One of the recurring criticisms of Christian Reconstructionism is that it will not work. In fact, we’re told that it has been tried, and it didn’t work. This is a strange objection since Reconstructionists are often accused of developing a new system. How can we be accused of developing a new theology and at the same time be told that what we espouse was tried in the past but ended in utter failure? If it was tried and failed, then what we are advocating has been advocated before. As has been demonstrated, Christian Reconstructionist distinctives have been around for quite some time and have always been within the circle of orthodoxy, closer to the center than much of what today passes as orthodoxy. The newness of the position is in its forthrightness and consistency, not in its doctrinal formulations.
But was it a failure? Certainly it was if you compare its past results with utopian dreams of a sinless world. But it was a resounding success if you compare it to today’s decadent culture. It is because of the abandonment of Christian Reconstructionist distinctives that our nation is sinking in the moral abyss. Other competing religious systems, with comprehensive worldviews that affect this world, are replacing a once vibrant Christianity.
A Gospel for Adults
Consider that the average age of a convert to Christianity is sixteen, while the average age of a convert to Islam is thirty-one! Why the difference? One of the main reasons for the differences is the application of the two religions to the present circumstances of individual believers in a world of disorder. The older a person gets, the more responsibilities he or she has. For centuries the church addressed the areas of law, education, and politics, to name only a few. The Bible was very much a “this-worldly religion.” Sadly, this no longer seems to be the case. Islam, as a rival faith, has supplanted Christianity in the vital area of a this-world application of God’s Word. Secularism, previously Christianity’s greatest nemesis, has been doing it for centuries in the name of “enlightenment.” Islam with its emphasis on imminence and practicality is growing in influence.
Islam is practical. It is considered a this-worldly religion in contrast to Christianity, which is perceived as abstract in the extreme. Muhammad left his followers a political, social, moral, and economic program founded on religious precepts. Jesus, however, is said to have advocated no such program; it is claimed that the New Testament is so preoccupied with his imminent return that it is impractical for modern life.
Christians have forsaken God’s Bible-revealed law as the universal standard for righteousness in the areas of economics, education, politics, and the judicial system. Instead, they have adopted escapism (Jesus could return at any moment) and a form of ethical pluralism (the Bible is only one law among many from which to choose). Ethical pluralism means that all moral views are valid except any moral view that does not believe that all moral views are valid. So, Christianity as the Bible conceives of it is not an acceptable ethical standard on how the world should work. The absolutist position that the Reconstructionists take is anathema to the modern mind, and its rejection of ethical pluralism makes it the scourge of the Christian community.
With pluralism you get an “anything goes” ethic. Since most Americans (and most Christians) believe that ethical pluralism is legitimate, they often remain silent in the midst of the storm of moral anarchy that is battering our nation. They have been propagandized into believing that this is the American way. Bob Greene, a syndicated columnist with the Chicago Tribune, was shocked when he realized that millions of parents sat and watched a Madonna concert originating from France and telecast on HBO.
What is amazing is not what came across the screen. We live in an anything-goes age, and to say the concert was shocking would be incorrect, because society today is basically unshockable. No, the show’s content, although witless and purposely vulgar, was not the surprising thing. The surprising thing was that an insignificant number of those parents called HBO to object to what was shown. Apparently the parents of America have totally given up on hoping that they can control the entertainment environment their children are exposed to.
But it’s far worse than parents allowing their children to watch a Madonna concert on HBO. “It’s about a country that has been so beaten down by a lessening of standards for what is acceptable in public and what isn’t that something like the Madonna concert can be telecast to millions of families, and it doesn’t even cause a ripple of controversy or complaint.” The citizenry has been propagandized into believing that morals are solely a personal matter. What used to be consider gross evils are now accepted as legitimate alternative lifestyles that ought to be sanctioned by law.
The legalization of abortion.
The decriminalization of homosexuality.
Self-professed homosexuals running for political office and winning.
Churches ordaining homosexuals.
The abolition of the Christian religion from public schools and nearly every vestige of American life.
Pornographic displays of so-called “homoerotic art paid for by tax dollars.
