In your recent Trinity Review you begin:
Editor's note: An earlier version of this essay first appeared in The Journal of Christian Reconstruction in 1978. (Those were the days when Reconstructionism was underdeveloped, and the movement was still semi-Biblical.) Current events spark this essay¹s revision and republication.
Despite being written almost 25 years ago, this essay remains relevant, for little has changed for the better. If anything, those who profess to be Christians are more gullible, confused, and compromised today than they were 25 years ago. For 50 years Christians in America have been bamboozled by Romanists like Patrick Buchanan, William Bennett, and William F. Buckley, Jr., into supporting their Antichristian programs, candidates, and theologies. The rise of the Religious Right—Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition, D. James Kennedy's Center for Reclaiming America, and Rousas Rushdoony's-Gary North's-Greg Bahnsen's Re-constructionist movement—has exacerbated, not corrected, the situation. Now Romanists are invited to address D. James Kennedy's political conferences, and putative Protestants endorse books by devout Romanists, and become Romanists and Orthodoxists themselves. And the Reconstructionist movement and its allies and offshoots, by substituting political and cultural action for the proclamation of the Gospel, by substituting eschatology for soteriology, and by mangling the Gospel itself, have become tools of Romanist political action. The lessons of this essay have been ignored.
You mention a number of folks in your diatribe above. I'm sure they're fully capable of answering you, if they choose. I can only speak for myself in suggesting how egregiously you have, at least by implication, misrepresented my own views [Sandlin, for those that do not know, is executive vice president of Rushdoony's organization, Chalcedon].
I have never substituted "political and cultural action for the proclamation of the Gospel." In fact, if you've read what I've written, you know that I've constantly subordinated political and cultural action to the Gospel and in fact posited it as a corollary of the Gospel and warned Christians about reducing the Faith to politics.
My book The Full Gospel is (naturally) soteriological to the core.
I have never substituted eschatology for soteriology. I am unashamedly postmillennial, but I have never argued that eschatology is a substitute for soteriology. There are many fine Christian premillennialists and amillennialists, and precise millennial perspectives take back seat to the Gospel.
Nonetheless, I do agree with New Testament scholars like Cullmann, Gaffin, Ridderbos and Vos (all Protestants, and all amillennial!) that eschatology and soteriology are intimately related in the NT. I won't reproduce their various arguments here, but it won't suffice to posit a big chasm between eschatology and soteriology. You'd need to refute these men's careful arguments.
A number of the people whom you target above stand broadly within a Kuyperian paradigm, not a Roman Catholic one. I'm not holding that Kuyper's view is above criticism; but if you're going to shoot, at least aim at the right target—culturally, many of us are broadly Kuyperian, not Roman. So refute Kuyper, not Rome.
I appreciate the contributions that both Byzantium and Rome have made to the Faith historically (take, e.g., the orthodox conception of the Trinity [Byzantium] and a judicial view of the atonement [Rome]), and so should you; but I don't have a Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox bone in my body. I'm a Protestant, and I'm proud of it; and most of these other people are, too.
I have never "mangled the Gospel." To the best of my knowledge, I preach the same gospel that Moses, Jesus, Peter, and Paul preached. I preach that men are saved by grace through faith on the ground of Christ's atoning death and bodily resurrection. Is this a "mangled Gospel"?
True, I've attacked the mistaken gospel of those Roman Catholics and Protestants who suggest that salvation can be merited—this is why I so oppose Charles Hodge's and Meredith Kline's "covenant of works" idea. Salvation must always be by grace, never by merit. To suggest otherwise is (I believe) to misunderstand the Gospel.
John, month after month you seem on the warpath against some Bible-believing Christians with whom you disagree. Now, there's nothing wrong with spirited, charitable dispute with your brothers.
But couldn't you find more worthy targets for your monthly venom?
Yours and his,
P. Andrew Sandlin
"Gloriously Doomed to Creaturehood" by Sandlin