Education For Freedom - RR148D7

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Education and Freedom
Course: Course - Philosophy of Christian Eduction in Christian Schools
Subject: Subject:Education
Lesson#: 7
Length: 1:15:10
TapeCode: RR148D7
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Philosophy of Christian Eduction in Christian Schools.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.

Our subject this evening is Education For Freedom. Education For Freedom. This is the basic question in education. The basic curriculum in any society is called the liberal arts curriculum. Consider for a moment what that means. The word “liberal” in its root form comes from the Latin “liber,” meaning free. Liberal arts are the arts of being a free man. Thus, the liberal arts curriculum is an answer to the question: “What must a man do to be free?” That question is simply another form of stating: “What shall a man do to be saved?” Education is fundamentally and essentially religious. In any society, whether it be a primitive tribe in the jungles of the Amazon or the most sophisticated societies of the western world, if you want to know what the religion of the people or the culture is, examine their education.

This means clearly, does it not, for all too many who take the name of Christ in the western world, their religion is not that of scripture but is rather, humanism. Because the purpose of education is to answer this question: “What must a man do to be free?” these are the liberal arts. How we educate depends on how we answer that question. This is why you simply cannot take over a humanistic school’s curriculum and sprinkle holy water on it. It must root and branch be Christian in conception, because it must communicate the Christian doctrine of freedom. If the son of man make you free, then are ye free indeed? No other way. If we believe that, we have to educate in terms of it. We cannot allow another doctrine of salvation to come into our schooling.

Thus, it is more than chapel and the Bible department we need to watch, for fear that false doctrine creep in. We must remake the whole curriculum and be sure that in the whole curriculum a thoroughly biblical concept of education prevails. Education is for freedom. To deliver a man from those evils and problems which beset him. [00:04:05]

Now, humanism has had a variety of answers to this...[edit]

Now, humanism has had a variety of answers to this question, and humanistic education accordingly has had a variety of answers to the problem. These various answers can be summed up in three heads{?}. Incidentally, it is interesting to me how when some educators ask this question: “How shall a man be free? What constitutes the liberal arts?” they use more or less, religious and semi- biblical language. Recently, one educator, in dealing with this question, went back to a Hebrew myth about the Garden of Eden in order to frame the question and to say, “Your answer to this will determine which schools you belong to.” Now, according to this Hebrew myth, when God created Eve, Satan imitated God and created a demon woman to give Adam a choice, and so you had the creation of Lilith. So, Adam had two women in the Garden of Eden, and that question is asked now in order to pinpoint, in terms of the answer, what a man’s philosophy of education is in terms of the humanistic traditions. Whether Adam rejected Lilith or chose her, or what-not. Let me add that the Hebrew myth gives a somewhat different answer than contemporary psychologists and educators. It says that Adam choose them both.

Now, these three schools that answer this question are, first of all, that school of which Rousseau is perhaps the most typical and best known figure. In terms of this educational tradition, man is seen as naturally good. Sin is not in man, but in his environment and in false education, and therefore the purpose of education is to unrestrain man. To clear away from his environment everything that would impose upon him various restraints that would thereby hinder his natural goodness. Thus, in such a plan of education or salvation, you would say we must eliminate the influence of the family and of the church, and of a reactionary society, and on top of that, we must be radically permissive of the child, because the child’s natural goodness must be allowed to flower. The child must be free. Now, this particular answer is not only deeply imbedded in contemporary educational theory, but also in our contemporary culture, especially in our youth culture. The cry of recent years, “I want to be free,” is a very direct and clear-cut expression of this doctrine. As a result, we have a problem with a great many parents who, because they have a background in this kind of thinking, even though they may think themselves to be Bible-believing Christians, are still going to be very huffy, because your schooling is going to emphasize discipline, it is going to emphasize drill and more drill, and to them, this will seem like a horrible thing. They think, you see, when they think of schooling, in humanistic terms. [00:09:08]

Now, a second school has given an answer tot his which...[edit]

Now, a second school has given an answer tot his which goes back before Rousseau. The great figure in the modern world is John Locke. However, Locke’s ideas go back emphatically to St. Thomas Aquinas, and Aquinas very clearly plucked{?} them, in clear form, out of Aristotle. According to this doctrine, man’s mind, when he is born, is a blank, comparable to a blank tablet or paper. It has no predisposition in any direction. It is neutral, and therefore, education is everything. Education will mold the child totally, if the educator can control the child totally. Those who are in this tradition will not be necessarily adverse to discipline, provided it is a classical or humanistic discipline, provided they create an imposed discipline.

