Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Friday, December 11, 2015

Choral Arrangement: "My Song in the Night" by the Salt Lake Vocal Artists

My Song in the Night - Salt Lake Vocal Artists

Published on May 8, 2012
The Salt Lake Vocal Artists perform "My Song in the Night" arr. by Paul Christiansen live in concert on March 24, 2012 in the Waterford School Concert Hall, under the direction of Dr. Brady Allred.

“I call to remembrance my song in the night:
I commune with my own heart, and
my spirit made diligent search.”

“Where is God my maker,
who giveth songs in the night?”

My Song In The Night

O Jesus, my Savior, my song in the night
Come to us with Thy tender love, my souls’ delight,
Unto Thee O Lord in affliction I call,
My comfort by day and my song In the night.
O why should I wander an alien from Thee,
Or cry in the desert Thy face to see,
My comfort and joy, my souls’ delight,
O Jesus my Savior, my song in the night

Dominion Theology is not God's Theology of the Cross

Dominion Theology is not God's Theology of the Cross

Continuing from the other day's conversation, "What or Whom Do We Choose? The Bible or Jesus?" I would like to press this point home a bit further....

The ideologies of Dominion-based Christianity assumes it must "win" our nation or the world to the church by political and military force. Which is the height of foolishness to think the church should bear arms to "defend her God in the way of righteous living." Did Jesus do this when He came? No.

Firstly then, let us remove the picture from our heads of the God of the Old Testament as a divine warlord come to revenge Himself on all of mankind's evil empires and kingdoms. Or from the apostle John's book of Revelation picturing God as coming again with sword in His hand to judge all sin and evil so that it might be banished from the earth forever.

Did you not know that Jesus has already done this through the Cross of His suffering and sacrifice? That sin and evil has already been defeated? But don't think that guns and bullets, tanks and planes, will banish the false graven images of the God whom we falsely bear upon our hearts, minds, and souls. Nay, the work of the Cross - and the helping works of ministries - is where the final death of sin and evil must occur. Within our very human breasts and nourishing hands of hope and healing. By words that bind wounds and not open them up again.

These are the places where the false images of God must go to die so that when we read of the Old Testament's promises of God's fulfillment, or of John's revelation of Jesus' victory, we see these bourne amongst the kingdoms of men who have bowed themselves to God's glory and honor through humbling their hearts to one another.

Nor has God created this world for us to re-design or destroy in our own fallible image. He gave us His blessings by giving to us very humanity itself as our strength and blessing. As a bond for our solidarity. As a sign of our unity. So that neither by blood nor by death can God's holy creation be improved but by allowing life to simply grow and flourish in its diversity. To teem about the lands and waters by learning to listen, respect, and work with one another. Thus has God's Season of Advent become His Resurrection Song. A poetry that the very elements of the Eucharist itself speaks to through serving one another rather than harming one another.

It is a simple thing actually. This thing we think of as "salvation history" or "kingdom eschatology." There is no dominion in it at all but instead a full working partnership between God and man as man learns to work and live in peace and goodwill with one another. The banners of the Cross shall be the banners of our convicted hearts. The swords we would pick up are to be beaten into implements for food and agriculture. The shields we bear better served as tables of wine and fellowship celebrating life's joys with one another.

How much harder can this kind of creationist eschatology be actually? To think of the book of Revelation as a symbolic war where sin and evil are put to death by the powers of God's Redemption built upon the war tools of love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, and hope? To see the devils of the air as the very devils of our own hearts and minds refusing the simplicity of the Cross for something so much greater - not realizing that great things have already come and are even now happening.

These may have been the "biblical" pictures of God held back in ancient times but the discerning postmodern church of the 21st century has learned by hard, bitter experience that the way to serve  and worship God is not by taking up arms to "conquer" its sinful neighbors but by reaching out in love and service across the many waters of misunderstanding and betrayal.

That the God who revealed Himself in the New Testament revealed Himself as the God-man Jesus. Him of humble birth and lowly parental origins who was worshipped by angels and by kings at the "night of His birth" to receive the crowns of heaven-and-earth praising Him for the salvation He bore upon His life-breath, body, and soul.

That this Saviour Jesus did not come to simply effect His commands given to Moses on Mt. Sinai to the people of Israel to learn and obey. But to effect God's greater commands of loving your neighbor and enemy as fitting service to obeying God's New Testament commands written in His own blood and by His own death upon a Cross of weakness, defeat, and shame.

