[Author’s note: Herein I have attempted to provide the reader with a summary, flavor and highlights of Christian Reconstructionist literature found in abundance on the internet. No footnotes have been provided, but you are urged to follow the sources listed in the bibliography for a more complete understanding of this group. Please note also that many of the books published by the various Christian Reconstructionists can be downloaded free.]
References to Christian Reconstructionists have been floating around on the periphery of my consciousness for years. Now, at last, I have taken time to learn more about this regressive, malevolent, and scary politico/ religious system.
The system is known by many names: Theonomy, Dominion Theology, Christian Reconstructionism and because of its similarity to Shari Law, The American Taliban. I have named it the Christian Taliban or American Christian Taliban. The reader will see the similarity later. Reconstructionists wish to gain dominion over the United States and eventually the world and to impose on all the earliest Old Testament laws.
Christian Reconstructionists truly believe that these ancient laws are still in the forefront of God’s wishes and that He assures inevitable victory. Moses and the Jews were given the task of bringing about God’s Kingdom on earth and they failed. The task has now been assigned to Jesus who commanded all Christians to go forth and establish the kingdom. There have been vestiges of this doctrine around since the founding of Christianity. The crusades were conducted in the spirit of Reconstructionism. The roots of the current movement go back to John Calvin and his theocratic program in Switzerland in the 1500s and to the Puritans in America, but more recently in the 20th century to Cornelius Van Til, a theologian who espoused the ideas but never claimed to be a Reconstructionist. He did influence the man who is considered the father of the movement, Rousas John (R J) Rushdoony—1916 -2001. Rusdoony was born in New York to Armenian parents who had immigrated to America ahead of the Armenian genocide in 1915.
Reconstructionism is identified with a group of scholars who were affiliated with Reformed or Orthodox Presbyterianism. Reconstructionists have not been prominently in the public eye though they publish in magazines and have written many books. Rushdoony wrote an 800 page two volume treatise that established Reconstruuctionism for all time. His son-in-law, Gary North, and Rev. Greg Bahnsen, David Chilton and many others have contributed hundreds of writings in support of and defining Reconstructionism. Their approach is to embed into small churches, especially those of a decidedly conservative religious approach such as Pentecostals, Charismatics, fundamentalists, Southern Baptists, conservative Catholics and Calvinists. They focus, for now, on members of the Republican Party. This decentralized approach is a strategy to influence from a low profile position behind the scenes. Some mainline churches oppose them, but it is difficult to blow their cover. Popular evangelists such as Pat Robinson, James Kennedy, Lou Sheldon, Tim LaHaye, James Dobson, and the late Jerry Falwell, among many others, share many beliefs of and cooperate with the Reconstructionists, but shun being identified with them. The same is true with theocratic politicians such as Carl Rove, Tom Delay and Mike Huckabee.
In addition to a low profile decentralized strategy or perhaps a part of that strategy, the group has adopted, at least in the beginning, a gradual rather than a radical revolutionary approach. They seek nothing less than a revolution, but Gary North cautions against a “premature revolutionary situation”. He goes further saying that the public must begin to accept “the judicially binding case laws of the Old Testament before we attempt to tear down judicial institutions that still rely on natural law or public virtue. (I have in mind the U.S. Constitution.)”
Their influence is growing rapidly, especially among the ultra conservative religious right.
What Christian Reconstructionist Believe:
What you are about to read is no joke. These people are highly educated, deadly serious in their beliefs and they are no doubt driven by genuine fear of God. Their success in planting their beliefs has reached beyond their fondest hopes. Overall it is a scary plan they have for us and for the world.
The beliefs listed below should be read with one caveat in mind; there are among these beliefs a lot of mixed messages, double talk and internal contradictions. Also keep in mind that the purpose of all these beliefs is to build God’s Kingdom on earth as commanded in the Old Testament.
1. Capital Punishment—This is a central tenet. The death penalty is prescribed for: idolatry, rape, kidnapping, murder, apostasy, heresy, blasphemy, witchcraft, astrology, adultery, sodomy, homosexuality, incest, striking a parent, incorrigible juvenile delinquency and, in the case of women, un-chastity before marriage. Of course, women who have an abortion shall be killed along with anyone who aided her. Acquisition of a slave by kidnapping is punishable by death. Eventually, that is, when they are sufficiently in power, all who do not accept the belief system of the Reconstructed Christians shall be executed.