Now, we have this doctrine still very much with us, not as predominant as it was in the 18th century. It is still essentially the doctrine of the Roman Catholic parochial schools and their philosophy of education. Apart from the fact that it has a false doctrine of man, as do all these humanistic philosophies of education, it has another serious defect. Its view of man is that he is essentially passive. If man’s mind is a blank tablet, then it is the environment which means the world around him, especially his elders or educators, which mold the mind of the child. You have the kind of thinking that Watson and behaviorism represented. As I pointed out in a previous evening, Watson held that, given the child from almost the cradle, he could take that child and make it into a chemist, a physicist, a concert violinist, or anything it wills, because the mind of man is totally passive and totally plastic, until you have a conception here of a plastic man, not the kind of creature scripture tells us God created, to exercise dominion and to subdue the earth, and he created in Christ to be a king, priest, and prophet unto Him. No, on the contrary, you have a very passive person who is a social product. [00:13:15]

Then, the third doctrine of education with respect...[edit]

Then, the third doctrine of education with respect to the nature of man, is that man is evil. Sometimes there seems to be a superficial resemblance between the position of this third group of educators and humanistic thinkers, the first and most notable being not an educator but a political theorist, Machiavelli. There seems to be a superficial resemblance between this school of thought and Christian doctrine. However, there is a fundamental difference. This doctrine says indeed, man is corrupt. Man is evil. This doctrine is very much ready to agree with Freud’s analysis of man.

Freud held that man has three aspects to his being. First, there is the ID, the will to pleasure. The ID manifests itself as a totally heedless, totally contemptuous will to assert oneself and to gratify oneself irrespective of any law. The ID is a pleasure principle. It is a totally corrupt thing in terms of anything that anyone can formulate. In terms of Freud’s basic thinking, the three basic urges of the ID, and his thinking at this point, is derived from Robertson Smith, who was the most influential man in influencing Old Testament studies in modernistic circles. His religion of the Semites. It is a theory from anthropology, which says that the basic urge of sinful man is to incest, paracide, killing the father, and cannibalism. This is the will to pleasure.

But man has, at the same time, the ego. The ego is the will to death. The ego recognizes the realities of the outer world and says, “Don’t do it. It is dangerous.” If you assert your will to pleasure, the ego tells the ID, you will be in serious trouble, so the ego is the will to death. It continually pronounced judgment on Freud’s man. [00:16:41]

The third aspect is not as basic as the will to life...[edit]

The third aspect is not as basic as the will to life, which is the pleasure principle, the ID, and the ego, the will to death, the reality principle. The third principle, or aspect of man’s being, is the super ego. The super ego tells man that, “Well, this is what your society, and your church, and school want you to do.” So the super ego is derived from education but Freud held it was the weakest element in man. As a result, Freud was skeptical about any future for humanity. He recognized that he was both the ultimate in the development of humanism, but he also recognized, rather cynically, that with him, humanism had reached a dead end and was committing suicide. However, some of the Freudians since then have said, “Ah, that the elite man, the man of science, the man of reason, can analyze this problem in himself between the ID and the ego, and overcome the tension and thereby, overcome his problem, and he can control society and thereby, govern the many.” Thus, in terms of this third view, which supposedly parallels, to a degree, our doctrine of sin, but is in actuality far different. Man is in some sense, a sinner we might say, but to see him truly as a sinner, you have to see him in terms of God, and you have to recognize, in terms of scripture, that “There is none righteous, no, not one, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. That no man can save himself.” But in terms of this third doctrine, which is increasingly the more sophisticated form of humanistic educational theory, an elite group, by taking over control of society, can thereby provide salvation for man. [00:19:37]

