Vanilla Christianity

Christian Reconstruction necessitates some necessary demolition to destroy these old views, critiquing the structures of our culture in order to “reconstruct” a proper view because they do not hold a biblical worldview. But primarily Christian Reconstruction is about building.

The basic principles of owning that Jesus Christ is the King (Reconstruction)

1.) Theo-centric thinking

This means a return to basic Calvinism where the Sovereignty of God over all of life is acknowledged. This means that we understand that from beginning to end when it comes to Redemption that God alone saves. It never means less than that but it always means more than that.

Scripture teaches that

Romans 11:36For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.

I take this to mean that if all things are for God and through God and to God then all reality must be understood with the Triune God at the center. Herman Bavinck caught this in his book on Christian Worldview.

“To the modern autonomous person, to have to think of logical laws, to see nature as ruled by laws that are independent of it, and to recognize the truth as a power that stands above him and that lets itself be found only in a defined way seems to be unbecoming.

It is this autonomy and anarchy that the Christian worldview resists with all its strength. According to it, the human being is not autonomous but is always and everywhere bound to laws that were not devised by him but that are prescribed by God as the rule of life. In religion and morality, in science and art, in family, society, and state, ideas are everywhere, norms above him, which mutually form a unity and have their origin and expression in the Creator and Lawgiver of the universe. These norms are ideal treasures, entrusted to humanity, the basis of all social institutions. They are the foundation not only of our knowing and knowing about things but also of our willing and acting. They have authority in the academy but also in life. They are the authority for our head and our heart, for our thinking and our acting. And while the autonomy of the human severs the bond between subject and object, and thus in principle dissolves everything into chaos, it is theonomy, as the Scripture teaches us of it, that gives every creature its rightful place and provides its true meaning. Then nobody and nothing is isolate. No creature is autonomous, and no one may do what he wants, neither the man nor the woman, neither the parents nor the child, neither the government nor the citizen, neither the lord nor the servant. They are all bound by God’s law, each person in his own way and place. And not by contract or arbitrary will, not through coercion or the necessity of emergency, but according to God’s order they live and work together, and they are destined for each other and bound to each other. The divine thoughts and law are the foundations and norms, the goods and treasures the connection and organization of all creatures. To conform ourselves to that life, in intellect and heart, in thinking and acting — that is to be conformed to the image of God’s Son most profoundly. And this is the ideal and destiny of the human being. In maintaining the objectivity of God’s Word and Law, all Christians are agreed and should stand together unanimously in this age. The battle today is no longer about the authority of Pope or council, of church and confession; for countless others, it is not even about the authority of Scripture or the person of Christ. The question on the agenda asks, as principally as possible, whether there is still some authority and some law to which the human being is bound. That is the ‘reevaluation’ to which we are all witnesses; therein is the evolution taking place before our eyes. And in this struggle, every man of Christian profession should assemble under the banner of the King of Truth.”

Herman Bavinck

Christian Worldview — pg. 128-129

This necessarily means that we must be engaged in;

2.) Holistic and organic worldview thinking

If God is Sovereign over all and we are to take every thought to make it obedient to Christ then that means our thinking must be integrated and Holistic.

As I mentioned previously in passing what we have done in the way we think is to compartmentalize material so that we own Christ as King in theology but we relegate Him to irrelevance in other areas of thought. (Consider the examples we have given in previous weeks – Education, Psychology, Sociology, Law.) Scripture teaches that God’s people are;

5 To demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

“The Christian faith as a whole, as a unit, must be set over against the non-Christian faith as a whole. Piecemeal apologetics is inadequate, especially for our time. A Christian totality picture requires a Christian view of the methodology of science and philosophy, as well as a Christian view of theology.”

