Christianity and Culture PRESENT - RR196B3

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Christianity and Culture PRESENT
Course: Course - Christianity and Culture
Subject: Subject:Culture
Lesson#: 3
Length: 0:38:15
TapeCode: RR196B3
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Christianity and Culture.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.

Saint Paul in Philippians 2:9-11 declares: “9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

It is hard for us to appreciate the importance of those words, because they really should be accompanied by a roll of drums and a blare of trumpets, because Paul in these words as in so many others in his letters, declared war on the world of antiquity, on the pagan state, on pagan society and culture, because he declared: “Jesus Christ is Lord.” That He is God. We forget that the word Lord meant to the people God, it was another way of saying: “The sovereign of all creation.” He declares that Jesus Christ is God and that to confess Him is to give glory to God the Father, Because Jesus Christ is the second person of the Trinity, God incarnate.

Then second Paul was declaring that the exaltation of Jesus Christ is the work and purpose of God the father; then third everything in heaven and on earth and under the earth is under the authority, the government. the rule of Jesus Christ, and is totally subject to Him.

Then fourth, in due time whether saved or unsaved, every knee shall bow to Jesus Christ as their absolute Lord and judge, that no man can escape Jesus Christ.

And finally as a logical conclusion, it follows that Caesar is under Christ’s dominion, not Christ under Caesar. [00:03:19]

This was a declaration of war, not of a physical fight...[edit]

This was a declaration of war, not of a physical fight, not with swords, but a spiritual warfare. Jesus Christ is Lord. And therefore, the church is an embassy from heaven.

Now in the Greek, we have references, and it is translated so, to Paul as an ambassador of Christ, and to the church it is called a Parochia or a Parish, which meant an embassy in Latin and in Greek. So that the church represented a foreign kingdom, foreign to Rome, which was within Rome claiming that its king was Lord over Rome. Now can you imagine a more audacious claim than this that the church made? It would be comparable to some small principality somewhere in a corner of Asia with almost no territory, sending people here to establish an embassy, and to declare that their ruler was king over the United States, Britain, Europe, Asia, and the Americas generally. The audacity of the church amazed Rome, it angered them, they struck at them again and again to obliterate them. This was the issue that led to the persecution of the church. The church said that we are under Christ, not under Caesar. It insisted on freedom from earthly powers, that we were to obey all authorities, and yet to recognize as our true king Jesus Christ. That we were to live in terms of the law of God, and in so far as possible the laws of men because we were not to be revolutionist. But we were to create, this was the mandate as Paul and others proclaimed it, the Kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God, here on earth.

This was the issue that led to the persecution of the church, it has been the central struggle for 20 centuries, the attempt of the ungodly to overthrow the freedom won by the church in order to reestablish the totalitarian state.

Very early, Pastors, Evangelists, Bishops proclaimed, the freedom of the church. In fact it was formally set forth by Pope Gelasius the 1st, at that time every Bishop was called a Pope, but he happened to be the Bishop of Rome. He died in 496. But he set forth what had been proclaimed since the New Testament. He said: “There are two powers, by which chiefly this world is ruled, the sacred authority of the priesthood and the authority of Kings. And of these the authority of priests is so much the weightier, as they must render before the tribunal of God an account for the kings of men.” Can you imagine a more audacious statement than that? [00:08:10]

What he was saying is that the world is free under...[edit]

What he was saying is that the world is free under God. God is ordained to institutions, which are the main ones, which are to rule among men under God. Church and state. And all rulers in civil government are to be instructed by the church and are accountable to God. Let me say parenthetically that the word priest is really an abbreviation of the word we have in English, Presbyter. It is not the word Priest that is used in the Old Testament, so that although I doubt many Catholics know it, when they call their pastor a priest they are using an abbreviated form of the word Presbyter.

Now this was what the church fought about throughout the middle ages. Again and again secular rulers claimed to be God’s vice gerant on earth. Otto the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of the Holy Roman Empire very early, about the year 900, had images struck of the emperor holding the dove, the Holy Spirit in his hand, whereby the empire said: ‘The Emperor is the voice of God, he is the one who possess the Holy Spirit, so Bow down before the Emperor.”

The Church fought against this, it was often subverted from within, you had in the 900’s the Pornochracy when Rome was ruled by Harlots who made their lovers the Popes, because they had such civil power they controlled totally the Vatican. But the church fought back. The medieval church made itself the Supreme Court of Appeal against the kings and there was a constant battle back and forth. The kings and Emperors increased their claims as against the church, Frederick the 2nd, the Hohenstaufen Emperor went so far as to say he had been born in Bethlehem, and his mother’s name was Mary, and he was the true expression of God on earth. The battle seesawed back and forth, the church very often lost, but the seeds had been sown. The king is Christ.