The choice methods of execution are burning or stoning. One theologian favored stoning as it offered opportunities for community participation, stones were plentiful and cheap, and in his view, stoning just had a nice biblical ring to it.
2. World Conquest—Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ – to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness.
- But it is dominion that we are after. Not just a voice.
- It is dominion we are after. Not just influence.
- It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time.
- It is dominion we are after.
- God has given us the tools of dominion.
- There is continual warfare between “God’s people and God’s enemies. The outcome must be the blotting out of God’s enemies.”
- The nations have a choice: “Either submit to His government and law, accepting His non-negotiable terms of surrender and peace, or be smashed to bits by the rod of His anger.”
3. Democracy—The church today has fallen prey to the heresy of democracy.
4. Slavery—Slavery is permitted. Slaves can be acquired in four ways:
- by purchase,
- by capture in war,
- as punishment for theft, or
- to pay off debt.
Acquisition of a slave by kidnapping is punishable by death.
Biblical law is humane and also unsentimental. It recognizes that some people are by nature slaves and will always be so. It requires that they be dealt with in a godly manner and also that the slave recognizes his position and accepts it with grace. The American Negro is better off for having been a slave.
5. Religious Liberty—“So let us be blunt about it: we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.
6. Citizenship—The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church’s public marks of the covenant—baptism and holy communion—must be denied citizenship, just as they were in ancient Israel.
7. American Indians and Negroes—You really don’t want to hear what Christian Reconstructionists have to say about this.
8. The New Race — By His birth of God and the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ is the head of the new race, as the new Adam, to provide earth with a new seed to supplant the old Adamic race. As the second and last Adam, Christ undoes the work of the first Adam and begins the dispossession of the fallen race from the world and the re-establishment of the earth as the Kingdom of God under His new race.
9. Women—Women are to be subject to their husbands. He is the head of the home. Women shall have no part in civil governance. Rape of an unmarried woman carries no death penalty because she belongs to no man. The matriarchal society is a decadent or broken society.
10. Abortion— A woman having an abortion and all who advised or aided her shall be put to death.
11. Jews—One of the tasks of Christians is to replace Judaism with Christianity. “The god of Judaism is the devil. The Jew will not be recognized by God as one of His chosen people until he abandons his demonic religion and returns to the faith of his fathers—the faith which embraces Jesus Christ and His Gospel.” A weakening of strength in America’s Jewish aristocracy is a development that has run parallel with extensive inbreeding.
12. Cultural Wars—The cultural mandate is the obligation of covenant man to subdue the earth and to exercise dominion over it under God.
13. Integration and Equality—Integration and equality are myths; they disguise a new segregation and a new equality. Every social order institutes its own program of separation or segregation. A particular faith and morality is given privileged status and all else is separated for progressive elimination. Segregation or separation is thus a basic principle of Biblical law with respect to religion and morality.
14. The Holocaust—While many Jews were executed during WWII, the accepted number is way too high. Many of the dead died of disease.
15. Pre-Post millennialists—Most modern day evangelists are pre-millennialists , believing that there can be no peace on earth until Jesus returns after which there will be 1000 years of peace overseen by Christians. The Christian Reconstructionists are post-millennialists, believing that the second coming of Christ will not happen until peace has been achieved—thus, the world will have to be thoroughly Christianized before His return. This is the major sticking point between the Christian Reconstructionists and other right-wing conservative Christians.
16. Presuppositionalism—acceptance on faith that the bible is inerrant; that is, without error.
17. Hebrew scripture is supreme to New Testament scripture and is binding on all people.
18. Civil laws everywhere are invalid if not based on the laws of the Old Testament.
19. Jesus—The significance of Jesus Christ as the “ faithful and true witness” is that He not only witnesses against those who are at war against God, but He also executes them.
Who are the Actors?
1. Cornelius Van Til—1895-1987. Graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and teacher at Princeton and Westminster Theological Seminary where he taught for 43 years. He wrote about presuppositional apologetics that became important to the Reconstructionists who were powerfully influenced by his writing. His writings preceded those of R.J. Rushdoony.
2. Rousas John (R J) Rushdoony—Presbyterian Minister, son of Armenian immigrants to America in 1915. Born 1916 died 2001. Influenced by the ideas of Van Til, he wrote a two volume book (The Institutes of Biblical Law) outlining the doctrine of Christian Reconstrctionism, formed the Chalcedon Foundation and began publication of the Chalcedon Report. Rushdoony was a member of the board of the Rutherford Institute. He was the father of Christian Reconstructionism.
