Putting Chilton to Work

From 1974 until 1981, I was the editor of the Chalcedon Foundation's Journal of Christian Reconstruction. I edited the first 15 issues. This was a very important post for me. It put me in a position to identify and recruit writers into the Christian Reconstruction movement. It also gave me the opportunity to help "set the agenda" for the Christian Reconstruction movement, since I structured each issue of the Journal around a single theme, a policy that the subsequent editors of the Journal have followed.

From 1978 on, I used Chilton on several occasions to produce essays and book reviews. I recognized his remarkable skills in communication. There was no doubt in my mind: he was the most gifted writer in our movement. It was then that I decided to cultivate him and teach him as much as I could. So far, I think my investment has paid very high returns. Paradise Restored is good evidence for my evaluation.

5. David Chilton, "Teaching Bible Stories," The Biblical Educator, IV (May 1982), p. 2.

6. Order from Geneva Ministries, P.O. Box 131300, Tyler, TX, 75713.

He joined the Chalcedon staff part-time around 1978. He later became a full-time staff member. But the inevitable happened to him, just as it had happened to so many bright young men before him. He left Chalcedon as he had come: fired with enthusiasm.' I hired him to produce a monthly newsletter published by my Institute for Christian Economics in Tyler, Texas, The Biblical Educator, in the fall of 1979. It ran for almost three years.

In the fall of 1980, I accepted an assignment to debate Ron-aid J. Sider (Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger) at Gordon-Conwell Divinity School in Massachusetts. I wanted to take along a book refuting Sider. Normally, a debater does not expect his opponent to publish a book just for an evening's debate, so I decided to present Sider with a unique surprise. I called Chilton and asked him to research and write in three months a manuscript refuting Sider, so that I could get it printed by the following April. He did it, and we got delivery of the books one day before the debate. I titled the book, Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt-Manipulators, and it is now in its fourth editions It has become the most successful and widely read book that the Institute for Christian Economics has published. Sider was surprised, to say the least. Frankly, I think he never got over it. I hope so, anyway.

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