In 2008 I wrote the following summary of Dominionism in the Church. It may be helpful to readers in 2015.
WHAT IS DOMINIONISM? – It is a scheme of theological interpretation and thought. Broadly it believes the role of the church is to take dominion over the world’s political, business and social structures now, before Christ returns. Then He will be able to set up His kingdom, after the “millennium” which is now. Many facets and variations – dividing lines are often blurred. This general belief has been infiltrating the whole Protestant church, often unawares, even by church leaders, from extreme Reformed to extreme Charismatic groups, including the large “middle” group of mainstream and evangelical churches, owing to the spread of Warrenism, contemporary Christian music and other factors. Some people claim to be pre-millennial and dominionist – impossible. Examples of dominionism are:
Kingdom Now: as in some Charismatic/Pentecostal circles where “kingdom authority” is believed to flow now to the church, leading to a hierarchy of modern apostles and prophets performing miracles and prophecies (eg, Restorationism).
Reconstructionism: Catholics, Reformed and extreme Calvinists generally believe it is the role of the church to reconstruct society along lines with laws as laid down in the Bible. “The Church Triumphant” is a slogan used.
Theonomists: Believe the church should rule now in society using the moral laws of the Old Testament.
DOES THE BIBLE TEACH DOMINIONISM? – The OT teaches that God will set up his kingdom on earth and the NT teaches that Christ will return first in order to set up that kingdom (eg, Rom. 8:23). Jesus taught his
followers to be “salt” and “light” but that His kingdom is “not of this world”. Dominionists believe the church must take over the earth by placing it under Christian rule before Christ can return. They are “postmillennialist” in view.
IS IT HERESY? – Heresy is the denial of one of the core, essential teachings of historic Christianity in Scripture. These in brief outline include: Scriptural inerrancy; the Trinity; Jesus the Son of God and man, salvation by God’s grace through faith, and the return of Christ to judge the world.
Dominionism seems to deny scriptural inerrancy and therefore qualify as heresy because: it treats many OT and NT prophecies as figurative only; it teaches Christ will return (maybe bodily) to set up the kingdom after the millennium (Postmillennialism); it teaches that Revelation prophecies are already fulfilled (Preterism); it teaches that the church has now replaced Israel in all God’s promises (“Replacement Theology” in spite of Romans 11); it says Christ’s return is not imminent and the rapture, if it occurs at all, will not occur until Christ sets up his kingdom; it looks for revival, not apostasy in the last days as taught in NT; it denigrates Christ’s sacrifice for individual sin because it teaches the gospel involves social reform and the “taking” of cities, regions and countries by Spiritual Warfare.
HOW DID DOMINIONISM ORIGINATE? – At various stages through church history there have been popes and church leaders who have pushed this agenda, based on a faulty interpretation of Gen. 1:26. Originally the early church fathers repudiated dominionism and postmillennialism along with its parent gnosticism. But from about the 4th Century it has influenced Christendom. The Reformation did not destroy it. It has become fashionable since the 19th century “social gospel”, the “modernism” of the 20th century, and the 1940’s “Latter Rain” movement in USA when it was actually declared heretical by the AoG churches of the day. It has since resurfaced with the spreading influence of Warrenism and the Charismatic movement, and now is taking mainstream Protestantism by subtle means.
WHERE CAN IT LEAD? –It will undermine further the preaching of Bible prophecy (Warren’s “distraction”) and of the gospel in its pure and original form (as Paul defines it in most of his letters). It reinterprets Christ’s Great Commission and as an ecumenical movement, it could pave the way for the apostate church (“the harlot”) of Revelation and the emergence of the final antichrist, as prophesied, ironically, in the very Scriptures that dominionists downplay.
WHAT ARE ITS PRESENT LINKS? – The following movements, affecting virtually the whole church as well as para-church and missionary organisations worldwide, are all known to be riddled with dominionist theology, teachers and leaders: Ecumenism, Deliverance ministries, “Power Evangelism”, Spiritual Warfare (Wagnerism), Warrenism (Purpose Driven and Seeker Friendly), Emerging Church (McLarenism), Latter Rain, Hillsong-type megachurches, Prosperity doctrine, “Word of Faith”, New or Third Wave theology, “Joel’s Army” confusion, Paradigm Shift, Transformationism, Extra-biblical revelations and psychology, Contemporary Christian Music.
Spiritual abuse and the growth of authoritarianism and legalism in many churches are also well established as part of the baggage that accompanies dominionist teachings and Warrenism. Leadership structures in such churches are based on secular, man-made business models, not scripture. Dissent or honest questioning are generally not well tolerated by church leaders who have a “Purpose Driven” agenda. Rules are often set for participation in church activities.
REFERENCES and FOOTNOTES – A brief, incomplete summary of useful internet resources:
 See footnote 4.
 See footnote 5.
 See Footnote 1.
 See Footnote 1.