Kirk Cameron: Christian Reconstructionist

Kirk Cameron is off his nut.

I’m unfamiliar with the filmography of Kirk Cameron — haven’t seen a-one of them.

I’m similarly unfamiliar with Christian Reconstructionism. But it seems that I should be afraid of both, especially when they’re put together.

Julie Ingersoll provides a helpful primer on Christian Reconstructionism, using Cameron’s new documentary about…HIMSELF…as a foil. Good reading:

Christian Reconstruction promotes a “biblical worldview” with three interlocking theological notions that, while framed in technical language, have been popularized for over half a century in simple terms and slogans that are now familiar to watchers of the religious right.

Presuppositionalism stipulates that all knowledge is understood to begin with the acceptance of unprovable assumptions. For Reconstructionists only two, mutually exclusive, starting points are possible: the true sovereignty and authority of the god of the Bible or the false claim of the supremacy of human reason. This point has found a voice in the ubiquitous critique of “secular humanism” and the argument that religious neutrality is impossible.

Postmillennialism, an end-times theology that challenges contemporary rapture theology, claims that the kingdom of God was established at the resurrection and is being realized as Christianity spreads across the world through the exercise of dominion. Its popularized versions are “dominion theology” and the effort to “restore America’s foundation” as a “Christian nation.”

Theonomy is the view that all law must be based in God’s law, which is to say biblical law. Reconstructionists look to ancient Israel as the model for society and to the Puritans as an exemplar of the modern application of biblical law. They argue for a distinction between theonomy and the more commonly used theocracy on the basis of what they claim is a biblical division of earthly authority set forth by God.

Read the rest: Kirk Cameron’s Monumental Reveals Subtle Influence of Christian Reconstructionism | (A)theologies | Religion Dispatches.

  • http://iJoey.org Joey

    Ah. Isms.

    Probably off his nut, but like many nuts (including a few in Scripture), there may be some edible material if you’re willing to crack down and get to the meat of things.

    While I’m completely opposed to Rapture theology, I do believe in the Kingdom, established by Christ and ushered in with the Crucifixion. That said, I’m closer to N.T. Wright than any of the folks that Cameron’s quoting.

    I’m also convinced that God’s sovereignty is underrated. You don’t have to be a dominion person to believe in sovereignty. In fact, I find that one is closer to God’s sovereignty when we oppose dominions. I do not buy the revisions of history made popular in the last 80 years or so. The history books very rarely line up with the original documents as I read them. Still, that does not mean that America was founded as a nation to enforce God’s will on citizens. It means that the greater injustices of one human system were replaced with more just, but still unjust and corruptible systems of another sort.

    I try not to presuppose anything, but when I do, I presuppose God’s love, God’s grace, and God’s will for us to show each other the same.

    Isms are bad. Say more about the potentials for good lodged in the cavity of Cameron’s pat answers. There are some points of departure here, and I know that you will be able to make a few of them interesting. :)

    Cheers,

    Joey

  • DanS

    I can’t say for sure, but it seems like guilt by association to me. A lot of conservatives repudiate Rushdoony even though they are on the same side of the political spectrum as he was. Not much in the quotes from Cameron in the article suggest to me he is in the Reconstructionist camp. Francis Schaeffer was a presuppositionalist, but not to the extent of repudiating reason altogether and Schaeffer absolutely rejected theocracy. It makes no sense for Cameron to be in the Left Behind series and embrace postmillenialism, though it is I suppose possible. Theonomy? Does believing that there should be laws against murder, echoing the ten commandments mean one wants to apply all of Old Testament ceremonial and civil law to western democracies?

    Conservatives, of all people, reject theocracy. Conservatives believe in limited government because men are so easily corrupted. I don’t know anyone in my circles of conservatives who would follow Rushdoony and most have no idea who he is. But if conservatives can be associated with theocracy they can be marginalized. I’ve seen this association made before. I’m conservative. I could agree with Cameron on many things. I am completely opposed to theocracy and would reject reconstructionism.

    Funny thing is Scot McKnight posted a couple of days ago on Tom Wright’s new book which suggests “Jesus envisioned theocracy of a new sort.” Interesting how folks who aren’t perceived as ultra-conservative can talk of theocracy and use Jesus in political ways (particularly in terms of “social justice’”) – but anybody on the right who suggests law might be broadly based on Christian moral principles is condemned as a power-hungry danger to society. Same old song.

    • Carl

      Brilliant comment, Dan.

  • David

    Tony your a dip-shit

    • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

      Nice spelling. Are you an English major at Liberty?

      • Dale Friesen

        Oh snap!

        • Luke Allison

          I don’t think Kirk would approve of that language.

      • David

        Oh was my remark a little offensive? So is the statement about kirk.

  • http://cjbanning.dreamwidth.org Cole J. Banning

    Liberals can be post-millenialists, too; I’m one. I believe that, empowered by the free unmerited gift of grace, human beings can build the Kindom of God through the establishment of social justice and the like. The problem with dominionism or reconstructionism isn’t that they want to build the Kingdom but that the Kingdom they want to build is based on distorted values.

    • Luke Allison

      Can I ask where the command or exhortation to “build the kingdom” of God comes from?

      Isn’t that something God does? Don’t we “receive”, “enter”, and “inherit” the Kingdom?

      • Frank

        Luke great question. Thinking that we can “build” the Kingdom of God is probably rooted in Pelagianism.

        “Seeking” the Kingdom of God is much more accurate biblically. All we have to do is put God first, seek salvation in Christ, obey His commandments and share the Gospel. The Kingdom will take care of itself.

        • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

          Frank, what’s wrong with Pelagius? (Other than that he was crushed by Augustine.)

