The Las Vegas Sun has attempted to link Republican Senate candidate Sharon Angle to Christian Reconstructionism. For anyone with a lick of understanding of Christian theology this link is manifestly false. From reading the article, Sharon Angle seems to have what would be in her conservative Christian circles a rather ordinary “Christian America” understanding. Hardly earth shaking.
That said, the reaction by ordinary conservatives to the link, like their reaction to the charge of racism, is often less than helpful. Can’t they see that “How dare she suggest that Sharon Angle is one of those awful Christian Reconstructionists!” both empowers the enemy and harms your co-belligerents?
Below is my post on the matter at AmSpec. The first part clears up some imprecision in the Hemingway reaction. The rest gets at the heart of the matter.
For the record, most Southern Baptists are not Arminian in the strict sense of that term. What most Southern Baptists believe is something of a middle ground between doctrinaire Calvinism and Arminianism. This is debatable, but arguably modern Baptist can more directly trace their lineage to Calvinist origins, and there is a sizable and active effort within the Southern Baptists Convention to return it to what they see as its Calvinist roots. Hemingway is right that Southern Baptists are by and large pre-mil, although that is changing somewhat as well.
That said, liberals and journalists (sorry I repeat myself) are appallingly ignorant of Christian theology. If Sharon Angle is a practicing Southern Baptist it is almost certain that she is not a Reconstructionist.
But also, I don’t think Christians running screaming from the Reconstructionist label as if it is some sort of slur is helpful either. It is often inaccurately applied, and if it is this should be pointed out. But Reconstructionism is a precise theological term indicating a precise set of theological beliefs. As such it rises and falls solely on whether or not it is a sound interpretation and application of Scripture. It is not wrong because it has a high PC ick factor or because it is somehow inconsistent with the “American way.” It is either a sound interpretation of the Word of God, or it is not.
Also, Christian Reconstructionism is not a matter of “hyper-Calvinism” per se, although all Reconstructionist are Calvinists. Reconstructionists do not necessarily hold to the “five points” more strongly than non-Reconstructionist Calvinists. It is a matter of a difference over a particular application of doctrine.
For the record also, I am neither a Southern Baptist (I am a Baptist), a doctrinaire Calvinist, nor a Reconstructionist. I just hate imprecision, and I hate it when conservatives and Christians dance to the PC tune. “Ewww… I’m not one of those icky kinds of conservatives/Christians.” For Christians, the claims of the Reconstructionists should be supported or countered on the basis of theology alone, not its conformity or lack there of with modernism, the American way, the Constitution or whatever.
Note also that I have made similar arguments with non-interventionist conservatives about dispensationalism. Dispensationalism is not wrong because we don’t like where its proponents have run with it regarding foreign policy and the support of Israel. If it is wrong, it is wrong because it is an inaccurate interpretation and application of Scripture, and it should be countered on a theological basis.