But let us not be so foolish to think that this Cross was anything as weak, or defeating, or shameful, because this God was raised from the dead both as sacrificial lamb and as the lion of Judah. He who was the King of David and very God of very God. That in weakness Jesus effected the power of God's salvation to all men everywhere. Whose death was no mere defeat but a victory for all time eternal. Whose only shame is that men should continue in their evil and sin refusing to bow to the mighty work of God required of a sinful people.

From Jesus Himself, as spoken through the apostles and prophets of His Word, speaks the Holy One of "Him Who Is, and Was, and Will Be" declaring to every man present, "Lay down your sword! No more shall ye put your enemy to death! Learn to love, and serve, and respect one another! And by these sacred covenantal elements that were once old but are now made new in Me shall you find your salvation I have promised!"

Essentially, Christian dominion theology had got God's narrative exactly backwards. The way to God and His Kingdom is not through political and military force but by the Cross of weakness, defeat, and shame. That the way of Jesus is through the weak and the foolish things of this world such as peace, love, and unity. And not by our own human means of "lawful living condemning others unlike us so that we continue to strive and fight with one another."

Nay, this is not God's plan. It is our own bad plans brought on by the lies of the devil and by our unholy, prideful hearts. We do not make God's kingdom - it has already been made for us. We are to but simply relax and lie down and learn to rest in the plan God had already set in place before we came along and tore it all apart.

Moreover, to assume that God needs our help is arrogance in the extreme. What God really needs help with is us doing our simple duty of respecting one another and learning to refrain from making rash polarizing statements about "them liberals, those communies, those Muslims!"

When a Christian makes these statements they reveal the short-sightedness of their ideologies which makes God a prisoner of their religious systems rather than recognizing that God is doing just fine in enacting His plan of resurrection into the world.

More rather it is the evil which we continue to commit that is the reason God's plan seems so painfully slow. Should we stop hating one another, going to war with one another, and judging one another, we would get there a lot faster.

As such, God's blessing is found in the diversity and solidarity of humanity and not in our own graven images of what we think His plan is, be it dominion theology, or reconstructionist endeavors, or even churches built everywhere to worship Him. Remember, God's plans look like foolishness to us but it is exactly those foolish plans which will allow God to effect the redemption He has brought to you through His life-force and self-sacrifice. This is our hope and promise of the future.


R.E. Slater
December 11, 2015


* * * * * * * * * * *

Wrath and Governing Authorities

J.R. Daniel Kirk
May 30, 2011

Romans 13 is a tremendously challenging passage.

Sort of.

What makes it so challenging for many New Testament scholars is that it offers so little challenge to the status quo:

  • The same Paul who says that the cross is the unmasking of the blindness of the rulers of the world tells people to be subject to governing authorities.
  • The same Paul who proclaims Jesus as Lord now invites subjugation to earthly lords.
  • The same Paul whose gospel turns the economy of the world on its head–especially with regard to justice and retribution–here affirms the economy of the world as established by God–especially with regard to justice and retribution.

Choice One - Submit to Earthly Powers

People have taken this passage in several ways. Some have suggested that it’s simply as clear as it seems: God established earthly rule for our good, so we should submit.

Choice Two - Be a Blessing

Some have suggested that its force comes, at least in part, from the temporary nature of this age. Paul expected Jesus to return soon, so we can endure self-aggrandizing governments until Christ returns to judge the earth.

Reading through Rom 12-13, I was struck by parallels in language and started to wonder if there might be something subversive about the way Paul frames things.

Romans 12 implores the readers not to repay anyone evil for evil (κακὸν ἀντὶ κακοῦ), a command echoed at the end of ch. 12 with the exhortation not to be overcome by evil (τοῦ κακοῦ) but to overcome the evil by good.

In between these two exhortations? The idea that we don’t take our own revenge, we do the good, because we leave room for God’s wrath, God’s vengeance.

Vengeance is God’s realm. Ours is blessing: feed your hungry enemy; give drink to the thirsty enemy. (Anyone hear echoes of the Sermon on the mount? Going the extra mile, giving cloak in addition to cloak?) This testifies to a confidence in the economy of God–a testimony that may enlighten our enemies about the nature of the God we serve, or that might cause them to incur greater debt in this God’s economy.

Do good. Bless your enemy. And all that to leave room for God’s own wrath.

The Dilemma

Are we to forget all this when we come to ch. 13 and are told to subject ourselves to the governing authorities? Opposition is a cause of fear for us here–not subjection. And, there is fear from authorities only for those who do the evil thing (τῷ κακῷ).

Are we in that same realm of “repaying”? Of acting out against unjust government–with evil? Note that there is a specific kind of response in view (“evil”), and that it’s parallel to what Paul told us to avoid in ch. 12.

