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Reconstructionism and Post-Millennialism
In the following e-mail exchange, the e-mailer's comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.
> Have you heard of Theonomists and Reconstruction Christians?<
> My daughter is getting involved in this highly intellectual, high-tech verbiage religion (stemming from Reformed Doctrines). Her boyfriend and his family are very debateful, constantly calling us Armenians (if we don't agree with their viewpoint or terminology).
Any ideas on these people? Are they cultish?
First, I believe you mean "Arminian" (the theological position) not "Armenian" (the nationality). That said, to answer your questions, Reconstructionism is an "extreme" form of post-millennialism. There is nothing "wrong" with the latter. Many well-known Christians throughout the centuries have held to this view (such as Augustine, Calvin, and many others).
Briefly, the idea is: Jesus will return AFTER the millenium, not before as is the more common belief today. The millenium will be brought about by the world being "Christianized" by the preaching of the Gospel. The idea is not that everyone in the world will become a Christian but that such significant numbers will be that there will be a "Christian consensus" that will bring about the betterment of the world.
Now, I personally disagree with this idea. I think it is too idealistic. But it is not "heresy" by any means. And in some ways it is better than the fatalism often seen in those who ascribe to a pre-mil, and especially dispensational viewpoint. The latter is the opposite, it believes the world will get worse and worse until Jesus returns. So there is little encouragement for social action, which a post-mil position is more of an encouragement to.
That said, the Reconstructionists go a step beyond normal post-mil beliefs. What they state is that the OT laws should become the "law of the land." In other words, rather than waiting for the world to be Christianized by the preaching of the Gospel, and this in turn naturally leading to a better society, the Reconstructionists believe the force of the law should be used to "force" people to live up to Christian ideals.
There are differences among them. But the basic idea is, all of the OT laws should be enforced. Some take this to the point of saying heretics should be executed, but not all.
Some prominent teachers in the movement are Gary North and David Chilton (not to be confused with Robert Tilton, the TV-evangelist). Having read some of their books, they do have some good ideas. The have a greater respect for the OT than most Christians. I do think the OT can be used as a "guide" in various ways. But I do not believe we are to follow its exact precepts, especially in regards to governmental actions.
And finally, let me make it clear, that yes Reconstructionists are generally Reformed in their views; but, not all of us who ascribe to Reform theology are Reconstructionistsnot even close! It is more on the "fringe" of the Reformed movement than anything else.
So how to deal with them would be hard to say. As indicated, there are a lot of different issues: Reformed theology, post-millennialism, and Reconstructionism itself. But I do need to emphasize one can be Reformed without being a Reconstructionist; one can even ascribe to a post-mil belief without being a Reconstructionist.
So at the very least, it is unfair for them to call you an Arminian just because you are not a Reconstructionist. Now you may be an Arminian. But again, that should a separate issue.
As for whether Reconstructionism is "cultish"that would depend on how the word "cult" is defined. I will say this, I wouldn't call Reconstructionism a heresy; but it is definitely out of the main-stream of Christian theology, even of Reformed theology.
So my best advice with you is try to "agree to disagree." In other words, tell them that you agree on the "essentials of the faith." End-time viewpoints and the relationship of the OT law to us today are points Christians have often disagreed on. So just focus on the points you agree on, without casting slurs at each other over the points you disagree on.
For more on the different end-time viewpoints, see my Scripture Study, "End-Time Prophecy" found in my Scripture Workbook. For more on the relationship of the OT Law to us today, see my E-mail Exchange, The Sabbath and Decision Making.
> Greetings in the Name of the LORD Jesus Christ!
Your web site is excellent! I have really enjoyed my reading today and have passed your URL along to a friend with Bible version questions. (There are not many reasonable voices in this debate, so thanks for your work!)
I can see you are committed to logically refuting false doctrines, so I thought I would offer a response to the following quote from [above]:
"In other words, rather than waiting for the world to be Christianized by the preaching of the Gospel, and this in turn naturally leading to a better society, the Reconstructionists believe the force of the law should be used to "force" people to live up to Christian ideals."
Reconstructionists are working *very* hard to correct this misconception of our beliefs. I know there are a few writers who are on the Reconstructionist fringe ("fringe of a fringe," how do you like that?) who have made some very strange and radical comments, but most Reconstructionists would wholeheartedly define themselves by your first two clauses above, rather than accept the implications of your last clause.
We Reconstructionists believe that God's Law, as it is revealed throughout the Bible, is an expression of His Holy Character. Therefore, we believe that ethics (the Moral Law) cannot change.
Because we are Post-Mil, we expect the Great Commission to be successful. We *expect* that as we faithfully plant and water, God will be pleased to give an increase so that, at the End of Time, the kings of the nations of the Earth will be among the Redeemed. (Rev. 21:24)
Because we believe both that the Holy Spirit sanctifies the Elect and that ethics cannot change, we believe that *as* God gathers His Elect from among all nations, and regenerates and sanctifies them by the Power of His Spirit, our society will be supernaturally conformed to Biblical Ethics.
We will *want*, as peoples, the kind of Laws for which Christians are lobbying today. When, for example, "partial birth abortion" comes up for vote, the popular opposition to it will be *overwhelming*.
We will have Laws that reflect Biblical Ethics because the Electorate will be increasingly inclined toward the Word of Godnot because an ungodly nation is oppressed into reluctant obedience to God's Law.
No human tyranny will ever stamp out wickedness [there's an oxymoron for you] and make bad men good. The only hope for the nations is regeneration.
Assuming, just for the moment, that Postmillennialism is correct, it is simple logic to conclude that Nations will one day Elect righteous rulers and demand Just Laws that increasingly accord with what the Word of God demands. From my perspective, reconstructionism is the most logical personal application of postmillenialism.
I'm not trying to convince you of my position. Really. :-) However, I would like to convince you that it would make a better web page for your site if you refuted Reconstructionism at its best rather than at its worst. (What good would it do if your Jehovah's Witnesses pages refuted their three poorest and most illogical arguments? It's hard to pick three, there, but you get the idea....)
Surely you don't want to take my word for it that we're not all radical nuts bent on revolution. ;-) I invite you to check out this page and this page.
I pray that the Lord will bless your ministry and comfort you out of His Mercy.
Wife to Paul, Mother to Six Girls aged almost 1 year to 9 years
Praising God from Whom ALL Blessings Flow!
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Thank you for your e-mail. Since I am not real well versed on Reconstructionism, I will simply post your e-mail as a "clarification" to my comments.
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