Now there are varieties of the various doctrines I...[edit]

Now there are varieties of the various doctrines I’ve enunciated just as in this third form, you can have a pure Marxist form as well as a very pure Freudian form of this, but in both of these and in other interpretations, it is essentially an elite minority which solves its personal problem with evil, and thereby governs. Now, I think it should be apparent to you that all three of these, as they answer the question, “What must a man do to be free, or to be saved?” are giving radically anti-Christian answers. This is why state certification of Christian school teachers is so dangerous a step, if Christian school teachers will be put through a rival plan of salvation which will never be labeled exactly what it is.

The two basic instruments of salvation in all three of these doctrines are first, education and second, state planning and controls. So, the plan of salvation for all three involves various forms of education, control of education, and state planning by control. Moreover, in all three cases, this freedom or salvation of man is not only to be attained by natural means, but it requires freedom from God, and freedom from God’s law. It is imperative in these programs that there be no “thou shalt nots” imposed from outside of the human universe. The only “thou shalt nots” must come from man. The anarchist or existentialist will say the “thou shalt not” is that which any individual establishes for himself, and he is not bound by what he establishes because in ten seconds, he can change his mind. [00:22:31]

In terms of the collectivist approach, it leads to...[edit]

In terms of the collectivist approach, it leads to, what I believe I referred to previously in another meeting, as fiat law. Fiat. What is fiat law? Well, the word “fiat” comes from the Vulgate text of the Bible, the Latin text, and in Genesis 1 we read fiat lux, “Let there be light.” Fiat, therefore, means the creation of anything by the simple declaration of the God of that system. In the modern world, thus, we have fiat law, not God’s law. The problem in Dade County was fiat law, which Christians were trying to overthrow. The problem with our money today is that it is fiat money, not gold nor silver, but paper, because the state says the state is the creator of value. Our laws, as they are passed by legislators and congressmen, are fiat laws. They had no reference to the word of God. Their framework of reference is to the will of the state. So that man wants not only freedom from God but fiat law, and he wants therefore, to assert this aspect of fiat law, and the necessity of the fiat, in his educational system. As a result, the child will be taught very early that it is either individual decisions or group planning that decide all things in life, that all issues are open issues for man, that there are no “thou shalt nots,” no word that declares, “Thus saith the Lord.” [00:25:18]

Recently, the papers carried the account of the fact...[edit]

Recently, the papers carried the account of the fact that Leonard Bernstein, the composer and conductor, had left his wife of twenty-five years. There was apparently no problem and no quarrel between them, but he said, “As death approaches and is seen somewhere in the not-too-distant future, a man must cast off everything and create in complete freedom, and live the rest of his life as {?}.” This is a modern mood. I want to be free. I means, not only freedom from God, but freedom from man, freedom from responsibility to others. It means, “I shall be as God, knowing and determining for myself what constitutes good and evil.” Thus, education becomes self-realization, either in an individualistic, anarchistic sense or in a social collectivist sense. Freedom means moreover, using the scientific method to overcome all problems. It means that man’s mind is the judge, and the ultimate recourse in all situations is the mind of man.

Now, freedom in the modern world as a result, becomes as we have seen in recent years, defiance, rebellion, and revolution. If nothing binds man to God, if there is no law of God which says, “This far and no further,” “This is the way, walk ye in it.” If God cannot compel man, how much less can man compel man? This is the reason why the collectivist answers run into problems. In collectivist societies, the further they get away from a Christian background, the more radical is the breakdown within the culture. Thus, in the Soviet Union, they have found that, as they now are dealing with the third generation of those born since the revolution, they are less able to get work out of them. They have less of the Christian background and discipline. They are more inclined to freedom in the sense of defiance, rebellion, and revolution. As a matter of fact, the two most popular things in the Soviet Union among the youth today are rock, records, and faded patched blue jeans. [00:29:17]

