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May 6, 2022
Seven Mountains Heresy on Steroids
By Anthony Wade
Joseph Mattera is at it again. Bible twisting to pursue the NAR dreams...
Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world." - John 18:36 (ESV)
828 Ministries has greatly focused on the heresy known as NAR dominionism because this appears to be one of the last idols of the church age. It is infecting the vast majority of American churches with varying degrees of heretical involvement. Some churches merely dabble in dominionism while others are fully sold out. I know of one church that has the American flag painted on their roof for example. At the heart of all degrees of dominionism however are the same errors. It is the worship of this country, this world, instead of God. Sure, there are plenty of Christianisms thrown around for the appearance of piety but in the end, when you strip away the sound bites, all you are left with is idolatry. Whether it is idolizing politics, legislative desires, or some inaccurate understanding of freedom, all you are left with is rank heresy.
Joseph Mattera is a full-fledged Kool-Aid drinker when it comes to dominionism. He is all in. He comes from the true NAR side of dominionism in that he believes in the apostolic paradigm originally presented by C Peter Wagner over two decades ago. He is also fairly well-versed so it can be challenging to sift through what is so egregiously wrong to get to the heart of the gospel, which is the only thing that matters. Mattera takes issue with the church but only from the perspective that they are not doing enough to further the NAR dreams he has. While his arguments often sound convincing we must dig deeper with the likes of Joseph Mattera to see where he goes off the rails so wildly. So, let us reason once more through the article linked above.
"The kingdom of God is the rule of God that emanates from His throne. God's kingdom encompasses all universes, including every sphere of life on earth. Those stuck in typical church structures only understand the kingdom as it relates to going to heaven. The following points are contrasts based on the implications of understanding that the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof and that His kingdom rules over all, not just the church (Ps. 24; 103:19)." - Joseph Mattera
Right away we see how smooth Mattera can be. Of course, it is true that everything belongs to God. That is not quite the point here though. Mattera has a different vision for the church. An extra-biblical vision. He sees those that follow the church structures as laid out in scripture to be "stuck" and only relating to the kingdom is it pertains to heaven. What he does not realize of course is that was the focus Jesus gave us when He ministered. The gospel message is one of reconciliation as it pertains to everlasting life. The true dominionist however is never focused on everlasting life because they idolize this life. Let us now walk through his seven differences between church and his own version of dominionism.
"1. The kingdom encompasses all of life. Most contemporary churches depend upon a "church" building as their sacred space. In the kingdom, Christ followers are called to fill everyone else's building and their concomitant spheres of influence (Eph. 4:10). Unlike the perspective of many contemporary churches, they are not merely called to create and inhabit church buildings for religious use on Sundays." - Joseph Mattera
The church as designed by God is actually for the edification of the saints. It is not an emergency room for the lost or any other trite expression. It is certainly not designed to infiltrate cultural spheres as Mattera outlines here. That heresy is known as the seven mountains heresy and believes that the church must conquer the world to facilitate the second coming of Christ. Despite Mattera's deepest desires, Jesus Himself answered these questions in the key verse today. His kingdom is NOT of this world. There is no saving or sparing this world the coming wrath. All there is, is the gospel and how many might be saved out from this world before the end comes. I assume his scripture reference here was supposed to be Ephesians 4:11, not 10. Verse 11 details the people God established to help the church including apostles, prophets, teachers and shepherds. The surrounding context however also debunks Mattera:
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. - Ephesians 4:11-16 (ESV)
These roles are for building up the church, not the world. It is so that we might attain the unity of faith and knowledge of Christ; to mature. For Mattera's purposes? Absolutely not. It is so that we might be more mature to properly discern false doctrines that could shipwreck our faith. I agree that the church itself is much more than a building but the body of Christ is called to mature in Christ, not carry out the Crusades upon an unbelieving world.