The emblem you have here of the cross and the crown is a ancient one going back to the early church, sometimes it has appeared with a lamb crowned and carrying a cross. This was the banner of resistance, the banner whereby the faithful said: “We have no king, not Cesar; we have no king but Jesus Christ.” The Holy Roman Empire, holy because it claimed to be the true church, went so far as to control the church totally, together with kings. [00:12:45]

After the council of Constance in ...[edit]

After the council of Constance in 1415, at that time there had been a great schism and there were 3 popes, all of them bad eggs put in by rulers, more than the church. As a matter of fact, if in the college of Cardinals they resisted what the imperial mandate was, for the (foul ball?) who was appointed to be the next pope, they the Cardinals were smothered to death with pillows. That way the cause of death would not be ascertainable. But at the council of Constance, the kings and the Emperor burned at the stake Matthew (of Paris?) and John Huss, the morning star of the Reformation as some have called him together with Wycliffe.

They insisted on putting gin a man they could control as the single Pope. They made it clear to the popes from that time on: “You are not to start preaching the kingship of Christ.” So what did the Popes do, they concentrated on the arts. And most of those selected in that century and on were often unbelievers. At the time of Luther when he was a young man, the Emperor Maximilian the 5th actually planned to depose the Pope, and make himself both Pope and Emperor. This was the ancient paganism trying to reconquer Christendom. But they did not succeed.

The Reformation was born, and then the Counter Reformation, but even then the monarchs, Catholic and Protestant seized power from the church. What happened when henry the 8th made himself the head, the supreme Bishop of the church, took place in France, that’s what Gallicanism was about, it took place in Austria, in all the German state’s, throughout Europe the Catholic monarchs and the Protestant monarchs had one goal; the church had to be controlled otherwise people would have dangerous ideas about freedom under God. [00:15:53]

The one exception to this tyranny was Calvin in Geneva...[edit]

The one exception to this tyranny was Calvin in Geneva. Of course, the Genevan city council tried to perpetuate the same kind of tyranny, they sought to control he church lock stock and barrel. When Calvin resisted they exiled him, but the city fell apart. They had only brought Calvin in to begin with because Geneva was a manufacturing center, and they had a problem. There was so much drunkenness and gambling and licentiousness, that it was very hard to get people to work. Those who did not appear for work day after day were growing in number, the city was collapsing. The Catholic Bishop was helpless in the face of it, he was the prince of Geneva as well as the Bishop, and he abdicated and elf the city in disgust. At this point Calvin was called in. He brought about law and order, but they didn’t like it because he also said: “The church is to be under God, not the city council.”

They exiled him, and the city went down hill, and nobody could get their production schedules in line. So they called back Calvin. They hated him, they needed him. So they tolerated him, but they insulted him. They would name their dogs Calvin. Other’s would sick their dog’s on him as he walked through the streets, they would come under his bedroom window at night and shoot off their guns to disturb his sleep. Not until they knew he was dying, did they grant him citizenship and a vote. But out of Calvin came the birth of Christian freedom, and the example he set was imitated by Catholics and Protestants. He waged a war unceasingly against the control of the church by the state, and for the freedom of the church. He held that what was the churches property once was its property in perpetuity. That nothing that belonged to the church could ever be alienated for secular use. He also said that the state had an obligation to be under Jesus Christ as its king, that as much as the church was under Christ, even so much was the state required by God to be under Christ, or it would receive His judgment. The spiritual power of the church was to be in doctrine and in instruction, and in showing the state the way it should go by its faithful teaching and preaching. The church was a separate sphere, but like the state to be under God. Together they were to serve God.

The spiritual power of the church in Paul’s words, much stressed by the Reformers was, quoting 2nd Corinthians 10:8, and again 2nd Corinthians 13:10, “To edification, not to destruction.” To edification, not to destruction. [00:20:52]

We look back on Calvin with blinded eyes...[edit]

We look back on Calvin with blinded eyes. He has been so vilified over the centuries, that very few people know the real Calvin. You would think he was a hard humorless man, but he had a sense of humor. He was kindly, he was gentle. His favorite avocation was bowling. Did you ever hear that about Calvin? Your pastor has but no one else. Yes. He was a man who served God with all his heart, mind and being. Because what he wanted was man’s freedom under God.

But because all of life is under God and His law word, no area can legitimately seek independence from Him. The family, the school, the arts, the sciences, business, civil government, the church, all things must be under and obey the Triune God.

Calvin was challenged in his day by a group in Geneva with roots all over Europe known as the Libertines. They were called the libertines, and they called themselves that because they believed in free thinking, free living, free sex, and no control over morals. According to Abe Mitchell Hunter and I quote: “The Libertines held sin is an illusion.” (No such thing as sin) The libertines said, “And salvation consists in deliverance from the phantom of sin.” You are saved when you realize there is no such thing as sin. Sounds like the sexual revolutionaries of the 60’s does it not. And exactly so, because it is the same kind of thinking, the same underground kind of people.

