In 1975, Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade, and Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With a Mission (YWAM), had lunch together in Colorado. God simultaneously gave each of these change agents a message to give to the other.
During that same time frame Francis Schaeffer, the American Evangelical Christian theologian, philosopher and pastor, was given a similar message. That message was that if we are to impact any nation for Jesus Christ, then we would have to affect the seven spheres, or “mountains” of society that are the pillars of any society.
These seven mountains are:
- Arts and Entertainment
- Religion, Church & Missions
There are many potential subgroups under these main categories.
About a month later the Lord showed Francis Schaeffer the same thing. In essence, God was telling these three change agents where the battlefield was. It was here where culture would be won or lost. Their assignment was to raise up change agents to scale the mountains and to help a new generation of change agents understand the larger story.
The Dozen Domains are:
While all culture could be categorized in one of the original seven, Dave Buehring includes the following additional five “mountains” or spheres of influence to better facilitate the conversation:
- Science and Technology
- Health, Medicine, and Wholeness
- Environment, Agriculture, and Zoology
- Non-profit and Service Organizations
- Peoples (groups, affinity/cultural kinship
One of the questions that people having a difficult time accepting this mandate ask is, “Isn’t this just Dominion Theology/Christian Reconstructionism/theonomy?” The short answer is “No.”
There are a number of reasons why the “Seven Mountain Mandate” is none of these things, but the short answer is that there is a big difference between “influence” and “dominion.” It is not my intent to short change what Dominion Theology/Christian Reconstructionism/ theonomy, but for the sake of our discussion here, this call to influence culture does not have the end mission to set up a theocracy or worldwide system that is patterned after Mosaic (Old Testament) Law.
This is not a militaristic attempt to forcibly wrestle control from those in power and establish a theocracy. It is something almost completely opposite of that!
What the Seven Mountain Mandate (and/or the Dozen Domains) is attempting to accomplish is for Christians, gifted, impassioned and Spiritually empowered to influence culture at the highest levels.
If you think about the simple definition of “leadership,” it’s influence; nothing more nothing less.
Using Jesus as our Example, we find that His concept of leadership comes in the form of service powered by love. As a matter of fact, Jesus clearly taught that his model of leadership was far from that of military power or positional authority to rule over people, but where the greatest in His kingdom would rule as a “servant” not a dictator.
Lance Wallnau, arguably the foremost contemporary voice for the Seven Mountain Mandate, teaches that the Seven Mountains is a simple way to explain a complex concept. But it’s basically how Christians are supposed to impact the culture around them with God’s truth.
Dr. Wallnau uses the Socratic Method in a lot of his teaching. By asking and answering questions that stimulate critical thinking and illuminate ideas, he helps us dig deeper into Scriptures that we might have read so many times that we now just gloss over them- but they contain foundational truths that are the keys of the relevant for this conversation. For example, when Jesus said,
“…on this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven…” Matthew 16:18-19
Let’s use the Socratic Method to break this Bible verse down for purposes of our discussion…
- Is the church and the kingdom of heaven the same thing? No
- Who will build the church? Jesus
- So where should we (the church) be? As close to the gates of hell as possible
- If we look at our culture today, where is the greatest area of control and influence? At the “top of the seven/dozen mountains”
- Would you say that the devil has done a good job of influencing these areas of culture at the highest levels? Yes
- If the church is going to prevail against the onslaught of the devil, where are the “gates of hell” located in our culture today? At the top of the seven/dozen mountains!
- Where should WE be??
The Kingdom of God is on a collision course with the gates of hell. If we want to do God’s will. If we want to make a relevant difference in our culture. Then the church has to move a confront the devil- face to face.
So, just to make sure we are on the same page… if we want to have the greatest chance to destroy the works of the devil, where is theprime real estate he is trying to control and influence? The top of the mountains of culture, right?!
What should we do? How should we do it? And many other questions might be flooding your mind right now. But this is where things get a little more complicated…
But, before I attempt to unravel the other “theological rat’s nest,” let’s keep one thing clear! Even though we might use military jargon to describe what we are doing: invade, take back enemy territory, etc… REMEMBER!
“The weapons of our warfare are not physical (weapons used against flesh and blood). Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of spiritual fortresses. 2 Corinthians 10:4 (Amp)
I believe that one of the problems that the church faces today is that we are not united. We aren’t cooperating with each other, let alone doing things together. And I think it is due, in part, to the fact that we don’t have a common “vocabulary.”
The purpose of this article was to try to bring us to a common understanding of what the Seven/Dozen Mountain Mandate is and is not. Personally, I think it just makes common sense when you think about what the mandate is saying: The Body of Christ should be living in such a way that they are influencing their cultures at the highest levels with the truth of God.
Hopefully, after reading this, you are in agreement, at the very least leaning toward it.
It might be helpful to read some of my other Blog articles on market place ministry and the role of Christians as kings and priests in society.
We will continue the conversation soon! As we dig a little deeper to develop a game plan how you and I can “ascend the mountains of culture” we have influence in.