Cornelius Van Til

Christianity can never be separated from some theory about the existence and the nature of God. The result is that Christian theism must be thought of as a unit. We may, therefore, perhaps conceive of the vindication of Christian theism as a whole to modern warfare. There is bayonet fighting, there is rifle shooting, there are machine guns, but there are also heavy cannon and atom bombs. All the men engaged in these different kinds of fighting are mutually dependent upon one another. The rifle men could do very little if they did not fight under the protection of the heavy guns behind them. The heavy guns depend for the progress they make upon the smaller guns.

What CVT is saying here is that all must work in concert together over the whole range of thinking. Our Theology must inform our philosophy and our philosophy and theology must inform our history and these must inform our sociology, etc. etc. etc.

Instead, we too often have the big cannons pointed at the enemy while we are using our own air-force to strafe and bomb our own cannons. We argue for God’s sovereignty in theology while in biology we champion humanist evolution.

A few years ago the CRC Banner found a column that wrote,

“Traditionally we’ve been taught that Adam and Eve were the first human pair, Adam made out of dust and Eve from one of Adam’s ribs. But sustaining this doctrine is extremely difficult when we take seriously the human race as we know it today sharing ancestry with other primates such as chimpanzees. Where in the slow evolution of homo Erectus and homo habilis and homo sapiens do Adam and Eve fit? We will have to find a better way of understanding what Genesis tells us about Adam and Eve, one that does justice to Genesis and also to what the Bible teaches about their connection to Jesus.”

Of course, you see what is happening here. What is happening is the discipline of Science is at war with the discipline of Theology, and Epistemology. There is contradiction here. The thinking here is not holistic but instead is compartmentalized.

All of our thinking across the disciplines must bow to Jesus Christ in every area of life. Our thinking about Philosophy is not independent of our theology. Our thinking about Anthropology is not independent of our theology. Our thinking about Law is not independent of our Christian theology. Our thinking about biology is not independent of God’s revelation. Our thinking must be interdisciplinary. All our thinking on all subject fields is all integrated because all are submitted to Christ. This is what it means to be in submission to the King.

But this is not pressed in many quarters of the Church today. Instead what we get are those who are considered “wise-men” who talk about the necessity to live the “hyphenated-life” by which they mean the compartmentalized life. In the realm of grace, we have God’s explicit word Revelation but in the common realm, we operate by Natural law. This is another way of saying that God’s special Revelation is irrelevant to the public square.

In our need to integrate all of our thinking, we do not have to start from scratch. There have been those who have sought to think holistically. We can learn again from them. We can take up and read Augustine as he pilots us through Scripture. R. L. Dabney had the ability to do this kind of thinking. In Philosophy, we can take up Gordon H. Clark and CVT. Clark even had a book titled, “A Christian View of Men & Things.” You see what he has done there … he has told us in the title that there is an organic Christian view of all reality. He went on to write books on History, Language, Philosophy, Science, and tons more all being integrated and organic. There are the works of Greg Bahnsen which are particularly good demonstrating the centrality of God’s Law in all things. There is the work of C. Gregg Singer who writes wonderfully on History from a Christ-centered understanding. There is the magnificent work of the broadly hated R. J. Rushdoony who excelled in this Worldview thinking and did so well at applying God’s Law to all of life. There is Dr. Glen E. Martin who taught on the broad sweep of the Intellectual and Social History of the West from a Christian understanding. There are the works of Herman Dooyeweerd and we must not forget Ronald Nash or Francis Schaeffer or Herman Bavinck or Abraham Kuyper. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. It has been demonstrated… it has been done. But it is hard work and requires a lifetime of commitment.

These men didn’t agree on the details of everything. Even in broad-strokes, they would differ but what they were all seeking to do is think underneath the command of the Lord Jesus Christ in every area of life. They sought to think organically, owning an inter-disciplinary mind that integrated all areas of life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

3.) Presuppositionalism –

The OT starts with “In the beginning God…”

John’s Gospel begins with “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

In each case it is clear that the Holy Spirit is communicating that God needs to be the beginning and end of all of our thinking. The authors of Scripture only conclude God because they begin by presupposing God. They reason to God as from God and realize that they could never reason to God unless they started from God. The reason they engage is a reason that owns an apriori intellectual pre-commitment to the authority of God’s revelation as opposed to an apriori intellectual pre-commitment to man’s authority.

