New In Print: Survival And Resistance In Evangelical America: Christian Reconstruction In The Pacific Northwest

The publisher’s blurb says: Over the last thirty years, conservative evangelicals have been moving to the Northwest of the United States, where they hope to resist the impact of secular modernity and to survive the breakdown of society that they anticipate. These believers have often given up on the politics of the Christian Right, adopting strategies of hibernation while developing the communities and institutions from which a new America might one day emerge. Their activity coincides with the promotion by prominent survivalist authors of a program of migration to the “American Redoubt,” a region encompassing Idaho, Montana, parts of eastern Washington and Oregon, and Wyoming, as a haven in which to endure hostile social change or natural disaster and in which to build a new social order. These migration movements have independent origins, but they overlap in their influences and aspirations, working in tandem to offer a vision of the present in which Christian values must be defended as American society is rebuilt according to biblical law. This book examines the origins, evolution, and cultural reach of this little-noted migration and considers what it might tell us about the future of American evangelicalism.

Drawing on Calvinist theology, the social theory of Christian Reconstruction, and libertarian politics, these believers are projecting significant soft power. Their books are promoted by leading mainstream publishers and listed as New York Times bestsellers. Their strategy is gaining momentum, making an impact in local political and economic life, while being repackaged for a wider audience in publications by a broader coalition of conservative commentators and in American mass culture. This survivalist evangelical subculture recognizes that they have lost the culture war – but another kind of conflict is beginning.


This is a new volume from my friend and colleague, Crawford Gribben. He is Professor of History at Queen’s University Belfast and the author of a number of books. Just before this he published John Owen and English Puritanism. He, Darryl Hart, Chris Caughey, Matt Bingham, and I collaborated on the volume, On Being Reformed.

This is a valuable work for a few reasons. First, as the blurb says, rather than dismissing the Reconstructionist movement, he takes it seriously. He treats it fairly and he is able to interpret it well in light of his work on the history of Christianity, focusing particularly on eschatology. I have been studying and interacting with these movements for 40 years and I found this a very illuminating volume. I think you should read it.

It is available from Oxford University Press for $29.95.


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  1. We’ve had three families in our small URCNA church depart California for Montana and Idaho, and another is leaving for South Dakota. They are seeking to preserve their right to own firearms and to live in a more traditionally conservative community. Taxes and cost of living were factors, as well. All were native to California and stated in some fashion, “We’ve had enough of the insanity.” All the families are concerned that the authoritarianism in California will increase. I don’t know how much the Christian Redoubt movement may have influenced them in their decisions, but it has been brought up.

    I admit that the thought of leaving has crossed my mind, but I’m old and not in good health. Our congregation has only recently become able to become independent of outside support. An older couple that is now with Christ left us the purchase price of a small facility. A URCNA congregation south of us sacrificially supported us for 20 years. We have a gifted and loving pastor. As I’ve come to joyfully embrace 2K theology under his preaching and the teaching on the Heidelblog, the thought of fleeing does not sit right on my conscience. I’m not suggesting that the families that left were wrong to do so—they have children and family finance concerns. As for myself, I’ve decided to allow Providence to further guide me, but until then to commit myself to love of God and neighbor, especially the brethren in my congregation. (I confess that I am not without fear in these recent days.)

  2. Thank you for this recommendation. Essential for the Reformed. in understanding this movement.

  3. It is understandable that people would want to escape to areas with less onerous taxation, regulation, and general cultural rot. However, I take a jaundiced view of “Christian” enclaves. It seems that sooner or later an authoritarian figure arises and things go downhill from there. I think I’d rather stick with the devil I know.

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