- Reconstructionist movement
- The Reconstructionist movement emerged among conservative Reformed theological circles in the 1960s, aimed at reorganizing most social institutions on a Christian foundation. it took shape in 1965, when Rousas John Rushdoony founded the Chalcedon Foundation to help reverse what he saw as the growing control of society by secular humanism. He argued that the "whole Word of God must be applied to all of life. it is not only our duty . . . to be Christian, but it is also the duty of the state, the school, the arts and sciences, law, economics, and every other sphere." Rushdoony was joined by a cadre of articulate intellectual supporters, including Gary North, Kenneth L. Gentry, Greg L. Bahnsen, and David Chilton.Reconstructionists support Christian faith and biblical law as the standards by which Christians live their lives. They also try to develop the tools that Christians and Christian institutions can use to reconstruct the family, church, schools, work, the arts, economics, business, media, and the state.speaking for the foundation, Reconstruction-ist Andrew sandlin has identified five components of the Reconstructionist perspective: Calvinism, theonomy (that God's law as found in the Bible has not been abolished), presuppositionalism (assumes the truth of the Bible), postmillennial-ism, and dominion (that the godly should take dominion over the earth [Genesis 1:28]).Despite its conservative views, Reconstruc-tionism differs widely from those Protestant faiths that have adopted premillennialism and dispensa-tionalism. It draws instead on its Dutch Calvinist roots and on the teachings of Abraham Kuyper (1835-1920) and Cornelius Van Til (1895-1964), the two most prominent exponents of presupposi-tional theology. Van Till argued that the universe makes sense only after one accepts the existence of the Christian triune God and biblical revelation. Any perspective based upon the chance emergence of the universe by impersonal forces provides no base to explain either rationality or order.Despite their powerful writings, Reconstruc-tionists have won support from only a small segment of the conservative Calvinist community. Nevertheless, they have come under stinging criticism from a wide variety of both Christians and non-Christians, most of whom claim that Jewish/ Mosaic law is not an appropriate basis for the reconstruction of contemporary legal systems.See also Religious Right.Further reading:■ David Chilton, Paradise Restored: An Eschatology of Dominion (Tyler, Tex.: Reconstructionist Press, 1985)■ Kenneth L. Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology (Tyler, Tex.: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992)■ Thomas D. Ice, Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? (Portland, Ore.: Multnomah, 1988)■ Rousas John Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law (Philipsburg, Pa.: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1973).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.