The Benevolent Empire: History And Revival
In the early 19th century, around the time of the Second Great Awakening, a network of Christian institutions united on interdenominational lines to be more successful in their overall mission. This network called themselves “The Benevolent Empire”.
However, the 1800s were a rough century for Christianity. I usually refer to it as the Great Christian Degeneration for a reason. Most of our modern cults formed in those years (Christian Science, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, old-school 7th Day Adventists), alongside other really damaging beliefs such as the utopian communes, perfectionism, Darby’s Dispensationalism heresy, and the worship-the-Jews belief regarding the state of Israel. Believe it or not, all this occurred in the 1800s, and more. Most of it pre-Civil War.
Like I said, it was a rough century.
During this time, the Benevolent Empire also formed.
The Benevolent Empire’s main goal was pluralism (Christian unity through interdenominationalism; sharing the power of the network). They wanted the denominations to care less about their differences and more about a communal mission. They wanted all Christians to support national success, partly through nationalism and partly through social reform.
Still, the Benevolent Empire did exist during the Great Christian Degeneration of the 1800s, so they also did a bunch of wonky stuff. The network ended up pushing temperance (prohibition), utopianism, strange Sabbath laws, and leftist social reform. This network also subscribed to perfectionism—Going so far to believe that both institutions and persons could be perfect, to be specific. This led to many odd beliefs and practices. Along with far too much trust and admiration of institutions.
But they did good things, too. They achieved prison reform, gave tremendous aid to the poor (in welfare and job placements), spread the Gospel, did massive work for worldwide Bible translations/availability, and promoted an early form of interdenominational Christian Nationalism. Alongside plenty of other things.
As with most things, there was good and bad. Nuance on all sides. Overall, I give them a strong C- in their early days before they got hijacked by abolitionists.
When ranking them, we have to consider their overall surroundings during the day, and they stayed mostly unmarked by the world even given the great degeneration surrounding them at the time. Their faults are obvious, but their successes should still be lauded.
What can we learn from this empire? One of the most important things we can learn from the Benevolent Empire is the success of strong pluralism and interdenominational Christian nationalism.
The network of independent Christian denominations is great, so long as they work together toward a shared goal.
We too exist in a time period of great degeneration. Both spiritually and culturally. But it is even worse now than during their time. At least their cults at least pretended to like Christ. We aren’t so lucky.
Similar to their time period, we also need less denominational infighting and more Christian unity. With the same focus that they had in the 19th century: unity for national success and social betterment for our people.
We need a 21st century Benevolent Empire.
The more time you spend interacting with many modern Christians, the more you realize that the average Christian spends more time either 1) supporting Satanic leftist causes or 2) fighting other Christians on minor theological points. Both are wrong.
The first is out of ignorance. That cure is simple with some moral remedies and bible discussion. We should rebuke these “Christians”.
The second is counterproductive. It does not change minds, edify, or advance God’s kingdom right now. All it does is create hostilities among brothers and sisters of the faith when we are already being stomped by the world.
Additionally, Christ commands us against sectarianism in all three of the Synoptic Gospels:
38 Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.”
39 But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. 40 For he who is not against us is on our side. 41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.
40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”
49 Now John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.”
50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.”
And Paul reiterates this position:
1 CORINTHIANS 1:10-17
10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. 16 Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
But there is one caveat to this sectarianism statement: their Gospel must be the same Gospel. If it is another, it is no longer the Gospel. It is an accursed perversion, like the cursed gospel of the cults.
My position has always been that so long as a man is preaching the correct Gospel (i.e., not the cults or other religions), give some grace. None of us truly knows everything. God himself tells us it is not for us to know everything during this time.
It is also my position that each Christian denomination has an expertise and a purpose.
The Presbys are great theologian defenders of the faith, Orthodox believers are great national activists, Baptists are great boots-on-the-ground soulwinners, Catholics are great traditionalists that point us to learn church history, and so on. God’s hand shines through all of them, given their own speciality.
Redeemed Zoomer has a great video on the subject. Find it here:
What our Zoomer brother says at the end nails it:
- Each of the denominations is a different province of the Kingdom of God. All are working toward his glory.
Now this is a Benevolent Empire mindset! This is what we need more of.
I do not care what province you hail from. If you fight for God and the true Gospel, you are on my side.
I fully ascribe to the “In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity” philosophy. You want a rock band in your service? Great, so long as you are Trinitarian. You have a priest instead of a pastor? Not a big deal, as long as you believe in the bodily resurrection and atonement at the cross.
Put your fighting spirit against the world, the Satanic leftists, the false (lowercase) gospel churches with rainbow flags, and those individuals/things that God hates. Not against your fellow Christian who just so happens to prefer some obscure aspect of Calvinism or some goofy amillennial theory. Give up the sectarianism.
I am not saying to be silent, but to be respectful. Be open about your beliefs. Talk about the differences. Even point out disagreement areas.
But if you are spending more time debating fellow Christians rather than converting non-Christians or fighting against Satan’s ever-tightening grip on our people, then you are doing this whole Christianity thing wrong.
The fight is against the serpent and his principalities, not against our fellow Church Christians whom hold a slightly different eschatological view. Never lose sight of this reality. Evil wants us at odds with one another, so we can’t be united against evil.
There is a time for everything, as Ecclesiastes states. Which means there is a time for doctrinal infighting for theological advancement (such as during Christendom), but there is also a time for denominational unity against the rapidly approaching Satanic one world order. The latter time is now.
Let’s bring back the Benevolent Empire, but make it far stronger than the first iteration.
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