There is a battle raging today between historic Reformed Christianity, which emphasizes the importance of a world and life view based upon the Bible, and dispensational pietism, which rejects a vast portion of God's Word by declaring it inapplicable to the New Covenant Church. The influence of dispensationalism has led to a truncated view of Christianity. This rejection of the whole law of God, the adoption of a pessimistic eschatology, and a lack of understanding of God's covenant purposes in history has led to a withdrawal of Christianity from the marketplace of ideas which govern a civilization. This vacuum created in our society by the withdrawal of Christian principles of government has given us widespread abortion, pornography, drug abuse, divorce, oppressive taxation, and other social ills which continue to plague our land.
Although "Christian Reconstructionism" is growing in popularity, it is being attacked from many angles. Several recent dispensational writers have associated "Dominion Theology" and "Christian Reconstruction" with New Age humanism.1 One recent dispensational work labels "Dominion Theology" as a "curse".2 Hal Lindsey, perhaps the most popular and well known dispensational writer, recklessly charges Reconstructionism with having "anti-semitic" tendencies.3
Such irrational attacks might be expected from the dispensational camp. Sadly, however, some of the most vehement opponents of Reconstructionist thought come from within ostensibly Reformed denominations. This opposition is unfortunate in that it unwittingly contradicts the confessional standards these opponents have taken solemn vows before God to uphold.4 It is apparent that the ubiquity of dispensational thought in this century has affected the thinking of men who in many respects exhibit good scholarship and sound theology.
Incredibly, one of the objections to Christian Reconstructionism from both the dispensational and the semi-reformed camps is the charge that reconstructionism is a "new" theology.5 Christian Reconstruction is not new, it is simply a return to the classic Reformed theology that characterized the writings of Calvin, the Puritans, and Presbyterian theologians of the nineteenth century. The consistent application of this theology transformed Calvin's Geneva and Puritan New England into truly Christian cultures. Christian Reconstruction is nothing more than the application of the whole of the Bible to the whole of life. Rather than being a new theology, it is actually an attempt to go back to the "old" theology believed, taught, and practiced in the Southern Presbyterian Church as recently as the late 1800's by men such as Major Robert L. Dabney.6 Reconstructionism only seems new because of the theological shift caused by the rise of dispensational ideas that have taken place this century.7
As in any theological dispute, it ultimately does not matter who does hold (or has held) to a position, what matters is the teaching of Holy Scripture. Even this question is more complex than it seems because of the dispensational presupposition that certain parts of the Bible are not applicable to the Church. One does not need the whole Bible to prove that God's Word teaches the doctrines that have come to be known as "Christian Reconstructionism". Two books, Matthew and John, will be more than sufficient to prove the point. In fact, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself demonstrate that He taught the doctrinal complex now known as the "Five Points of Christian Reconstructionism." (If there be any dispensationalists reading this who believe that the words of Jesus are not applicable to believers today, you have my sympathy, for Jesus Christ is truth personified [John 14:6]).
The five points of Christian Reconstructionism are generally considered to be:
- Calvinistic Soteriology. (i.e. The five points of Calvinism).
- Covenant Theology
- Presuppositional Apologetics
- Theonomic Ethics
The Lord Jesus Christ, the infinite God/Man, the Word of God incarnate, who is the ultimate source of all Scripture, taught the doctrines that make up the five points of Christian Reconstruction. This brief booklet does not pretend to be exhaustive or technical. An exhaustive and technical treatment of all the pertinent passages in Matthew and John would require a lengthy volume. It is, however, thorough enough to prove the point. I plead with critics of Christian Reconstruction to carefully consider the teachings of our Lord. I humbly plead with my brothers who oppose Christian Reconstruction but who claim to be Reformed theologians to carefully study their heritage as well as the arguments presented herein. I submit, even if I cannot convince you of the reconstrutionist position, that vitriolic attacks against reconstructionists (who are your brothers in the faith) are much misguided. I am grieved when so many who claim the Reformed faith tolerate Arminian, Dispensational, and Charismatic theology, yet viciously attack reconstructionists and sometimes even do everything in their power to deny them entry into presbyteries.8
*Published by Still Waters Revival Books, 12810-126 St. Edmonton, AB. Canada T5L 0Y1. Printed in Canada, March, 1990. — ISBN 0-921148-09-7.© 1990 Mark Duncan.
- See DeMar and Leithart, The Reduction of Christianity: A Biblical Response to Dave Hunt, (Ft Worth, Texas: Dominion Press, 1988).
- H. Wayne House and Thomas Ice, Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? (Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1988) Whatever may be said of this work, one thing is certain: the authors do not consider "Dominion Theology" to be a blessing. For a cogent reply to Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? see Bahnsen and Gentry, House Divided: The Breakup of Dispensational Theology, Dominion Press, 1989.
- Mr. Lindsey's latest book, The Road to Holocaust carries the subtitle: "Unchecked, the Dominion Theology movement among Christians could lead us — and Israel — into disaster..." See Schlissel and Brown, On Hal Lindsey and the Restoration of the Jews, (Edmonton, AB:Still Waters Revival Books, forthcoming, 1990) for a reply to Hal Lindsey.
- The reader is encouraged to study The Westminster Larger Catechism questions pertaining to the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer. Many of the Scripture proofs in the "sins to avoid" and "duties required" are taken from the Old Testament case laws. The answer to question 191 pertaining to the second petition of the Lord's Prayer sounds very "Reconstructionist."
- Dominion: A Dangerous New Theology, Tape #1 of Dominion and the New World Order. Distributed by the Omega Letter, ON Canada, 1987. Op. Cit. Reduction, p.138.
- Dabney was a major in the Confederate army, serving as Stonewall Jackson's Chief of Staff for a time. For his theological views, consult his excellent work: Lectures in Systematic Theology.
- For a detailed treatment of this subject see Douglas Frank, Less Than Conquerors: How Evangelicals Entered the 20th Century, Eerdman's, 1989.
- Even though the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America has repeatedly ruled in favor of admitting "theonomists," individual Presbyteries continue to hinder admission of Reconstructionists. A close friend and I experienced such opposition in 1989.