[From Chalcedon Report -- August 2018]
Your worldview is your “big picture” outlook. Scripture gives us a worldview, as it describes our origin (creation by God), problem (sin), the necessary solution (redemption), God’s provision for it (Jesus Christ), and the destiny of the believer (heaven). Lest we see this big picture as only the individual’s redemption, sanctification, and glorification, there is another element that causes us to expand our understanding of salvation beyond its very real, personal application, the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is not a mere analogy. It is the expanding dominion ruled by Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, where He rules those who obey Him as their Sovereign. The Kingdom provides us with the “big picture” of our place and responsibilities between redemption and glory—we serve King Jesus and exercise dominion, not independently, but as His servants.
I believe a great deal of preaching has slandered James and John for their request to sit at Christ’s throne (Matt. 20:20ff.; Mark 10:35ff.). Jesus’s only correction was that they did not understand what they were asking for. James and John likely assumed the Kingdom would have a political manifestation and administration. In asking to be at the throne, they were asking for positions of responsibility. They wanted to serve the Kingdom by being the right-hand men to its King. They did not yet understand the nature of the Kingdom, so shortly thereafter, because there was a common belief that the fullness of the Kingdom would appear very soon, Jesus gave a parable about a nobleman who “went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom” and told his servants to “Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:11–27). The Greek word for “occupy” has reference to business, trade. Jesus was saying “You stay busy as my servants while I am away.” “Keep doing your work.” “Carry on as if I was here.” The Kingdom of God is the context Jesus gave us to understand our duty while He is absent.
Christian Reconstruction is an analogy to the believer’s responsibility to the Kingdom of God. It is a particularly powerful term when the “edifice” of social order seems to have deteriorated to a dangerous extent. Christian Reconstruction posits that in one area after another we must rebuild what is damaged, sometimes from the ground up.
Where Do We Begin?
Where do we begin the task of Christian Reconstruction? The answer to that is frustratingly simple. It is too easy to look at the failings of others and say, “They need to change,” or to problems elsewhere and say, “This is what they should do.” Perhaps more frustrating is the tendency to address those issues over which we have little or no control. Social media allows us to express opinions on everything from the entertainment industry and government safety standards to foreign politics and who is guilty of a crime we only just read about, yet few of us have any real ability to influence any of these things. The work of Christian Reconstruction begins with us and our actual place in life. When the lord of the parable told the servants to “occupy” themselves in his absence, the work he referred to was the work they knew as his servants, the work before them. “Keep busy at your work,” was the message. Christian Reconstruction must begin with us as individuals, and then proceed outward to our families, our work, our churches, and our relations with others. These are areas of Christian Reconstruction that can be successful now and do not require a consensus or resources beyond us.
I was pleased to be a speaker at a June event geared to such a “day of small beginnings” (Zech. 4:10). It was billed as “A Christian Reconstruction of Family and Business Symposium” and was held in a breathtakingly beautiful setting outside Leavenworth, Washington, called Tall Timber.
The conference focused on family wealth building by means of business activity, about taking dominion by entrepreneurship. The primary organizer was Joseph Graham, a Navy pilot and father of nine. He and his family have sponsored Chalcedon events in Washington and manned a book table at homeschool conferences for us. As he nears retirement from the Navy, he has extensively studied wealth building techniques and business strategies.
Leavenworth is over three hours from the Seattle airport, where I met Tim Yarbrough, another conference speaker. I mentioned to him that I was intrigued that certain businesses (in California at least) were dominated by a particular ethnic group (Vietnamese donut shops, Persian mini-marts, etc.). I related that there was obviously a concerted effort in their communities to train them in an established business model so as to encourage their success and that this was a good thing that I would like to see Christians do for one another, to increase the Kingdom wealth by teaching business acumen. That was, it turns out, his workshop topic and what he does in Alabama.
Wealth is, in fact, a tool. It is no shame to be poor, but neither is it a virtue to be cultivated. Wealth represents a power that can be used to serve the Kingdom. If you have a skill or a business model, pass it on to a young Christian apprentice. Train him so that he can in turn serve the Kingdom. We need to support the Kingdom financially, and one method of doing so is to help fellow believers financially, to “teach them to fish.”