I will take a moment to tell you of an amusing little...[edit]

I will take a moment to tell you of an amusing little episode in connection with that. A doctor I know in California gave his son a VW to be picked up in Europe when he got there and funds enough to spend the summer driving around Europe with his VW and seeing Europe. The young men went over there and took clothes in terms of staying at youth camps and going hither and yon with freedom, so he took along that which at that moment in the latter part of the 60’s was exceedingly popular, the faded patched jeans. He decided to go into the Soviet Union. So, he left the border and started, and he had been warned at the border that he could not make any unauthorized stops, that if he did, he would be subject to arrest. He could take no pictures, that gas would be available only in certain places, and only within certain hours. Well, as he proceeded to drive, wondering all the time every time he saw some shrubbery and bushes, is there a guard post or a box hidden there, and of course, not knowing the answer, but knowing that this was, indeed, being done. He suddenly realized that, in his excitement to cross the border, he had not made a restroom stop. So finally, in desperation, he pulled over to the side of the road, and he got out of the car and suddenly heard a sound in the brush, and said, “Oh, Siberia, here I come.” Well, he was so paralyzed with fright, it took him a few minutes to understand what the young man who stepped out of the shrubbery was saying to him in rather crude English. He wanted to buy his jeans, and because he was so petrified, it took him awhile to come to, the young Russian, who turned out to be the son of a very prominent and highly placed Russian official kept raising his bid, so that by the time he opened his mouth to say, “Yes,” he had enough Rubles to take care of his entire Russian stay, and through this young Russian, he had entre into a Russian world where the ultimate was rock music and jeans. Having nothing else, this to them is the ultimate, and their dedication exceeds that which we sometimes find to {?} around us. [00:32:47]

Man’s mind, you see, becomes ultimate, and if man is...[edit]

Man’s mind, you see, becomes ultimate, and if man is ultimate, man must declare his rebellion from everything around him. Otherwise, he is not free. If God cannot command man, how much less so man? Some of you are perhaps familiar with Andre Maulraux. Maulraux is, or was rather a very prominent existentialist, a former Marxist who became right hand man to DeGaul. In his autobiography, Maulraux sums up his philosophy in three words: “I love to,” four words, “I love to displease.” I think that’s a temper that you can recognize in the world around us. It’s very prevalent in our culture. The free person, for many, many young people is the one who displeases the most, and as a result, we find that our best pupils in humanistic education are those who rebel the most against parents, teachers, and society, and there are many educators who applaud this.

One of the recent works in education that I picked up a few months ago made that statement very {?} The man, a professor of the philosophy of education said it is time we stopped apologizing for the student revolutionaries. They represent not the failure of the modern schools, but its triumph. Their war against the establishment and their displeasure with everything around them is a mark, he said, of health. This is why so many of these educational philosophers are not about to change. They want more of the same and they want to command your schools to institute more of the same in your own circles. The goal of education, says Frank L. Fields, is “A personally meaningful purposed system.” He stresses that it must be personally meaningful. It cannot be something that is religiously meaningful, where the meaning is God-given, parentally-imposed, or imposed by the school or society, or by the church. It must be personally meaningful. It must be that which the child wants to do. This means there can be no imposed system or faith, or philosophy imposed by either God or man. [00:36:42]

Recently, I read about a new form of art which uses...[edit]

Recently, I read about a new form of art which uses fruits, lacquers them, sometimes. Sometimes just paints them to exhibit, and it says very flatly that one of the glories {?} of this attempt to create a new school is that it gives us an art that does not last, because there is no permanency today, and they sum it up this way: “Art today, garbage tomorrow.” Now, we can apply that same concept to education, you see. It says, “Education today, garbage tomorrow.” If it is to be personally meaningful, that’s quite alright. It means the individual has the freedom to say, “This is everything to me now,” and tomorrow to say, “It is garbage.” Education thus, becomes perpetual revolution. This is why we miss the boat if we fail to recognize that.

