Kingdom-Dominion, or 'Restoration' theology has risen to popular acceptance in the last thirty years or so, gaining confidence and strength with time and developing its doctrine as it progressed. It is now, in the U.K. at least, the most powerful and influential movement in the Church, and attracts many of the keenest born-again Christians to its teachings and pursuits. The majority of charismatic Christians have been influenced in one way and another by Restoration teachings. There are many streams within the Restoration Movement in the UK, but their teachings are broadly similar and will be considered here as one entity
Restoration theology is an integral part of the majority of 'shepherding' (discipling) fellowships and house churches. It is also present in many mainstream Church denominations. However, there are serious doubts about its validity as a truly scriptural theology. The fact of its popularity is no proof of its authenticity - the truth is not always popular, and truly biblical Christianity has always been a minority religion.
A NEW WORLDVIEW
The doctrines of Restoration are rooted in the earth. Their basis is the (false) teaching that man must take dominion of this earth and change it for the better before Jesus can come.
The emphasis, therefore, has shifted from 'looking up' to 'looking around' to see what can be done to patch up the environment and change society into a more godly one. This scheme is unscriptural and should be rejected as heresy - ten reasons are given below:
It requires a universal Kingdom of God on earth.
Obviously, in order to alter society and bring in biblical laws for the nations, in order to change man's habits of greed and violence, there would have to be a world government headed and policed by Restoration Christians. (The Roman religio-political empire nearly achieved this in time gone by, but at a high cost - the oppression of the masses, widescale poverty and ignorance, the disappearance of the Bible texts in the common language, papal abuses, priestly dominion and the slaughter of thousands of dissenters and so-called heretics who refused to bow the knee to Roman dictators in the Church.)
This system requires obedience to Law. If any system of religion is going to be introduced worldwide, amongst many who offer only a token submission to it, obviously that religion must be strongly enforced and governed by rules and regulations. In fact, the religion proposed by Restoration (and other) Christian movements for world transformation today is one closely modelled on the Old Testament Law. Every part of the world system - law, government, medicine, education etc - would be ruled by biblical precepts. But the New Testament demonstrates that Law cannot save mankind and that the only hope for man is in justification by faith. The Law has failed to transform mankind and it always will. [Rom 7:6] But Restoration Christians hope to resurrect it as the basis of a new age of peace and righteousness.
Taking restoration teachings to their logical conclusion, it is clear that nothing less than world christianisation would work the miracle of planetary salvation. This, say the leaders, would be the 'Kingdom of Peace and Righteousness' promised in the Old Testament. However, given the condition of the human heart, and satan's plans for world dominion, it would more likely be the universal reign of terror through Antichrist! In the Word of God, not universal obedience but universal wickedness is forecast before the Coming of Christ, and all nations will follow the satanic plans of the 'Beast'. [Rev 13:3,4] To set about organising and networking for a New Order and for global dominion is to throw huge parts of the Church into the hands of 'another christ' and 'another gospel'.
It robs the Jews of their inheritance.
In order to provide biblical proof of their role as earth saviours and law-givers, and in order to support their claim to be the Kingdom of God on earth, Restoration leaders have to pirate the Old Testament promises of God to the nation of Israel and make them apply to the Church.
They have gone on record as saying that Israel has no further place in God's future plan for blessing the nations, nor will the 'kingdom' promises of the OT come to pass specifically for Israel, but only by and through the Church. The Jews rejected their Messiah, they say, and so forfeited their inheritance. But God, who can never lie nor break His Word, has promised specific material blessings of land, prosperity, nationhood, peace and victory to the literal nation of Israel in the future. These promises have never been fulfilled and can only be fulfilled in the context of a re-gathering and spiritual resurrection of Jews in the literal land of Israel. [Jer 31:35-37]
It removes awareness of the Return of the Lord.
The emphasis on earthly triumph for the Church and long years of victorious rule to precede the Lord's Coming removes the need to 'watch and pray' and be ready for that Day. Many sensitive Christians are aware that the signs leading up to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus are being fulfilled in this generation, and that - in fact - the Coming may be very soon indeed. If so, we ought to be on our guard against laxity and deception, as Jesus warned. But Restoration doctrine promises ultimate triumph for the Church instead of the tribulation of the endtimes prophesied in the Word, and so encourages a careless attitude.
It denies the scriptural prophesies of the end-times.
Because Restoration teaching places the binding of evil, and the 'dominion' of the righteous, at the FIRST coming of the Lord, it radically adjusts our understanding of the book of Revelation and the other prophecies of the End. According to this scheme, the Tribulation, Antichrist, Apostasy and so forth are placed historically in the PAST, or else are made out to be symbolic interpretations of ordinary antagonism against the victorious Church. The Restoration understanding of prophecy is largely POST-millennial. That is, it places the Return of Christ AFTER the reign of righteousness and peace. Therefore, what is now expected is not tribulation but triumph. This is very dangerous, especially as the scripture warns that, before Jesus returns, a world leader claiming to be Messiah will arise. [2 Thess 2:3,4] It may be that Restoration Christians, unaware of the true prophetic calendar, will accept this man as Christ.
It denies the sovereignty of the Godhead.
Restoration doctrine claims that Jesus CANNOT return until all His enemies have been put under the feet of the Church, (including death, presumably). His coming is not at the appointed time ordained by God, as scripture says [Acts 1:7] but must wait on the preparations made for Him by the Church, for the world must be evangelised and saved and the Bride must be totally united and without spot or wrinkle when He comes. However, the Bible states that very few will be ready when Jesus comes, and that the purification of the Bride is a work of the Holy Spirit, not Christian leaders. [Luke 18:8/Matt 7:14]
It requires religious unity.
Since the world must be evangelised and cleansed, according to this doctrine, and since this cannot be done by individual churches, it is imperative that all denominations come together to do the work. The plan for World Evangelisation entails an overthrowing of doctrinal differences (such as justification by faith alone) to allow Roman Catholics and liberals to help christianise the World. But the scripture forbids us to work together with unbelievers and heretics. [2 Cor 6:14]
It rests on human ability and wisdom.
Instead of the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, the scheme of world restoration calls for the development of man's social skills and knowledge, organisational ability, qualities of leadership, rhetoric and the ability to dominate adversaries. Restoration Christians are now being encouraged to take a full part in all areas of the world system in order to change it from within. But Bible Christians were often the poorest and least intelligent, and relied on nothing but the power of God to back their preaching. Their work was to preach the gospel only, and never were Christians told in scripture to change mankind by social action. [1 Cor 2:1-5]
It requires a structured Church system based on human leadership.
In order to establish world dominion, Restoration teaching must be unvaried and universal, and this cannot be done without the obedience of all its followers. Thus, a system of leadership [discipleship] must be introduced to ensure every Christian is under authority and unable to err from the teaching. This excludes from the 'one world kingdom' all those who disagree with Restoration teaching. In effect, it disinherits all other Christians from the Body of Christ. Indeed, some restoration fellowships teach that their Church is the only valid one, that the door to salvation is through the Church, [not Jesus Christ the Saviour!] and that everyone outside of the system is outside of the Kingdom of God.
It replaces Jesus with the Church.
In an effort to strengthen the claims of the Church on earth, as a Kingdom and Authority to be obeyed, Restoration doctrine has come close to replacing Lord Jesus with His Body. The properties, abilities and authority of Jesus are made over to the visible Body on earth and His functions as Head and Government, Shepherd and King are taken over by Church elders (on His behalf, they say!). Then, it becomes the responsibility OF THE CHURCH to destroy the wicked and establish the Kingdom on earth. This leads to human arrogance and rivalry, and replaces obedience to God with submission to the Church.
It draws from corrupt roots.
What we know today as restoration doctrine is a hybrid of Roman dominionism, liberal a-millennialism, post-millennial eschatology, and latter-rain doctrines. The Latter Rain revivals of the early 20th century introduced an ideal new to Christendom - that of achieving religious unity and a golden age for the Church by means of revelation knowledge and spiritual power. Much more was entailed in the scheme, but this heresy, though largely debunked in the 1950's, seeded the charismatic movement and linked with other groups to form the Restoration Movement.
Thus, much current heresy on the "birth of the Manchild" and the role of an elite army of saints in taking the nations for God - present in Toronto teachings - has been able to implant itself most readily in charismatic churches where restoration teachings had already paved the way.
Many have discovered from bitter experience in restoration fellowships that behind the smiling faces, camaraderie, loving embraces and victorious praise, there lies a spirit of dominion that will wound and crush any who do not toe the line. An empire-building, self-seeking arrogance pervades much of the Restoration leadership, and they have proven themselves closed to correction. Greed, corruption, immorality and spiritual abuses have thrived in this climate - and the teaching which focuses so much on the earth as our inheritance had led many to become so in love with this present world as to adopt almost all its values.
Without denying that there are many sincere and godly Christians within this system, it needs to be said most strongly that Restoration churches are a foundation of sand, and the doctrines taught (if indeed Bible teaching IS undertaken - for the Bible has almost disappeared from some churches!) are unscriptural and unsound.
Anyone within the Restoration system should think very carefully about
the dangers to their spiritual walk, and seek God for a complete revelation
about these matters.