“Where Do I Start My Reconstruction Study?”

The Greatness of the Great CommissionThat was the question posed recently by a subscriber to Gary North’s website who posted it on a discussion forum board.

Where, indeed!

If you were to ask me where to start your study of Christian Reconstruction, I would have sent you to a handful of titles by Rushdoony and by Dr. North, followed by Chilton, DeMar and a few others.  All classics, all worthy of your attention, and all written some 20-40 years ago — during the Golden Age of Reconstructionist literature!

With his characteristic economy of verbiage, Dr. North replied only with a link to the Free Books section of his site, to the page for Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry Jr.’s seminal work, The Greatness of the Great Commission: The Christian Enterprise in a Fallen World.

A salutary choice!  And an intriguing one…

Why not a title like, Christian Reconstruction: What It Is, What It Isn’t?  Why not Rushdoony’s Institutes of Biblical Law?  Why not North’s Backward, Christian Soldiers (An Action Manual for Christian Reconstruction)?

I’ll tell you why.

Because those books (and many others written in the same vein) — as critically important as they are to a right understanding of the underlying tenets and theology of the “movement” — only address aspects of Christian Reconstruction.  The prominent (controversial) elements of it.  Practical applications of it.  Arguments for and against it.

Dr. Gentry’s Greatness of the Great Commission addresses something much more fundamental.

It addresses the biblical basis for it.  Which is exactly where one should begin.

Christian Reconstruction, after all, presupposes the continuing validity and scriptural authority of Christ’s mandate in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20).  What separates it from the standard evangelical (pietistic) understanding is that it recognizes (and presupposes) the comprehensive nature of the Great Commission.

The Smallness of Evangelicalism’s Great Commission

Dr. North writes in the Foreword:

Having brought people into the kingdom of God through conversion, God then asks them to begin to make a difference in their world. He does not mean that they should spend day and night passing out tracts or the equivalent thereof; He means that they should reform their lives, their families, and their daily walk before Him and men. Evangelism means teaching people to obey God’s law, through the empowering of God’s Holy Spirit. Evangelism means obedience.

And that is the case that Dr. Gentry makes.  Christian Reconstruction is based on obedience to (and, by God’s grace, the Holy-Spirit-led fulfillment of) the Great Commission.  Bringing all nations into lawful obedience to Christ their King.

North reminds us:

This is why the Great Commission was given: to enable mankind to return to faithful service under God and over the creation. God’s salvation brings us back to the original task: to exercise dominion to the glory of God, in terms of His Bible-revealed law.

Not at all what most evangelical (and Reformed) churches preach on the “Great Commission”!

Nevertheless, to understand what Christian Reconstruction is really all about, one must see it in its proper context, i.e., its biblical context, as being the church’s “marching orders” given to her by Christ Jesus her commander-in-chief, who has commissioned His people (the church militant) to carry them out–and has promised historical success in their mission.  Without this crucial, scriptural context as its foundation, Christian Reconstruction is little more than an aberrant form of “baptized activism,” theological and political extremism, and just plain WEIRD!

I am glad this particular book was recommended as the best place to start.

It is also a great place to return to.

The Greatness of the Great Commission reminds us all — including those of us who have been enlisted in the Lord’s army for quite some time — why we’re doing this.

Out of loving obedience (John 14:15).  For the glory of God.  “For Christ’s crown and covenant.”

Dr. Gentry puts it all in perspective in the opening pages of chapter 1, tying the Great Commission to the original Creation Mandate found in the book of Genesis:

At death, all men enter the spiritual world, the eternal realm (either heaven or hell). But prior to our arrival in the eternal state, all men live before God in the material world, which He has created for His own glory, as the place of man’s habitation.  The Great Commission necessarily speaks both to the present state (by giving our duty in the material world) and to the eternal state (by showing the means of our entry into heaven). In other words, it speaks to issues regarding body and soul.

Both of the foundation stones for our study of the Great Commission are found in Genesis. In fact, the very foundations of all of reality, revelation, and redemption are laid in the book of Genesis, which makes that book of primary significance to the Christian faith.

From there, he proceeds on a marvelous, exegetical journey through the Scriptures!

If you haven’t read (or would like to read again) Dr. Kenneth Gentry’s excellent book, then start (or continue) your study right here:

Download the book for free!

