Gary North. 1942-2022

Gary North, famed theonomist and voluminous author died Thursday evening while in hospice care in Georgia, passing away from complications of prostate cancer, which he had been battling since 2017. He was 80 years old.

A leading figure in the Christian reconstructionist movement, he authored nearly 60 books on subjects ranging from theology, economics, history, and all the ways they intertwined with Christianity. He was the son-in-law of the late R.J. Rushdoony and was the last of the original group of theonomists who came up in the ’80s and ’90s.

12 thoughts on “Gary North. 1942-2022

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  3. Good riddance. He wanted to create a theocracy and execute anyone who didn’t fit into his narrow conceptions.

    Theocracies have been tried before in Reformation Europe and always led to tyranny.

    In the same way that socialists say that “communism hasn’t really been tried,” fundamentalist Christians say that “theocracy hasn’t really been tried.”

    They have been, and the results have been uniformly awful.

    1. Israel was a theocracy and the result from it was the preservation of the Messiah’s line so to say the results of theocracy have been uniformly awful is blasphemous! To think the form of government God instituted is bad is delusional! Why would you not want the government to implement and enforce God’s holy righteous law? It’s humanistic and antinomian to not want God’s law applied to society. If God has prescribed a civil punishment for a crime and it is holy and just then why would you not want that punishment implemented? Do you know better then God and can come up with something more just then what God himself instituted?

    2. You are living in a theocracy, friend. Theocracy is unavoidable. All law is theocracy. The only question is who’s law/what standard.
      If you believe that God’s law is the proper standard of law, then you are a theonomist. If you believe that man should make up their own law, then you are a fool.
      Your own man-made presumptions prevent you from seeing the simple and biblical truths that theonomists like North and Rushdoony teach.

      1. All religion is “man-made”. Who taught you many, if not most, of your specific beliefs? People did. If they didn’t, you would not have your beliefs. The notion that any idea, system, or religion held in the mind of any individual is of any other source than “man-made” is false. It is ALL man-made.

        Some legal systems are not based on religious concepts. Ancient European Common Law, for one. Propertarianism, for another. So not all legal systems (law) are theocratic. Systems that came out of the ancient Middle East were based on the priest class before they evolved law. Which is why systems out of those places tend to have “theocratic” law. The ancient Europeans, on the other hand, innovated law first, and centralized organized religion arrived much, much later in the Christian era. Prior to that, religion was pretty much regional folk beliefs and practices.

        Christianity is a Middle Eastern-sourced priest-based legal system, based on the earlier Judaic priest-based legal system, which in turn was influenced by the other priest-based legal systems from earlier civilizations in the Middle East. Even the stories of the Bible are from stories from other cultures and religions of the Middle East. It was stitched together. All of it man-made.

        No one can prove that “God-source” of their beliefs was not invented in the mind of some priest thousands of years ago. Therefore, the default position is that it’s man-made unless you can prove otherwise (and quoting writings (scripture) written by those priests is not proof).

        That’s not to say that religion isn’t useful. It can be. It relieves many people’s anxiety about the world and teaches them to behave stoically to life’s challenges. (These days, there’s other ways to reduce anxiety and learn stoicism.) But that doesn’t mean that people should be dehumanized based on the writings of some priest thousands of years ago. Or on the writings of North in the last century.

        I was briefly a subscriber to North’s website, because I was drawn to it by his Austrian economic writings in the libertarian scene. That is where I found out he had other… ideas… that are not good. He was not libertarian. One can’t espouse the ideas he did and still be libertarian. His ideas are not libertarian ideas. I still don’t know why he was so closely associated with the libertarian movement.

        1. Saying that “all religion is ‘man-made'” is to repeat the first sin. Adam and Eve, just like you, were deceived to believe that man was somehow capable of determining good and evil apart from God.
          True religion comes from God through His revelation contained in the Holy Scriptures. False religion comes from men pretending to be a god.
          Repent from you sinful rebellion against your creator and put your faith in the Lord of all things, Jesus Christ today!

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  6. The death of Gary North last week seems to have been immediately noted mainly be hateful commentaries from the left. There is, however, an informative obituary by Craig Bulkely on North’s website ( https://www.garynorth.com/public/23334.cfm ). North attempted to apply Christianity to life across the entire spectrum of thought and practice. This issued in a large number of wide ranging and extensive publications, if necessarily a thinness of research. North’s thought is best understood as one endpoint of a series of revisionist philosophies. He applied with modifications the perspective of Cornelius Van Til, of Westminster Seminary (Philadelphia). Van Til, in turn, was a revision of a Dutch Reformed stream of Kuyperian neocalvinism, which as the term ‘neo’ suggests, was an end of the nineteenth-century attempt to revise Calvinism for modern times. North’s effort pulled him in two directions. One was the attempt to add biblical specificity to the Kuyper/Van Til theologies. In fact, at the beginning of North’s Christian Reconstruction circle, they thought of themselves, as James Jordan put it, as Kuyper plus the Bible. This trajectory led North eventually to begin to undercut the foundations of Kuyperianism by, for example, rejecting the doctrine of Common Grace. The other, opposite, direction, was to load onto his theology new modernist theory, namely Austrian economics and libertarian ideology. This, North thought, fit Biblical teaching, in contrast to popular forms of liberalism and socialism that were widely accepted as compatible with Christianity. The effect, though, was to read the Bible though a libertarian filter. The members of North’s own circle at the Institute for Christian Economics largely moved away from his ideas, adopting ecclesiasticism in the form of high-church liturgy and institutions, New Perspectives on Paul theology, synergistic views of justification (for which North himself, as an avid defender of Norman Shepherd, was partly responsible) and similar weirdnesses. Finally, North was an advocate of conspiracy views of history, which currently enjoy an enormous growth in the alternative media, bringing North into step with much that is being said today, though mostly completely discontented from North’s theological framework. In the crises of 2022, North seems to be growing more relevant, while his erstwhile followers who departed in their own directions are fading away.

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