unaware that the other shares the same body.


  2. This is a breath of fresh air! I can't believe how good this blog is. It's like someone took my thoughts which I've had trouble articulating, and put them into written word. Also, as someone who spent three years in the middle east as a missionary, and plans on going back long term in the near future, I can tell you, I've seen dominionism exported to foreign lands. Typically, it is exported by seven mountain dominionist charismatics associated with groups like YWAM. Anyways, thanks for all you do. I just discovered this place about two weeks ago.

    P.S. I would love to see you write about Trump's EO in regards to the refugee ban. I also think it would be neat to see how dominionism relates to fear(i.e. fear of "losing culture"), and how this might effect evangelism.

    1. Thank you for the rather uplifting note. It's the elephant in the room that everyone seems to miss. Modern Dominionism is just a re-casting of older doctrines connected to the changes that took place with Constantine and the Christianisation of the Roman Empire. It completely changed the nature of Biblical doctrine and in many cases turned it on its head. There were always voices of dissent but in our day they are very few. The views I articulate seem isolated and unprecedented in our day but that's not the case. Many former groups (even into the 19th and early 20th century) understood these issues and yet the teaching has been all but lost. The Reformation corrected many of Rome's errors but not this one. In fact the Protestant re-casting of the Sacralist-Constantinian-Christendom doctrine proved more robust and in our own day of ascendant secularism, the current incarnation is perhaps the most extreme yet.

    2. As far as the Executive Order, it's clear that American Dominionism has embraced a historical narrative about the United States and its founding. This facilitates the nationalism that so dominates American Churches. While I grew up in the context I have to say I was rather shocked by what happened after 9/11. It just completely transformed this impulse and took it to a new level.
      Though it is denied by its adherents Nationalism almost always implies (whether implicit or explicit) a racist impulse. Imperialism certainly does. The modern situation is indeed a wonder as so many people Christians included have embraced lies about the nature of the US, its history and its means of projecting power. It's an empire of unprecedented magnitude but has successfully marketed itself (to its own population) of being a non-imperial benevolent power. This allows Christians to embrace it even while they also embrace the most sinister aspects of what it is.
      This is all changing though. Evangelicalism is being transformed, its become more defined in terms of the Culture War (as opposed to doctrine) and that's taking a tribalist and even racist turn for some. Steve Bannon's accomplishment is in bringing together the secular-quasi-religious nationalist and even white supremacist groups and creating a space wherein they can meet and collaborate with Evangelicals.

      While I find Trump's administration disturbing I am far more concerned about what his presidency means for Evangelicals. They voted him in and the question is in their selling-out to have access to power... how far will they go?

  3. I am rather surprised at how many Separatist groups, Fundamentalists, Church of Christ, Brethren are all abandoning their heritage and becoming hyper-political partisans. I've been looking at several pastor's blogs and facebook pages... there's a lot more pro-Trump stuff than anything else. Not a lot of discernment, not a lot of shepherding and it shows. I cannot recall the last time I heard a Bible-based exegetical sermon. Sure, texts are quoted but they're not taught. I think things are in a very dire state.

  4. Proto, you said evangelicalism is being transformed and becoming more defined in terms of culture war rather than doctrine. I agree with you. But isn't the root of the problem the doctrine exposed by the majority of evangelicalism, which leads to culture war. It seems to me that ultimately, ones doctrine effects how we view culture, so in a sense, they're inseparable. And in the case of evangelicalism, the doctrine under girding everything is dominionism/transformationalism.

  5. Right. What I meant was that in the past the label Evangelical used to apply to set of beliefs or doctrines that had arisen out of both historic Protestantism and perhaps the Fundamentalist movement of the early 20th century.

    Today, the definition has changed and now it just means anyone, Catholic, Mormon, Adventist, Charismatic, historical Protestant who more or less aligns with the GOP and pursues conservative politics. All these people, Santorum, Beck, Carson, Osteen and figures like Keller, Piper, Graham and Falwell are all counted as Evangelicals to some degree. The term has shifted from its original meaning.

    That said, you're right. The seeds for this shift were already in place. Though the term antedates the 1950s, the American version of Evangelicalism born of the post-war period was from the beginning an attempt to reach the wider culture and thus theologically it laid the foundation for where it is today. The virus is theological and harks back to Wittenburg, Geneva and ultimately Rome.