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Is America Headed Towards Theocracy?

Is the United States Headed Towards Theocracy?
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve known that some Christians want the United States to become a theocracy. I was surrounded by this kind of Christian in middle school.

Many of them were lovely people; others were not. What they all had in common was this: They believed that America could – and should – become a “Christian nation.” They believed in a society where our leaders held the Bible in one hand and the Constitution in the other. They had faith that “godly men” in positions of power and influence could bring about the salvation of our nation.

These friends, teachers, and classmates were part of a very powerful movement. Since the 1980s, this ideological force – the Religious Right – has gained enormous power. At the heart of this movement is the ideology of dominionism, the idea that Christian leaders should dominate all areas of society.

Dominionism identifies seven spheres in our nation’s culture: religion, government, business, the arts, education, family, and the media. To bring about the kingdom of God, each of these must be captured by godly leaders.

From my childhood experiences among the Religious Right, I know that this movement runs deep. An extensive network of preachers, politicians, congregations, and think tanks are working nonstop to transform our country into a place where godly men rule and everyone else obeys. Yet I have often underestimated how widespread and powerful this movement actually is.

This article from Salon.com – “How a Christian Movement is Growing Rapidly in the Midst of Religious Decline.” – helped remind me. It details a powerful dominionist network, rooted in the charismatic movement, that is intent on transforming American society. It differentiates itself from more traditional Christian movements in the following ways:

  • Rather than focusing on building congregations, it puts its energy into spreading beliefs and practices through conferences, ministry schools, and the media.
  • It focuses less on proselytizing non-believers and more on transforming society by placing like-minded leaders in powerful positions.
  • Rather than formally organized denominations, the movement is a network of independent leaders.

Reading this article my first thought was: “Hey, this sounds a lot like the Friends of Jesus Fellowship!” While Friends of Jesus does have a leadership core, we have a lot of freedom in how we organize ourselves. We don’t have a top-down structure. Instead, we encourage one another to explore what bold faithfulness looks like. When we take action, it is because the Holy Spirit directs us, not because a human leader ordered it.

We’re also not locked into building new congregations. Most of us attend a variety of churches – both Quaker and non-Quaker – that we did not start. We have gravitated towards building momentum through gatherings, teaching, and internet outreach.

And, like the dominionists, the Friends of Jesus Fellowship has not primarily aimed our message at non-believers. We’ve had a lot more success in energizing and encouraging folks who are already on the path.

So is Friends of Jesus a dominionist movement? No way! Here’s why:

Dominionism is obsessed with placing its leaders at the top of the pyramid. Friends of Jesus’ mission is to follow the homeless Messiah, the outcast, the forgotten one. We want to be friends of the Jesus, who became a slave and served others rather than placing himself over others.

Friends of Jesus is the complete opposite of dominionism. We’re a bottom-up community. We seek to follow Jesus’ example of self-emptying love.

The kingdom of God isn’t a domination system. It doesn’t look like our present world, except with better overlords. The way of Jesus doesn’t replace the rich, powerful people at the top with new elites. The Holy Spirit turns the whole social pyramid upside down!

It’s a huge challenge to think about what Jesus means when he says, “the last shall be first and the first shall be last.” Because this isn’t a mysterious metaphor. It’s economic, social, and political reality. The kingdom of God is about the presence of real love and justice, not the authority of human rulers. The only “dominion” in God’s new order is that of a servant, a lover, a friend.

Many Christians are chasing after political, social, and economic dominance. But we Friends of Jesus have another calling. To a more beautiful, joyful life. A life rooted in love, relationship, and reliance on God. An existence so free of anxiety that we are unafraid to lower ourselves and lift others up.

There’s room for you here. In the midst of all the confusion and hatred, come find the humble way of Jesus with us. Like any good network, we have a gathering coming up.

Related Posts:

The Parable of the Two Investors

What is the Life of the Spirit?

  • Robert O. Robbins

    Micah you have it nailed it here. The charismatic/evangelical movements of this country and the world in general feel it is their duty to build the Kingdom of God on Earth, by force if necessary. A very worldly goal wherein peace eludes. Our call is to live the Christ life of love and fellowship, that the Holy Spirit can build that kingdom through us, by love not force.

