Christian Reconstruction Strikes Back?: “Biblical Economics,” Classical Christian Schools, Masculinity, Complementarianism, Family, etc.
I kind’a had an “aha” the other day while speaking on the telephone with a Reformed seminary-level systematic theologian: the Christian Reconstruction movement may have made a quiet comeback among some of the YRR/new-Calvinist types (without their knowledge).
Read this definition of Christian Reconstruction onWiki. Does any of it sound familiar?
One of the methods the Roman Catholic Church uses to evangelize (esp. to convert Protestants) is there social teaching. It’s clearly stated because it:
shows the value of Catholic social doctrine as an instrument of evangelization (cf. Centesimus Annus, 54), because it places the human person and society in relationship with the light of the Gospel. The principles of the Church’s social doctrine, which are based on the natural law, are then seen to be confirmed and strengthened, in the faith of the Church, by the Gospel of Christ.In this light, men and women are invited above all to discover themselves as transcendent beings, in every dimension of their lives, including those related to social, economic and political contexts. Faith brings to fullness the meaning of the family, which, founded on marriage between one man and one woman, constitutes the first and vital cell of society. It moreover sheds light on the dignity of work, which, as human activity destined to bring human beings to fulfilment, has priority over capital and confirms their rightful claim to share in the fruits that result from work.–Introduction to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Christian Reconstruction has always had an emphasis on Calvinist apologetics, marriage & family (esp. complementarianism), Christian education, free-market economics, limit-government, fighting against homosexuality, and so on. For example, in these circles you’ll often read the phrases like “Biblical economics.” Have the Reconstructionists done the same thing? That is, use social and political issues to bring in new followers?
It’s been about 20 years since I first encountered this stuff but I think the combination America’s secularism, masculinity crisis, growing socialistic public policy, and the like, have opened the door for Christian Reconstruction to avail itself to new generation of young Calvinists but not through the front door–”Christian Reconstruction,” “Theonomy,” and the like–but through the back door of apologetics, the family, masculinity, big government, and so on. Below is an excerpt is from the 1992 Oct/Nov issue of “Biblical Economics Today” by Gary North (a Christian Reconstruction publication).
The next phase of the Christian Reconstruction movement must involve a move away from the publication of broadly based theological books and materials and toward the development of an off-campus collegiate bootstrap curriculum. We must acknowledge the existence of the biblical principle of the division of labor. We must not remain content to extend our work with only a half dozen to a dozen men sitting in front of word processors, turning out a book a year or a book every other year. We need many more people to grapple with the issues that are raised in every academic discipline by the conflict between reason and revelation. We need to recruit and train the next generation of students who can begin to develop the high school curriculum materials that are so desperately needed today. These students must do this not from a very low academic level but from a very high level. They must understand what is needed at a graduate school level so that they can develop the materials at the high school level. This is a bottom-up operation. This cannot be implemented from the top. The “top” is humanist or pietist.Christian Reconstructionists must not continue to produce materials that are mainly suitable only for upper division college students or even graduate school students. We have to begin to produce materials that are suitable for college students. We must recruit and train the next generation. What I am calling for, therefore, is a new program of recruiting. I am calling for the development of an off-campus training program aimed at bright students who want to commit themselves to the reconstruction of a particular academic field or a particular profession. We have to try to attract these students from the day they walk onto the college campus. We have to give them guidance through the four years of college. We have to lead them to materials that will enable them to get through the graduate school level. This has not been done in the last 20 years of the Christian Reconstruction movement, but no it must be done. We are shorl of funds. Worse, we are short of dedicated students. But we must start with what we have.
From what I’ve read in recent weeks, I think the “next phase” may have been successful.