In this 2014 Chalcedon magazine article, I traced some of the many steps of God’s providence by which I came to write my Bell Mountain novels. It started with a young R.J. Rushdoony reading Cornelius Van Til, and starting a correspondence with him–while I was still, literally, in knee-pants.
You have to view these things in retrospect, because you can’t detect them while they’re happening. God’s work is subtle: best to view it from a distance. Get up too close, and you can’t see anything.
Anyway, here’s how my books came to be written, and why they’re written the way they are.
When I was a little boy, the story of Joseph scared me, but good. His brothers stuck him in a hole and sold him as a slave, and then he was thrown into jail for something that he didn’t do. What if it happened to me?
R.J. Rushdoony touched upon a key element in the story of Joseph, in this essay reprinted first in 2007.
It’s easy to waste a lot of your life, he warned, brooding over past injustices and vainly trying to win back what you’ve lost. Joseph never did get compensated for the injustices he’d suffered. He was too busy saving Egypt. “Trust in God’s ultimate and unswerving justice,” Rushdoony wrote. It’s the only real justice there is.
But God pity us! We’ve made a whole way of life out of obsessing over past injustices, some indeed long past, and demanding…um… “reparations.” Doesn’t seem to matter how long past, or who was actually affected.
Happiness and peace of mind–the world knows how to avoid attaining it.
“The Swamp” wasn’t invented in 2008 and is not confined to Washington, D.C. It’s been with us since the dawn of history, and can be found wherever you look.
So R.J. Rushdoony’s 1995 essay, “Empty Suits,” is just as applicable, if not even more so, 25 years later.
We wonder why tiny minorities with truly lunatic, perverse, or wicked ideas ride roughshod over everybody else and always seem to get their way. Well, it’s because no one will stand up to them. “Men,” said Rushdoony, “are everywhere refusing to be men.”
Go along to get along. The churches do it. Office workers do it around the water cooler. Teachers with outraged consciences fall silent in the faculty lunchroom. Go ahead–see what happens to you if you don’t go along with a lesbian “wedding,” or with some bearded man insisting he’s a woman, or with some race hustler demanding “reparations.” These are all perverse and evil notions–but who dares say so? And so they flourish.
Without faithfulness to God, we have nothing and we are nothing.
Meanwhile, a lot of Christians strain themselves trying to serve two masters.
R.J. Rushdoony published this important essay in Chalcedon’s magazine, in 2000.
“Government” is not synonymous with the state. The state is only one of many spheres of government. Included as separate and equally important spheres are the self, the family, the church, and the school.
Modern statists try to devour or corrupt all the various spheres of “government” so that nothing remains between the individual and the state. In our time we have seen them encroach deeply on individual liberty, undermine the family, hamper the church, and turn the schools into Far Left indoctrination mills. Rushdoony spent much of his time and effort warning us of this–and current history starkly demonstrates how right he was.
(from the Chalcedon Foundation’s Youtube channel)
Very little news escaped R.J. Rushdoony’s notice; and his commentaries, recorded 30, 40, or 50 years ago, seem right on target today. A lot of us just now are asking, “How much honesty is there in civil government?” What with the talentless offspring of various high-level politicians being awarded fantastically lucrative no-show jobs with assorted foreign business entities… Gee, it sure doesn’t look honest.
In 1980, Rushdoony recalls, the Internal Revenue Service audited 168 of its own auditors–and found “serious errors” perpetrated by more than half of them. And their underpayments were about twice as big as those made by the citizens whom they were auditing.
“When we trust in God,” Rushdoony said, “we become more trustworthy ourselves, to the extent that we obey Him.”
The IRS can’t make us honest. Only God’s Spirit can do that.
Hell on earth–courtesy of Mao Tse-tung & Co.
We have no shortage of “Christian thinkers” and seminary wallahs who are uncomfortable with the idea of Hell and have excluded it from their teaching. R.J. Rushdoony looked into this in 1983.
“When hell disappears from religion,” he wrote, “it re-appears in politics and social morality. It becomes necessary then for ultimate moral judgments and dispositions to be made on earth, because there is no other court for a final reckoning.” [From Salvation and Godly Rule: quoted by Martin Selbrede in “Politics and the Madness in Men’s Hearts, Arise & Build, Nov. 2019]
Could he have been any more in the exact center of the bullseye than that?
The thing is, we can’t provide ultimate moral judgments. How could any earthly power punish Mao Tse-tung for his mass murder of tens of millions of people? And why would we even trust a power which with one hand offers us salvation and with the other, barbed wire and mass graves?
The fear of God is not only the beginning of wisdom. It is the very substance of wisdom. To know that God will judge us for our acts, to know it and not doubt, is knowledge to preserve the human race from being devoured by its earthly rulers.
Without the fear of God’s judgment… watch out!
Humanism is dying, as we can see by its fervent embrace of such cruel follies as abortion, sexual anarchy, socialism, censorship, assisted suicide, and the incessant growth of government. There is no leftist project that does not bear the stink of death.
This Chalcedon editorial, published today, meets this crisis head-on.
Christians do know what they’re against, but they’re not so clear about knowing what they’re for. This is what needs to be changed.
We do need “a new civilization,” founded on God’s law and God’s word; and the good news is that we, all of us, can start building one now. Right now. New schools, a re-commitment to the family, new science, and new churches. New everything.
We pray that God will equip us for our service to Christ’s Kingdom.
When R.J. Rushdoony wrote this essay, thirty years ago or so, the Western intellectual mind (pardon the oxymoron) had not yet degenerated to “your truth, my truth, no truth.” But as he so often did, he saw exactly where it was heading and could tell you exactly where it came from.
There’s a lot of meat to this essay, but stick with it–because it tells us how we got here and points us back to God.
Postmodern poop that rests on such philosophical gems as “I is reality” has no future.
(This Chalcedon editorial appeared Sept. 7, 2019.)
One of R.J. Rushdoony’s more controversial assertions was that humanism is busy killing itself, and slated for extinction. He then went on to ask what that requires us, as subjects of the Kingdom of God, to do. That question’s still here, right in front of us.
Because they’re running wild, heaping up wealth and power, and generally trashing our whole civilization, it’s easy to wind up thinking Christ’s enemies are winning. But everything they, er, “achieve” hurts them even more than it hurts us. Homosexual parodies of marriage, transgenderism, and, only lately, a dalliance with the prospect of wholesale cannibalism–these are not winning game plans. They think they’re on the path to creating a global government. But all they’re creating is chaos–and in the end, they’ll choke on it.
Yes, they look like Goliath, and they scare us. But remember what happened to Goliath.