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Amy is co-host and blogger for both Stand Up for the Truth and Naomi's Table, two ministries that give her the opportunity to write and talk about Jesus all day long. She has written, produced and broadcast in the realm of television and radio news, magazine business journals and marketing materials. She continues her freelance work as a writer and social media consultant.

What is Christian Reconstructionism?

English: Aigen parish church. Gothic revival s...Christian Reconstructionism is also known as Theonomy (Rule by God’s law), or Dominion theology. However it is not the same as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) dominionism. Confused yet?

According to CARM, the leaders of this theology arose out of the conservative Reformed (Calvinist) churches.  The leading proponent is Rousas John Rushdoony (1916 – 2001) who in 1973 published the Institutes of Biblical Law, a large work expounding the 10 commandments. Recent advocates are Gary North, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, Larry Pratt, Greg Bahnsen.

Christian Reconstructionism (also known as theonomy) is a highly controversial movement within some conservative Christian circles.  It maintains that the world should be brought under (reconstructed) the lordship of Jesus Christ in all areas:  social, moral, political, judicial, military, family, art, education, music, etc.  Christian Reconstructionism advocates the restoration of Old Testament civil and moral laws in order to reconstruct present American society into an Old Testament type Mosaic form and that the three main areas of society – family, church, government – should all be biblically modeled, the Bible being the sole standard.  This would include severe punishments for law breakers.  Some Christian reconstructionists would advocate death for adulterers, abortionists, idolaters, murderers, homosexuals, rapists, etc.

Reconstructionts strongly believe that the Bible is true and inerrant and are generally postmillennial, believing that through the preaching and teaching of the gospel, the world will be converted to Christianity and that Christ will return after a period of time after the world is converted.

Christian reconstructionists believe they are the new chosen people of God, replacing national Israel.  Other religious systems would be strongly resisted.

This movement rose out of Calvinism.  It is an extremist Christian movement, not held by very many people. Christian reconstructionism began with the publication of the Institute of Biblical Law by R. J. Rushdoony in 1973.  This 800 page work expounded on the 10 Commandments.  After Rushdoony’s death in 2001, his son-in-law Gary North took the reins and has become a prolific writer, further advocating Christian Reconstructionism.

For more, check out this article from Bob DeWaay of Critical Issues Comentary:

The Dominion Mandate and the Christian Reconstruction Movement by Bob DeWaay

A recent theological movement known as Christian Reconstruction has made a significant impact on American Christianity in the past several decades. It is based on a Reformed, Calvinistic view of theology with some significant, unique twists. The most prominent one is the conviction that the Scripture gives the church a mandate to take dominion over this world socially and culturally before the bodily return of Jesus Christ.1 This teaching is known as the “dominion mandate.” Genesis 1:26-28; Genesis 9:1-5 and Matthew 28:18-20 are the principal Biblical passages used to prove the validity of this mandate. The key question to be answered is whether these passages teach the dominion mandate as understood by Christian Reconstructionism. The thesis of this article is that these Biblical passages do not teach a social or cultural domination of the world by Christians before the bodily return of Christ. This issue is important because one’s understanding of the Great Commission is at stake. This paper will exegetically examine these passages to prove this thesis.  (Read more)

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13 Responses to “What is Christian Reconstructionism?”

  1. I'm so glad y'all are covering this!

    What do you think about comparing/contrasting the Reconstructionism Movement to the NAR? I think the whole issue of Dominionism is confusing to people. I still don't have a it all sorted out yet, either, BUT, I know that Dominionist beliefs undergird both movements. The Reconstructionist movement, however, does not like the term "Dominionist," and they try to distance themselves from the NAR.

    I will grant them that on the surface, the 2 groups are wildly different. But their core beliefs? Take Dominion, baby.

    The Reconstructionists often try to deny this. I'm not really sure why this is. Well, they can deny this all they want, but then why do they have this clever little catch-phrase that I see popping up on Reconstructionist blogs and FB walls?

    "Dominion? Get Some" or "Dominion? Go Take Some"…..

    …so clearly, they think Christians have a mandate to take Dominion.

    March 13, 2013 at 3:13 AM Reply
  2. Also….Reconstructionists are typically Reformed, and more buttoned up, than their NAR counterparts.

