Dave Andrews

In the light of the rise of Dominion Theology in the US, Christians would do well to reflect on concept of “dominion” in the teachings of Jesus.The French Christian philosopher theologian Jacques Ellul declares: “I believe that the biblical teaching is clear. It always contests … dominion.”1. The concept of “dominion” involves “conquest”, “coercion” and “control” – the exercise of “political power” over others which inevitably entails “violence”.2

Ellul cites Jesus: “‘You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them, and those in high position enslave them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be the servant’. Note that he makes no distinction or reservation. All national rulers, no matter what the nation… lord it over their subjects. There can be no political power without tyranny. This is plain and certain for Jesus: when there are rulers…, there can be no such thing as good political power…. Power corrupts. Jesus does not advocate conflict with these kings. He challenges his interlocutors: “But you… it must not be the same among you.” In other words, do not be so concerned about fighting kings. Let them be. Set up a marginal society which will not be interested in such things, in which there will be no (political) power (over others), authority, or hierarchy. Do not do things as they are usually done in society, which you cannot change. Create another society on another foundation…. His counsel is that we should stay in society and set up in it communities which obey other rules” such as “whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave”. (Matt.20:27) 3 As we renounce “dominion”, relinquish our structures, strategies and tactics of “conquest”, “coercion” and “control”, repudiate any intention to exercise “political power” over others, and instead commit ourselves to “serve” others, and spend our lives “enabling”, “equipping”, and “empowering” them, we can begin to embrace “non-violence” – “as the Son of Man (who) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matt.20:28)

1. Subversion of Christianity p116

2&3. Anarchy and Christianity p61-2

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