On Christian Reconstructionism: A Retraction
It has been a long time since I have posted here, so I thought that I would get the ball rolling by posting a retraction of previous statements that I have made regarding the movement Christian Reconstructionism. Though I still think what I do about how Christians should interact with the government, it is appropriate for me to publicly “take back” what I said about something I only distantly understood.
When I previously wrote about Christian Reconstructionism, I did so without even giving its proponents the courtesy of a fair hearing on YouTube, let alone reading any of their books explaining the fundamentals of what they are about. I sort of chased around the edges, read articles by their most vocal detractors, and moved to condemn them on this blog. Here are a few of the names that turn up when you look into Christian Reconstructionism (ripped from the Wikipedia article):
John Rousas Rushdoony
Howard Ahmanson, Jr.
Though he was not himself a Christian Reconstructionist, the Christian apologist Cornelius Van Til inspired the movement with his views on presuppositional apologetics, which is a particular strand of Christian apologetics that works from the notion that thinking from the Christian worldview is the only rational way to think.
Some American politicians claimed to be linked to the movement include:
Christian Reconstructionism is a ghoul that some people in the news media like to pull out to make the Republican Party seem really scary. While I have no particular love for the Republican Party myself, the biggest problem the GOP faces is probably self-aggrandizement rather than infiltration by Christian splinter groups with wacky views of the end times. To be perfectly frank, everyone already knows that the Republicans want to take over the country, and American Christianity definitely has problems with wacky views of the end times.
To return to the subject at hand, I did not come to praise Christian Reconstructionists but to bury them — that is, bury them under a mound of apologies and requests for forgiveness for not dealing with their ideas or the application of their ideas more thoroughly. While I still have not completed a thorough examination of their materials (i.e. I have yet to read a whole book written by a Reconstructionist), I have done a little more examination of what they believe and I have found myself in the wrong about just how it is that they intend to take over the world, if you will pardon the expression.
I suppose one way to summarize what I have found is that they believe that lots and lots of people are going to come to Jesus, and they will voluntarily bring all of their culture and society into obedience to God. Here is a YouTube video from a time that Rushdoony defined Dominionism (a concept related to Reconstructionism). What you will find is that Reconstructionists believe in being politically active and in keeping government from becoming too powerful while seeking to peacefully spread Christianity. Have you ever heard of evangelicals before? They try to do that too.
While I still subtly disagree with Christian Reconstructionism, Reconstructionists have some rather edifying things to say to Christians about living for God in real life. While I take issue with some of the things that they say, they are not a pernicious evil to be rooted out of conservative circles.
In sum, I just want to say this: Christian Reconstructionists, while I may write in the future to disagree with some of your ideas, I promise to engage with your thoughts more charitably than I have previously. Because I have been so vocal in the past about the nastiness of Christian Reconstructionism, I thought it proper to be equally public with my retraction. Reconstructionists, while a minority, are not crazy, nor are they bent upon world domination. Though I would not wholeheartedly buy into their ideology, I never wholeheartedly buy into anyone’s ideology, be that intellectual pride, standoffishness or some other such thing.
I hope that is a satisfactory beginning. Thanks for reading.