had been of interest to few outside the evangelical community until the early
1990s, when its political significance began to emerge. The formation of the
Coalition on Revival (COR) has been a key force in the politics of religion. At
the same time that COR provided a catalyst (and a cover) for the discussion,
dissemination, and acceptance of Reconstructionist doctrine, these ideas have
percolated up through a wide swath of American Protestantism. COR "is a
network of evangelical leaders from every major denominational and theological
perspective who share a vision for and a commitment to worldwide revival,
renewal, and reformation in Church and society. COR's basic mission is to
encourage and help the universal Church of Jesus Christ to obey God's Cultural
Mandate and the Great Commission. COR's vision is to see Christians everywhere
doing all they can in the power of the Holy Spirit to take every thought captive
to the obedience of Christ in every aspect of life. COR's mission is 'to help
the Church rebuild civilization on the principles of the Bible so God's will may
be done on earth as it is in heaven'" (COR official Internet website,
COR was formed in the 1980s, and headed by Jay Grimstead. Dr. Grimstead received his doctorate of ministries at Fuller Theological Seminary and was an area director of Young Life (a neo-evangelical, psychologized ministry) from 1957 to 1977, when he helped to organize the now-defunct International Council on Biblical Inerrancy. He founded COR in 1984, and the National Coordinating Council came into formal existence in January 1990. Grimstead says he started out in the Presbyterian tradition, but has lately been associated with a Pentecostal Holiness church in San Jose, California, and has close ties with the Shepherding movement. Describing the 50-member National Coordinating Council and the 112 leaders of the Coalition on Revival, Dr. Grimstead told RNS in 11/90, "We are evangelicals, and some of us are fundamentalists and a bunch of us are charismatics. What it is is a political-economic think tank. Our hope is to get America back to where it once was ... We're not dangerous, really. We're just trying to get a sick America back to where it was safer and saner."
- An 11-page document from a COR-sponsored "Continental Congress on Christian World View III" held July 2-4, 1986, in Washington D.C. says, "The Coalition on Revival was called into existence as a catalyst to help unify and mobilize leadership in the Body of Christ to cause 'God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.'" This Manifesto-Covenant was signed by 60 of COR's Steering Committee members. They made "A Solemn Covenant" with God and each other to live by its terms until death, natural or martyred. COR signers made a public covenant with God to establish a theocracy in place of democracy. They admitted that the covenant is "a recruiting tool" to pool believers into an army. The other objective is to use the covenant as a means to "teach" (indoctrinate) believers with COR's brand of Christianity. (As we shall see later in this report, discipleship, according to COR, requires political activism. What COR requires of those who sign its covenant is to be willing to die in the attempt to establish a theonomic political state. This statement makes the COR Manifesto-Covenant more than just a covenant; it is a blood covenant, sworn to on the life of the signers; cf. Matt. 5:33-36.)
COR presented to the Christian church 17 documents and a Manifesto which they mailed to 15,000 U.S. and Canadian churches for their own signing and commitment. They also planed to form Pastors Prayer Groups to "raise up Gideon's army" around the United States and other countries. Their plan was to reverse materialism, greed, and covetousness in such areas as government, education, law, business, Christian unity, evangelism, and missions. COR's "Manifesto" states that "a consistent Biblical world view should be the standard for the American life." They also propose a highly political agenda and include such organizations as Strategic Christian Services (founded by Reconstructionist activist Dennis Peacock), American Christian Task Force, American Coalition for Traditional Values, Christian Voice, and American Freedom Coalition.
- Grimstead founded COR when he proposed the idea to the late Francis A. Schaeffer and Dr. Tim LaHaye. Their support, and that of 60 other religious leaders and activists launched the Coalition by 1984. Its prime objective is to apply Christian theology to 17 Spheres of "life and thought." These are: Government, Social Action, Law, Economics, Business and Occupations, Education, Discipleship, Art & Communication, Medicine, Psychology and Counseling, Science and Technology, Church Unity, Local and World Evangelism, Helping the Hurting, Revitalizing Christian Colleges and Universities, the Family, and Pastoral Renewal. (Freudian psychologist Larry Crabb was instrumental in writing the Psychology and Counseling document.) According to the "calling" of COR's Steering Committee, "these World View Documents and the Manifesto for the Christian Church would play a modern role analogous to Luther's 95 Theses, the Westminster Confession and the Declaration of Independence." According to Grimstead, the plan of COR is to set up a "Christian Green Beret boot camp for radical world changes ... to train over 200 political activists a year." (COR also publishes the monthly magazine Crosswinds, a magazine that provides "a helicopter view of the entire battlefield.")