And so if Christians are once again to own Jesus Christ as Lord they must begin their thinking with God and His authority as their beginning point. This is contrasted with what commonly happens today and that is Christian man posits his own authority and reason as his Archimedian starting point and then reasons from there. To see the difference read C. S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity,” back to back with Martin’s work on Worldviews. Read Sproul, Lindsey and Gerstner’s book on Apologetics back to back with Bahnsen’s work on systematizing Van Til.

To own Jesus as King requires us to return to presuppositionalism in our thinking because we are fallen beings whose minds have been effected by sin. Even if we were not fallen, being mere creatures we would need to presuppose God and His Word before we could reason aright. Presuppositionalism turns away from the various forms of humanism that presuppose the negation of God and so says “I think therefore I am,” and affirms the reality of God and says, “GOD Thinks therefore I am and think.”

Modern Christians tend to lean into this matter as Dr. E. J. Carnell did who wrote;

“Bring on your revelations, let them make peace with the law of contradiction and the facts of history and they will deserve a rational man’s assent.”

Here Carnell is in essence making rational man whether regenerate or unregenerate judge over God and His Revelation. This is a humanistic presuppositionalism where man is presupposed as the one who crowns truth as King as opposed to submitting to the already crowned King’s Word. Of course, God’s word is never in contradiction but the idea of contradiction presupposes God’s revelation. God’s revelation is not sanctioned by Aristotelian categories of logic.

Alas, though, only a touch of God’s grace can work in man the willingness to begin and end with God in all his reasoning. Apart from God’s grace man will continue to own himself as his own starting point.

Presuppositionalism is just Reformed theology applied to our epistemology. In reformed theology, Christ is King over all. In Presuppositionalism God is sovereign as seen in being the starting point of all our thinking. Those who claim to be Reformed but who refuse Presuppositionalism demonstrate that they are Arminian right out of the gate.

Now, remember what we are talking about here. We have set out to demonstrate what it means to have Christ as King in all our thinking and doing. This is basic vanilla Christianity but as basic vanilla Christianity has been refused we now must give it another name and typically that other name is Reconstructionism. But again we say that Reconstructionism is just Christianity 101. It is what Christianity was once reputed to be as by way of normal. However, Christianity has strayed so far now we create these new labels to attach to people as a kind of warning to stay away from them because they are extreme Christians … why they are Reconstructionists.

Another aspect of Christ as King thinking… of being Reconstructionists is the embrace again of the realization that God’s Grace and Law doth sweetly comply in the words of Jonathan Edwards.

4.) This means in the Church we must teach the Solas again … that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

“By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).

We must champion the grace of God as doing all the doing in salvation and then champion that God’s law given to the Christian as His guide to life is also God’s gracious gift.

Reconstruction … taking Jesus Christ as Lord.. means that we understand that in the Christian life God’s grace and God’s law are not in antithesis. We understand along with A. W. Pink,

“Christ has redeemed his people from the curse of the law and not from the command of it. he has saved them from the wrath of God, but not from his government.”

  1. W. Pink

    All because we are not antinomian like the R2K Moroni does not mean that we are anti-grace.

    We are as anti-Arminian as one can get. We teach the TULIP, we teach the Solas. We emphasize that no man can curry God’s favor by thinking he can keep the Law. But we also emphasize that once we cease from seeking to be saved by the law and so are saved by God’s free unmerited grace we walk in terms of God’s law since that is the standard for a people who are, as Paul says in Titus, zealous for good works.

    We would ask those who are so against God’s explicit law in the public square… “Shall we go on sinning that grace may abound?”