The modern philosophers of education in the United States and throughout the western world are now far more radical than the Marxist educators, and there is conflict between them. This came out as early as the thirties, in Counts and Kilpatrick and others, because they oppose the Marxist idea of a planned society, a once for all plan, the communist revolution. They said, “No, it must be a constantly planning society. Ever planning and ever revising its plan because there is no truth to anything and therefore, our plan of education must continually be subject to fresh planning.”

The result, of course, means for the child within the educational system that practices such a philosophy is mental problems, instability, and inability to be self-disciplined and to focus their attention on anything. The education will not blame itself. It will say that the child is autistic, or has some other problems, but it is not a product of a philosophy of education. [00:39:58]

Now, in one area in particular, the conflicting ideas...[edit]

Now, in one area in particular, the conflicting ideas of freedom appear most dramatically in our society today, because very often what the Christian says is freedom is slavery and bondage to the humanist, and what the humanist says is freedom is slavery and bondage to the Christian. Thus, let us begin by saying both the humanists in all the various schools, and Christians, believe in sexual freedom, but they define it differently. For the humanist, sexual freedom means an independence from the laws of God and of man. The freedom to do one’s own thing. It means sexual permissiveness and even more, an aggressive anti-Christian idea of sexuality. But for us, that is not freedom but slavery, and for us, freedom, sexually, means full obedience to the word of God. It means that there is only one means to sexual freedom and that is godly marriage, and this is a blessing. It is freedom for a man, but any departure from that particular requirement and standard as dictated by the word is God is slavery to sin. Thus, for us, you see at every point, there is a radically different concept of freedom, and the schools with their ideas of freedom must, at every point, represent for us not freedom, but slavery to sin. Slavery to the tempter and his program of education. For us, it is the word, the law of God that is freedom. When God says, “This is the way, walk ye in it,” our hearts respond, “Lo, I come.” Following our redeemer, we say, “To do thy will, O God.” [00:42:47]

We see that our obligation is, under God, to be a neighbor...[edit]

We see that our obligation is, under God, to be a neighbor to men in terms of the word of God. Humanism says, with regard to responsibility, that it is, at best, responsibility to our society, to our country, and to humanity. Collective man replaces God as the agency to whom man is responsible. So that an institution is deified, the state in this case. In ancient Chinese ancestor worship, it was the family that was deified and made God in society. But whatever the form of the humanism, collective man replaces God as that agency to which man is responsible, and man’s conscience is to be governed by that human agency.

In the second form, man is responsible on to his existential self. He replaces God. In either case, both humanistic doctrines mean freedom from God as the way to man’s salvation. For us as Christians, man is always and in all things responsible to God. At every point, when he transgresses, it is against God, because if he transgresses against another person, he is transgressing against a preacher of God, the property of God. This David saw when he declared in the fiftieth Psalm, after he had been guilty both of adultery with Bathsheba and of the murder or Uriah. Against thee, thee only have I sinned and done that which is evil in thy sight. He saw that sin is warfare against God, but at each point, he was striking out against the boundaries God had established and seeing another means to his own freedom, but for us, freedom is freedom from sin. This means therefore, it is freedom from ourselves as well as from other men. Freedom to be God’s covenant people in Christ Jesus, our Lord. You see, when Adam fell, seeking to be his own God he became a slave, and he found himself not in freedom, but in bondage to sin and in warfare. In warfare against God, and every sinner is first and last at war with God. [00:46:27]

Secondly, at warfare with his neighbor, so that every...[edit]

Secondly, at warfare with his neighbor, so that every sinner is at all times at war with the world around him, and he cannot live at peace with anyone else. The wicked are like the troubled sea which cannot rest. They eventually cast up mire and dirt.

