Morning Report – In the Pews
1. Lisa Miller of the Washington Post, hardly an evangelical apologist, has a great piece on all the “crazy Christian” stories in the new right now. Here comments on “Dominionism” are important:
2. Archbishop Charles Chaput reports on World Youth Day and the issue of religious freedom. Quite a coup for First Things to publish pieces like this.
“Dominionism” is the paranoid mot du jour. In its broadest sense, the term describes a Christian’s obligation to be active in the world, including in politics and government. More narrowly, some view it as Christian nationalism. You could argue that the 19th- and early 20th-century reformers – abolitionists, suffragists and temperance activists, for example – were dominionists, says Molly Worthen, who teaches religious history at the University of Toronto.
Extremist dominionists do exist, as theocrats who hope to transform our democracy into something that looks like ancient Israel, complete with stoning as punishment. But “it’s a pretty small world,” says Worthen, who studies these groups.
Mark DeMoss, whose Atlanta-based public relations firm represents several Christian groups, put it this way: “You would be hard-pressed to find one in 1,000 Christians in America who could even wager a guess at what dominionism is.”
Certain journalists use “dominionist” the way some folks on Fox News use the word “sharia.” Its strangeness scares people. Without history or context, the word creates a siege mentality in which“we” need to guard against “them.”
3. Horrible news on abuse at the hands of missionaries. In many cases, the abused are locals attending missionary schools in places like Africa and Southeast Asia. In light of the experience of the Catholic Church, Protestants had better be sure they respond humbly, truthfully and decisively to this.
4. Christian worshippers brutally beaten in Vietnam.
5. Douglas Baker has been doing an excellent series on the theology of social security, government, and now taxation at Patheos’ Evangelical Portal. Check it out.
6. A story from the Christian Post on Facebook evangelism.