The real influence as far as the final form of these documents is concerned has been the Editorial Committee comprised of Jay Grimstead, Dennis Peacocke, Bob Mumford, Cal Beisner, Gleason Archer, Gary DeMar, Larry Walker, Bob Simonds, Duane Gish, and Henry Krabbandam. Grimstead, Peacocke, Mumford, DeMar, and Walker are admitted Reconstructions; Mumford and Peacocke are strong Shepherding-Discipleship advocates as well, and seem to cross the line between Charismatic Dominionism and Reconstruction. With 25% of the initial COR Steering Committee and 50% of the Editorial Committee comprised of Dominionists, it was inevitable that the dominionist mandate would find its way into the COR documents. [Grimstead claims that only nine of the original 112 members of COR's Steering Committee are postmillennialists. (The Steering Committee currently has a membership of about 50.) But this is begging the question, however. Postmillennialism is not the issue; the dominionist mandate is the issue, and this transcends postmillennialism -- what Gary North likes to call "operational postmillennialists."] (Also of concern is the number of original Steering Committee members with "Christian" psychology roots -- so-called evangelicals Larry Crabb, D.J. Kennedy, Tim LaHaye, Josh McDowell, J.I. Packer, Jack Van Impe, Don Wildmon, and George Scipione [CCEF].)
- COR is headquartered in Mountain View, California. It is an organization actively working to implement Coventalism and Reconstructionism in the churches. COR is a theopolitical movement with a 24-point "Master Plan" for implementing God's kingdom on earth (i.e., a "Christian America"). It proposes Christian takeovers of virtually all societal areas, such as: education, the arts, politics, and even the military (11/19/90, Christianity Today). COR leader Jay Grimstead says COR is made up of "fundamentalists, evangelicals, and a bunch of charismatics" (11/12/90, Christian News). Its goal is revival of the church and "reformation of society." Its 1986 Call to Action called for casting out demons and bringing "judicial and legal systems in as close approximation to the laws and commandments of the Bible" as citizens will allow. It is closely linked with the Theonomy/Reconstruction movement. COR is dedicated to "helping the Body of Christ become unified and mobilized around a Biblical Worldview and the Lordship of Christ in every sphere." With shades of Romanism, COR sees the need for a "redemptive priestly ministry." It, as Christian Reconstructionism, is heavily post-millennial. It is comprised of approximately 500 "Christian" leaders who must swear to a Dominionistic oath.
- To bring the American Christian churches under its tight control, COR devised "The Christian Manifesto for the Christian Church: Declaration and Covenant." This 7/4/86 document declares "where the church must stand and what action it must take over the remaining years of this century." This strong stand and bold action, according to the document, "begin with humble repentance from our past sins and indifference, and acceptance of much of the blame for the world's desperate condition." Incredibly, pastors who sign the manifesto are admitting they are responsible for the sin of the world. (For details of COR's unbiblical strategy for "taking the world for Christ," see COR' documents titled A Manifesto for the Christian Church, Forty-two Articles of the Essentials of a Christian World View, and Twenty-five Articles of Affirmation and Denial on the Kingdom of God. These three documents, along with the 17 Sphere/World View Documents referred to earlier, make up what COR calls the "20 COR World View Documents.")
