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Christian Reconstructionism etc.

Beliefs and practices

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Beliefs:

According to Gary DeMar, a popular Reconstructionist author, the foundation of Reconstructionism is a unique combination of three Biblical doctrines:

  1. Regeneration of the individual, through an intimate relationship with Christ.
  2. Individuals guiding their lives closely by following a specified subset of Biblical laws.
  3. Promoting of the world-wide Kingdom of God. 1

Specific beliefs include

bulletA rejection of Antinomianism: the belief that salvation is obtained totally through faith and not through performing good works and living a moral life.
 
bulletPresuppositionalism: the acceptance on faith that the Bible is true. They do not attempt to prove  that God exists or that the Bible is true.
 
bulletInerrancy: the belief that the Bible, as originally written, is totally free of error.
 
bulletPostmillennialism: the belief that Christ will not return to earth until a much greater percentage of the world's population has converted to Christianity. This will not take place for some considerable time; it will not be a painless transition. Most Fundamentalists and other Evangelists hold to a different view. They are Premillenialists and believe that all (or almost all) of the preconditions of Christ's return have been met. They expect Jesus' second coming to occur very soon -- in fact at any time now.
 
bulletThe 613 laws contained in the Hebrew Scriptures' Mosaic Code can be divided into two classes: moral and ceremonial. Christians are not required to follow the ceremonial laws, because Jesus has liberated them from that responsibility. However, all persons must follow the moral laws, with the exception of those that were specifically modified or cancelled by further revelation. This generally occurred in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament).

In contrast:
bulletNon-reconstructionist Christians generally divide these laws into three classes: moral, civil, and ceremonial law. Further, they believe that most Old Testament laws are no longer binding on Christians.
 
bulletJews generally believe that the Mosaic Code is binding only on Jews.
 
bulletThe moral laws given by God to the ancient Israelites reflect of God's character, which is unchangeable. Most of the laws are intended for all nations, cultures, societies, religions and all eras, including the present time. However, there are a few laws, in such areas as personal safety and sanitation, which are no longer applicable because of changes in architecture and sewage disposal. These do not need to be obeyed.
 
bulletThe primacy of the Hebrew Scriptures, relative to the Christian Scriptures (New Testament). All of the Hebrew Scriptures' non-ceremonial laws are still in force, unless they have been specifically rescinded or modified by verses in the Christian Scriptures. "Only if we find an explicit abandonment of an Old Testament law in the New Testament, because of the historic fulfillment of the Old Testament shadow, can we legitimately abandon a detail of the Mosaic law." 2 This is largely supported by their literal interpretation of Matthew 5:17:

"Do you think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (NIV)

bulletCivil laws must be changed to match the Bible's moral rules. That is, anything that is immoral (by their standards) is also to be criminalized.
 
bulletThe only valid legislation, social theory, spiritual beliefs, and economic theories are those derived from the Bible
 
bulletIn every aspect of life, there are only two options: God-centered or man-centered; Theonomy or autonomy. Their political goal is to ban the latter, everywhere. Each individual, family, church, government and society must be reconstructed to eliminate sin. Each Christian has the responsibility to contribute to this conversion.
 
bulletThey oppose inter-faith, inter-racial, and same-sex marriages. R.J. Rushdoony wrote about his opposition to:

"inter-religious, inter-racial, and inter-cultural marriages, in that they normally go against the very community which marriage is designed to establish." 3

Rushdoony's condemnation of inter-racial marriage appears to have been his own and unrelated to the biblical text. It was not shared by other Reconstructionists.
 

bulletReconstructionists regard the Gods and Goddesses of all other religions to be "the devil," and their teachings to be false. They would attempt to replace all religions with their version of Christianity. For example, David Chilton wrote about Judaism:

"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." 4

Of course, there exists diversity of opinion within the Reconstructionist movement. Not all followers will necessarily agree with all the above statements of the movement's leaders

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Practices:

If they gained control of the US or Canadian federal government, there would be many changes:

bulletThe use of the death penalty would be greatly expanded, when the Hebrew Scriptures' laws are reapplied. People will be executed for adultery, blasphemy, heresy, homosexual behavior, idolatry, prostitution, evil sorcery (some translations say Witchcraft), etc. The Bible requires those found guilty of these "crimes" to be either stoned to death or burned alive. Reconstructionists are divided on the execution method to be used.
 
bulletA church or congregation that does not accept the Mosaic Law has another god before them, and is thus guilty of idolatry. That would be punishable by death. That would include all non-Christian religious organizations. At the present time, non-Christians total two-thirds of the human race, so the slaughter would be enormous.
 
bulletThe status of women would be reduced to almost that of a slave as described in the Hebrew Scriptures. A woman would initially be considered the property of her father; after marriage, she would be considered the property of her husband.
 
bulletIt would be logical to assume that the institution of slavery would be reintroduced, and regulated according to Biblical laws. Fathers could sell their daughters into slavery. Female slaves would retain that status for life. Slave owners would be allowed to physically abuse them, as long as the slaves lived for at least a day before dying of the beating. 5
 
bulletPolygyny and the keeping of concubines were permitted in the Old Testament. However, Reconstructionists generally believe in marriage between one man and one woman only. Any other sexual expression would be a capital crime. Those found guilty of engaging in same-sex, pre-marital or extra-marital sex would be executed.
 
bulletThe Old Testament "Jubilee Year" system would be celebrated once more. Every 50 years, the control of all land reverted to its original owners. In theory, this would require every part of North American land to be returned to the original Aboriginal owners (or perhaps to those persons of Aboriginal descent who are now Christians). Hawaii would be given back to the native Hawaiians. Somehow, I doubt that Dominionists would retroactively apply this practice.
 
bulletGovernments would all have balanced budgets.
 
bulletIncome taxes would be eliminated.
 
bulletThe prison system would be eliminated. A system of just restitution would be established for some crimes. The death penalty would be practiced for many other crimes. There would be little need for warehousing of convicted criminals.
 
bulletLegal abortions would be banished; those suspected to be responsible for abortions would be charged with murder. If found guilty, they would be executed.

The reinstitution of slavery appears to be a hot button item among Reconstructionists. We have received a few negative E-mails which maintain that their movement does not recommend the resumption of human slavery. But we have received many more Emails from Reconstructionists claiming that legalizing slavery would be good for North America.

Joseph Busche and Bill Curry have written a Tennessee Law Book. Their intent was to show that laws to implement various Old Testament laws would sound extremely intrusive today. See: http://www.sullivan-county.com/.

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. J. Ligon Duncan, III, "Moses' Law for Modern Government: The Intellectual and Sociological Origins of the Christian Reconstructionist Movement", Premise, Vol II, No. 5, 1995-MAY-27. See: http://capo.org/
  2. Gary North, "The Sinai Strategy: Economics and the Ten Commandments," Institute for Christian Economics (1986)
  3. R.J. Rushdoony, "The Institutes of Biblical Law", Craig Press, Nutley, NJ (1973), P. 257.
  4. David Chilton, "The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation", Dominion Press, Ft. Worth, TX (1984), P. 127.
  5. See Exodus 21:21

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Copyright © 1998 to 20098 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2009-AUG-14
Author: B.A. Robinson

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