Happy (blessed) reading.

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3 thoughts on ““Where Do I Start My Reconstruction Study?”

  1. Hi Paul!

    I’ve been subscribed to your newsletter and I’m enjoying the work you are putting in reviewing the reconstruction field. I found you originally through one of your posts on the garynorth.com forum, where I am a member too under the handle of 10KtoTalent.

    I have a question for you: Have you come across any articles, essays, or books on the topic of “calling” as it used in the New Testament? If so, I would like to hear what you would recommend as good reading.

    Here’s why. Recently, I’ve been looking at how the word “calling” is being used in Scriptures, and so far, everywhere I see it used is in the context of being called to the faith and called to follow God in holiness in general terms. What triggered this personal search on this topic, is my reaction to various friends and acquaintances, who say they filled “called” to such and such a position of ministry, but who simply don’t have the proven track record given for the selection of elders and deacons. It’s not that they aren’t willing and sincere, but the use of the word “calling” seems to trump and put aside the scriptural instruction to only choose proven people.

    So whenever I started looking at all the passages where I would have expected to see the “calling” word to be used when it speaks of working in the ministry, there is actually NO mention of that word or any of its derivatives. Yet, in common, modern usage, the word “calling” is used almost exclusively to mean that you must have a “calling” to become a pastor, to go the mission field, etc. Yet, the passages seem to be royally indifferent to that word and speak instead of finding people who are first qualified by experience and who are also wanting, but not feeling forced, to serve in that capacity. However it is also true that Jesus called the disciples by name and that Paul was called to evangelized specifically the gentilesbut when it comes to the instructions given for selecting elders and other for the ministry, all talk of calling seems to disappear. So, I’m curious, do you know of anyone in the postmillenial or reconstruction arean that treats that subject of calling?

    Best wishes to you on your labor of love!

    Sincerely,

    Jonathan Harris Cottonwood, California

    Author of the blog: http://www.10ktotalent.com “How to Discover and Develop Your Child’s First 100 Hours of Talent”

    From: Christian Reconstructionist Reply-To: Christian Reconstructionist Date: Sunday, December 8, 2013 8:17 PM To: Jonathan Harris Subject: [New post] Where Do I Start My Reconstruction Study?

    WordPress.com Paul Ramirez posted: “That was the question posed recently by a subscriber to Gary North’s website who posted it on a discussion forum board Where, indeed! If you were to ask me where to start your study of Christian Reconstruction, I would have sent you to a handful of “

    1. Jonathan, thanks so much for the kind remarks. “Calling” is one of those concepts that is like trying to nail jello to the wall. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out,… plunk! I think the best and most practical definition of calling — and the clearest distinction made between job vs. calling — is the one Gary North came up with years ago. He defined calling as “the most important task you can do for the Kingdom of God in which you would be the most difficult to replace.” A job, on the other hand, is “how you put bread on the table.” They’re not necessarily the same thing. For most of us, they’re not at all the same thing, and never will be. (After all, what do tent-making and missionary evangelism have in common?!)

      You’re right, those who claim to be “called” to something, especially a biblically-defined office of ministry, had better be able to point to a life résumé of objectively verifiable qualifications to back that up. Too many well-meaning folks, especially theologically/religiously-inclined young (and old) men, FEEL that they are called. And that’s all they have to hang their hats on. “Feelings… Nothing more than… feelings!” It probably flows from the pervasive non-covenantal, subjective, antinomian, man-centered theological perspective that most Christians operate within, validated and reinforced by a culture that is essentially the same.

      Rushdoony wrote several articles on the subject of calling (“vocation”). Here is one: http://chalcedon.edu/research/articles/vocation-and-work/ He calls attention to the ESCHATOLOGICAL aspect of work and calling. The various articles that Gary North has written over the years that are frequently reiterated on his subscription website are probably the best ones to read for a practical, “real-world” understanding. His treatment is the most free of emotion and pietistic sentimentality (surprise!). I will let you know of other useful references — theonomic/Reconstructionist or otherwise — as I come across them.

      Blessings, brother.

      In His Truth,
      Paul Ramirez

      P.S. http://www.reformed-theology.org/ice/newslet/reconstruction/cr96.05.htm

  2. Hey! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find
    a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

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