- COR is a militant organization. It uses subtle intimidation practices
(fear and guilt), strident warrior rhetoric, melodramatic public rituals
("Solemn Assemblies"), and emotionally charged psychological
manipulation to attract and involve unwary, impressionable Christians. Many COR
organizers came out of the notorious Shepherding Movement whose means of control
duplicated cult practices. Members of Shepherding Churches submitted themselves
to their shepherds and had to consult them before making decisions such as
purchasing a car or taking medicine. [Grimstead advocates the "use of the
controversial and authoritarian 'shepherding-discipleship' model of church
organization. 'Pastors should study shepherding techniques and COR theological
materials for 18 months ...'" (Church & State Magazine,
10/91). This "discipling" and "obedience to the church" has
the markings of the Puritans
or the Roman
- To achieve its objectives, the "Manifesto of the Christian Church calls for a new covenant for unity, and it culminates in a statement of truth and a call to action." The unity aspect is leading a virulent ecumenical movement. Grimstead believes that differences in eschatology among various Christian religions can be surmounted in view of a larger purpose; they have committed to unity and a non-quarreling policy over doctrinal points such as eschatology, dispensationalism, Christian freedom, tongues, charismatic activity, and evangelism. Nevertheless, in the end, everyone must agree with COR. -- In 2/87 Jay Grimstead said: "... each one of these points we're saying is ESSENTIAL ... NON-NEGOTIABLE" (referring to the "42 Articles of the Essentials of a Christian World View" document). ... we're telling the premillennialists, who are scared to death of the postmillennialists and don't like the word Dominion or Kingdom or Reconstruction, to wake up and realize that THERE'S NO OTHER OPTION." Since the 42 Articles contained in this document are, in COR's words, "essential" and "non-negotiable" for Christians, they are saying that one is not a Christian if he does not subscribe to them!
- When a pastor is asked to join a local COR Steering Committee and sign the Manifesto, he is expected to "be enthusiastically committed to accomplishing the 12 goals for Reformation in their country." Some of those goals are as follows:
1) A pastor forms a discipleship chain so he produces an army of 100-plus mighty warriors within his church: active members praying an hour per day; establish a Social Impact Committee within the church.
2) Replace anti-biblical legislation in the country with righteous, sane, biblically-oriented legislation.
3) Replace anti-biblical elected officials with biblically oriented candidates.
How sad to see thousands of professing Christians coming under the delusion
of this kind of leadership. In their hearts they believe they must do something
to rescue a rotten America. But why? The Scriptures must be fulfilled. Evil will
wax worse. God's judgment is at hand. The end is near. Naturally, we do not
participate in evil, but neither do we try to do the impossible. The Christian's
first objective is to solidify his union with Christ on a personal basis. Of
course, it is much easier to join a Rescue,
attend a rally, get arrested, and perform political work than it is to come to
grips with personal sin. The Reconstructionists and the Religious Right have
combined to make a mockery of Christianity. In their zealousness to fulfill what
is really unbiblical -- a kingdom on earth now -- they are producing a terrible
witness for Christ, and worse, their actions and rhetoric will result in mass
persecutions of all true Christians.
- COR's goals do not exclude violence in accomplishing them. At a 1989 COR conference, one well known evangelist suggested that Christians should pray that God would kill all of those leaders who are opposing Dominion Theology. Then later in the week, another well known pastor from the Dallas area suggested that God is purging his church and purifying it for a great revival, and that believers need to be willing to use violence if necessary in order to help bring in the kingdom. This violence message is really scary. The call to be willing to use violence to bring the kingdom can't be more clear -- even if that violence is directed against Christian brothers and sisters. According to Dominionists, those who believe in the "any moment return of Jesus" and are not willing to commit to violence to bring in the kingdom, are obstructing the coming of the kingdom and are preventing the outpouring of God's Spirit on the earth. (Personal letter on file.)
In Dennis Peacock's book, Winning the Battle for the Minds of Men, he quotes of Karl Marx (p. 34): "We need to be MILITANT in our ASSAULT against the sham walls that imprison the nations." The whole book is full of militant statements. Similarly, Jay Grimstead, on a 2/87 tape said: "We are to make Bible-obeying disciples of anybody that gets in our way." In Thy Kingdom Come, by R.J. Rushdoony, in referring to Psalm 149, he speaks of the literal destruction of God's enemies as a means of praise -- he writes that those who are guilty of blasphemy deserve the vengeance of God "whether they are believers or not."
- In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century (1700s and 1800s), many pastors expressed the belief that America would lead the rest of the world in ushering in the Kingdom of God. As a result, the doctrine of the "Manifest Destiny" was declared by many. We are seeing that the same doctrine today under a different name -- Reconstructionist Kingdom, New Dominion Teachings, Restoration Movement. The proponents behind COR have the same views, with a different twist. They are scurrying to network all Christians with this movement and their ideas. They believe that not only the preaching of the Gospel, but also the government and educational systems must come under this jurisdiction, and they are conditioning the Christian community to accept their ideas to "clean up" so Jesus can return ("COR-Pt. I," Bold Truth Press, Fall 1987).