  • charlesburchfield

    …. America is headed Towards becoming more Theocratic in my humble opinion. Based on the Dynamic assumption of “us” the entitled and The Godly, versus “them” the ungodly subjects punishable by “us” The Godly, the “them” in this equation become objects of Correction. It seems to me that the “us” have faith in their god-given entitlement that they can Define, constitute, reconstitute, what it means to be Godly. I think they have presumed The exclusive right to put their people in positions of power and and this has become what they assume is their god-given mandate. Salvation of our Nation, by their definition, is de facto turning everything over to an oligarchic style of rule where the end justify the means.

    Indeed all areas of society, government, business, the arts, media, education, religion, medicine, family are becoming more demonic as the Trump era moves forward in time.

    bringing about the kingdom of the Antichrist is now more than ever a hideous reality. One can see it being deployed day by day in appointments of mediocre, Craven, duplicitous grifters and executive orders being perpetrated by this Rogue demagogue leader approved by the Evangelical right.

    the Evangelical right is only a pawn in their game in my humble opinion. nevertheless the new fascists are taking pages and chapters out of fundamentalist Playbook!! this movement has many Tentacles involving An extensive network of preachers, politicians, congregations, Global corporations and fascist autocracies. our country is eroding rapidly into a place where the so-called Godly rule and everyone else obeys on threat of exclusion and social death.

    Looking East lyrics by Jackson Browne
    At the edge of my country, my back to the sea, looking east
    Where the search for the truth is conducted with a wink and a nod
    And where power and position are equated with the grace of God
    These times are famine for the soul while for the senses it’s a feast
    From the edge of my country, as far as you see, looking east

    By comparison when one is in communion on a daily basis with the Holy Spirit one’s appointments are divine in my humble opinion. One is aware that one has only this moment to choose to do the next right thing, only this moment to persuade to be merciful, to choose peaceful means, only this unique opportunity to love and be aware of the need of the other one faces and one’s own needs in real time. One has only this moment to serve whoever is in one’s sphere of influence!!
    Micah I believe that you believe that the friends of Jesus Fellowship Movement is gravitated towards building momentum through gatherings, teaching, and internet outreach. And some of that speaks to “that of God in Me” and is favorable to my situation and time of life. I am grateful for Internet Outreach of your ministry. I pray that you are strengthened, favored, with more resources, and energy to encourage and gather those ones to whom the Lord has prepared to receive the blessing of community of a great people to be gathered!!

    it seems to me that in order to fulfill the mission to follow the homeless Messiah, the outcast, the forgotten one needs to be prepared to become one of the Outcast, one of the forgotten, one of the crucified ones ultimately. I have lately been inspired by Corrie Ten Boom in this regard. Have you ever read The Hiding Place? Her whole family was decimated because they were willing to hide Jews during the Nazi regime and occupation in Holland. perhaps eminent opportunities to follow Jesus example of self emptying are at hand with the Immigrant situation and the refugees that exist in our world today.

    The kingdom of the Antichrist is a domination system. The Church of antichrist seeks to put its approved overlords and requisite Elites in charge of every Power structure that effects the children’s future, the future existence of the human race. “Our country right or wrong”, “smash-and-grab”,
    “the first shall be first” are the slogans of the new totalitarians who are threatened by the presence of real love and justice. You know they will double down, triple down, quadruple down, using all violence within their means to eradicate such and all those who would use peaceful means to achieve such.

    Quaker query: how can you know, without being tested, that God’s new order is that of a servant, a lover, a friend?
    What if you become a victim of occupation by minions of a fascist state who has temporarily perpetrated a coup?

    As a friend of Jesus I think one has the task before one of living out one’s days listening for and relying on Direction from the Holy Spirit. It’s not certain that one’s life will be more beautiful, joyful, creative, rooted in love in my humble opinion, but one may occasionally know these things, have a clean conscience and peace Within. I tell myself everyday that nothing can separate me from the love of God. I have yet to be totally convinced of that this is true!! The best I could do is have a daily reprieve from drinking and using drugs to end my life. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cd9bfa6e20087e9977f6982a65c50791448e880fc6cde5384450ce60a7ea0f7b.jpg