Theonomy from its early days in Tyler, TX has changed quite a bit. Did it win the day? In many ways it did. Ministries like American Vision, Vision Forum, Chalcedon, and a host of political and theological ministries were and are largely influenced by the dozens of books written by Gary North, David Chilton, James Jordan, and others. As an example, I recently saw Stephen Mansfield’s list of books that most influenced him. Rushdoony and Chilton were in that list. I could name many other modern thinkers who were influenced by the great Theonomic/Reconstructionist writers.
Over the years, the “movement” has spread all over the country. One critic of theonomy spoke gleefully of the demise of the Tyler group. In the critics’ words, “how could such a utopia continue if even the first leaders couldn’t keep it together.” What this critic fails to understand is that every powerful movement in history undergoes transitions; what we might call “little deaths.” The theonomic movement may no longer be in Tyler, TX, but it has re-emerged more powerfully, and in many ways, diversely throughout the country. They are in Hollywood, at the front of the Homeschool revolution, pioneering a Classical Christian School movement, and powerfully engaged in socio and political discussions.
We may criticize Constantine for not preserving a Christian theocracy in the early church, but how can we overlook the significant impact he would have in the future? Like every work–attempting to return to Biblical standards–we should always expect the future to bring new manifestations, which improve upon the previous. This is the way of Biblical revolution. Christians are called to an eschatology of victory; an eschatology grounded in progress.