By Gary North

Hell Really Exists

Hell Really Exists

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I was not aware that I had written "books against Dominion Theology." I have made some mention of Dominion Theology in the final chapter of each of my last two books, but I doubt that it would require an entire volume to respond to what I have said.

Dave Hunt1

It is a bit perplexing to find how little credit Mr. Hunt wants to take regarding the origin of the widely circulated accusation that "Christian reconstructionists" are implicit theological allies of the New Age Movement. Given the amount of time that at least one television evangelist devotes Sunday evening after Sunday evening to attacking Dominion Theology, and given the fact that he admitted to me personally that he received this information originally from Mr. Hunt's books, this statement by Mr. Hunt was unexpected, to say the least. Like an arsonist caught in the act who insists that he lit only one small match, Mr. Hunt's reluctance to take full credit seems somewhat self-interested.

Mr. Hunt is correct in one respect: it does not require an entire volume to refute what he has said. Refutation is never sufficient; the critic has an obligation to offer a positive alternative. Therefore, it does require an entire volume to show that what Dave Hunt has said rests on a specific view of the Bible, the

1. Letter to Gary North, July 20, 1987, in response to an offer to allow Mr. Hunt to read and respond to the first draft of this book.

Church, and the Holy Spirit that has misled millions of otherwise dedicated Christians. It does require a book to present a Bible-based alternative to pessimism concerning the future effects in history of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Mr. Hunt has called into question the power of the Holy Spirit to bring people to the foot of the cross, to transform the lives of lost sinners, and to give them hope that they or their spiritual heirs will be able to see Jesus Christ exalted throughout the world. Mr. Hunt has made it look as though the words of Isaiah will not come true:

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious (Isaiah 11:9-10; NKJV).

But these words will come true! The Bible is the very Word of God. It cannot be overcome by God-haters: Communists, New Agers, or any other anti-Christian force in history. Our God's inspired Word is sure. We Christians can be absolutely confident that some day, "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."

There is an old political slogan: 'You can't beat something with nothing." To call Dave Hunt's theology into question is not enough. Gary DeMar and Peter Leithart have done far more than merely show why Mr. Hunt's theology gives too much credit to the satanic God-haters of this world. They show what the Bible offers as an alternative to the humanists' kingdom of man. They show that the Bible offers Christians blueprints for bringing Satan and his forces under the dominion of Jesus Christ, Mr. Hunt believes that this is impossible, even for Jesus Christ Himself, as we shall see. On this point, he has broken with the whole history of the Church, including traditional dispensational theology. This is the peculiar fact: Dave Hunt has written a book, Beyond Seduction, that actually teaches that the future millennial reign of Christ will not be the kingdom of God on earth, yet hundreds of thousands of dispensationalists have failed to recognize that his book overthrows just about everything that dispensationalists have taught regarding the triumphant premillennial reign of Christ. The Reduction of Christianity proves that Dave Hunt has in fact abandoned traditional dispensational theology, and he has substituted something very different in its place — something that inevitably undermines Christians' confidence in the gospel.

The theological issues are clear. You need to think about them. First, does God's Word teach that Satan will be victorious over God's people in history? Second, does the Bible teach that the healing power of the Holy Spirit only affects the soul and not families, schools, businesses, communities, and every area of life? In other words, does Christ offer comprehensive salvation or a very limited salvation? Third, is the Holy Spirit so limited that He is unable to bring millions upon millions of people to Christ? Fourth, does the Holy Spirit empower Christians to obey God's law? Fifth, does obeying the law of God weaken those who obey, and does disobedience to the law of God strengthen those who disobey? Sixth, do we Christians represent Christ on earth in the same way that God-haters represent Satan? Seventh, if we do represent Christ in this way, wouldn't our defeat by Satan's forces in history make Jesus a loser in history?

Do you really believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, plans to be a loser in history?

Representative Government

The issue of representation is crucial. Let me ask you a question: Does Satan seek to establish his kingdom on earth? You may think this is a foolish question; of course he does. Millions of Christians even believe that his kingdom is the dominant one in history. But do you also believe that Satan must rule in person, visibly from some nation, in order to establish his kingdom? As far as I know, no theologian has ever argued that Satan must appear in person as a leader of his forces in order to establish his kingdom on earth. He always uses representatives: "the beast," "the antichrist," etc. No Christian commentator ever argues that Satan's use of human representatives is somehow any less of a satanic kingdom. Yet many Christians deny that Christ also rules His earthly forces through human representatives. They deny that a king normally rules through his representatives. This is why several of Jesus' parables begin with the story of a king or a landowner who journeys to a far country, but leaves his representatives (stewards) behind to rule in his name.

