Monthly Archives: January 2012

Review (Part 2), "Christian Reconstruction, What It Is, What It Isn’t," Book by Gary North & Gary DeMar

Today, I’ll be taking a look at Gary DeMar’s Introduction to the book he co-authored with Gary North, Christian Reconstruction, What It Is, What It Isn’t.

Gary’s Introduction focuses exclusively on the critics of the “movement.”

In doing so, he says that he’s been able to “categorize the critics” into five distinct groups based on the nature of their refutations over the years.

These five categories are:

1. Gross misrepresentation
2. Eschatology as the test of orthodoxy
3. Anti-biblical culture (i.e., disavowing a uniquely biblical, Christian culture–PR)
4. Combination of gross misrepresentation and no alternative
5. Honest disagreement but appreciation and benefit

Before he gets into what he means by these five categories, Gary mentions how the “flood of critiques of Christian Reconstruction by popular writers began in earnest in 1985, twelve years after Rushdoony’s Institutes of Biblical Law appeared.” And two of its most prolific critics during this time were Hal Lindsey and Dave Hunt.

He highlights the fact that it is the theologically and historically inaccurate dispensational premillennialist views of these two men, being in stark contrast to the covenantal postmillennial outlook of Reconstructionism, that are behind their “gross misrepresentations” of the movement as being anti-semitic due to their differing interpretations of prophecies concerning Israel.

I won’t go into the details of the five categories, but I will mention that Gary takes the occasion of his writing to highlight the “poorly reasoned approach and the failure to study the existing materials” that the critics of Christian Reconstruction (and theonomy) have exhibited and shared in common for the most part over the years.

He says that responses from critics have ranged from mere disagreement with the position to outright accusations of heresy.

It is very much worth reading Gary’s discussion of his five categories. They make up the lion’s share of his introduction.

A lot of people tend to skip over the introduction pages of a book.  To me, that’s a mistake.  If you skip Gary DeMar’s introduction, you’re skipping (and cheating yourself out of) a vital piece of understanding and appreciating the book!

In conclusion, Gary notes, “the assumption of every critic is that his belief system is orthodox while the position he is examining is unorthodox.”

Tomorrow, a review of Part I, God’s Covenantal Kingdom, written by Gary North.

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A Review of "Christian Reconstruction: What It Is, What It Isn’t," Book by Gary North & Gary DeMar (Part 1)

The book I’m reviewing here, Christian Reconstruction, What It Is, What It Isn’t, co-authored by Gary North and Gary DeMar, wasn’t meant to be an “exhaustive” treatment of the subject when it was first published in 1991.

But it is a very good, albeit brief introduction (200+ pages).  It’s concise enough to be read in a fairly short amount of time.

The book summarizes the most relevant points and arguments concerning Christian Reconstruction as a biblical philosophy and “blueprint” for a long-term, spiritual project of renovating the earth as per the transformative, regenerative power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The explicit goal of the book is to dispel myths and present facts and biblical evidences (as Dr. North and Mr. DeMar see them) to support their position.

Here’s an overview of what is covered in the book.

First, the Preface, which Gary North writes.  It’s an interesting and lively, 13-page recap of the “origins” of the Reconstruction movement, beginning with his first meeting of Rousas J. Rushdoony in 1962.  He tells about how his interest in economics and history crossed paths with Rushdoony’s foundation-laying work in biblical law and applying the principles thereof to all areas of life, including law, politics, theology and education, how Rushdoony’s thinking was influenced by Calvinist theologian Cornelius Van Til, and how his own thinking about biblical law was shaped by what he learned through his research (Ph.D.) into the New England Puritans of the 17th century.

North talks about how the early movement evolved from one of “negative criticism” to one of “positive reconstruction,” offering books, publications and institutional foundations that were needed to begin presenting to the public, and to the church, clear, “actionable” and explicitly biblical solutions and alternatives to the humanist, atheist and generally unbiblical solutions currently in vogue that were being offered as “solutions” to the world’s problems, and cures for society’s ills.

He discusses how the boldness and confidence of those who believe in the continuing application and validity of God’s law in the world, who have an unwavering conviction that the future belongs to covenant-keepers not covenant-breakers–and the Bible offers no common ground between these two disparate factions of the human race, other than the fact that they’re both made in the image of God–is often misinterpreted and mistaken as arrogance.

This he refers to as The Offense of Christian Reconstruction.

“God is plowing up the modern world.” North says.  And He’s busy establishing His New World Order–the true New World Order that Jesus launched–to supplant Satan’s counterfeit world order.  And, according to North and DeMar, He’s using His own infallible, immutable law–contained in the Old and New Testaments–as the basis for it.

“And so we go about our work.  We have time on our side; our opponents don’t. We have a sovereign God on our side; our opponents don’t. We cannot afford to be complacent; we can, however, afford to be confident, and for the same reasons that David was.”

Tomorrow, Gary DeMar’s Introduction.