We previously addressed an article on GotQuestions.org called, “What is dominion theology / theonomy / Christian reconstructionism?” in which the authors had described us as “clearly unbiblical” and “a great threat to biblical Christianity.” I am happy to report that some positive changes have occurred because if that article. (Thank you to those readers who have pointed this out to me.)
As you may recall, we appreciated that GotQuestions did not commit many of the traditional straw men regarding our views. In most respects, it was a fair article. We wondered why they then had to go so far as to call us a great threat.
The answer lay in the great gulf created by their view of end times, prophecy, etc. They are of the premillennial school that sees the reformation of society occurring only after Christ physically returns and sets up his kingdom headquartered in Jerusalem.
I greatly appreciate the further corrections GotQuestions has made, removing the claims that we are “clearly unbiblical” and “a great threat to biblical Christianity.” It would have been even better to note the edit instead of quietly change it with no trace, but this is still an improvement going forward.
An even better byproduct of this development is that it makes the real objection to our views even clearer. It’s not about God’s law or even the reformation of every area of life. It is, and only is, about the timing. The whole thing hinges upon the single impediment created by the unique requirements of their premillennial eschatology.
Irony still abounds
The premillennial eschatology—especially the dispensational view, which is still probably the most popular version—argues that no significant Christian reformation of society can happen until Christ physically returns to set up his kingdom. But note what this does mean in reality: it means they do believe that Christ should rule over every area of life and transform all the world.
This acknowledgment is important, and it is clear in the GotQuestions article:
We don’t see that God ever commanded the Church to take charge of and revamp society. Instead, we see the command for believers to preach the gospel as in Matthew 28:19–20. God intends to implement worldwide social reform Himself (Revelation 19:11 — 20:4). [Bold emphasis added.]
It is clear that worldwide social reform is in fact a real and necessary part of the Kingdom of God. They just believe that this can only come to pass via the physical presence of God the Son.
Nevertheless, social reform is a necessary entailment of the kingdom. Their only objection is, “Not yet.” I’ll rehearse my brief view of that in a second. For now, it is enough to see that their objection is not to the mission or the ethics of it at all. It is about the timing.
The whole question hinges upon eschatology. That is even clearer now:
Exactly. Our view of social reform and of God’s law is justified. But these people (a large segment of evangelicals and almost all fundamentalists) render that mission of no effect by their view of the millennial kingdom and their radical separation of “Israel” and “the church.”
It is also of interest that GotQuestions gets our view so correct up front that their later statement of difference with us creates an inconsistency. At the outset, they say,
Christian reconstructionism reasons that society will be reconstructed by the Law of God as preached in the gospel and the Great Commission. [Emphasis added.]
Yes! Social reform follows the pattern of God’s law, but this will occur only as the preaching of the Gospel triumphs. Both are in obedience to the Great Commission. This is a very welcome representation of our view.
Yet in the closing paragraph just cited above, Got Questions appears to sever any link between the successful preaching of the Gospel and any social outworking resulting from it.
We don’t see that God ever commanded the Church to take charge of and revamp society. Instead, we see the command for believers to preach the gospel as in Matthew 28:19–20. God intends to implement worldwide social reform Himself (Revelation 19:11 — 20:4).
But I thought they had opened up acknowledging that the preaching of the Gospel and obedience to Christ’s commandments are parts of the Great Commission? These are linked as part of one mission. Now, when their eschatology has been pressed upon this reality, the link is severed. The result is no social aspect and the necessity of Christ’s physical, militaristic presence to bring about the worldwide Kingdom.
This is a key aspect we should perhaps address in more detail later. When the premillennialist finally does see the Kingdom come in, it is not because the Gospel has had broad success, and that the resulting converts are Spiritually persuaded of God’s laws in the hearts (as Hebrews 8 says). It is instead because Christ comes back physically, sets up a physical government in Jerusalem, leads a literal army, and physically kills billions of nonbelievers. Premillennialists like GotQuestions take “dash them to pieces with a rod of iron” literally.
In short, the view of the Millennial Reign of most premillennial Christians is a physical, globalist bureaucracy, police state, and militaristic conquest the likes of which the world has never seen. It is also the greatest single act of population control and suppression of dissent possible.
(It does not seem to enter into their consideration that God the Holy Spirit is not only just a capable but even better suited for the task of creating the worldwide Kingdom of God. This suggestion of a Spirit-Driven Kingdom is met with accusations of “spiritualizing,” taken as a pejorative, as if that which is Spiritual can have no real effects in history. Apparently only physically-manifested Saviors wielding blunt objects can bring about social change.)
This view of the Kingdom of God and of the future is the single biggest impediment to a true, biblical social outlook here and now. This is what keeps millions of Christians from adopting—and in many cases even exploring—Christian Reconstruction.
As I said before:
This is part of the reason American Vision has put considerable effort into the eschatological question. Dispensationalism and premillennialism in general, much of amillennialism, and all watered-down forms of them, tend in the same direction. A giant biblical wake-up call is needed to inform millions of Christians, “You’ve been misled.” We need to show them the simple, but profound, nature of the deception:
Christ is on his throne now (Acts 2:32–36; Eph. 1:18–23; Heb. 1:13; 10:13). We are seated with him (Eph. 2:6). He has made us priests and kings, and we rule with him (Rev. 1:6; 5:10). The Great Commission includes discipling the nations, teaching them all his commandments (Matt. 28:18–20). Israel and the church are not separate, but Israel was the “church” in the Old Covenant, and the New Covenant church is the Israel of God in its fulfillment, both Jew and Gentile. We have come (already, now) to Mt. Zion (Heb. 12:22–24). Jesus now sits on his throne, waiting until his enemies are all defeated. He will not leave that spot to return one moment before that last enemy is destroyed (1 Cor. 15:25–26; Heb. 10:12–13).
For most theonomists and reconstructionists, these are very basic and old questions. For many newer ones, these are probably helpful points both to ponder for oneself and also to help with the interaction with others. Those influenced by the popular premillennial or dispensational outlook may want to ask themselves why the basic perspectives just outlined are so frequently neglected in what they’ve been taught.
Overall, Got Questions provides far too simplistic a criticism of our views. While they get several things more correct than most critics, their main point of refutation is also their main shortcoming: they are wed to dispensational thinking. This thinking itself has crucial flaws. For us, that is a positive thing in a way. If your only problem with theonomy and Christian Reconstruction is on those grounds, that is very easy to fix. Let’s get busier fixing it!
I am, however, very grateful to Got Questions for the revisions they have made since my last post. While there are still a couple quibbles, their latest version removes unnecessary epithet and makes it even clearer that the real problem is their view of Bible prophecy. And that view has greater problems for them than a couple quibbles.