I don’t know when R.J. Rushdoony said this, but he’s right on target now, over 20 years after his death.
No one hates as viciously, as passionately, as single-mindedly as leftids pouring out their vitriol on “haters.” It’s happening as we speak–some of those pro-abortion demon-strators act like they’re possessed.
Rushdoony was concerned, 30 years ago, with what he saw as the Church’s drift into irrelevance; and this, he said, was not the world’s fault but the Church’s–“the church did it to itself.”
Our faith, he said, must rest on Jesus Christ the King of kings: “To believe anything less is not to believe in Him.”
The key, for the Church–which is all of us, not just any denomination but all of us, all God’s people–is not to be waiting passively for the rapture, but to be working for Christ’s Kingdom: “Occupy until I come” (Luke 19:13). To this message he devoted his long and productive ministry.
I have a great deal of trouble understanding the current push for “transgender,” which strikes me as an outright revolt against reality. But today I read this, in R.J. Rushdoony’s The Foundations of Social Order:
“This hatred of roots and of certainty is basic to revolutionary activity. The revolutionist destroys things of value precisely because they have a value apart from him. Only what he decrees can stand. The revolutionist destroys roots, values, and laws because they speak of certainty, and he is at war with certainty. This is the basis of revolutionary destruction. It seems senseless to those who fail to realize that destruction is basic to revolutionary faith” (pgs. 17-18).
Reading Rushdoony is always enlightening. Ah! They destroy the family, marriage, social stability, individual responsibility, and so much else precisely because these things have value, great value–and still have value no matter what those persons say or do. Because their value comes from God Himself, and not from man. And that’s what we, as Christians, are up against. And always have been.
It seems new, but it’s never been anything but more of the same: the old, old heresies and errors, constantly dressed up in new clothes but never changing underneath. Satan never comes up with truly new ideas.
Charles Darwin–would he be appalled by what his ideas gave birth do?
We all know this Bible verse, don’t we? “And we know that all things work together for good to those that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28)
In his Politics of Guilt and Pity (1970; 1995 edition, pg. 104), R.J. Rushdoony shocks us with this quote from Charles Darwin. The parallel between this and Romans 8:28 should make your hair stand on end:
“And as natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection.”
In those very few words, the reprobate mind of Charles Darwin sets up an idol, “natural selection,” to do what God does and to replace Him! And what the heck, we “higher animals,” human beings, don’t have to believe or do a single thing! It’s all done for us, not by God’s sovereign grace, but by blind natural processes.
Is it any wonder how Darwin’s work opened the door for the horrors of the 20th century and our own–opened it to communism? And all that that entails, complete with the mass murder of tens of millions of communist countries’ own people.
Darwin, you were a wicked and foolish man and your ideas deserve to be tossed out with the trash.
Yesterday my wife asked a hard question: “All these people who say they want communism–don’t they see what communism does?”
Also yesterday my editor, Susan, suggested I revisit R.J. Rushdoony’s Politics of Guilt and Pity. So I opened the book, which I’d last read at least 20 years ago–and wow!
“Many persons do not reveal their personal masochism, but they do participate in mass masochism through political and economic views and activities (!) calculated to fulfill the urge to mass destruction” (Pg. 4-5, 1995 edition).
Rushdoony wrote that line in 1970. Yes, 1970, over 50 years ago.
So the answer to the question is, Yes, they do see what communism does–police state, economic stagnation, gulags and all–and that, whether they realize it or not, is what they desire: because they are tormented by guilt that cries out for atonement; but having separated themselves from Jesus Christ, our only Savior, they find this atonement impossible to achieve. They expect the state to achieve it for them, but it can’t.
I’ve got to read this book again: I’m 20 years readier for it than I was the first time.
(This important essay on the roots of religious liberty, by R.J. Rushdoony, first appeared in 1991 in Roots of Reconstruction.)
This piece is a little long, but well worth reading and considering. It traces the origin of American religious liberty to Martin Luther and the Reformation: when Elector Frederick the Wise of Saxony, a staunch Catholic, extended his projection to Martin Luther, Protestant religious reformer–and Luther extended his protection to Frederick. Between them they declared the Biblical basis for religious liberty.
Liberty is so much more than “freedom to sin”! For Rushdoony it was a theological fact. And so it ought to be for us.
As our country’s founders so well knew, government naturally seeks at all times to extend its power–which God’s law limits. Rushdoony wrote at a time when many different government agencies were forcefully encroaching on religious liberty.
And that has not changed.
A firm Biblical understanding of and belief in religious liberty is the best protection of religious liberty. As Luther himself said, “He that believes most will protect most.”
Can anyone deny that the time we’re living in today is burdened with its own Great Fear? COVID, Climate Change, Systemic Racism–oh, woe, we’re all gonna die! Unless, of course, we give the government more power. And lots and lots more money.
But what is the answer, the antidote, to the Great Fear? Can it be shut off before it leads to a reign of terror?
Mark Rushdoony, Martin Selbrede, and Andrea Schwartz–my honored colleagues at Chalcedon–discuss that in this recent podcast:
The Sanctuary Choir at First Methodist Church, Houston
You can’t always see what a ministry is doing; and sometimes what a minister of the gospel does will take years to show up on the radar.
In “Rushdoony’s Future Impact,” Mark Rushdoony predicts R.J. Rushdoony’s impact on the church and on the culture will only grow more telling–“because he addresses issues which the church has refused to address, but will be forced to at some point.”
Many readers of Rushdoony’s works show surprise when they learn the book was first published in the 1960s or 70s, yet seems still more applicable two decades into the 21st century (Rushdoony died in 2001). No one even had a keener insight into church and culture: you’d almost swear he had a crystal ball.
So Chalcedon’s mission includes keeping Rushdoony’s books in print–after all, some of these fields have yet to yield their fruit.
Reader Input Wanted: Can you think of any pressing issues which the church in America has ducked so far, but will some day have to be addressed?
Simply put, if “the one” prevails, you wind up with tyranny–and a loss of meaning in all but the mushiest and most useless sense. But if “the many” prevail against the one, you wind up with anarchy (leading eventually, as it always does, to a dictatorship) and the cult of Me. It is the continual tension between social order and individual liberty.
Both must be limited: but only the Bible teaches that.
There is no hope for us in following only humanistic, statist prescriptions for order and justice. These always strand us in our state of Original Sin.
This is a challenging essay, but stay with it. That little light bulb over your head might come on.
Yes, we do get disappointed, yes, it’s hard to take… when we need a solid Christian stand from our leaders–from our clergy, at least. if no one else–and all we get is dodgeball. R.J. Rushdoony in 1995 took aim at “Empty Suits.”
Where do these craven, chicken-hearted, fumfering leaders come from? They come from us. Even if elections are rigged in favor of the empty suits, the lucky empty winners are still born and raised and educated by us. No enemy country imposed them on us. They didn’t drop out of the sky.