The rewriting of textbooks to teach that capitalism
and communism are legitimate economic options for nations.
In addition, there is so much anti-Christian bigotry and debauchery in our nation that it would be impossible to come up with a comprehensive list. But consider how far we have fallen as a nation when the ACLU sues a North Carolina judge because he starts each court session with prayer, a brief plea to God for justice. These are the offending words:
O Lord, our God, our Father in Heaven, we pray this morning that you will place your divine guiding hand on this courtroom and that with your mighty outstretched arm you will protect the innocent, give justice to those who have been harmed, and mercy to us all. Let truth be heard and wisdom be reflected in the light of your presence here with us today. Amen.
f there is no God there is no law. How can a judge render a just decision if there is no fixed standard of justice? Since the courts have consistently voted to uphold Darwinian evolutionism, how can there ever be an ethical absolute?
Florida no longer requires Notaries to affirm “so help me God” on their written oath of office. Presidents since George Washington have taken their oath of office with a hand on an open Bible. They end their oath with “so help me God.” The Rev. Gerard LaCerra, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Miami, understands the implications of such an action: “What are we supposed to base our commitments on if something like this is removed? The State?”
A third-grader’s valentines were censored because they contained references to Jesus Christ. School officials changed their minds after learning they could be sued over the matter. Charles Colson recounts a message he heard at a meeting of 100 evangelical leaders and political activists who assembled to respond to the rising tides of anti-Christian bigotry.
A friend I greatly respect was speaking, citing one example after another. They were bizarre stories: like the high-school students informed that they could not wear their fellowship of Christian Athletes T-shirts to school (though satanic T-shirts were okay); or the court decision forcing Zion, Illinois, to change its 88-year-old city seal because it included religious symbols. Or the fact that The Last Temptation of Christ was shown in an Albuquerque high school, while the Genesis Project’s Jesus film, whose script is all Scripture, would not be allowed near school grounds.
The failure is Christians’ refusal to believe that the public arena is a place of ministry and that God’s law has application there. Christians have failed to be advocates of righteousness in areas beyond personal and familial piety. There has been a steady erosion among evangelicals and fundamentalists over the adoption of a comprehensive biblical worldview.
Our nation was founded on the belief that religious man undergirds a society. “In the last resort, our civilization is what we think and believe. The externals matter, but they cannot stand if the inner convictions which originally produced them have vanished.”
Government is only as good as the people who create it. Family, church, and civil governments reflect self-government, whether good or bad. At the civil level, a nation gets what it votes for. Civil government, no matter how righteously conceived, cannot make people better. Leadership, like water, rises to its own level, the righteousness of the people. The maintenance of good government is dependent on good people.
A nation will exhibit either self-government or the State will implement tyranny. On May 28th, 1849, Robert C. Winthrop (1809-1894), descendant of Governor John Winthrop, first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, addressed the Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Bible Society in Boston showing that there is no third way.
All societies of men must be governed in some way or other. The less they may have of stringent State Government, the more they must have of individual self-government. The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral restraint. Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible, or by the bayonet. It may do for other countries and other governments to talk about the State supporting religion. Here, under our own free institutions, it is Religion which must support the State.
“Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24:15).
 Larry Postan, “The Adult Gospel,” Christianity 10day (August 20, 1990). p. 24.
 Bob Greene, “Madonna Concert Shows What We’ve Become,” Marieua Daily Journal (August 15, 1990), p. 7A
 For a critique of the ACLU written by a Christian Reconstructionist, see George Grant, 1Tial and Error: The American Civil Liberties Union and Its Impact on Your Family (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1989).
 “’God’ removed from notaries’ oath,” The Kansas City Star (February 18, 1990), p. 2A.
 Charles Colson, “From a Moral Majority to a Persecuted Minority,” Christianity Today (May 14, 1990), p. 80.
 Paul Johnson, The Enemies of Society (New York: Atheneum, 1977), p. 117.
 Cited in Verna M. Hall, ed., The Christian History of the American Revolution (San Francisco, CA: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1976), p. 20.