I am deliberately late to the Doug Phillips debacle. My interest is from another angle: for better or worse, the Phillips axis (Vision Forum, Morecraft, and to a lesser extent American Vision) represented the last coherent front for Christian Reconstruction (which is not the same thing as theonomy). When Bahnsen and Rushdoony passed from the scene, there really wasn’t any scholarly impetus. Yes, there was Gentry, but has he published in the last six years (and I think I know why he hasn’t)? Has Gary Demar written on something besides partial preterism and America’s Christian heritage?
Someone will say, “Yeah, well what have you written?” Nothing yet. I do have a book on Eastern Orthodoxy in the works. I also plan to write one on Covenantal Premillennialism. I have an essay on premillennial monarchy in outline form.
The Christian Reconstruction world has been marked by scandals but has proven fairly resilient, mostly due to competent scholars and debaters. (This is less known, but there was another CR leader who while not committing adultery, pressed the envelope in that direction and was disciplined by his presbytery. This happened while I was in seminary). Vision Forum, for one, was highly successful in marketing. I mean honestly, who wouldn’t want to buy half of those products? I still want one of those crossbows! But in light of recent scandals, VF has shut down. With the exception of American Vision, Christian Reconstruction has no more outlets and it won’t make a comeback. VF’s scandals are far beyond the founder flirting with a young nanny. Evidence is coming up of financial fraud. Now I don’t particularly cry too hard that the IRS got stiffed. Couldn’t have happened to a better group of people, but these kind of repercussions can be devastating. I am glad I cut loose of CR six years ago.
It’s not so much that young thinkers don’t want to be associated with “immoral” scandals (and the details are fuzzy, beyond the “not knowing in a biblical sense” admission). That’s bad enough but sadly, fairly common. If the financial allegations are true, then legal issues arise and it becomes plutonium. Young Van Tillians are simply going to go to Westminster Seminary. Theonomy’s day is over. While the Obama administration is seeming to vindicate everything Gary North has said, it appears to be too little too late.