It is true that Dominion Theology teaches that we can, do, and will have a kingdom of God on earth without Jesus' physical presence in Jerusalem. This is somehow regarded as an outrageous doctrine. One tract-writer says that this is the number-one error of Dominion Theology: 'And in this we can isolate the error of hardcore Dominion theology/Reconstruction/postmillen-nialism. A universal kingdom, but without a personal, physical, literal universal king!"2 Fine; now would he argue that there is no satanic kingdom either, because Satan is not visible and physically present on the earth? Of course not. Then why does he think that Dominion Theology is necessarily incorrect about the reality of Christ's kingdom reign without His physical manifestation in Jerusalem?

Dave Hunt even denies that Christ's personal, physical reign from Jerusalem is a sign of the kingdom. Yet his supporters think that he is a defender of "the old-time religion."

Dave Hunt vs. Dominion Theology

Let us begin with the words of Jesus: "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28:18; KJV). We should then ask the obvious question: Where is the earthly manifestation of Christ's power? Dave Hunt is adamant: only in the hearts of believers and (maybe) inside the increasingly defenseless walls of a local church

2. Q&A With CharlesP. Schmitt (SilverSpring, MD: Foundational Teachings, no date), second page.

or local rescue mission. As he says, in response to an advertisement for my Biblical Blueprints Series: "The Bible doesn't teach us to build society but instructs us to preach the gospel, for one's citizenship is in Heaven (Col. 3 :2)."3

It seems tome that he could have strengthened his case that we are citizens of only one "country" by citing a modem translation of Philippians 3:20. But this would only have deferred the question: Why can't Christians be citizens of two countries? After all, they are in the world physically, yet not of the world spiritually: John 17:14-16. Christians are, as Hunt (and all Christians) would insist, required to obey national laws, but also obey the Bible. To be required to obey two sets of laws is to raise the question of dual citizenship.

Hunt's dispensationalist gospel is a gospel of the heart only. Jesus saves hearts only, somehow, His gospel is not powerful enough to restore to biblical standards the institutions that He designed for mankind's benefit, but which have been corrupted by sin. Hunt's view of the gospel is that Jesus can somehow save sinners without having their salvation affect the world around them. He forgets that institutions consist of people (souls). His gospel says: "Heal souls, not institutions."

Hunt separates the preaching of the gospel from the concerns of society. He separates heavenly citizenship from earthly citizenship. In short, he has reinterpreted the Great Commission of Jesus Christ to His followers: "All power is given unto me in heaven but none in earth." (A similar other-worldly view of Christ's authority is shared by many amillennialists.)4' Christ's earthly power can only be manifested when He returns physically to set up a top-down bureaucratic kingdom in which Christians will be responsible for following the direct orders of Christ, issued to meet specific historical circumstances. Such a view has so little

4. There is no room for optimism: towards the end, in the camps of the satanic and the anti-Christ, culture will sicken, and the Church will yearn to be delivered from its distress." H. de Jongste and J. M. vanKrimpen.TVBiiWf and the Life of the Christian (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1968), p. 27: cited by R. J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law (Nutlev, NJ: Craig Press, 1973), p. 14n.

faith in the power of the Bible's perfect revelation, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to shape the thoughts and actions of Christians, that Jesus must return and personally issue millions of orders per day telling everyone what to do, case by case, crisis by crisis.

For years, Christian Reconstructionists5 have argued that such a view of social affairs is inherent in premillennialism. In recent years, premillennial activists have denied this accusation, The intellectual roots of the recent rise of premillennial activism, however, can be traced back to the tiny band of postmillennial Reconstructionists. The premillennial camp is becoming divided, as Dave Hunt has noted. Hunt presents himself (misleadingly) as a representative of the older dispensational premillennialism of the 1925-1975 period: a no-nonsense defender of the earthly defeat of the Church. His book, The Seduction of Christianity, has become the number-one Christian best-seller of the 1980s, the biggest selling book on eschatology since Hal Lindsey's books.

