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Dominion

By R. J. Rushdoony
August 01, 2000

Our theological position is known variously as Christian reconstruction, theonomy, or dominion theology. All three terms are accurate.

The requirement of dominion appears first in Genesis 1:28. It is God's command to man to make the world God's kingdom by bringing everything under God's rule and purpose. Eden, an enclosed area, was to be man's pilot project towards this worldwide goal. The whole earth, everything in it, and man were to be under God's dominion. In Genesis 1:28, God commands man as his only rightful Lord, i.e., He lays down the law to Adam and to all mankind in and through him.

The second great occasion of God's summons to dominion comes to and through Moses in the giving of the law. Law is a key means toward dominion. The giver of law is the lord of that people and society. In the modern world, either the state is the law or, as in anarchism, the individual. By denying the validity of God's law for all time, antinomians have denied the lordship of Christ. Logically, many of them deny His lordship.

A lawgiver simply says, by enacting laws, I am Lord. In early America, the Bible was the lawbook used by courts and juries, and constitutions simply governed procedures of operation. The U. S. and various early state constitutions simply set forth procedures of operation, not laws in the historic sense.

The fundamental test on this in the New Testament is Matthew 6:33, But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. God's righteousness (or, it can be translated, justice), His law, must be sought first by His people.

But today, those who claim to be His people commonly deny His law and see this as a moral stance! They deny morality in the name of morality!

Humanism substitutes man's law for God's law because its god is man. Humanism vilifies those who adhere to God's law because it is a threat to man's claims to sovereignty.

Because most churches are antinomian, Christianity is in retreat. In the twentieth century, U. S. church membership increased dramatically while its influence decreased phenomenally. Antinomian churches, churches which bypass God's law have, whether or not they admit it, another god than Jesus Christ. And so, with full churches, Christianity so-called is in retreat. In fact, it hates dominion theology quite commonly.

The state, with its man-made laws, seeks false dominion, or domination. The Son makes us free, but the humanistic state makes us slaves. Only when the Son makes us free are we free indeed, according to Scripture. The modern state defines freedom in terms of its lordship, not Christ's.

By denying, avoiding, or revising God's law, the modern church has transferred sovereignty and dominion to man and the state, the prerequisite to slavery. It sees God's law as bondage rather than evidence of God's sovereignty and our freedom under God. Law is not for us salvation, but for the redeemed of God, it is freedom under God. Or do we wait for Christ's lordship until heaven?! If so, we may wait in vain. How can Christ be our Lord in heaven if He is not now our Lord?

How can we have Christ as our Savior if we deny His lordship? If the Lord has no dominion over us now, how can He see us as His people? If we want salvation without lordship, can we have either?

The subject of dominion, of lordship, is basic to the Bible. Should it not be basic to our faith and law? Can we truly believe in the Bible from cover to cover and deny dominion, law, and lordship?

The fact of hostility to us for our dominion theology is a sad one. We must see a change soon; or else Christian churches will retreat into at least irrelevance. And true Christianity can never be irrelevant.


Topics: Dominion, Christian Reconstruction, Biblical Law, Justice

R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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