    And….Reconstructionists are the creators of the Quiverfull movement, which Patheos has written about. I don't have a habit of posting Patheos articles, but this particular one has a lot of helpful links which show why the Reconstructionist movement is dangerous. For one thing, Quiverfull is a hyper patriarchal movement in which daughters are basically treated like livestock, discouraged from higher education, and literally passed, after an elaborate courtship process from father to husband. Women are also exhorted by (out of context) scripture to have babies till their wombs fall out.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nolongerquivering/wh

    Below is the Bible verse that undergirds the Quiverfull movement (out of context, of course). And in this movement, it is often either subtly insinuated or else outright stated that to use birth control is unbiblical.

    Psalm 127:3 – Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

    Gotta seed the world, you see, if you want to take Dominion.

    March 13, 2013 at 3:37 AM Reply
  3. Mr Davis #

    The teaching I have heard on Christian Dominion, started with the regeneration of a man, then his family, then him and his family to His neighbors and their families, then this man's neighbors and their families to the neighborhood, Then whole neighborhoods, to other neighborhoods until cities would fall under submission to Christ. Cities to other cities, until states would fall. States to states until the nation would fall. Finally Nations to nations. Old Testiment Example was during King Solomon's reign. God had so blessed Israel that even the Queen of the South would come and seek Solomon's face to see if all that was reported to her of Israel and her King was true. 1 Kings 10:1-13, America was at one time poised to make Jerusalem and all of Israel jealous but we as a nation have turned from that path long ago.

    And if we are Christ's one greater than Solomon is in us. We are sealed by the very Spirit of God almighty. The Holy Spirit working in ordinary folks to obey God's word proclaiming the Gospel of Christ Jesus making disciples of the nations baptising them into the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost and teaching them to obey all that Christ has commanded and Lo I am with you always even to the end of the age.

    Simple ordinary folks operating under the power and authority of an extrordinary God in accordance with His word in which we find the way of obedience.

    1 Corinthians 1:26-31 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

    Yes I hope we work together to walk in obedience to Christ and not stray into paths of no value.

    March 13, 2013 at 10:13 AM Reply
    • Remnants will never reclaim entire cultures or nations.

      March 13, 2013 at 11:10 AM Reply
      • Rose Vosburgh #

        Yes, Jesus said the way is narrow and few there are that find it, so sadly it will be just a remnant…not whole nations or the whole world won to Christ in the end. So Dominionists and Reconstructionists just ignore the Book of Revelation? It says things are going to get much worse before they get better. And, even when it does get better at Christ's return, it will still be only a remnant coming out of the Great Tribulation. I think what they are espousing will actually lead to a one world church as predicted in the Last Days and many will be deceived into following it.

        March 13, 2013 at 3:16 PM Reply
  4. Mr Davis #

    Christine and Rose we are called only to be obedient to God's command and Hope in Christ alone come what may. Our hearts are supposed to broken for the lost and those who are perishing so that we do not fear what man can do to us. Our burden is to be free from the blood of all men. Ezekiel 3:17-21 God has given us the ministry of reconcilliation not the ministry of idleness. If you have the mind of Christ you will also have the heart of Christ who is longsuffering towards us not wishing any to perish but that all would come to repentance. You are to use everything God has given you to this end.

    The fact that only a remnant will be true believers sealed by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Promise does not change His command in any way shape or form. If we are His we will obey Him and not cease to warn people of their sins, the righteousness of God, and of the comming judgement John 16:8-11. His Spirit will compell us to this end if we are truly His 2 Corinthians 5:13-21.

    Do not focus on the results, leave that in the LORD'S hand, focus on the job.

    March 14, 2013 at 1:23 AM Reply
    • I completely agree that the "job" of Christians is to preach Jesus Christ and him crucified, and to disciple those who come to faith. But that's not all that Christian Reconstructionists believe: they also have an undergirding desire to take back the culture. And that's where they go wrong.

      March 14, 2013 at 5:19 AM Reply
  5. Mr Davis #

    I believe your right on the desire to retake the culture or take the culture whatever the case. I don't know if I would go as far as to say they are wrong in that desire. I would love to see the culture impacted by the gospel of Christ to the point it hates sin to the point of repentance and loves the truth to the point of faith in Christ Jesus. In a biblical context this drives us to share the gospel and to advance the Kingdom of God on Earth and like I've already mentioned we will be guilty of sin if we hold back.