Hunt is consistent about his earthly pessimism, even to the point of denying that Jesus' reign on earth will be a manifestation of the kingdom of God. He spells out in no uncertain terms just what his radical brand of dispensationalism necessarily implies. In a taped interview with the publisher of the Canadian newsletter, Omega-Letter, Hunt says in response to Christian Reconstructionists: "You're looking forward to meeting Jesus, who when you meet him your feet are planted on planet earth. And He simply has arrived to take over this beautiful kingdom you've established for Him, then you've been under heavy delusion, you've been working for the antichrist and not for the true Christ."6

Back in the 1950s, J. Vernon McGee, the pastor of a very large dispensational congregation in Los Angeles, made the following

5. Christian Reconstructionists include such Calvinist theologians as R. J. Rushdoony, Greg L. Bahnsen, James Jordan, Ray Sutton, David Chitton, George Grant, and the authors of this book. Christian Reconstructionism was never connected with the Pentecostal group of the 1940s called the Manifest Sons of God, a movement that had disappeared before Christian Reconstructionists began writing in the 1960s.

6. Dominion and the Cross, Tape #2 of Dominion: The Word and NewWorld Order, a 3-tape set distributed by the Omega-Letter, Ontario, Canada, 1987.

classic statement about the futility of social reform: "You don't polish brass on a sinking ship." This phrase has become a favorite jibe against dispensational social pessimism and defeatism among Christian Reconstructionists. Rushdoony has quoted it for three decades. It is remarkable that Peter Lalonde, publisher of the Omega-Letter, repeats it favorably in his taped interview with Dave Hunt: "Do you polish brass on a sinking ship? And if they're working on setting up new institutions, instead of going out and winning the lost for Christ, then they're wasting the most valuable time on the planet earth."'

Thus, Daue Hunt&nits the progressive maturation of Christianity and Christian-operated social institution in history (meaning pre-Second Coming history). The millennium ruled by Christ, Hunt says, will be a world in which "Justice will be meted out swiftly."8 Jesus will treat men as fathers treat five-year-old children: instant punishment, no time for reflection and repentance. Christians today are given time to think through their actions, to reflect upon their past sins, and to make restitution before God judges them. Today, they are treated by God as responsible adults. Not in the millennium! The Church will go from maturity to immaturity when Christ returns in power. And even with the testimony of the perfect visible rule of Jesus on earth for a thousand years, Satan will still thwart Christ and Christ's Church, for at Satan's release, he will deceive almost the whole world, leading them to rebel against "Christ and the saints in Jerusalem."9

Dave Hunt vs. the Kingdom of God

In short, Hunt argues, the plan of God points only to the defeat of His Church in history. He is saying that Satan got the upper hand in Eden, and even the raw power of God during the millennium until the final judgment at the end of history will not wipe

7. Dominion: A Dangerous New Theology,Tape #1 of Dominion: The Word and New World Order.

& Dave Hunt, Beyond Seduction: A Return to Biblical Christianity (Eugene, OR:

out the kingdom of Satan and restore the creation to wholeness. Thus, he concludes, the kingdom of God will never be man ifested on earth, not even during dispensationalism's earthly millennium. I know of no pessimism regarding history greater than his statement that even the triumphant premillennial reign of Christ physically on earth will end when the vast majority of people will rebel against Him, converge upon Jerusalem, and try to destroy the faithful people inside the city: 'Converging from all over the world to war against Christ and the saints at Jerusalem, these rebels will finally have to be banished from God's presence forever (Rev. 20:7-10). The millennial reign of Christ upon earth, rather than being the kingdom of God, will in fact be the final proof of the incorrigible nature of the human heart."10

Actually, this is one of the most astounding statements ever written by any Christian author in history. "The millennial reign of Christ upon earth, rather than being the kingdom of God, will in fact be the final proof of the incorrigible nature of the human heart."11 He argues that this rebellion is the final act of history. But if this reign of Christ is not the kingdom of God, then just what is it that Jesus will deliver up to His Father at the last day? How do we make sense of the following prophecy? "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he bath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (1 Cor. 15:24-26; KJV). Hunt knows that Christ's destruction of the final satanic rebellion puts down death. So, the kingdom spoken of in this passage has to be Christ's millennial reign, whether physical (premillennialism), spiritual (amillennialism), or covenantal (postmillennialism). That he could make a mistake as large as this one indicates that he is a weak reed for dispensationalists to rest on, at this late date, in their attempt to refute Christian optimism

11. Idem, regarding the Church's earthly future. The exegetical crisis of pre-millennial dispensationalism is becoming evident, for dispensa-have failed to recognize the enormous threat to their theological system that Hunt's books have presented. That Dave Hunt, a man with a bachelor's degree in mathematics, is now the most prominent theologian of the dispensational movement, as immune from public criticism by dispensational theologians as Hal Lindsey was in the 1970s, indicates the extent of the crisis. The amateurs give away the store theologically, and the seminary professors say nothing, as if these paperback defenders had not delivered mortal blows to the dispensational system.