“What you or I do,” said one of their spokesmen, Quinton, “Is to done by God, and what God does we do because He is in us.” In other words, we are God, and anything we do is therefore right. The idea of sin is a false doctrine taught by priests and preachers.

Now the implications of Calvin’s position were developed by later Calvinists, notably Abraham Kuyper and Cornelius Van Til. The doctrine of sphere of sovereignty or sphere of laws, that the various spheres of life and thought, the family, the school, business, the arts, the sciences, they are all directly under God. They are to obey him and serve Him. But they are not under the church nor the state. And of course this is a cardinal doctrine of Christian Reconstruction, or Theonomy. Why should Mathematics be under the state? Does the state declare that 2+2=4? Should mathematics be under the Church? The idea is ridiculous. Why then should the state control economics, or education, or art, which it is now doing, or the sciences, which it is now doing. The whole point of the Reformation as Calvinism developed it, with deep roots in the middle ages in the early church, was the kingship of Christ, and every area of life and thought under the kingship of Christ, not under the church or under the state. [00:26:21]

What is the basic premise of this? Simply this...[edit]

What is the basic premise of this? Simply this: In terms of the word of God which speaks to you and to me as persons, the basic government under God is self government. What kind of church or state or society can you have if there is no self government? The basic government under God is self government. And this is the direction of the church, and of the Reformation. This is what the New Testament is talking about. The enscriptured word.

Years ago I read something by a scholar that said: “The giving of an enscriptured was one of the most revolutionary steps if not the most revolutionary, in all of history.” Why? Because when God gave the world, he mandated thereby that: ‘If you are going to hear me, you are going to learn how to read. This made education possible. If you are going to learn how to read you are going to study this word, you are going to be governed by it, and thereby you, the individual believer are at the heart of the kingdom of God. You are basic to its government in so far as you govern yourself you bring about the kingdom of God on earth.’

This means that we cannot look to institutions, not even to the church, though we must honor the church as the redeemed community, as the people of Christ. Because the basic government is self government. And the last judgment is basically a judgment of persons, all the nations shall appear before him, but they shall be judged as persons. The more faithfully we establish Christ’s order, the more free we are from mans repressive and totalitarian order, and the key to that is the self government of the Christian man. His self government comes from knowledge of the word of God, therefore we must give ourselves to the study of it, we must be faithful in our attendance to the preaching of it, we must learn its implication for us and for the community of believers, and we must see it as marching orders. [00:30:08]

One of the sad things in Evangelicalism today is that...[edit]

One of the sad things in Evangelicalism today is that there is only a devotional use of the Bible. What is there in it today that will be comforting to me? To be healing for me? Well, there is nothing wrong with that, but if all you go to the Bible for is what will help you personally, you miss the point of the book. What it means is, and what the translators like Wycliffe and especially Tyndale meant when they translated it, was that: “The people of God from the poorest plough boy on all of England,” said Tyndale, would find here God’s marching orders. How to bring about the kingdom of God wherever they are, in their home, at their place of work, in their church, in the civil order, in every area of life and thought.

Cornelius Van Til said that there are only two choices for man, everything else is a pretense. Theonomy, God’s law, or Autonomy, self law. And we can convert Christianity into a form of autonomy, if all we do when we go to the Bible is to find “What will give me a nice word for today, because I am feeling a bit upset, I didn’t have a good night, and I’ve got some problems today, now what’s a comforting word?” No. What are the marching orders for today. That is why the book is to be read from beginning to end, over and over again, so we might find the marching orders of God continuously. This was the greatness of Calvin’s work. He taught from one end of the Bible to the other so that people might know the whole mandate of God for the whole of society.

The words of Joshua are among the greatest in all of scripture. When we read about the great commission, we should stop and think: “What is meant by the word great there?” It was called the great commission as a way of distinguishing it from Joshua’s commission, and the great commission is a summary of Joshua’s commission in order to expand it to the whole earth, and this is what Joshua was told: “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness, and this Lebanon, even until the great river, the river of Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the great sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your post.” And now these words:

Joshua 1 “5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.

7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.

8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

The name Joshua is identical to the name Jesus as you know, it is simply the Hebrew form whereas Jesus is the Aramic form of the same word. Our Joshua Jesus Christ, tells us: “Have I not commanded Thee? Withersoever the sole of thy foot shall tread if thou move forward in my name, that shall be your ground.” Therefore, go ye into all the world and make disciples of all nations, make every sphere of life and thought the territory of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Let us pray. [00:36:50]

Our Father, thou hast called us to occupy until thou...[edit]

Our Father, thou hast called us to occupy until thou dost come again. Make us zealous in the occupation of all things; use us to recapture this nation for our Lord, and to make all the kingdoms of this world the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. Make us ever mindful that we have not been called to retreat, nor to sit in a corner and wait for Thee, but to conquer. Thou hast called us more than conquerors in Christ. Give us that faith and the zeal so to be, in Christ’s name, amen. [00:38:04]