Monthly Archives: April 2012

Growing Pains: Evangelical Celebrity Kirk Cameron ‘Outed’ by Critics as a Reconstructionist.

Kirk CameronOutspoken Christian actor Kirk Cameron was already in the doghouse for recent remarks he made on Piers Morgan’s program concerning homosexuality.

But now, he has not only further alienated his detractors on the issue of gay marriage, he may also have offended some of his conservative brethren, those of his own evangelical household.

You see, once upon a time, in an industry not so far, far away, Kirk Cameron was a talented, likable, conservative, born-again Christian TV actor, movie star and media evangelist.  Now–as some of his ideological critics are pointing out–he is a talented, likable, conservative, born-again Christian TV actor, movie star and media evangelist,… with Reconstructionist tendencies.

The horror of it! Not only does Kirk strongly disapprove of gay marriage, now he’ll probably want to campaign and run for president, whereupon his first executive order after being sworn in will be to round up all known and suspected homosexuals and send them straight to Guantanomo Bay for “enhanced interrrogation,” “indefinite detention” (and worse)!  No judge, no jury.  This is, after all, a theocracy!

Anyway, that’s how the fertile imaginations of certain “anti-reconstructionists” would envision it.

What has put Kirk in the crosshairs of the media for the second time in as many months is this: the release of his new film Monumental, and the accompanying hoopla and media scrutiny it has generated, have brought to light some of Kirk’s recent “ties” to well-known Reconstructionists like Gary DeMar, president of American Vision and sponsor and speaker at numerous Reconstructionist events, and Herb Titus, constitutional lawyer and former dean of Regent University law school (and public admirer of Rousas J. Rushdoony), among others.

And the list, i.e., “friends of Kirk”, keeps getting longer, now with this “new” group of folks.

Julie Ingersoll, religion professor, has written an article for the Huffington Post on Kirk Cameron’s “growing circle of Reconstructionist friends.”

She says it like it’s a bad thing.

In fact, so does this guy.

And this guy.

They can all be forgiven for getting it wrong about what Christian Reconstructionism really teaches.  They’re just parroting the same distortions that have been around for the last 40 years.  Which is easier than engaging in close, scriptural and historical examination, thoughtful research and reflection.  In other words, they’re being theologically correct!

Ingersoll makes a valiant attempt at explaining Reconstructionism in her review of Monumental. She makes this observation, which is accurate for the most part:

Reconstructionists, unlike many Christians read the Bible as a coherent whole; both Old and New Testaments. They believe that the Trinity was present at creation and that while some parts of the Old Testament are no longer applicable, most of them are, giving them a somewhat different notion of the character of God than most contemporary Christians have.

Christianity Today did a feature article on Cameron and his new movie, without ever mentioning the “R” word. Not once. Must be an evangelical media blackout or something. Sort of like the secular media blackout on that other “R” word… Ron Paul.

Cameron has moved from the mainstream of conservative evangelicalism to its outer “fringe.”   Let’s hope he can influence other believing Hollywood media stars into joining the fray and widening the fringe!

I would love to see Kirk produce and star in a series of Christian films that would offset the peculiar eschatological views he held (and which are still widely held) back when he appeared in the Left Behind series.

Now, that would be MONUMENTAL!


Rock Your Worldview: The Institutes of Biblical Law

If there is one book that I can honestly say took my nascent Reformed faith and shifted it into theological overdrive, it was R.J. Rushdoony’s Institutes of Biblical Law (1973, Craig Press).  This single volume is considered by many to be Reconstructionism’s “founding document” and its most cogent, erudite statement of what it believes.

When I first picked up a used copy of Rushdoony’s Institutes in late 1989 and began reading it in early 1990, I had already been questioning and shedding my Arminian, Dispensationalist, Fundamentalist, Pentecostal views.  A refugee of the televangelist wars of the mid-80s and a former follower of “defrocked” Gospel crusader Jimmy Swaggart, I had begun to read some of the Puritans and other Calvinist writers and was slowly becoming attracted to (what appeared to me) the rock-solid stability and doctrinal consistency of the Reformed faith.