    5.) Limited and Constrained Government

    As Biblical Christian who own Christ as Lord we Reconstructionists are rabidly anti-Statist. This is because we believe that God alone is sovereign and as God alone is sovereign all other Institutions should be constrained and limited within the bounds of their assigned jurisdictions. Because we believe that unlimited and unconstrained Governments will always seek to become Governments who offer alternate humanist plans of salvation. This has been true from the ancient world to today. In the ancient world it was said;

    “Salvation is to be found in no other save Augustus, and there is no other name given to men in which they can be saved.”

Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it. This wasn’t just a sentiment given to Augustus but was common to all the Caesars. Caesar was God. Caesar was Savior. Caesar was Lord. Chilton makes this point,

“They claimed not only the titles but the rights of deity as well. They taxed and confiscated property at will, took citizens’ wives (and husbands) for their pleasure, caused food shortages, exercised the power of life and death over their subjects, and generally attempted to rule every aspect of reality throughout the Empire. (Days of Vengeance)

“Caesar is Lord!” was the mantra of the time. And it was precisely this issue that caused the Christians so much trouble. They weren’t killed because they worshiped Jesus. People were free to worship whatever or whomever they pleased. That is, if it didn’t disrupt the unity of the state, which again, was summarized by the cry, “Caesar is Lord”.

Consider the charges against Paul and his companions, brought by their Jewish opponents to the Roman authorities: “They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, Jesus” (Acts 17:7).

And it is true … we continue to say that there is another King Jesus and so we remain rabidly anti-statist. We understand that this is part and parcel of what it means to be Christian. It is our identity and it is our identity because we believe in the 1st commandment; “Thou Shalt Have No Other God’s Before Me.”

If we believe that if there is no God but God then the direct implication of that is that we are duty-bound to circumscribe, limit, and constrain all governments to their properly God-assigned jurisdictions. To allow governments to be unlimited and unconstrained is to willfully disobey the first commandment.

Those who take Christ as Lord … those who are Reconstructionists are those who do not abide the idea that in the state we live and move and have our being. We do not pledge fealty to the idea of everything for the State, nothing outside the state.

There is an immediate corollary to this anti-Statism and it is one that many people will not understand. Those who take Christ as Lord … we Reconstructionists … we Biblical Christians understand that we can not limit and circumscribe Government apart from being champions of hard money.

Hear me out.

Governments become unconstrained and unlimited by the creation of fiat money. When money is not tied to some hard standard then Government can create money out of thin air with the immediate effect that Government begins to expand its Godlike pretensions. No government can ascend to the most high unless it is able to create fiat money. Hard money is the way the Christian binds the Government down with the chains of proper jursidictionalism.

This necessity is taught by our own Heidelberg catechism;

110. Q. What does God forbid in the eighth commandment?

  1. God forbids not only outright theft and robbery[1] but also such wicked schemes and devices as false weights and measures, deceptive merchandising, counterfeit money, and usury;[2] we must not defraud our neighbour in any way, whether by force or by show of right.[3] In addition God forbids all greed[4] and all abuse or squandering of His gifts.[5]

[1] Ex. 22:1; I Cor. 5:9, 10; 6:9, 10. [2] Deut. 25:13-16; Ps. 15:5; Prov. 11:1; 12:22; Ezek. 45:9-12; Luke 6:35. [3] Mic. 6:9-11; Luke 3:14; James 5:1-6. [4] Luke 12:15; Eph. 5:5. [5] Prov. 21:20; 23:20, 21; Luke 16:10-13.

Fiat currency created by Government is counterfeit currency and the usage of fiat money has always allowed Governments to expand beyond their God-ordained limits and jurisdiction so as to aspire to de-God God and en-God themselves. Fiat currency is an attack on God.

Reconstructionists oppose then both unlimited Government because of the first commandment and anything that allows Governments to become unconstrained such as the creation of fiat money.

We believe this is a confessional issue so much so that it is as important as any other confessional issue. Idolatry is never to be countenanced. And we would say to those who do countenance it that we have no interest in your Christianity.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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