Even more, Paul exhorts us to feed the hungry coffers and irrigate the thirsty Imperial treasury: “Render to all what is due them, tax to whom tax is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”

On the one hand, Paul issues a simple call to submit to those who order the world around us.

But perhaps, not too far below the surface, is an expectation that we can submit to such governing authorities because they themselves are subject to the judgment of God. And if we would see them unseated and repaid for their ill work, the thing to do is “heap burning coals on their heads” by returning blessing for their insults and persecutions.

This opens the door to the idea that Rom 13 is about more than mere submission and honor of the government. It cracks open, perhaps, a view of the cosmos in which such submission might play a larger role in bringing about true justice, justice that cannot be meted out by the hands of kings.

What that might mean for us in our own context either as we endure evil, or as we think about participating in our Republic’s governance, or see evil perpetrated in countries other than our own–this doesn’t answer any of those questions. But it might open up another avenue of reflection on what faithful Christian earthly citizenship might mean, and how it relates to the economy of the Kingdom of God.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Dominion Theology
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dominion Theology is a theocratic ideology that seeks to implement a nation governed by conservative Christians ruling over the rest of society based on their understanding of biblical law. Dominion Theology is related totheonomy, though it does not necessarily advocate Mosaic law as the basis of government.

Prominent adherents of Dominion Theology are otherwise theologically diverse, including the Calvinist Christian Reconstructionism and the charismatic/Pentecostal Kingdom Now theology and New Apostolic Reformation.

The term Dominion Theology is applied primarily among non-mainstream Protestants in the United States. Some elements within the mainstream Christian right have been influenced by Dominion Theology authors. Indeed, some writers have applied the term "Dominionism" more broadly to the mainstream Christian right, implicitly arguing that that movement is founded upon a theology that requires Christians to govern over non-Christians. Mainstream conservatives do not call themselves "Dominionists," and the usage has sparked considerable controversy.


The term "Dominion Theology" is derived from the King James Bible's rendering of Genesis 1:28, the passage in which God grants humanity "dominion" over the Earth.

And God blessed [ Adam and Eve ], and God said unto them, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."

In the late 1980s, several prominent evangelical authors used the phrase Dominion Theology (and other terms such as dominionism) to label a loose grouping of theological movements that made direct appeals to this passage in Genesis.[1] Christians typically interpret this passage as meaning that God gave humankind responsibility over the Earth, but the distinctive aspect of Dominion Theology is that it is interpreted as a mandate for Christian stewardship in civil affairs, no less than in other human matters.

Seven Mountains

David Barton has advocated what he calls "seven mountains prophecy" where Christian conservatives should control and dominate "family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business and government.[2]


Most of the contemporary movements labeled Dominion Theology or Dominionism arose in the 1970s in religious movements reasserting aspects of Christian nationalism. Ideas for how to accomplish this vary. Very doctrinaire versions of Dominion Theology are sometimes called "Hard Dominionism" or "Theocratic Dominionism," because they seek relatively authoritarian theocratic or theonomic forms of government.

Christian Reconstructionism

An example of Dominionism in reformed theology is Christian Reconstructionism, which originated with the teachings of R. J. Rushdoony in the 1960s and 1970s. Rushdoony's theology focuses on theonomy (the rule of the Law of God), a belief that all of society should be ordered according to the laws that governed the Israelites in the Old Testament. His system is strongly Calvinistic, emphasizing the sovereignty of God over human freedom and action, and denying the operation of charismatic gifts in the present day (cessationism); both of these aspects are in direct opposition to Kingdom Now Theology.

Full adherents to Reconstructionism are few and marginalized among most Christians.[3][4][5] Dave Hunt,[6] Hal Lindsey,[7] and Thomas Ice[8] specifically criticize Christian Reconstructionism from a Christian viewpoint, disagreeing on theological grounds with its theocratic elements as well as its Calvinism and postmillennialism. J. Ligon Duncan,[9] Sherman Isbell,[10] Vern Poythress,[11] Robert Godfrey,[12] and Sinclair Ferguson[13] analyze Reconstructionism as conservative Calvinists, primarily giving a theological critique of its theocratic elements.