Believe me, after the deflating disappointment of Edgar Whisenant’s failed prediction of Christ’s return and the Rapture of the Church in 1988, I was ready for a BIG change in my evangelical worldview, as well as in my eschatology.

Rushdoony’s book was not immediately appealing to me.  Too academic, too dry, too intellectually dense.  My tastes leaned more towards fervent, devotional, pietistic reading and teaching.  That began to change.

As I started reading, I began to change my entire Christian outlook.  Or, I should say, GOD began to change my entire Christian outlook. (That darned sovereignty thing again!)  The Institutes of Biblical Law became a theological lifeline.  Christianity took on flesh and bone and a more extensively (and intensively) “mission-critical” significance. The Scriptures became a flood where they once were only a creek.

Anyway, one thing led to another and this book introduced me to a host of other like-minded, Reformed/Reconstructionist writers, including Dr. Gary North.

It is not for the faint-of-heart, though. This is nearly 900 pages of high-octane, high-protein, heavy-duty reading.  But, for a well-grounded, scripturally and historically informed understanding of biblical law, this is the one to read. The book is structured according to the Decalogue: an introductory section on the Importance of the Law followed by ten chapters, one on each of the Ten Commandments, then separate chapters on the Promises of Law, the Law in the Old Testament, the Law in the New Testament, the Church, the Law in Western Society, and several appendices, three of which were written by Gary North.

If you want what is probably the most astute introduction to biblical law and Christian Reconstruction, Institutes is still available in hardcover from the Chalcedon Foundation, Amazon, and possibly from other resellers used.  It can also be viewed online here.

Israel and the Church: Two Sides of the Same Coin–or Two Different Coins?

Does the Bible teach an Israel-Church distinction?

Gary Demar says NO.

Back when I cut my spiritual teeth as a fairly new Christian in the mid-1980s (when I was in my early 20s), dispensationalism and premillennialism were all the rage. In fact, in my Pentecostal-Fundamentalist world, they were running at a fever pitch.  Books, tapes, prophetic conferences, radio, TV, evangelistic ministries, etc., were all talking about the “end times”, the “last days”, the coming Rapture, imminent return of Christ to the earth and the Great Tribulation.

One theme that kept cropping up was what the Bible had to say about Israel in “prophecy” as it relates to what it says about the Church in prophecy, and especially the (apparent) scriptural divide that exists between “the Church”–meaning God’s New Testament body of Christian believers–and “Israel”–meaning God’s Old Testament body of Jewish believers.

In standard dispensational-premillennial theology, these two entities are not the same, and they never will be.  The Church, since the day of Pentecost and the book of Acts, has been and always will be a New Testament phenomenon.  The nation of Israel has been and always will be an ethnically-genetically-geographically-defined group of Old Testament-centric folks who are the physical descendants of Abraham.  And ne’er the twain shall meet, except in heaven, and in the coming earthly, literal “millennial” kingdom (and, of course, in “heretical” Covenant/Reformed theology!)

The crux of the confusion surrounding this controversy involves what the Bible says about the Church and Israel, and hinges on its use of the word “church.”

Church (“ekklesia”) was not a new word invented in the 1st century A.D by Greek-speaking writers of the New Testament to describe believers in Christ in any exclusive sense.

Rather, Ekklesia was a word that had already been in common usage “for several hundred years before the Christian era” in a much more broad, inclusive sense.  Hence,…

There is no Church-Israel distinction in the Bible because the Greek word ekklēsia is not an invention of the New Testament writers. Ekklēsia is a common word that is used to describe an assembly or congregation. It is used this way in the Greek translation of the Old Testament — the Septuagint (LXX) — and the Greek New Testament. This common word is use by Jesus in Matthew’s gospel (the most Jewish of the gospels):

  • “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church [ekklēsia]; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matt. 16:18).[3]
  • “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church [ekklēsia]; and if he refuses to listen even to the church [ekklēsia], let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Matt. 18:17).

It was a very generically used word that could apply to both O.T. and N.T. assemblies of God’s people.  Moreover, “promises made to Old Testament Israel are said to be fulfilled in the so-called church age” to New Testament believers.