He refuses to let go. In Tape Two of the widely distributed three-tape interview with Peter Lalonde, he announces that God Himself is incapable of setting up an earthly kingdom!

In fact, dominion- taking dominion and setting up the kingdom for Christ - is an impossibility, even for God. The millennial reign of Christ, far from being the kingdom, is actually the final proof of the incorrigible nature of the human heart, because Christ Himself can't do what these people say they are going to do . . . .

Compare this with Hal Lindsey's comment under "Paradise Restored": "God's kingdom will be characterized by peace and equity, and by universal spirituality and knowledge of the Lord. Even the animals and reptiles will lose their ferocity and no longer be carnivorous. All men will have plenty and be secure. There will be a chicken in every pot and no one will steal it! The Great Society which human rulers throughout the centuries have promised, but never produced, will at last be realized under Christ's rule. The meek and not the arrogant will inherit the earth (Isaiah 11)."12 Or again, "That time is coming when believers in Jesus

12. Hal Lindsey, The Late Great PUmet Earth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. [1970] 1973), p. 177.

Christ are going to walk upon this earth and see it in perfect condition. Pollution will be pass?. Jesus Christ is going to recycle the late great Planet Earth."13 All this "kingdom perfection" during the millennium is abandoned by Dave Hunt, in his desperate yet consistent attack on Dominion Theology. He has scrapped traditional dispensationalism's last remaining traces of optimism about history in order to paint a picture of inconceivable despair. Even God cannot set up a kingdom on earth.

Yet we Christian Reconstructionists are criticized by a minority of activist dispensationalists for saying that dispensationalism is inherently a pessimistic worldview. If it isn't, then why did Dave Hunt's books become the best-selling Christian books of the 1980s? Because his traditional dispensationai readers apparently agree with him. They recognize that today's growing number of dispensa-tional political and social activists are no longer voicing the original theology of dispensationalism, but have adopted Dominion Theology, an implicitly postmillennial worldview.

Dave Hunt has presented to his traditional dispensationalist readers a theology of historical despair, a world forever without any cultural manifestation of the kingdom of God. If this is not a truly consistent version of dispensational theology, then why are the leaders of dispensationalism silent about his books? If Hal Lindsey rejects Hunt's totally pessimistic cultural conclusions, then why doesn't he say so publicly? Why don't the faculty members at Dallas Seminary and Grace Seminary voice their disapproval? Do they agree with him or not?

Power or Ethics?

Here is Hunt's second message: the gospel in history is doomed to (The first message is that God's Old Testament law is no longer binding in New Testament times, which is why he is

13. Hal Lindsey, Satan Is Alive and Well on Planet Earth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1972), p. 113.

so pessimistic: he no longer rests spiritually on the idea that God blesses His covenant people externally in terms of our faithfulness to His law, nor does He bring His enemies visibly low in history because of their covenantal rebellion.) In both premillennialism and amillennialism, we see the underlying theology of the power religion: the issues of history will be settled in Christ's favor only through a final physical confrontation between God and Satan at the end of time (Rev. 20). The history of the Church is therefore irrelevant: the conflict of the ages will be settled apart from the gospel, ethics, and the dominion covenant issued to Adam (Gen. 1:26-28), Noah (Gen. 9:1-17), and the Church (Matt. 28:18-20). The conflict of the ages will be settled in a kind of cosmic arm wrestling match between God and Satan. The Church is nothing more than a vulnerable bystander to this final cosmic event.

Yet we all know who will win in a war based strictly on power. We know that God has more power than Satan. Satan knows, too. What Christians need to believe, now and throughout eternity, is that the earthly authority which comes progressively to Christians as God's reward to His people in response to their righteousness under Christ and under biblical law is greater than the earthly authority progressively granted by Satan to his followers for their rebellion against God. Unfortunately for the history of the gospel during the last century, both premillennialism and amillennialism deny this fundamental truth. Pessimists preach that the power granted to Satan's human followers in history will always be greater than the power granted by God to His people in history (meaning before Jesus' second coming physically). They preach historic defeat for the Church ofJesus Christ. Why? Because they have denied the only basis of long-term victory for Christians: the continuing validity of God's Old Testament law, empowered in their lives by the Holy Spirit, the Church's tool of dominion.

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