Michael J. McVicar has noted that many leading Christian Reconstructionists are also leading writers on libertarian economic theories.[14]

Social scientists have used the word "dominionism" to refer to adherence to Christian Reconstructionism.[15][16][17]

Kingdom Now theology

Kingdom Now theology is a branch of Dominion Theology which has had a following within Pentecostalism. It attracted attention in the late 1980s.[18][19]

Kingdom Now theology states that although Satan has been in control of the world since the Fall, God is looking for people who will help him take back dominion. Those who yield themselves to the authority of God's apostles and prophets will take control of the kingdoms of this world, being defined as all social institutions, the "kingdom" of education, the "kingdom" of science, the "kingdom" of the arts, etc.[20] C. Peter Wagner, the founder of the New Apostolic Reformation, writes: "The practical theology that best builds a foundation under social transformation is dominion theology, sometimes called 'Kingdom Now.' Its history can be traced back through R. J. Rushdoony andAbraham Kuyper to John Calvin."[21]

Kingdom Now theology is influenced by the Latter Rain movement,[22] and critics have connected it to the New Apostolic Reformation,[23] "Spiritual Warfare Christianity",[22] and Fivefold ministry thinking.[24]

Kingdom Now theology should not be confused with Kingdom theology, which is related to inaugurated eschatology.

Dominion Theology and the Christian Right
See also: Christian right

In the late 1980s sociologist Sara Diamond[25][26] began writing about the intersection of Dominion Theology with the political activists of the Christian Right. Diamond argued that "the primary importance of the [Christian Reconstructionist] ideology is its role as a catalyst for what is loosely called 'dominion theology.'" According to Diamond, "Largely through the impact of Rushdoony's and North's writings, the concept that Christians are Biblically mandated to 'occupy' all secular institutions has become the central unifying ideology for the Christian Right."[25]:138 (emphasis in original) in the United States.

While acknowledging the small number of actual adherents, authors such as Sara Diamond and Frederick Clarkson have argued that postmillennial Christian Reconstructionism played a major role in pushing the primarily premillennial Christian Right to adopt a more aggressive dominionist stance.[27]

Misztal and Shupe concur that “Reconstructionists have many more sympathizers who fall somewhere within the dominionist framework, but who are not card-carrying members.”[28] According to Diamond, "Reconstructionism is the most intellectually grounded, though esoteric, brand of dominion theology."[27]

Journalist Frederick Clarkson[29][30] defined dominionism as a movement that, while including Dominion Theology and Reconstructionism as subsets, is much broader in scope, extending to much of the Christian Right in the United States.

In his 1992 study of Dominion Theology and its influence on the Christian Right, Bruce Barron writes,

In the context of American evangelical efforts to penetrate and transform public life, the distinguishing mark of a dominionist is a commitment to defining and carrying out an approach to building society that is self-consciously defined as exclusively Christian, and dependent specifically on the work of Christians, rather than based on a broader consensus.[31]

In 1995, Diamond called the influence of Dominion Theology "prevalent on the Christian Right".[32]

Journalist Chip Berlet added in 1998 that, although they represent different theological and political ideas, dominionists assert a Christian duty to take "control of a sinful secular society."[33]

In 2005, Clarkson enumerated the following characteristics shared by all forms of dominionism:[34]

  • Dominionists celebrate Christian nationalism, in that they believe that the United States once was, and should once again be, a Christian nation. In this way, they deny the Enlightenment roots of American democracy.
  • Dominionists promote religious supremacy, insofar as they generally do not respect the equality of other religions, or even other versions of Christianity.
  • Dominionists endorse theocratic visions, insofar as they believe that the Ten Commandments, or "biblical law," should be the foundation of American law, and that the U.S. Constitution should be seen as a vehicle for implementing Biblical principles.[34]

Essayist Katherine Yurica began using the term dominionism in her articles in 2004, beginning with "The Despoiling of America", (February 11, 2004),[35][36][37] Authors who also use the term dominionism in the broader sense include journalist Chris Hedges [38][39][40] Marion Maddox,[41] James Rudin,[42] Michelle Goldberg,[43][44] Kevin Phillips,[45] Sam Harris,[46] Ryan Lizza,[47] Frank Schaeffer,[48] and the group TheocracyWatch.[49] Some authors have applied the term to a broader spectrum of people than have Diamond, Clarkson, and Berlet.

Sarah Posner in Salon argues that there are various "iterations of dominionism that call on Christians to enter...government, law, media and so fort...so that they are controlled by Christians." According to Posner, "Christian right figures promoted dominionism...and the GOP courted...religious leaders for the votes of their followers." She added: "If people really understood dominionism, they’d worry about it between election cycles."[50]

Michelle Goldberg notes[51] that George Grant, wrote in his 1987 book The Changing of the Guard: Biblical Principles for Political Action:“Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ — to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness.....But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice.... Christian politics has as its primary intent the conquest of the land — of men, families, institutions, bureaucracies, courts, and governments for the Kingdom of Christ.”
A spectrum of dominionism

Writers including Chip Berlet[52] and Frederick Clarkson[34] distinguish between what they term "hard" and "soft" dominionism. Such commentators define "soft" dominionism as the belief that "America is a Christian nation" and opposition to separation of church and state, while "hard" dominionism refers to dominion theology and Christian Reconstructionism.