“For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, andthey shall be My people. . . . And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:16, 18). How can this be when Paul is citing a verse that originally applied to Israel? How can the church be the temple? The temple is strictly Jewish. Second Corinthians 6:18 is a direct citation of Exodus 29:45: “And I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God.” Then there is the statement to the Corinthian ekklēsiato “come out from their midst and be separate.” This, too, is an Old Testament reference to Israel, as is the reference not to touch “what is unclean” (2 Cor. 6:17b; Isa. 52:11). Finally, Paul tells the Corinthians that God will be a Father to them, and they will be “sons and daughters” to Him (2 Cor. 6:18). Once again, Paul draws on passages that were first applied to Israel (Isa. 43:6; Hosea 1:10).

Demar’s point is that Scripture makes no distinction between Israel and the Church, they’re one and the same, but that dispensationalism MUST make this distinction in order to harmonize its teachings with the Bible.

To read the full article, click here.

A Biblical Immigration Policy: Do the Scriptures Teach “Open Borders”?

Here is a subject that is sure to get liberals and conservatives fighting with each other.  (Including liberal and conservative Christians.)

Immigration.  Specifically, immigration policy.  What should the government — federal, state, local — do to “control” illegal immigration.

I have always leaned towards the “conservative” side of this argument.  Too many “illegals” crossing the border. Not enough jobs to go around.  They’re draining the taxpayers’ wallets going on our public assistance programs.  (You know, the public assistance programs that were originally intended for us hard-working Americans to go on!)  They’re taking away our JOBS. (You know, the ones we hard-working Americans have always jumped at the chance to compete for at low wages and long hours!)  If it weren’t for “them” being here, the unemployment rate would not be as high as it is. Etc., etc..

The solution? More enforcement of federal immigration laws at the border.  The southern border with Mexico, mainly, since I have never heard of a flood of illegal Canadians crossing the frozen hinterlands of North Dakota to get into America!  How about more enforcement in the interior of the country as well, a la Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County (where I live) in Arizona.

Build a fence. Build a wall.  Hire more border patrol.  Send ’em back, send ’em back, WAAAAY back!

Anyway, that’s the conservative “solution.”

Not for me. Not anymore.

Liberals are a bit more humane about it.  They want borders without borders.  No sanctions.  No restrictions.  No documents (with the possible exception of a national ID card: plastic).  Just one big, paperless, frictionless, environmentally-unfriendly “pathway to citizenship.”  Come one, come ALL.  Especially, come all you 80 – 90% who will end up registering as Democrats and voting for more government, higher taxes, more Democrats, and even more government goodies!

No, not that one either.

I have been redirected to the Holy Scriptures to find my basis for a Christian philosophy of immigration (both “legal” and “illegal”) and how a civil government should handle the task of “controlling” (or allowing) it.

A Christian Philosophy

It’s not a conservative philosophy.  It is not a liberal philosophy  (although by sheer coincidence it seems to have more in common with left-wing politics than with right — though not for the same reason).  It is a Biblical philosophy.

One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you. (Exodus 12:49)

A Christian philosophy of immigration should begin with what the Scriptures say.  It should not begin with what left-wing or right-wing (even if they’re evangelical) pundits say.

And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34)

At least two fundamental principles of Western law had their origin in Mosaic Israel. The first principle was the rule of law itself: every resident was to be protected equally by the civil law. The second principle was open immigration. The nation’s treatment of the immigrant served as a touchstone in Israel of the nation’s faithfulness to the first principle.

A nation that allowed immigrants to enter and live and work and trade freely among natural-born citizens was a nation that demonstrated the righteousness of God’s law.  The law was, after all, intended to be, among other things, a tool of international evangelism.  The equitable way that it treated “the stranger” served as visible proof that it was a cultural application of true religion.

The stranger was listed as one of the three representative classes that deserve honest treatment, along with orphans and widows. (Deuteronomy 10:17-19)

Thus, Israel was not just the Promised Land for Abraham and his heirs. It was supposed to remain the Promised Land for the oppressed of the world.

American immigration policy until 1924 reflected this ideal.  After 1924, it no longer did.

To read the full article on Illegals Aliens and Unemployment, click here.

To read the full article on immigration and citizenship, click here.