Since 1993, I have posted hundreds of articles on my website concerning Christian Reconstruction. I’ve even written the highest ranked article on “Theonomy” on the Internet. (Google search “theonomy“ if you don’t believe me.) I’ve also produced several video presentations from a Christian Reconstructionist viewpoint.
While there are a lot of other theological passions that drive me, I am more known on the world wide web by quotes from my Theonomy FAQ than any other piece of writing I’ve done. It’s quoted in hundreds of places. It’s far from my best work, and I am not one of the major Reconstructionist writers, so I am surprised at the attention paid to this piece. Since I’ve received more than my allotted 15 minutes of unlikely fame (or infamy?) as a mere chronicler of the Reconstructionist movement, I have a few observations to make.
1. One of the reasons I first became interested in Christian Reconstruction in the first place was because of the distortions by Christians and non-Christians alike. There is a lot of animosity toward postmillennial (that is, optimistic and victorious) eschatology and God’s Law. I understand why non-believers feel threatened by the oracles of God, but I’ve never understood why Christians are so afraid of this association. If I see a theology that is within the pale of orthodoxy which I don’t agree with, I study it so that I can decide exactly why I don’t agree. Often we are most afraid of what we don’t understand.
2. There is little understanding about Christian Reconstruction (and especially theonomy and postmillennialism) among Christians. The most popular refutation is that imposing the Old Testament penal sanctions in capital cases would be “cruel, barbaric and harsh.” Christians often don’t stop to think that the God of the Old Testament who gave these Laws is Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, who was present in the Godhead when the Law was given to Moses. These Christians don’t stop to think that they are impugning Jesus as “cruel, barbaric, and harsh” when they reject the Law out of hand. A more fitting objection would be that the application of the Law has changed under the New Covenant. Ironically, this an aspect of the theonomy upon which virtually all theonomists agree!
3. The other objection is that Reconstructionists are people who want to use politics to enforce the Gospel or that theonomists believe that God’s kingdom can be brought about by killing who we think are “God’s enemies.” Usually a few choice quotes (including some by me) are wrenched out of context in order to make theonomists appear to be the “Christian equivalent of the Taliban.” I even had a former pastor tell me that a society run by biblical law would be no different than an Islamo-fascist dictatorship. How low a view of God’s Law! In fact, Christian Reconstructionists believe that the Law of God is only a tutor to point people to Christ. The Law can never save people. However, we do measure our growth in sanctification by the Law. Codifying the Law of God in a converted society would add glory to the Gospel because it would reflect God’s character in the civil realm.
Below is a more accurate view of theonomy and the Gospel in the words of the leaders of the Christian Reconstuctionist movement.
[Quotes complied by David Field]
“It must be stressed that the creation of a Christian nation could
be accomplished only as a result of the widespread work of the Holy
Spirit, not through some bureaucratic top-down, coercively imposed
order on a non-Christian majority by a Christian minority. —G.
North, Healer of the Nations” [p.34]
“It is the missionary … who is best equipped to begin the bottom-
up process of evangelism that ultimately leads to the establishment
of a covenanted confederation of Christian nations.” —Healer [p.157]
“We must seek reform first in the Church, not in the State. The
focus on the State as the primary institution of life is the
humanist myth of the age. It must not become the myth of Christian
reconstruction.” —Healer [p.287]
“What is God’s historic means of making the world better ? The
preaching of the gospel.” —Gary North, Reduction of Christianity
“One of the distinctives of Christian reconstruction is its aversion
to the use of politics as the method to bring about social
change …. But why all the attention to politics in
reconstructionist literature … ? The answer is very simple.
Politics has become the saviour of the people. Reconstructionists
write about politics and civil government in order to call
Christians and non-Christians back to their only Saviour, the Lord
Jesus Christ.” —Gary DeMar, Reduction [p.21f]
“Christian reconstructionists are looking for the transformation of
all of society, including families, churches, business
establishments, the legal profession, education, economics,
journalism, the media and civil government through personal
redemption and adherence to the Bible as the standard for godly
rule.” —Reduction [p.23]
“Dominion comes through service … It is idolatrous to seek
dominion primarily by political means, whether by domination or
anarchic revolution.” — Reduction [p.25]
“Evangelism is the starting point of social transformation.” —
“The key to remedying the [present] situation is … regeneration.
There is no hope for man except in regeneration … True reform
begins with regeneration and then the submission of the believer to
the whole law-word of God.”
—R J Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law, [pp.113, 449, 627]
“The chief blessing of the kingdom is forgiveness of sins”
“It is through the Spirit-filled church, proclaiming the gospel,
that the kingdom of Christ extends throughout the world.”
“The negative reaction to social reform comes from secularized
attempts to do what only the gospel can do. This reaction is
legitimate but it should not deter Christians from being truly
evangelical in their attempts at reform.”
“If we really do need a graduate school in theology, let us finance
one. But let us no longer fool the donors into believing that this
sort of rarified academic institution is necessary or even useful
for training pastors … For now, let us get on with the task at
hand: the evangelization of the world.”
—Gary North, Theonomy: An Informed Response, [p.340f]
“The authors of this book … know very well that Christian faith
centers on the saving work of Jesus Christ. They profess to love the
Savior with all their heart. They know that their new life in Him,
their new status of being right with God, and their hope of eternal
life have been granted to them by the grace of God. They have
nothing of which to boast. With Paul they would say, ‘Far be it from
me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through
which the world has been crucified unto me and I unto the world’.