3. Mark R. Rushdoony—son of R.J. is president of the Chalcedon Foundation and editor of the Chalcedon Report.
4. Gary North—son-in-law of R.J. North once served as research assistant for then Republican Representative Ron Paul. He was active in Libertarian politics. He is an economist of the Austrian School, and wants to return to the gold standard. He opposes the Federal Reserve, U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. He created the Institute for Christian Economics in Tyler, Texas. After 25 years in existence during which it published many of North’s more than 50 books, the Institute was dissolved. The assets from the dissolution of the ICE went to Dominion Educational Ministries, an organization that operates Christian day care centers. R.J. Rushdoony and Gary North were leaders in the Council For National Policy along with Sen. Trent Lott, Rep. Tom Delay, Rep. Bob Barr, Rep. Dick Army, Sen. Orrin Hatch and many other Republican lawmakers.
5. Bill Graves—Republican State Representative of Oklahoma. Writes articles for the Chalcedon Report.
6. Paul Pressler—Houston Appellate Judge who was one of the masterminds behind the Fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention.
7. Steven Hotze—political boss of the Republican party in Harris County (Houston) who also participated in the takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention.
8. Mike Huckabee—Former Arkansas governor, attended a fundraiser in Houston while running for U.S. President. The fund raising committee was hosted by Steve Hotze, a Christian Reconstructionist, along with others such as State Rep. Debbie Riddle, David Welch, Jack Tompkins, Keet Lewis and Rick Scarborough–founder of Vision America.
9. Rev. William O. Einwechter—wrote in the Chalcedon Report an article entitled “Stoning Disobedient Children” in which he cited Deuteronomy 21:18-21. This holy scripture advises parents to take disobedient children who will not change to the elders to be stoned. He elaborates that “The execution of the rebel; is just, merciful and preventive. Just, in that the transgressor deserves to die; merciful, in that his quick death prevents the destruction of the family, society, and others; preventive, in that it strikes fear in the hearts of other would be rebels and restrains them from taking a similar ruinous course.”
10. Kevin Reed—is a prolific author reared in Dallas who now lives in East Texas. In an article “The Antinomian Streak in the Reconstruction Movement,” Reed, as the title suggests, believes that the Reconstructionists are too liberal; they have used the biblical law selectively.
11. Rev. Ray Sutton—Reconstructionist theologian…”capital punish-ment is one of the best evangelistic tools of a society.” And, “there is no such thing as a natural disaster…what occurs results from God …Although we may not know the exact sin being judged.”
12. John Birch Society (JBS)—Frederick Clarkson who has written much about right-wing religious groups has this to say about the connections between CR and the John Birch Society.
“Reconstructionist leaders seem to have two consistent characteristics: a background in conservative Presbyterianism, and connections to the John Birch Society (JBS).
In 1973, R.J. Rushdoony compared the structure of the JBS to the “early church.” He wrote in Institutes: ‘ The key to the John Birch Society’s effectiveness has been a plan of operation which has a strong resemblance to the early church; have meetings, local ‘lay’ leaders, area supervisors or ‘bishops.’.. Most leading Recon-structionists have either been JBS members or have close ties to the organization. Reconstructionist literature can be found in JBS affiliated American Opinion bookstores….In fact, former JBS chairman Larry McDonald may himself have been a Recon-structionist.”
12. The Council for National Policy is a program started by top JBS members in 1981. Its founding members included Rushdoony, Gary North, Tim LeHaye, Gary Bauer (former Reagan aide) and Paul Weyrich.
13. Roy Moore, Alabama Judge—does not identify himself as a Reconstructionist but he speaks at their meetings and they feature him as a hero.
14. Herb Titus—Judge Roy Moore’s attorney and a Christian Reconstructionist.
15. Gary Demar—Christian Reconstructionist, head of American Vision and organizer of Restore America rallys. Vocal supporter of Judge Moore.
16. Paul Hill— Minister of the Reconstruction dominated Presbyterian Church in America—excommunicated by that church. He was executed for the murder of Dr. Gunn and other workers at the abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida. Hill had attended Christian Recon-struction meetings and while in prison wrote to Gary North regarding his actions.