          • Frank

            Aside from the fact that he denies the lasting affect of Adams sin, thinks that goodness can be humanly created and believes that we can earn our way into heaven… Nothing I suppose.

            But maybe I have a limited understanding of what he believed. I am not an expert on him.

            • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

              Then don’t throw him under the bus.

              Pelagius is no straw man.

              • Frank

                Tony I seem to have struck a nerve. Is he one of your heros?

                I was not throwing anyone under the bus as you know Augustine did a great job at that already. I answered a question in which I stand by. What I do know of him is enough to take issue with his assertions.

        • http://cjbanning.dreamwidth.org Cole J. Banning

          Thinking we can build the Kingdom is only rooted in Pelagianism if one thinks that one can do so independently of God’s grace. A good, orthodox, anti-Pelagian post-millenialism understands that God builds the Kindom, but allows that because of grace, we can be the agents of that building. As St. Teresa of Avila said, “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours; Yours are the eyes through which to look out Christ’s compassion to the world.”

        • Luke Allison

          I don’t agree with your list of “all we have to do’s”.

          There’s way more going on Jesus’ teaching then you’ve articulated. But you’re being true to your theological and soteriological foundations, so that’s that.

          I will ask you: What do you believe the parable of the rich man and lazarus is about?

          • Luke Allison

            That’s to Frank, not Cole…sorry.

          • Frank

            You have the right to disagree of course.

            I am not suggesting that we do nothing but if we are exhibiting the fruit of the spirit we are reflecting the Kingdom of God but we are not building it. I think participating in it is more accurate.

            So if we truly seek salvation through Christ, if we truly obey Gods commandments, if we truly share our faith with others, we will exhibit the fruit of the spirit and therefore reflect the kingdom of God.

            Btw there is no such thing as social justice, just justice found only through Christ. It’s a dead end to seek justice without fully submitting to Christ.

          • Luke Allison

            Frank,

            I don’t think you’ve said anything I disagree with here except perhaps “It’s a dead end to seek justice without fully submitting to Christ”.

            I think the heart of a human being who seeks justice (especially for the most oppressed and marginalized of society) is beating in time with Christ whether they know it or not.

          • Frank

            Luke I agree that the desire for justice is God planted in humanity. My point is that if we all we truly living in Christ, justice would happen, but to try and bring justice without submitting to Christ is just spinning your tires. So instead of working toward the popular buzz words of “social justice”, work towards bringing the Gospel. It’s the only way.

      • http://cjbanning.dreamwidth.org Cole J. Banning

        Every time Jesus offered a parable beginning with “The Kingdom of Heaven is like,” he put forth a command and exhortation to build the Kingdom.

        • Luke Allison

          For the record, I didn’t say anything about Pelagius or Augustine.

          Cole,

          I’m genuinely interested in your response…can you tell me more specifically where Jesus commanded that? I’m not trying to be combative…I really would like to hear your perspective because it’s interesting.

          I’m partially convinced by Jesus’ admonition to pray “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven”, but I’m not sure that we’re ever specifically commanded to “build the kingdom” as if we have the raw materials for it. From what I can tell, our action involving the kingdom generally involves passive verbs like “receive”, “inherit”, or ambiguous language like “enter”. But “build”? My own home church has “advancing the kingdom everywhere, one person at a time” as a mission statement, which is nice and broad and includes all kinds of justice initiatives, but I’m not sure that’s what we’re called to do.

          From what I can tell, God is building his kingdom, and we partner with him to effect that building, but we aren’t the builders ourselves.

          • http://cjbanning.dreamwidth.org Cole J. Banning

            Jesus did not say, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a lottery ticket someone gets you for your birthday, which turns out to be a Big Winner.” Now, that may be a fairly accurate analogy for how our salvation works, but it’s not what the Teacher focused on. Instead, Jesus stressed the ways in which the promise of the Kindom elicits (or at least should elicit) massive amounts of effort from those who inerit it. I don’t want to ever imply that that effort is ever possible apart from grace, and I agree perfectly with the statement that “God is building his kingdom, and we partner with him to effect that building, but we aren’t the builders ourselves.” But Jesus’ statements in the Gospels do consistently stress the ways in which we are called to be active participants in the Kindom being built by God through the grace-filled actions of the mystical Body of Christ–i.e., us.

            In a sense, the “raw material” for building the Kindom is grace. And since the for post-millenialists, the Kin(g)dom is never solely a future event, but one which is past, present, and future, I’d think “receive,” “inherit,” and “enter” are particularly appropriately verbs.

            That said, I don’t think that post-millenialism is the only eschatological approach compatible with Scripture; I think it’s revealed to be superior to pre-millenialism when we examine its fruits in the light of tradition, reason, and experience.

          • Luke Allison

            Cole,

            Very well-said. Odds are we agree on many things. I enjoy hearing perspectives on a very complex topic.

            I especially like: “The raw material for building the kingdom is grace”. I’ll add: “foot-washing, self-emptying, humanity-embracing, gritty, down-and-dirty agape” as well.

            I think my initial confusion was simply with the word “build”, since very often the partnership we experience with the Triune God is underemphasized by those who have taken it upon themselves to “build” his Kingdom. But you and I are on the same page.

          • Curtis

            The ELCA has a slogan they use which states “God’s work, our hands”, which I find useful in putting my relationship to God in perspective.

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  • John

    An exhaustive work on Christian Reconstructionism has just been released on Amazon kindle.
    It covers the theological fault lines within its theology. Shows the history of the movement with its players, and exposes its lies and cover ups by its leaders.
    http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Reconstructionism-Sinai-Golgotha-ebook/dp/B007BFRKIW


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