Having been saved from the world, their concern is to love their
Lord with all their heart, soul, strength and mind. They now want to
walk in those good works which God intends for them. They make a
sincere effort to heed the words of Christ to ‘seek above all the
kingdom of God and His righteousness’. They know that this kingdom,
for which they pray regularly, will not be consummated until after
the return of Jesus Christ and the final judgment, when all
believers will then rejoice in a new heaven and earth wherein
righteousness dwells. In the meantime they seek to perfect personal
holiness in the fear of God and to make all the nations disciples of
their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is only in the light and
context of these beliefs and practices that they see and understand
their Reconstructionist position in ethics and eschatology.”
—Greg Bahnsen, House Divided, [p.3f]
“It must be understood the Reconstructionists believe that
evangelism is the absolute pre-condition to worldwide,
postmillennial, theocratic success … We insist that cultural
influence and change are to be promoted by God’s people – who are
saved by grace alone – at large in their callings, not by the
institutional Church as such.”
—Ken Gentry, House Divided, [p.194]
“Evangelism, leading to baptism, comes first”.
—Ken Gentry, House Dived, [p.194]
“Christian Reconstructionists do not believe that man can be
fundamentally changed by changing the conditions of society. Instead
we believe that society will be changed when men are first changed
inwardly by the Gospel and then seek to apply that change to the
spheres of life in which they are involved.”
—Tony Baxter, “Theonomy” article in “Calvinism Today” magazine I.4
“First and foremost, our emphasis is on the proclamation of the
saving power of God through Jesus Christ; and then the regenerate
man applying the whole word of God to every sphere of life.”
—R J Rushdoony, “Calvinism Today” II.1 14
“The message of the kingdom of God rests on a concept of salvation
which is supernaturally imparted, not politically imparted.”
—Gary North, Tools of Dominion, [p.38]
“The primary need today, as always, is the need for widespread
personal repentance before God.”
—Gary North, Tools of Dominion, [p.39]
“The basis for building a Christian society is evangelism and
missions that lead to a widespread Christian revival, so that the
great mass of earth’s inhabitants will place themselves under
Christ’s protection, and voluntarily use His covenantal laws for
self-government. Christian reconstruction begins with personal
conversion to Christ and self-government under God’s law, then
spreads to others through revival and only later does it bring
comprehensive changes in civil law, when the vast majority of voters
voluntarily agree to live under Biblical blueprints.”
—Gary North, Tools of Dominion, [p.55]
“The key to cultural transformation is the gospel.”
—David Chilton, Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt
“My slogan is ‘politics fourth’ … it is my concern after
individual salvation, church membership and family membership.”
—Gary North, Westminster’s Confession, [p.158]
“The goal of Christian political action then is not to usher in a
theocracy but to acknowledge the theocracy that already exists ….
Christian political action is not supposed to impose a messianic
kingdom from the top down. Only God can lawfully control the hearts
of men by imposing His rule …. Christian political action is
therefore a bottom-up and inside-out process.”
—George Grant, Changing of the Guard, [p.11]
“The orthodox Christian faith cannot be reduced to personal
experiences, academic discussions, or culture-building activity – as
important as all these are in varying degrees. The essence of
Biblical religion is the worship of God …. True Christian
reconstruction of culture is far from being simply a matter of
passing Law X and electing Congressman Y. Christianity is not a
political cult. It is the divinely ordained worship of the Most High
God.” —David Chilton, Paradise Restored, [p.215]
“I forthrightly reject any reduction of the sacred message to
moralism or politics … the central thrust of the bible is
recognized to be the accomplishment and application of salvation to
God’s people.” —Greg Bahnsen, Theonomy, [p.33f]
“I don’t disagree that the issues taken up in Theonomy are of
subordinate importance in the Christian life, preaching of the
church, range of theological loci etc … Surely the fact that some
Christians take up the question of God’s law and its relation to
modern penology – and that some write on the subject – does not mean
that they believe that subject is the most vital issue for all
believers (or even for themselves).”
— Greg Bahnsen, No Other Standard, [p.43]
“We may readily grant that socio-political reconstruction has less
urgency than personal spirituality or the church, but this does not
bear whatsoever upon the truth or error of the theonomic standard
for politics.” — Bahnsen, No Other, p.51
These are the books and magazines from which the quotations come. Most of these can be gotten cheaply as used copies on Amazon.com.
The Changing of the Guard – George Grant
Calvinism Today (magazine)
Healer of the Nations – Gary North
House Divided – Greg Bahnsen & Kenneth Gentry
Theonomy: An Informed Response – ed. Gary North
Inherit the Earth – Gary North
The Institutes of Biblical Law – R.J. Rushdoony
No Other Standard – Greg Bahnsen
Paradise Restored – David Chilton
Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt-Manipulators – David
The Reduction of Christianity – Peter Leithart & GaryDeMar
Theonomy in Christian Ethics – Greg Bahnsen
Tools of Dominion – Gary North
Westminister’s Confession – Gary North
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Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
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Download the Free Study Guide!
God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.
Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!
Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:
1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?
Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.
Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!
Running Time: 240 minutes
Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.
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“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
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