"2. The kingdom releases all saints as ministers. Most contemporary church systems separate clergy and laity. In the New Testament we see that believers are called to function as a royal priesthood and a kingdom of priests (1 Pet. 2:8-9; Rev. 1:6). Hence, all Christians are priests called to be set apart for God's purposes as ministers. Contemporary church systems recognize only a small percentage of their ecclesial body as clergy (priests). Hence, they disempower the rest of their congregation regarding their sacred calling and relegate them to being spectators and pew sitters." - Joseph Mattera
Yeah, no Joseph. The Ephesians verses he cited dispel any such nonsense about everyone being released as ministers. Note that Ephesians teaches us that the roles of pastor, teacher etc are for the edification of the body of Christ, indicating these are specialized positions. Right now, too many people in the church fancy themselves preachers but are clearly without a calling. Mattera takes verses from Peter and Revelation that say one thing and he takes it to absurd levels. Peter does refer to us as a chosen nation and a royal priesthood but Mattera needs to keep reading:
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. - 1Peter 2:11 (ESV)
Right after these declarations, Peter exhorts believes as being sojourners and exiles! We have no place in this earth. It is not our home. Yes, we share the gospel so others might come into the glorious light but this world is passing away and Joseph Mattera needs to let go. The reason why there is a separation between laity and clergy is that is how God laid it out in the bible! Not everyone has the same gifts! Sheep who come to church every week to be led and fed are not "pew sitters." This rush to get everyone out as ministers is an integral part of the purpose driven church scheme and it is just as wrong here as the day Rick Warren wrote it. Jesus used the shepherd/sheep analogy for a reason.
"3. The kingdom releases people to serve in the marketplace. Most contemporary churches only release and equip people to serve in the church space. In the kingdom, it doesn't matter how many people attend your church service on Sunday; how many are discipled and equipped as ministers to serve their community on Monday is what matters most. Contrawise, in the contemporary church space, people often separate their Sunday church attendance from their Monday vocation." - Joseph Mattera
This is pure seven mountains dominionism and remains wholly heretical. That is not say that Christians cannot serve in the marketplace but the notion that God designed the church so that we could make Christian movies with dubious theology or spend our days trying to redeem the world instead of redeeming the time for unbelievers is patently false and biblically absurd. The notion of your Monday vocation being different from your church attendance is supported biblically. Paul often plied his craft as a tentmaker to not have to rely on giving from those he preached to. Now we certainly need to represent Christ in our Monday vocation but that is vastly different from what Mattera is pushing here.
"4. The kingdom applies Scripture to all of life. Many contemporary churches apply Scripture merely to the individual soul. In the kingdom, we turn the world upside down, not just church structures (Acts 17:6). The gospel should positively impact both individuals and communities (Isa. 61:1-4; Matt. 28:19). Jesus told us to pray for His kingdom and will to come on earth. Thus, gospel impact should impact societal systems (Luke 11:2-4). In a typical contemporary church, the focus is solely on the implications of redemption for an individual soul." - Joseph Mattera
This heaven to earth heresy is central to most NAR churches such as Bethel. It simply is wrong. It is not our job to bring heaven to earth, nor within our abilities to do so. The rest of this item is just sad to read. The bible is written for your individual soul beloved. It is not meant to be a blunt instrument to slap across the face of the unbeliever. The disciples turned the world upside down through the preaching of the Gospel, not by forcing their beliefs on others or taking over their cultural mountains. The Book of Acts tells of when Paul was rebuffed by the locals in his preaching. Did he try to take over their cultural structures? No. He picked up and went on to the next place to preach the Gospel until all had heard his message. We positively impact communities by seeing more people saved by the gospel. The gospel does not impact societal systems. The gospel impacts individuals. The value of the individual soul is infinite to God. Remember, all of heaven rejoices when a single soul is saved, not a single societal system. Mattera's flippant attitude toward individual salvation is the end result of not focusing on the individual.
