I have to admit, the title to Doug Wilson’s blog post last week threw me. “Galadriel and the Chimp.”
Huh? Who is Galadriel? What chimp?
I am not a regular reader of Doug’s Blog and Mablog, so some folks in an online discussion forum where a felllow subscriber had posted a link to it had to set me straight on the meaning of the title.
Proof that I am also not a regular reader of J.R.R. Tolkien!
It turns out to be a reference to the elf queen in one of Tolkien’s middle earth fantasy novels, and a reference to an incident involving a drunken chimpanzee who thinks he sees Galadriel when he looks in the mirror.
To make sense out of that title, and also to make sense out of my blog post today, you really ought to take a few minutes to go and read “Galadriel and the Chimp”. Click here. I’ll wait…
Doug Wilson and the Reconstructionists
I want to discuss Wilson’s Galadriel post because I think it illustrates quite well the problem that many Christians have with being identified and associated with a particular “school of thought” within the church that preaches and practices a certain “hardcore” brand of biblical Christianity.
I’m speaking, of course, about Christian reconstructionism.
You know. The Bible-based world-and-life-view that dares not speak its name.
The anti-reconstructionists, both inside and outside the church, have done a marvelous job for over half a century of slandering and misrepresenting reconstructionists and their theological distinctives and perspectives with regard to advancing the Kingdom of God and of His Christ on earth and in history through the propagation of the law of God and the transformational, regenerative power of the Holy Spirit working through the Gospel and God’s people as His law, truth and grace permeate every human institution progressively until Christ returns.
It’s almost like they don’t want us to succeed!
Well, I’m happy to report that I do not count Pastor Wilson among these ill-informed naysayers.
I am equally unhappy to report that I find his aversion to being lumped together with us Gospel-centered, Christ-centered, Bible-centered, eschatologically optimistic, theonomically inclined folks more than a little puzzling.
I also find it to be par-for-the-course among Reformed Christians.
And that’s the problem.
Galadriel and the Card-Carrying Recons
If you’ve read Tolkien’s books and are familiar with the elf queen that Doug is referencing, then maybe you see more clearly than I do the application he is making and the connection he is inferring with his chimpanzee/Galadriel metaphor.
But I’ll take a stab at it.
He is calling out all those end-times-obsessed, prophecy-intoxicated Christians who hanker for a Gospel-centered, Christ-centered kingdom to come, but who don’t want the hard work and awesome, comprehensive, long-term responsibility that the Great Commission imposes on them — the real Great Commission given by Jesus, not the attenuated, pietistic, present-oriented version adopted by most Christians.
They just want to throw a little paint on the old barn and, voila!–Christian culture!
Such a shallow perspective is not worthy of those who name the name of Christ. Agreed.
On the other hand, what is to be accomplished by distancing yourself from those “hardcore”, card-carrying, Bible-centered, Christ-centered recons, who are doing exactly what you say Christians should be doing?
Where is the consistency and coherence in applauding recons and agreeing with them on virtually everything they say and do and have been saying and doing for at least the last 40 years (“If only we had listened to Rushdoony and Bahnsen!”) — even recommending to others that they should go and do likewise — only to deny any association with them.
“I’m not one of them. Stop accusing me of being one of them!”
First, Wilson recalls:
“Many years ago I had a conversation with Greg Bahnsen, in which I told him that I was not a reconstructionist.”
But, once Bahnsen clarified for him the difference between a “movement” and a “school of thought”, Wilson found relief. No more guilt-by-association.
“Whew! I can adopt the thinking of a reconstructionist, without having to suffer the indignity of being called a reconstructionist!”
Thus, all these years later, he now confidently proclaims:
“I believe that every Kuyperian Christian is now a part of the reconstructionist school of thought. If you believe, as we do, in “all of Christ for all of life,” then in principle that means that the entire conservative Reformed evangelical world is now reconstructionist or reconstructionist lite…”
See how painless this is? No more stigma!
He then adds, triumphantly:
“And if you are postmillennial, then that makes you self-consciously reconstructionist.”
Amen, brother Doug.
To drive the point home, he asks, emphatically, rhetorically:
“Does the authority of Jesus Christ, does the lordship of Christ, extend in practical ways over every field of human endeavor?”
He answers, non-rhetorically:
“If you say yes, you are some kind of a reconstructionist.”
What kind are you?
Well, if you are Gary North, then you are the “hard-core” kind. So hard core, in fact, that you are like a wind chime playing lightly in the breezes — sorry, the zephyrs — of a small-town in Idaho. Such a sweet sound as you sip your morning coffee!
Alas, Wilson senses that winds of change are blowing. In the wrong direction.
“We are going to see a barrage of accusations that we here in Moscow are trying to establish a theocratic republic, and that we are, wait for it, reconstructionists.”
So, in the end, even though Doug admits that the recons have been right about just about everything they’ve warned Christians about “since the eighties” — Rushdoony on the public schools, Bahsen on defending the faith, North on schools and Critical Race Theory — he wants to be very clear about something.
“I am not a card-carrying reconstructionist.”
And don’t you forget it.
But wait. Pastor WIlson would like to leave you with this one final thought and another rhetorical question.
“To point out the obvious, the old America is currently being dismantled. That means that somebody is going to rebuild it, someone is going to reconstruct it.”
And who should be the ones to do the rebuilding?
WE should, of course. Because…
“We are all reconstructionists now.”
Like he said near the beginning of his post, arguing most straightforwardly, “all” means “all”.
He says our choice is simple. And he is right. Who will be the ones to ultimately succeed in rebuilding the new America?
“Will that reconstruction be conducted by the totalitarians who tore the old one down?
Or will it be done by Christians who think like Christians should?”
Will you let the enemies of God plant their fields of thistles? Or will God’s people plant their dreamed-of fields of barley?
Think it over. Maybe even sleep on it. You decide.
But be forewarned. If you “think like a Christian should” about this all-encompassing, long-term, kingdom-building project,…
Then you might be a reconstructionist!