R.J. Rushdoony on ‘Irrelevant Preaching’

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You won’t forget the little story with which R. J. Rushdoony opens his essay on “Irrelevant Preaching.”


Yes, our civilization’s burning down, as it were–and we have preachers preaching about building a new climbing wall behind the church or tut-tutting other Christians for going fishing on a Sunday.

This was just one of 25 years’ worth of essays that R.J. Rushdoony wrote for The California Farmer. They’ve all been collected and published by Chalcedon in several volumes of A Word in Season.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

8 responses to “R.J. Rushdoony on ‘Irrelevant Preaching’

  • Erlene Talbott

    Irrelevance certainly is a problem. I am thankful that our new pastor is bringing some messages that are very Biblical and very needed for our day. I pray all churches will wake up and do likewise.

  • Valerie Protopapas

    The devil doesn’t necessarily LIE to us as most reasonably educated Christians will spot the lie. He does what the stage magician (and politicians) do, he DIVERTS and MISDIRECTS. He gets us to focus on things that, while less than desirous, are hardly fatal. C. S. Lewis put it well when he said that in cruel ages he gets us to condem sentimentality and in perverse periods worrying about puritanism. We are concerned with drought while we’re drowning and floods during droughts. Again, in his Screwtape Letters (a “must read” for every Christian!) Lewis’s demon Screwtape tells the minor tempter that cards are as good a device for damnation as murder and that the gentle, slow descent into hell is more useful than a plunge off a cliff into the abyss. Many especially pastors go wrong not directly through the commission (or the excusing) of sin, but by diverting their flocks’ attention to matters that are either irrelevant or of little consequence to their salvation.

  • Phoebe

    I understand the message, but I’m going to offer a different perspective on the story. Straightening the picture might be seen as an act of defiance against the chaos of the fire: “You may destroy the house, but you won’t destroy my efforts to make a home.” Or on a more abstract level: “You may break my body but you cannot break my spirit.” Or even more: “Do not fear those who would kill the body; only fear those who would kill both body and soul in Gehenna.”

    Again, I understand Rushdoony’s point. And we all know about Lot’s wife as well. But I still saw a certain defiance against the chaos in the woman’s gesture. So do me something, as we used to say in the Bronx. 🙂

  • unknowable2

    The history of organized worship is littered with numerous examples of worshippers being drug into arguments about minutiae. Look at the Torah, and then the detailed Talmud which sought to place a finer definition of God’s words than God Himself felt necessary. The big picture is afire, even as we speak. I’ve seen several people absolutely lose it in the last few years; Christians whom deviated into foolish trivial quests and paid the price with their sanity.

    All of such pursuits, even when taken in the name of seeking God, serve to divert us from the real issues.

  • thewhiterabbit2016

    “The Great Commission” – how little it is preached today. I have Christian people tell me all the time how America is lost and will never be saved, nor will any other nations because the Anti-Christ is coming. Not so funny, because we are to preach Jesus is coming. R.J. Rushdoony writings are always great for a Lord’s Day post.

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