"5. In the kingdom, all believers participate in Jesus' ministry DNA. In contemporary churches, only a few are encouraged to participate in His ministry DNA. Paul said that each one of us in the church has received grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ (Eph. 4:7). In this context, the gift of Christ is His ministry DNA, as seen in Ephesians 4:11 (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher). These five basic expressions demonstrate Jesus' fivefold ministry gifts as illustrated in the four Gospels. In the typical contemporary church, only a few of these five ministry gifts (pastors and teachers) are recognized in the church, and only among the clergy, who tend to be full-time church ministers. Consequently, every person in the church functions in at least one of these five ministry gifts of Jesus, whether in the church place or the marketplace. For example, in the marketplace, the apostles are the entrepreneurs, the prophets are the futurists who predict macro trends, pastors are the caregivers and counselors, teachers are the instructors, and evangelists are those in public relations and sales." - Joseph Mattera
This is just ridiculous and supported nowhere in scripture. The bible does not indicate that apostles are entrepreneurs or any of the other carnal assessments Mattera makes here. The silliest notion is that prophets are "futurists." A prophet's job is not prediction but rather relaying what God has said. Unfortunately, in the NAR paradigm, prophets have become soothsayers utilizing psychic parlor tricks. Consider also that in Mattera's vision, EVERYONE is operating in a leadership position! Who exactly will they be edifying? Striving for the unity in Christ does not mean everyone magically attains it. The other piece Mattera keeps missing is that the things of God are utter foolishness to those who are perishing! You cannot talk people into salvation. You can convince them in the marketplace. According to Romans they must hear the gospel in order to be saved!
"6. In the kingdom, the church shepherds the community. The typical contemporary church shepherds only the flock. Pastors who understand the implications of the kingdom often get their churches involved in caring for the practical needs of their surrounding communities. The lead pastors are also known by many of the gatekeepers of their region as key spiritual leaders to whom they can go for help. In the typical contemporary church, Christians are often only encouraged to serve in their church, and the lead pastor limits his or her gifts, abilities and calling to his or her congregation." - Joseph Mattera
Wow. Beloved, the church most definitely does not shepherd the community. The implication is that the lost are somehow transformed into sheep without being saved. His disdain for how God organizes His church is palpable. They only shepherd the flock? Is he serious? That's their job! I take no issue with a local church assisting the community with their needs. Then many might come to service and hear the gospel. Then they might be saved. There is no step for salvation in Joseph Mattera's plan. Take heart pastors. If God gives you a congregation, no matter how small, be faithful to the gospel and your sheep and you will hear "well done my faithful servant." If you throw your sheep into the wilderness of the world and expect them to do your job, you will not hear that when you stand before Christ.
"7. In the kingdom, we understand creation grace. In the contemporary church, we only understand saving grace. Lead pastors who understand the kingdom of God realize that God's temporal blessings come upon the just and the unjust (Matt. 5:45). Through His creation (or common) grace, He calls unsaved civic leaders, His anointed ones, and servants to enact His purposes in society (Isa. 1-4; 45; Rom. 13:1-7). This gives kingdom-minded pastors the theological permission to serve alongside unsaved magistrates and civic leaders for the common good of their cities. In the typical contemporary church, many lead pastors and congregations only collaborate with other like-minded Christians, thus limiting their gospel witness and their capacity to utilize their collective gifts to impact their communities." - Joseph Mattera
We only understand saving grace? Hallelujah! I do not doubt that in his darkened heart, Mattera believes this but he is simply making it up as he goes along. Once again this is how dominionists think. That God has secret purposes for each society in this world and is looking for pastors to partner with unbelievers to accomplish those purposes. Wait a minute! I thought He was God! Why does he need any of our help to accomplish His purposes? He doesn't of course. The arrogance to think He does need our help is staggering. It seems Mattera sets this premise up to excuse partnering with the world. So, despite his assertion of permission, the word of God still says to have no fellowship with darkness. This is all the idolatry of man. Take no part in it beloved. Take no part.
Reverend Anthony Wade - May 6 2022