Michelle Goldberg uses the terms "Christian Nationalism" and "Dominionism" for the former view.[43] According to Goldberg:

In many ways, Dominionism is more a political phenomenon than a theological one. It cuts across Christian denominations, from stern, austere sects to the signs-and-wonders culture of modern megachurches. Think of it like political Islamism, which shapes the activism of a number of antagonistic fundamentalist movements, from Sunni Wahabis in the Arab world to Shiite fundamentalists in Iran.[53]

Berlet and Clarkson have agreed that "[s]oft Dominionists are Christian nationalists."[52] Unlike "dominionism", the phrase "Christian nation" occurs commonly in the writings of leaders of the Christian Right. Proponents of this idea (such as David Barton and D. James Kennedy) argue that the Founding Fathers of the United States were overwhelmingly Christian, that founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitutionare based on Christian principles, and that a Christian character is fundamental to American culture.[54][55][56] They cite, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court's comment in 1892 that "this [the United States] is a Christian nation,"[57] after citing numerous historical and legal arguments in support of that statement.[58][59]

Criticism of the usage of the term "dominionism"

Those labeled dominionists rarely use the terms "dominionist" and "dominionism" for self-description, and some people have attacked the use of such words.[1] Journalist Anthony Williams charged that such usage aims "to smear the Republican Party as the party of domestic Theocracy, facts be damned".[60] Journalist Stanley Kurtz labeled it "conspiratorial nonsense", "political paranoia", and "guilt by association",[61] and decried Hedges' "vague characterizations" that allow him to "paint a highly questionable picture of a virtually faceless and nameless 'Dominionist' Christian mass".[62] Kurtz also complained about a perceived link between average Christian evangelicals and extremism such as Christian Reconstructionism:

The notion that conservative Christians want to reinstitute slavery and rule by genocide is not just crazy, it's downright dangerous. The most disturbing part of the Harper's cover story (the one by Chris Hedges) was the attempt to link Christian conservatives with Hitler and fascism. Once we acknowledge the similarity between conservative Christians and fascists, Hedges appears to suggest, we can confront Christian evil by setting aside 'the old polite rules of democracy'. So wild conspiracy theories and visions of genocide are really excuses for the Left to disregard the rules of democracy and defeat conservative Christians — by any means necessary.[61]

Joe Carter of First Things writes:

[T]here is no “school of thought” known as “dominionism”. The term was coined in the 1980s by Diamond and is never used outside liberal blogs and websites. No reputable scholars use the term for it is a meaningless neologism that Diamond concocted for her dissertation.[63]

Diamond has denied that she coined the broader use of the term "dominionism,"[64] which appears in her dissertation and in Roads to Dominion solely to describe Dominion Theology. Nevertheless, Diamond did originate the idea that Dominion Theology is the "central unifying ideology for the Christian Right."[25]:138

Jeremy Pierce of First Things coined the word "dominionismist" to describe those who promote the idea that there is a dominionist conspiracy, writing:

It strikes me as irresponsible to lump [Rushdoony] together with Francis Schaeffer and those influenced by him, especially given Schaeffer’s many recorded instances of resisting exactly the kinds of views Rushdoony developed. Indeed, it strikes me as an error of the magnitude of some of Rushdoony’s own historical nonsense to consider there to be such a view called Dominionism [sic] that Rushdoony, Schaeffer, James Dobson, and all the other people in the list somehow share and that it seeks to get Christians and only Christians into all the influential positions in secular society.[65]

Lisa Miller of Newsweek writes that "'dominionism' is the paranoid mot du jour" (referring to the French for "word of the day") and that "certain journalists use 'dominionist' the way some folks on Fox News use the word "sharia" [for Islamic law]. Its strangeness scares people. Without history or context, the word creates a siege mentality in which 'we' need to guard against 'them'."[66] Ross Douthat of The New York Times noted that "many of the people that writers like Diamond and others describe as 'dominionists' would disavow the label, many definitions of dominionism conflate several very different Christian political theologies, and there’s a lively debate about whether the term is even useful at all."[67]

Other criticism has focused on the proper use of the term. Berlet wrote that "just because some critics of the Christian Right have stretched the term dominionism past its breaking point does not mean we should abandon the term",[68] and argued that, rather than labeling conservatives as extremists, it would be better to "talk to these people" and "engage them."[69] Sara Diamond wrote that "[l]iberals' writing about the Christian Right's take-over plans has generally taken the form of conspiracy theory", and argued that instead one should "analyze the subtle ways" that ideas like Dominionism "take hold within movements and why".[32]