The Reduction of Christianity

A thorough introduction to Christian Reconstructionism

 The  Reduction of Christianity  was published in the last 1980s and co-authored by Gary DeMar and Peter Leithart. Unfortunately, those being introduced to this book today may miss the significance of the title. In 1985, Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon wrote _The Seduction of Christianity_, which turned out to be the Christian bestseller of the 1980s (p. xiv). In the book, Hunt and McMahon made accusations about Christian Reconstructionism as they presented their view of what Christianity is all about. DeMar and Leithart took umbrage with Hunt and McMahon's representation of Christian Reconstructionism and wrote their book to counter some of the claims made, but also to make a positive presentation. The title of their book, while a play on words, also sums up their chief criticism of critics like Hunt and McMahon: "the 'full purpose of God' has been reduced to a shadow of its former glory." (p. xxxiii) The goal of DeMar and Leithart's book is "to present a biblical and historical case that throughout church history, there have been many Christians who believed that the world could be changed and had been changed through the preaching of the gospel and the application of the Word of God to every area of life." (p. xxxviii) DeMar and Leithart respond to Hunt and McMahon's allegations against Christian Reconstructionism including assertions that optimistic eschatological views like Postmillennialism are heterodox and moving toward humanistic and New Age thinking (p. 15). DeMar and Leithart are persuasive with their defense of Postmillennialism as within the bounds of orthodoxy. DeMar and Leithart also define Christian Reconstructionism accurately contra Hunt and McMahon's caricature of it as the establishment of the Kingdom of God through political means. Say DeMar and Leithart: "Christian reconstructionists are looking for the transformation of all society, including families, churches, business establishments, the legal profession, education, economics, journalism, the media, and civil government through personal redemption and adherence to the Bible as the standard of godly rule. This is a far cry from calling for 'the subjugation of individual secular states to the authority of the Church.'" (p. 23) Much could be said about the book given its wealth of information (300+ pages). Suffice it to say, _The Reduction of Christianity_, although a response to another book, is a very thorough introduction to Christian Reconstructionism that would serve the interested reader well. Further, the book is a good corrective to some of the misinformation contained in a very influential book of the 1980s, namely, _The Seduction of Christianity_.