But third, the sinner is also at war with himself. God has created him for his own pleasure and glory, and when a man {?} in the purposes of God, he is at war with his own being. In Psalm 139, we have a magnificent statement of this. The Psalmist describes how he sought to flea from God. Where he fled to the outermost parts of the world, behold thou art there. Thou I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there. The darkness and the light cannot hide me from thee. They both shine like the light, like a spotlight upon me to expose me. wherever he goes, the sinner finds his own being, witnessing against himself. As David said, “When I sought to keep silent, my bones waxed loud with their roaring.” Perhaps the most beautiful, single poem in the English language is Francis Thompson’s, “The Hound of Heaven.” How many of you, by the way, know that poem? Very good, I think it repays attention by all of you. Francis Thompson echoed there, not only the experience of the psalmist in Psalm 139 and St. Augustine’s Confessions, but also his own experience, and he begins by declaring, “I fled him down the nights and down the days, and down the labyrinthine arches of the years,” and he goes on to describe how in pleasure, in laughter, in friends, in children, in love, in one thing after another he sought to escape from God, but always, he says, “with unperturbed pace,” what comes after him the pursuing feet of the Almighty, and he finds again and again all things escape me when you seek to escape me. That all things witness to the Lord, so that in nothing, there is a refuge. It’s a magnificent poem, well worth your attention. [00:50:00]

Man, you see, is at war with God, with his fellow man...[edit]

Man, you see, is at war with God, with his fellow man, and with himself, and this is why there is no freedom for a man in all these non-Christian philosophies of education, because they do not come to grips with the problem of sin. Their doctrine of freedom offers slavery, not freedom. Christian education, thus is not the curriculum with the Bible added to it, but a curriculum which is totally governed by the word of God.

This is why only the Christian school can have a truly liberal arts curriculum. No other school can. It is very interesting that, in World War 2, the federal government saw the irrelevance of the liberal arts curriculum, because it was the one thing for which there was no draft deferment. Those in charge of setting up the standards felt it was irrelevant, and they were right. Much as the humanists have spent generations trying to develop a plan of salvation through humanistic education, in a critical crisis the first thing they de-emphasized was the liberal arts curriculum. It is irrelevant to man’s problems. It cannot save. It cannot give freedom. It only gives bondage.

As a result, the basic thinking in terms of education for the future will either be done by us or it will not be done at all. Humanistic education is bankrupt. It is at a dead-end, and therefore, however much money may be poured into it, it is going no where. This is why they are so badly poisoned by Christian schools. They recognize that the initiative is now in Christian school hands. I have, at some time or other, been in a debate occasionally with a secular professor of education, and sooner or later, they have an excuse for it of course, some reason why it is the case, they recognize that they are not able to compete with you. They have the money, but they cannot produce, and they are ready to turn to, more and more, coercive answers so that they can command the children, because, while they recognize their failure, they refuse to believe that the answer can come from Jesus Christ, because they are unbelievers, and the eyes of their understanding are dulled. There is a difference between us and the unregenerate. That difference is Jesus Christ. It is a {?} sin ever, to end underestimate that difference in any area of life, and certainly to underestimate it in education is a grievous offense against our Lord. [00:54:38]

Are there any questions now? Yes?...[edit]

Are there any questions now? Yes?

[Audience] {?} Francis Schaefer’s How Then Shall We Live? Can you comment on {?}

[Rushdoony] I cannot comment on Francis Schaefer’s, How Then Shall We Live, because I haven’t seen the film, or had the opportunity yet to read the book, so, I’m sorry. Yes?

