Pietism - Quietism and Perfectionism - EC386

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Pietism, Quietism & Perfectionism
Course: Course - Easy Chair Series
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 78
Length: 0:54:34
TapeCode: ec386
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Easy Chair Series.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.

This is R. J. Rushdoony, Easy Chair number 386, May the seventh, 1997.

I would like to turn to a letter we received and it is a very fine letter so I would like to read it in its entirety.

“Although Dr. Rushdoony and the Easy Chair assembly have more than once graciously discussed topics I have suggested, I would be very interested to hear a discussion Pietism, Quietism and Perfectionism as manifested now among Christians and also as specific movements in the past. Do these three terms refer essentially to the same thing? Do these movements or tendencies have worthwhile characteristics? Are there biblical foundations for them? In what way can they mislead us?

“I enjoy Dr. Rushdoony’s poetry session very much. As he has observed several times, mass media and canned productions have muscled in to our culture. We east fast foods and too much of us consume prepackaged fast food culture. The nutritional benefits of both are about the same. We have lost our songs and our poems.

“My mother had the benefit of receiving most of her schooling at a one room school house in Nebraska’s Sand Hills region. Some weeks before I received the poetry tape my mother bored me by reciting from memory a poem she had memorized as a girl even though she could not have seen a copy of it for many decades. No wonder she loves to memorize psalms now.

“Finally, thank you for both Donner and Abshire interviews. I have had both lent out to friends within 24 hours of listening to them.”

This is from Susan Clare Loeffel. Thank you very much for your letter. And we shall try to deal with the questions you raised.

First of all, Pietism, Quietism and Perfectionism are different movements, but they are very greatly interrelated. Their basic unity is in the fact that the center is on the individual and his religious experience. It is not on the faith. [00:03:19]

[Sandlin] That is right...[edit]

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] In fact, all three have tended to downplay doctrine. It used to be, as I have observed at other times, common for hymns to the trinity to be an important part of a hymnal, very extensively used. And I believe I told a story once of this elderly woman whose only child was born when she was aging and he was mentally retarded and yet the joy with which they sang hymns to the trinity to Holy Spirit be praises, to God the three in one. I can remember them singing that.

Well, we have now a great deal of emphasis of a subjective sort.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] One hymn I have often cited as an example, a bad example. It has a good catchy tune, In the Garden.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] And the chorus.

And he walks with me.

And he talks with me.

And he tells me I am his own.

And the joy we share with none can compare....

[Sandlin] As we tarry there,

None other has ever known.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] I will never forget the friend, the fellow, young pastor, years ago who came from a summer camp and said that the kids wanted certain hymns and this one choice by a girl, as I recall it, was the hymn about Andy. And in incomprehension he looked at the girl and said, blankly, “Andy? What song about Andy?”

“Andy walks with me. Andy talks with me. Andy tells me I am his own.”

Well, that belongs in this whole school...

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] ... of Subjectivism.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] It stresses a purely subjective experience. It does not tell you anything about Christ, his nature, what he has done for us, his atonement, his death, his resurrection. [00:06:19]

[Sandlin] Yes. That is right.

[Rushdoony] None of that.

Now Quietism was essentially a Catholic phenomenon. This is not to say it was not very influential in protestant circles, but it was a Catholic phenomenon. Madame Guyon, G U Y O N, is the great name there. It was essentially a retreat into your inner being and into a sense of perpetual bliss no matter what was happening.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] And it is interesting that Quietism was very popular in France in the days before the French Revolution.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] ...when the whole country was falling apart. And here were these people and indulging in endless pious gush as they would close their eyes and concentrate on the glories of things spiritual. It was a vast exercise in nothingness.

However, it was preceded by Pietism, which was essentially German and Lutheran, although it spread elsewhere within Protestantism. Pietism, in turn, was really a revival of medieval Catholic piety.

With Pietism there was a down playing of doctrine. In fact, some expressed a dislike of doctrine.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] It was a waste of time. It was dry as dust. They portrayed the great theological works that had preceded them on the part of the reformers, men like Luther and Calvin and others, as dry as dust works. To them any serious concern in developing the meaning of doctrine, in dealing with the meaning of why Jesus Christ had to die for us was a waste of time. You just contemplated medieval style the sacred wounds of Jesus.

[Sandlin] Count von Zinzendorf and... yes. [00:09:03]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes. And you would go into deep emotion and tears and quaver and shake as you imagined and visualized the reality of the crucifixion. But what did it mean? Huh? I don’t know. That would have been their reaction.

