Three Insights From American Vision

Below is a collection of snippets from some good American Vision articles I have run across. These are Christian Reconstructionists defining what they believe – rather than their enemies telling us what Reconstructionists believe.

A refreshing change of pace, won’t you say?

All bolding — except for the section titles — are mine.

Five things Postmillennialism is Not

1. Postmillennialism is not about personal prosperity.

Some Postmillennialists mistakenly behave as if the progress predicted by the doctrine refers to personal, individual prosperity. Thus this eschatology is often taken up by those who already believe in “health and wealth” gospel, or prosperity preaching. In some cases, this occurs as a conscious confession on the part of the individual. Others may actually deny they believe this, and genuinely so, yet act as if this were the case. In any case, as a necessary correlation, it is mistaken.

Postmillennialism sees eschatological progress as a covenant reality. It refers to the advance of the Kingdom of God in general. It is a corporate progress which impacts different individuals differently, and the whole positively. It does not mean that every Christian should be rich and prosperous as a result of their faith. Instead, when the Kingdom advances, it brings with it blessings upon society as a whole. The more a society embraces the Gospel, the more the blessings resulting from Christian ethics lift society out of poverty as a whole.

In such a case, you will see some people blessed with wealth, others more or less so. Yet you may actually see a greater distance in the so-called “income gap”—the rich will be far more rich than the lower classes. Yet at the same time, the lower classes will also be living at a much higher standard than otherwise. This will be because the living standard as a whole will have risen across the board. For this reason, it is easy to see that even lower middle class in the West today lives above the standard available even to kings in times past. This is one effect of the advance of the Gospel.

In such a society, the covenantal progress includes broader liberty, trust, community, love, etc. This means that there is also more opportunity for individual advance, so that the individual is still better off than before and may attain personal prosperity. This will be true in a way that will not usually be true in non-Christian societies. But the individual is not the main focus, the corporate body of believers is, for it is as the body of Christ that we are joint-heirs of all He has. In the meantime, we understand that individuals are called to sacrifice for the Kingdom. We may be called to suffer in various ways, or even to die. When the Psalm says “Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power” (Psa. 110:3), self-sacrifice is in part what it is talking about.

We must remember that this progress will take place corporately in other areas of life as well—education, social welfare, civil and criminal justice, and much more. A preoccupation with individual wealth is thus a distraction from the real scope of Postmillennialism in virtually every way you can look at it—likely including your personal calling. Thus we can see that a preoccupation with individual blessing can actually be a detriment and a hindrance for the individual engaging in it.

It is also important to realize that this phenomenon is not dependent upon whether or not a particular culture predominantly believes in Postmillennial eschatology. Postmillennialism remains true and in practical effect whether or not most Christians at any given time accept it. When a culture is predominantly Christian in general, and upholds Christian ethics in general, you will see society and culture blessed accordingly.

But again, Postmillennialism sees this as a corporate reality—social and society-wide—not individual. When we make it an individual reality, we elevate self over Kingdom, and put the King in our service instead of us in His.

Also in the article…

2. Postmillennialism is not about unbridled progress.

3. Postmillennialism is not about unbridled optimism.

4. Postmillennialism is not about man’s works.

5. Postmillennialism is not hasty.

Five things Dominion Theology is Not

1. Dominion Theology is not a bad word

Point one is so long it got its own post, here.

2. Dominion Theology is not about top-down control

Many recoil at the term “dominion” because it conjures images of what may better be called “domination”: a taskmaster with a whip, a dictator in total control, forcing agendas on an unwilling populace, or perhaps even something worse. But this confusion is cultural or personal; it has nothing to do with what the Bible teaches about “dominion.”

Dominion refers, as we said in point 1, to our works in the land, in business, and in the family. It will involve government, too, but please note that the biblical view is that government is supposed to be almost totally personal and family government. In the quintessential “dominion mandate” passage reviewed in point 1 (Gen. 1:26, 28), God expressly gives man dominion over creation, but expressly does not give him dominion over other men. This means that whatever else in Scripture can be said about the institution of civil authority and power (the top down part), it is separate and apart from the original dominion mandate given before the fall (it is also greatly limited, as we shall say in a moment).

Proverbs 16:32 says, “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” The meaning here is clear: self-government is far superior to civil or military government. The original dominion mandate given to Adam and Eve prelapsus was one of self-government. This is also the call for the Christian, and the goal of Christian society. It absolutely must be, therefore, a vision that starts from the bottom up.

Christian Reconstruction, Dominion Theology, starts with the regeneration of the individual soul. Until some level of critical mass is reached here, culture cannot be changed because individuals will not be self-governable according to God’s law (Rom. 8:7).

There were (and maybe still are) some in the movement who believe the path forward is to have a “revolution of the elites”— to capture the seats of power by those in favor of Christendom. This is the old Constantinian model in which the emperor—or the powers that be in general—declare that the laws shall be Christian and force everyone to live outwardly by them.

This view not only produces mass hypocrisy (among masses and leaders alike), but is expressly condemned by Jesus himself (Matt. 20:25–28). For more on this, read my response to Rev. Dewey, particularly my comments about Gary North and James Jordan’s “elitism” in Healer of the Nations (1987, p. 301). It is also a critique that can fall upon some of those who see “Kuyperianism” as the way forward. There are certain good things about Kuyper’s teachings, but our views must be delimited by a purely biblical social theory as well.

Dr. North further elaborates the view in a more down-to-earth way in his essay, “The Dogcatcher Strategy,” which is nothing more than bottom-up thinking applied, as well as a good critique of why all the focus on the presidency is radically counterproductive for Christians.

3. Dominion Theology is not about political power

Related to the last point, too many people think the goal of Dominion Theology is to capture political power and then impose some agenda. But again, not only is the biblical perspective of dominion not “top down,” it is not even primarily political. It is not even political first. Dr. North has a motto, in fact, that goes, “Politics fourth.” I agree.

Since Dominion Theology must begin from the bottom-up. It begins, again, with self-government. If you can’t make progress here, what point would it make to sit in power over others? What biblical sense does it make to control others when you can’t control yourself? Granted, all men will remain sinners, and thus all leaders, whether ecclesiastical or political, will be to some degree imperfect, but the point stands as the broad generality that it is.

The point goes much further, though. The biblical view of politics demands a civil government vastly reduced in size, scope, and power than what we have. The purpose of the bottom-up Christian revolution Dominion Theology envisions is that self-government, family government, church governments, private organizations, private businesses, and private charities replace the vast majority of civil government agencies we have.


Also in the article…

4. Dominion Theology is not about personal prosperity

5. Dominion Theology is not hastening the return of Jesus

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