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes. The question is with respect to academic freedom, and in one case recently in a particular school, an educator brought in “Deep Throat” to show. Well, the easiest way to state my answer is very flatly and bluntly. I do not believe in the doctrine of academic freedom as it exists today. I believe that, right or wrong, a person who owns or operates the school is the one who has the freedom, that it’s his responsibility to make the decisions, and if he makes a mistake, that’s his particular burden or responsibility. The doctrine of academic freedom has a long history, and it goes back to the Medieval period. It was first formulated really in the University of Paris in the Middle Ages. You had the doctrine of the divine right of kings formulated, that the king represented the voice of God, as it were, and therefore, was above criticism and correction by the people. You had a similar doctrine developed in the church which culminated finally in the doctrine of papal infallibility. Then, within the university tradition, you had a like doctrine develop, namely, that the educator represented in some sense, the voice of God. A fourth form that has since become very popular is democracy, the voice of the people is the voice of God. But at any rate, the doctrine of academic freedom comes directly out of that concept. It asserts that the academician is above control and collection, that his freedom represents a kind of divine right and a divine freedom which no one dare tamper with. I believe in academic freedom in the sense that if I don’t like what a school is doing, I’m free to go elsewhere and start my own school, but as long as I’m there, if the school makes mistakes, that’s their right to do so. It’s not my right to tell them they’re wrong or to fight with them about it. I think the doctrine of academic freedom is a very deadly and dangerous notion, and the fact that most of society today has bought it is a very ugly fact. [00:59:00]

We have a similar doctrine today that is becoming more...[edit]

We have a similar doctrine today that is becoming more and more a menace, a similar doctrine of the freedom of the press, so that the press can slander a man and unless you prove willful intent, they are not responsible, and so there are all kinds of {?} regularly printed by the press, lies, and no responsibility. The court backs the press. Now, the press should be free to print the truth, but they should be equally responsible and liable if they violate the truth, and today, they do it with impunity. They are above {?}. If you tamper with their right, you are somehow a fascist, a very evil person. I think we need to knock the doctrine of academic freedom, and the faith that is behind it, in the head wherever it appears, in its every form. I couldn’t be more emphatically against it. Well, that certainly produced a silence. {laughter} Yes?

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] What do I feel would be a truly Christian government? First of all, it must be a government, a civil government, that recognizes the priority of God and His word. Let me say here that the term government, as we use it today, was not used in the early days of this country. When they said “government,” did not mean the state. Government was first of all the self-government of the Christian man. Then it was the family, which is nary a government. Then it was the school, which is nary a government. Then it was the church, then it was one’s vocation, whatever work you do, it governs you. Then it was society. We are governed by the society around us and its standards, and then finally, it is civil government. So, civil government, or the state, is one of a number of forms of government. Now, in a godly society, civil government will not try to be the umbrella saying, “We control everything, and everything is under our jurisdiction.” That is the old pagan concept of the state, the state as god, controlling every sphere; education, religion, medicine, the arts and sciences, and so on. Our doctrine of the state today is pagan.

Then, a visible doctrine of civil government will seize the role of the state as ministerial, not legislative. What does that mean? Well, we can understand what that means in terms of the very word, “minister.” A preacher is a minister. How does he speak? He speaks from behind the pulpit and the word of God. He speaks out of the word of God. It governs his preaching, if he is at all a faithful minister. A ministerial society does not create laws out of its own head. It legislates in terms of the word of God. A legislative society says, “Man can make his own laws, so that what man thinks is good in his own eyes is therefore law.” Today, we have a legislative society, in that our law-making bodies act as though they were the determiners of right and wrong, that there is no standard beyond what they decree. I may have mentioned to you the experience with Senator John Tunney who, thanks be to God, lost the election and has now been retired, albeit with a fat pension who, when he was confronted at the Disneyland Hotel about a year ago by some of the right-to-life people said that it was wrong to condemn abortion because the majority of people were in favor of it, and therefore, it was right, and he was asked, “Do you mean if tomorrow the majority of people are in favor of theft, you’d pass laws to that effect, it would be right to steal?” and he said, “Yes, it would be right to steal.” Now, that’s a legislative concept of the state. It’s an anti-Christian concept. So, very briefly there’s much, much more that could be said, and I am working on a book on the theology of the state, but in brief, that would be the bare-bones of the Christian doctrine of the state, or civil government. Any other questions? Yes? [01:05:36]

[Audience] Where do you see that the United States...[edit]

