The Reconstructionist Theological “Trinity”
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.
In their view, God ordained three separate spheres of human government: family government, church (ecclesiastical) government, and civil government. Each sphere is charged with certain responsibilities and restricted from activities belonging to another sphere: the family is to raise and educate children; the church is to spread the gospel and provide ecclesiastical discipline; and the civil government should do nothing more than punish evildoers and protect property. Looking to the civil government to do anything more (like provide education or a safety net for the poor) is idolatry. Each sphere is independent of the others (so the state is not subject to the church) but all three are under biblical law and “religious” in character.
Reconstructionists, unlike many Christians read the Bible as a coherent whole; both Old and New Testaments. They believe that the Trinity was present at creation and that while some parts of the Old Testament are no longer applicable, most of them are, giving them a somewhat different notion of the character of God than most contemporary Christians have.