- Some key beliefs of COR as stated in its Sphere (Christian World View) Documents ["Social, Political and Moral Issues" (SPM); "Local and World Evangelism" (LWE); "Helping the Hurting" (HH); "Business and Occupations" (BO); "Art and Communication" (AC); "Pastoral Renewal" (PR); and the "42 Articles of the Essentials of a Christian World View" (42E)] follow:
Article 20 (SPM): "We deny that God and His truth should ever be separated from the State; this should put to rest the Reconstructionists' claim that the Church will not control the government in a theonomic society."
Article 22 (SPM): "Christians must be involved in all processes and offices of civil government in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ ... such involvement is part of the Church's prophetic role in society." [Where in Scripture is this "prophetic role" of the Church? It doesn't exist. Where, too, are we commanded to involve ourselves in the political process in order to be "in obedience"?]
Article 21a (LWE): "The ultimate goal of missions ... must be the totality of the gospel and the necessity of Christ's lordship in all of its fullness for all the life of individuals, families, churches, states, and other aspects of society." [If the drafters of this document had omitted the word "states" there would not be much quarrel. But nowhere in Scripture are missionaries mandated to even exert influence on states, let alone bring them under the lordship of Christ.]
Preface (HH): "The church must conform social, economic, legal, educational, medical, and governmental structures to Biblical order." [Had COR said "influence" or "inform" rather than "conform," there would be no quarrel.]
Preface (BO): "man ... is responsible, as God's faithful servant, to co-labor with Christ to bring all nature under God's rulership." [What they're really saying is that nature must come under their dominion.]
Preface (AC): "Christians must bring all art and communication under His authority. ... All art and communication must be brought into captivity to the mind of Christ." [Had these statements said Christians must bring their art and communication under Jesus' authority, there would be no quarrel. But we're not required to bring all under His authority. If we look at what passes for art even in the "Christian" community, we'd have to admit that here, too, the Church needs to get its own house in order before trying to clean up the world.]
Article 15a (PR): "Every pastor, to accomplish his task and stay encouraged, needs to surround himself with a few trustworthy and loyal men from among his church's leaders who are in the process of catching his vision for their church and are eager to play their part in it and to be discipled by him in how to be Christ-centered, Bible-obeying men of God." [There is no scriptural precedent for a pastor to "surround himself with a few trustworthy and loyal men" to catch his vision. This is a priestcraft. The fact remains that the head of the Church is Jesus, not the pastor. Many pastors are being swayed by Dominionists to think of themselves as "God anointed" on the basis that they happen to have been placed in the position of "priest" to some church. They are told that, as "God's anointed no one is to touch them or challenge their 'vision.'" Those who do -- even the elders -- are to be dealt with in a manner that will strike fear in the hearts of others.]
Specific Actions, Article 7 (PR): "Those pastors and churches that mistakenly think that neither pastors nor churches have any business trying to change society and stand for social righteousness by constitutional means must become exposed to the COR Manifesto and the COR sphere documents. ... in order to disabuse their minds of that false dichotomy." [This is the Dominionist commission for the churches, not Christ's.]
Article 37 (42E): "We deny that any citizen is obliged to obey any government when it transgresses its God given mandate or requires him to disobey God's Laws." [If a government requires us to disobey God's laws, we must disobey that government. But because a government transgresses its "God given mandate" does not arbitrarily mean we can disobey it. The problem lies within the definition of "God given mandate." What exactly is God's mandate to government? According to COR, it is to administer God's Law (Theonomy or theocracy). In this case, no government on earth is fulfilling its "God given mandate." It logically follows, therefore, that all governments, as they are presently constituted, may be disobeyed if they do not find favor with the Dominionist agenda.]
* Unless otherwise indicated, some of the material in this and companion reports has been excerpted and/or adapted from three sources: (1) "Dominion Theology," Pastor Gary E. Gilley, Southern View Chapel, January, 1996; (2) Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse?, by Thomas Ice and Robert Dean; and (3) Vengeance Is Ours: The Church in Dominion, by Albert James Dager.