This essay describes a clash between two religions, with believers in a third religion standing on the sidelines, waiting to see the outcome of the clash. The Bible presents it as the archetypal clash in history between these two religions. This confrontation has been going on since the Garden of Eden.
The first of the conflicting religions is power religion, the religion of Satan and his representatives. The second is dominion religion, the religion of God and His representatives. The testimony of the Book of Exodus is clear: those who seek power apart from God are doomed to comprehensive, total defeat. The third is escapist religion, which attempts to seek a middle position between these warring camps, but which is ultimately an ally of the power religion.
Those who seek God are called to exercise dominion, and they shall be victorious over the enemies of God. But this victory takes time. it is not achieved instantaneously. It is the product of long years of self-discipline under God’s authority. The power religionists do not want to wait. Like Adam in his rebellion, sinners choose to dress themselves in the robes of authority, so that they can render instant autonomous judgment. They do not want to subordinate themselves to God.
What about escapist religion? It is a religion which proclaims the inevitability of external defeat for the people of God. The defenders of temporal impotence thereby become the allies of temporal power. This religion was dominant in the lives of the Hebrew slaves. They became easy prey for the power religionists. But when the power manifested by dominion religion overcame the pagan power religion, they grudgingly followed the victors. it is much the same today.
It is necessary to survey briefly the first principles of these three religious outlooks.
1. Power Religion
This is a religious viewpoint which affirms that the most important goal for a man, group, or species, is the capture and maintenance of power. Power is seen as the chief attribute of God, or if the religion is officially atheistic, then the chief attribute of man. This perspective is a satanic perversion of God’s command to man to exercise dominion over all the creation (Gen. 1:26-28)? It is the attempt to exercise dominion apart from covenantal subordination to the true Creator God.
What distinguishes biblical dominion religion from satanic power religion is ethics, is the person who seeks power doing so for the glory of God, and for himself secondarily, and only to the extent that he is God’s lawful and covenantally faithful representative? If so, he will act in terms of God’s Bible-based ethical standards and in terms of a profession of faith in the God of the Bible. The church has recognized this two-fold requirement. historically, and has established a dual requirement for membership: profession of faith and a godly life.
In contrast, power religion is a religion of autonomy. It affirms that “My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth” (Deut. 8:17). It seeks power or wealth in order to make credible this very claim.
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