    The one who holds back is like the one in the parable of the talents, that servant who feared his master and buried the talent he was given instead of using it to further the profit of his master. At the reckoning that servant showed the master the talent he had buried and the master was wroth with him and took his talent and gave it to one who made the most with that his master gave him but that wicked servant was cast out into outer darkness.

    In a non biblical working out of this idea is activism where by mans efforts and influence a culture is overwhelmed and subdued and it is not the gospel that is proclaimed but threats and mandates and protests. And this is the one I believe you are saying is wrong and in that I agree.

    March 14, 2013 at 9:12 AM Reply
  6. Marie #

    Very interesting dialogue here….thank-you. I also would like to add that I have friends who are involved heavily with the NAR movement and follow a religious system that seeks after "signs and wonder." They also promote the contemplative/mystic authors whose books are filled with false experiences and very BAD theology. One woman believed she was a "prophetess" and falsely prophesied over me after church one Sunday. Praise God we do not stone false prophets any longer as Jesus shed His blood for that system….a shadow of the past.

    The one aspect that I am greatly concerned with is this….as Christine has mentioned….and that is this….these NAR followers literally believe that if we can converge the Christian religion with politics, then we can "take back" this country for God. I have heard these women speak these very words in the religious system of man and thought that to be very odd, so began my research to understand the nature of this beast. The Holy Scripture that reminds me of this movement is this one found in John 16:1-3 "These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be make to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not know the Father nor Me." Jesus speaking.

    For you see, these people have been deceived into believing that this country was a "Christian nation" and that God, our Father, has a special covenant with America, so we need to take it back and restore it to what it once was. We are seeing the rise of nationalism, the idolitry of a nation (ours), over worshipping God, and if you go to most churches around the 4th of July, you will likely hear the Nicoalian pastor recognize America as a Christian nation founded by men who knew God. Then perhaps, the pastor will recognize all of those who serve in the military as we give them a resounding hand clap. Would Jesus or His Apostles join in the nationalistic festivities held in our temples made with hands if they were fellowshipping with us today? No.

    I speak this way because I was once deceived into placing my hope, faith, and trust in a political system that functions according to the fallen ways of man. This is the Scripture that gave me such great hope despite our world growing ever so much closer to the one world system in which every nation (including America) will be a part of, and God, the Holy Spirit says this, "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." There is no greater hope than this…..and I have been set free from worshipping man and a nation. We are called to share the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, not save a nation.

    March 14, 2013 at 10:26 AM Reply
  7. Mr Davis #

    I believe you cannot seperate the man from his religion and our actions do prove our religion (faith) and in what exactly we put our faith in. In the case you mention the NAR sees politics as a means to futher their agenda (therein lies the problem). There agenda is not to proclaim Christ Jesus and Him crucified nor the proclaimation of the resurrection of Christ Jesus in which His death was vindicated and His message validated Deuteronomy 18:18-22 and He has authroity over all, even of judgement both to justify or aquit whom He wills and to Judge whom He wills, so we urge all men to repent of their sins and plead with God that you be reconcilled to God through Christ Jesus while there is still time.

    One day the door will shut and He will not answer so do not tarry. Proverbs 1:24-32

    March 15, 2013 at 7:00 AM Reply
  8. Marie #

    Thank-you Mr. Davis. So true.

    So as to not plagerize another man's thought, I will quote him directly for another profound, yet correct view of the religious system of man, "If the church spoke the name of "Jesus" as much as it speaks the name of "Obama" we might all be carried off to jail."

    Psalm 19:14 "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer."God speaking.

    March 16, 2013 at 12:43 AM Reply
  9. Marie #

    I neglected to give the gentleman credit for his quote….he is Rick Frueh over at "Following Judah's Lion" blog.

    March 16, 2013 at 12:44 AM Reply
  10. William Dodge #

    This Ignorant Madness Must be Stopped! Religion is NOT the Answer! Religion is what the Middle East Wars are about! WAKE UP AMERICA !!!!!!!!

    September 8, 2013 at 2:55 AM Reply

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