[Audience] Where do you see that the United States {?} from {?}

[Rushdoony] The question is when and where in our history did we turn from a Christian perspective to a humanistic one? In the Colonial Era, the Puritan faith, of course, dominated a great deal of New England, and spread by the time of the War of Independence, to the middle states and some of the southern states. By the end of the war, the stronghold of Puritanism was in the South, and the Bible Belt is a direct descendent of southern Puritanism which dominated into the 1850’s into the South. About 1815, Unitarianism began to develop in New England. One of the problems in New England that led to the decline was that it was the clergy who had been most involved in the Great Awakening, were the most involved in making a stand against King George III and the invasion of this country by a parliamentary troops. As a matter of fact, one British spy of the period actually characterized the war as a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian rebellion, because some of the Puritan clergy were so outstanding in it.

Well, this meant that you have your clergy in the North and South, heavily involved in the chaplaincy and in actual field combat. It meant, too, that very commonly, the British forces took vengeance on these men by burning down the Puritan churches, whether they were those of the Congregationalists, or the Presbyterians, or the Baptists, because one of the leading Puritan figures of the time was Isaac Backus. He’s the real father of the Baptist churches in this country, and a most remarkable man. How many of you know anything about Isaac Backus? Just a couple of you. Well, if you’re a Baptist, I would strongly urge you to read the writings of Isaac Backus. I believe Yale University Press is the press that is beginning to publish his collected works. A very, very wonderful man. [01:08:46]

As a result, when the war ended, it was precisely these...[edit]

As a result, when the war ended, it was precisely these churches that were the weakest. They were burned out, some of their clergy were dead. By the time they were able to rebuild and begin to recuperate, the war broke out, of 1812, and then Unitarianism. Well, after that, the real center was only in the South, by and large, but the South had also a decline in the 1850’s. There was a tremendous revival in the southern troops during the war. But it was after the war, with the South flat on its back, that the Puritanism in the South, which had been an object of tremendous hostility on the part of the Unitarian abolitionists. They were as much hostile, if not more so, to the southern Puritanism as they were to the institution of slavery, and that’s one aspect that we’re not told about normally. They hated it with a passion. As a result, the real decline set in after 1864. This country had a double shock at that period. First, the war and the damage it did to the churches, and second, the fact that in 1859, just before the war broke out, Darwin’s book came out, and the church here was too little occupied with theology to be able to cope with the influence of Darwinism. This may surprise you, but it was not until the 90s that there was any real resistance to Darwin’s thought within the church, and it was then that the series of papers entitled, The Fundamentals, were published.

Well, World War 1 further increased the damage done and World War 2, in a sense, climaxed it. You see, in the modern world the basic form of revolution is warfare, because warfare so thoroughly requires the regimentation of society that it has now a safer means of accomplishing various revolutions within that society. However, we must say that since 1950, we have seen not only a very rapid collapse within this country morally, religiously, politically, and economically, as far as any principles are concerned. We have, in those years, also seen the beginnings of the most important revival in American history, and the key to that revival is a different one than in all others. It is the Christian school, and I believe in twenty to thirty years, it will change the character of the United States. I think we have time perhaps for one question, or two short ones. Yes? [01:12:37]

[Audience] Would you comment on the idea that men ought...[edit]

[Audience] Would you comment on the idea that men ought to be forced to be free?

[Rushdoony] Would I comment on the idea that men ought to be forced to be free? Well, that is an idea, of course, that comes directly from Rousseau. The phrase, “forced to be free” is Rousseau’s. It is emphatically not Christian. You cannot force men to be free, that is, to be born again. As a result, the idea presupposed a collectivist control over men and society. Now, we believe in governing our children, but we do not believe that the state should govern them. The family, in terms of God’s word, is the custodian of the children. Now, that’s a very different thing. It’s a natural control of the child, for his welfare, and one which the child’s nature is in conformity to, because the child loves to please his parents. The child’s world revolves around the parents, but it’s different when the state enters in with coercion. So, the doctrine “forced to be free” is very important in the modern world, but it is a thoroughly, ugly, and anti-Christian doctrine.

Well, I think with that out time is over. [01:14:30]

End of tape.