Worthwhile Reads: Kirk Cameron, Monumental, and Dominionism

“Monumental” Lies – Kirk Cameron Visits David Barton - Chris Rodda skillfully debunks the “history” presented in Kirk Cameron’s latest film, Monumental, which discusses America’s supposedly Christian founding and the nation’s subsequent straying from this foundation.

A Monumentally Different Kirk Cameron - The ever-insightful Julie Ingersoll reveals that Monumental represents Cameron’s transition from mainstream evangelical premillenialism to the Christian reconstructionism of Rushdoony and Doug Phillips.

Here is a relevant quote from Ingersoll’s piece:

With a new film Monumental about to be released, there is a new, more extreme Cameron who is increasingly connected to Christian Reconstruction and dominion theology. … This film arises from by Cameron’s shift from the larger premillennialist evangelical world that he depicted in Left Behind to the postmillennialist dominion theology of the Reconstructionists.

I wonder if this sort of transition is something we should expect to see more of – evangelicals moving away from the more separatist and pessimistic premillenialism to adopt a reconstructionist postmillenialist emphasis on ushering in Christ’s second coming by creating a Christian world – and a Christian nation and Christian government – here on earth.

Worthwhile Reads: An Eclectic Assortment
Vision Forum, Militias, Dominionism, and Weaponry
Stoning Rebellious Children? A Look At Dominionism
Why I Don't Think Mark Driscoll Was Joking
About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Besomyka

    I’ve always had them confused in my mind — I don’t come from that world (ex-Catholic, myself), but your posts on the subject have been enlightening. The difference is still difficult for me to pickout, though. It seems to me that, when it comes to the politics, the difference is only in how much debate they are willing to go though.

    Was Cameron’s advocacy of creationism and promotion of pseudo-science in school science classrooms reconstructionist? A part of dominion theology?

    I guess it’s hard for me to differentiate because it looks to me like they all want government to enforce their theology, and a necessary step in that is getting their people into positions of governmental power – school boards, state legislators, etc.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Okay, technically, since premillenialists think the world is just going to get worse until Christ returns, they shouldn’t be out there trying to make it better. But starting with the 1980s, a lot of premillenialists have been acting like postmillenialists (which is what reconstructionists and dominionists are), who believe that Christians need to make this world more Christian in order to bring about Christ’s return. They justify it in various ways (“we have to try”), but a premillenialists trying to make America more Christian (as opposed to simply working to save souls) is inconsistent. What we see here, though, is that apparently Cameron is changing his mind. He is moving from being a premillenialist who acts like a postmillenialist (hence the inconsistency) to being a postmillenialist who acts like a postmillenialist (which would be more consistent). My question, then, is if in the future we’re going to not only see premillenialists acting like postmillenialists, but actually becoming postmillenialists.

      • Besomyka

        Just finished reading the article you linked to (horray for 10 min link times at work!), and the last paragraph where she mentioned the other aspects of adopting that theology:

        … biblical patriarchy, eliminating public education, and any public assistance for the poor, etc.

        I’m pretty sure he was already down with patriarchy, but I don’t recall him ever advocating for the elimination of public school. I think it’s just a bit of ignorance on my part, but that’s why I follow your blog. you consistently give me something interesting to mull over while my code compiles.

        Actually, I think I need to re-read your posts on this topic before commenting much more.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        I think the only post where I’ve dealt with the eliminating public school bit at all was the IndoctriNation post, and I barely touched on it. Which means…one more thing to blog about! Because yes, I grew up believing public schools should be eliminated, which is what Doug Phillips et al. teach as well…it just gets crazier and crazier, doesn’t it!

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      To add one more point: The reason this sort of change is a game-changer is that premillenialists acting like postmillenialists will say “we not going to actually succeed in the end, but we have to go down fighting” while actual postmillenialists will say “we are going to succeed, God has promised that we will.” Which sort of ratchets things up a notch.

  • http://www.undermuchgrace.com Cindy K

    Oooh. Phillips completely converted him, eh?

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      That’s what it sounds like from the article, down to the 200 year plan bit! It’s not surprising, really, with the amount of time Cameron was spending with Phillips, Botkin, et al. What worries me is that Cameron can essentially act as a speaker for Phillips, Botkin, et al., and mainstream evangelicals, who already love him for his previous work, will listen. It gives Christian Patriarchy, reconstructionism, and dominionism a likable, approachable, already-trusted spokesperson. Not. Good.

  • charlesbartley

    Do you think that he even realizes the shift in his beliefs? His self image seems to be of someone who believes in timeless truths.

    • Besomyka

      Yeah, actually it seems that he does.

      As Cameron and Phillips critique rapture theology, Phillips says of the Puritan experiment in America:

      “it didn’t happen with people just waiting to get out of here” (i.e. to be raptured).

      Cameron agrees and invokes the idea of multigenerational faithfulness promoted by Vision Forum—though VF only advocates a 200-year plan:

      “Their attitude (the Puritans) was not ‘uh-oh the beast and the Antichrist is here… let’s just keep our heads down and wait for the end of the world.’ Instead they said, ‘Let’s make a 500 year plan and go start a nation….’”

      Phillips adds enthusiastically that “inherently optimistic” Christianity changes the world to accord with the Bible, to which Cameron replies:

      “Amen! I didn’t used to think so but I do now.”

      • Maggy

        I’ve been wondering what happened to the Puritans. Do they still exist? If not, what led to their demise?

        I know this is a little off topic from your post, but it seems kind of weird to be enamored with a defunct religion.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Meggie – That’s a bit of a funny story. Basically, their children didn’t exactly follow in their parents footsteps, so the Puritans were forced to create the “half-way covenant,” lowering their membership requirements in order to continue to exist. This was within the first few generations. (Remember that the Puritans moved to Massachusetts Bay Colony as a group to get away from religious persecution in England and created there what was essentially a theocracy). Over time their zeal continued to be watered down, and they eventually became just one more religious denomination – the congregationalists – and not a very large or important one at that. They were very much overwhelmed by newer sects such as the Methodists and the Baptists. There are still congregationalists today, but they are generally very theologically liberal.

      • Ibis3

        I wonder what Ray Comfort thinks of the change?

  • Amanda

    Didn’t the world already try that method in the middle ages? The church controlled everything. I seem to remember a lot of ignorance, illness, and witch burning went with it.

    • http://kagerato.net/ kagerato

      Yes. There are reasons why that period was retroactively titled the Dark Ages, and its end was known as the Enlightenment.