17. Christian Exodus—This group has some of the same objectives as Christian Reconstructionists. They are currently trying to move thousands of right-wing Christians to South Carolina and Nevada to begin taking over local governments. There are many other such groups with a variety of associated agendas.
18. Joseph Morecraft—The existence of women magistrates “is a sign of God’s judgment on a culture.”
19. Jay Grimstead—Writer and supporter of CR, founder and president of Coalition on Revival (COR).
20. Rus Walton—of Plymouth Rock Foundation and a leading Christian Reconstructionist.
21. Randall Terry—Founder of Operation Rescue and Society for Truth. He was spokesperson for Terri Schiavo’s parents. His personal life is in direct opposition to his professed right-wing Christianity. While not identified as a CR he is frequently involved with the same organ-izations and causes in which they are involved.
22. Greg Bahnsen— Writer and supporter of CR.
23. John Stoos— Writer and supporter of CR.
24. David Chilton— Writer and supporter of CR.
25. Larry Pratt—Reconstructionist and white supremacist served as co-chair for Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign in 1996.
26. Kenneth Gentry, Jr.—Writer supporting Reconstructionism.
27. Andrew Sandlin—Minister who was once executive vice president of Chalcedon and editor of the Chalcedon Report.
28. Wiley Drake—This California based Southern Baptist minister, increasingly known as the Grim Reaper, is on the fringes with his imprecatory prayer crusade. In addition to praying for God to kill Rev. Barry Lynn, Director of Americans for Separation of Church and State, he has now added President Obama to the list of people he wants God to kill. Drake glories in the killing of Dr.Tiller in Wichita, Kansas a few weeks ago; he said his prayers had been answered. The really scary part is that there are many more Drake type nutcases out there that we hear little about.
29. David Barton—As reported by Church & State, (July 2009) Barton, who has long been associated with Reconstructionism, has been mangling history for his own ends for a couple of decades and consults with state governments and other groups from California to North Carolina, is now poised to write the social science textbook for Texas. As reflected in his book The Myth of Separation, Barton is an arch foe of separation of church and state. His operation located, near Fort Worth, is known as WallBuilders—not the Thomas Jefferson type wall, but the Jerusalem type wall. Barton, who served as the vice chairman of the Texas GOP from 1998-2006 is now teaming up with Newt Gingrich as that worthy gears up for a run for the presidency.
Barton was praised by Senator Sam Brownback for providing “the philosophical underpinning for a lot of the Republican effort today—bringing God back into the public square.” He was listed in Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential evangelical leaders in America. Barton makes appearances on Fox News, The 700 Club and other rightwing media. He serves on the Board of Advisors of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools and publishes a controversial Bible curriculum for use in public schools. He serves on the Board of Providence Foundation—a Christian Reconstructionist organization. Thus, he is in position, as hero to millions and ready access to the media, to accomplish much toward the destruction of America as we know it.
To paraphrase an old saying with friends like these Christianity does not need enemies.
“Christian Reconstructionism” http://www.apologeticsindex.orgr10.html
“Dominionism” Religious Tolerance.
“A Reconstructionist Manifesto: The Puritan Storm” The Forerunner:
“The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party” Theocratic Watch. www.theocraticwatch.org/introduction2.html#who
Chip Beriet, “Economic Libertarianism, Christian Reconstructionism, and the Republican Party”
“Christian Reconstructionism” Wikipedia
“Christian Reconstructionists: Leading Figures of Reconstructionism”
Walter Olson, “Invitation to a Stoning: Getting Cozy With Theocrats”
“Letter to Paul Hill on the Florida Killings”
Kevin Reed, “The Antinomian Streak in the Reconstructionist Movement,”
“Christian Reconstructionism Quotes,”
Frederick Clarkson, “Theocratic Dominionism Gains Influence.”
Bruce Prescott, “Christian Reconstructionism,”
Jim Burroway, “Mike Huckabee and the Reconstructionists.”
“Commentary,” Mother Jones
“Christians Stoning Teens”
David Chilton, Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators, Institute for Christian Economics, (Tyler ,Texas), 1981.
Gary North, The Myth of Pluralism, Institute for Christian Economics, (Tyler, Texas), 1989.
R.J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Bibical Law, Craig press (Nutley, N.J.) 1973.
Church & State, Vol. 62, No. 7,pp. 7-10.
David Barton, The Myth of Separation, 1989.
Michelle Goldberg, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism.