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Dominion theologians want to establish an Old Testament theocracy in the United States—but they can’t agree among themselves on how to do it.
There are many ideological differences among advocates of the Christian Right. Those who endorse Reconstructionism would like to see the United States become an Old Testament theocracy that would mete out capital punishment for blasphemy, homosexuality, and adultery. Supporters of Dominionism would like to bring into effect a political structure in which Christians alone are biblically mandated to control all secular institutions.
In A Christian Manifesto (1981), Francis Schaeffer, an evangelical philosopher who had been allied with Rev. Carl McIntire, head of the fundamentalist American Council of Churches, argued that the United States originated as a nation established in biblical principles. As the generations passed, America became more pluralistic, more multicultural, and more secular. God was moved out of the center of American life, and American society steadily grew more atheistic, hedonistic, and decayed. Legalized abortion, the removal of prayer from public schools, the absence of crèches in front of the courthouse during the Christmas season—all these factors contribute to the downfall of American society. In the closing pages of A Christian Manifesto, Schaeffer called for Christians to use civil disobedience to bring back biblical morality throughout the United States.
Schaeffer died of cancer in 1984, and Jay Grimstead, who had been greatly influenced by A Christian Manifesto, founded a group called the Coalition on Revival (COR) for the purpose of unifying Christians on the questions of the endtimes and when Christ will return. COR’s position is postmillennial, taking the view that Christ will return only after Christians have been in charge of the earth for a thousand years. While more-liberal Christians feared that COR might engage in various conspiracies to take over the nation, only a few of its members turned out to be committed to extremist principles.
Dominion theologians have an inability to focus on any one approach to bringing about a theocracy in the United States. Evangelical Christians include in their number Pentecostals, charismatics, and Calvinists. Some believe that salvation comes by the grace of God and the faith of believers. Others maintain that the saint and the sinner have predestined roles. Some assert that all the Founding Fathers—with the possible exception of Benjamin Franklin—were evangelical Christians who intended to build a Christian nation. Secular historians counter that, at best, most of the Founding Fathers were Deists.