First published on Christian Controverser
In part 1 of this two part series, dominionism and some related theologies were examined. Part 2 continues this discussion more in relation to the 2020 presidential elections in the US.
A key aspect of dominionism closely tied to dispensationalism is the belief that Christians must help to usher in the “end times” and the second coming of Christ. This is why the 45th president’s evangelical supporters pressed him to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and in fact why the US government has such a big level of Christian support for the State of Israel. As is clearly seen in the series of posts from this blog on the subject of dispensationalism, this theological heresy elevates Israel to a superior status over the New Testament church (clearly unscriptural) and advocates for a return of the Jewish temple and sacrificial system. These beliefs essentially deny the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ applies to Jews and are therefore a key part of the US government relationship with modern day Israel. The particular issue with the 45th president is his willingness to comply with such demands from his evangelical supporters that other Republican presidents would have turned down. A key component of dispensationalist “end times” teaching is that there will be a seven year peace treaty in the Middle East involving the Antichrist and one world leader. These heresies are of course part of the credulousness that white evangelicalism in the US in general incorporates.
The major theme in US evangelical circles this year of course has been the re-election campaign for POTUS 45. In the course of the election campaign, many prophecies were made by key Christian leaders that POTUS 45, the Republican candidate, would be re-elected. This has not gone to plan, with the Democratic candidate now having received enough certified votes from states across the US to carry the Electoral College when it meets December 14th, 2020. However some of these Christian “prophets” have continued campaigning and holding prayer rallies believing somehow that God will overturn the election result. They are also promoting extensive conspiracy theories about the election, a key theme being that machines that count votes used software that was deliberately rigged to flip votes to the Democratic candidate. Numerous other claims of fraudulent voting have been made, however many legal challenge brought forth with these allegations by POTUS 45’s campaign and supporters have been quashed.
The problem really for the US evangelical church is that its fervent POTUS 45 supporters have likely made a major contribution to POTUS 45’s continued refusal to concede the election and to begin the transition to handing over to his successor. This situation is virtually without precedent in US history. The massive campaign to challenge the election results mainly on the basis of unsubstianted conspiracy theories is chilling for its implications for democracy. One of the most heinous aspects of this has been the attempts to discredit the entire elections in various states in order to create a basis for the state government (usually Republican) to appoint its own Republican slate of electors to the electoral college and so deny the Democratic candidate the votes he needs to win.
The extent to which this has been backed by Christian conservative supporters of the Republican Party suggests very much that their key objective is to win power at all costs. The problems of course that this creates for the Christian church in America in general are huge. The key function of the Church is, of course, to preach the gospel, but in the United States, groups of Christian evangelicals have instead made politics and political power their major objective. The 2016 presidential election campaign was quite different than other political campaigns involving Republican presidents who were seen to be important to helping evangelical groups achieve their political goals. In POTUS 45 they got someone quite different, someone who has allowed himself to be influenced by evangelicals a great deal more than his Republican predecessors. However, this is most probably not because the 45th president is being called by God to undertake those actions, but because of his narcissistic personality he has taken a great many actions unilaterally and without regard for wisdom.
With evangelicals now believing that their president is mandated divinely by God, any suggestion he would lose the election has been taken extremely badly. Dozens of so called prophecies have been published predicting an election win and calling the election result fraudulent etc. The first big problem for the US evangelical community is that prophecy has become so discredited within it because of the many claims made in past generations in the name of dispensationalism and supposed end-times events and timelines. Not only have there been the claims that president 45 would win re-election, but also his opponent was denigrated widely by the same evangelical leaders using extraordinarily hyperbole unable to be taken seriously by impartial observers. The second major issue is that politics within the US as a whole over the past term has become extremely divisive, which the church has found itself in the regrettable position of contributing to rather than solving. This is in part because of blind allegiance to or serious idolatry of Trump. Ultimately the American evangelical church has not done itself a lot of favours in the last four years and assuming that POTUS 45 is indeed out of office, as it would be extremely wise for all of his supporters in the Christian community to admit, the most important issue to be considered in the coming term is whether the conservative evangelical community in the US and worldwide who have unquestioningly championed the 45th president are capable of stepping back and focusing on reconciliation rather than maintaining their strident divisive ideological cant.