[Sandlin] That’s right.

[Rushdoony] I know that was a reaction of one or two I knew as a young man who were very gushy in their piety.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Well, these three movements have been very important and they are still very much with us in different forms with different names. Perfectionism, however, was a variation in that it held that you could very quickly and easily, after your conversion, attain a perfection, a moral Perfectionism. This was very prominent in Wesleyan circles. It rested on a very, very weak doctrine of man and his sin.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] And emphatically they did not believe in total depravity. In fact, John Wesley, a great man in many ways, but a very, very faulty man, went so far as to approve of some of the heretics like Pelagius. He was a ma who simply didn’t understand the nature of man’s depravity.

Well, I submit that if you don’t understand the full nature of man’s depravity, you are going to convert a lot of people.

[Sandlin] Absolutely.

[Rushdoony] They will be cheap and easy conversions.

I have known pastors in some of the perfectionist churches who can get half the people at a revival meeting to come forward to rededicate their lives to Christ or having backslid, supposedly, to be born again. One man told me once he had been born again at least 12 times. [00:12:04]

Well, these movements have done a great deal to seriously...[edit]

Well, these movements have done a great deal to seriously damage Protestantism from within.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] They have left Protestantism a shambles. At the same time the like movements within the Roman Catholic Church have virtually destroyed any theological emphasis and left theology as something for a handful of intellectuals.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] While the people in ... involve themselves in this type of cult—and there are many such as the Sacred Heart of Jesus—and lack any real knowledge of Christian doctrine.

There are, I believe, almost no biblical foundations for these movements. They basically put the entire emphasis on man and his salvation.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] So that we are not saved to serve, but we are saved so that God can serve us.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] And God is supposedly there always waiting hand and foot on us. I have heard in my time some really abominable things—I won’t go into them—made in public testimonies by such people.

[Sandlin] Oh, yes.

[Rushdoony] How God did this and that and the other thing just for them.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] That the whole of the universe, so to speak...

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] ...moved to please them at a given point in time in history, as though the be all and end all of God’s being is to look after their tiny, insignificant and sometimes...

[Sandlin] Absolutely.

[Rushdoony] ...very absurd demands.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] It is as ... well, as one man who wrote a book on prayer said it, “What you need is a barrel of pickles. You pray to God for them and he will give you the barrel of pickles.”

Now I find that kind of thing horrifying.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] I think at least since World War II some of the extreme expressions of this sort of thing have abated, because as our culture became less respectful of Christianity it started to poke fun at Christians, beginning, of course, before the war with Sinclair Lewis’ Elmer Gantry. The Elmer Gantries are many. [00:15:40]

In a city about ...[edit]

In a city about 60, 65 miles from us an Elmer Gantry left town almost over night recently after having left a church in shambles and the lives of people in like disarray.

Well, I have talked longer than I intended to. But this is a topic I really can get worked up over. So much damage has been done. So many lives shattered.

I am sure one could say, “Well, so and so was helped and they went on to a stronger faith.” And I am sure that would be true. And I know from my experience I have seen that, but what I have usually seen is a warping of the lives of people.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] So that it is not God who is the center, but they.

[Sandlin] That is exactly right. You know, Rush, it think we need to point out also that one characteristic that ties each of these movements together is an almost uniform hostility to biblical law.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Sandlin] When you see Pietism especially with its very personal guys warm religion or Quietism with a totally inner faith. I was talking to some quietistic people one time and I said, “Well, what is your church doctrine about the resurrection?” And they said, “Oh, we don’t talk about divisive things like that. We don’t want to divide people, whatever we believe in our heart is the truth.”

And then, of course, Perfectionism that always erects an extra biblical standard, whatever the minister says or whatever the congregation says. All three of them are always, are virtually always hostile to God’s objective law. [00:18:05]

And, Rush, you can...[edit]

And, Rush, you can... encountered this so many more times than I have and, Mark, you... of course you have seen it, but whenever I gently introduce that into a conversation, that is harsh and unloving somehow.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Sandlin] ... to ever talk about biblical law. We will get letters at Chalcedon or people will talk to me and: Do you at Chalcedon believe in theology, but we believe in Christ.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Sandlin] But understanding that if you don’t have theology, what sort of Christ do you have in the first place? Or you believe in law, but we believe in grace, understanding that it is not understanding it is impossible to have one without the other.

[Rushdoony] You say Jesus Christ, Christ, Christos.

[Sandlin] Lord.

[Rushdoony] You are talking theology.

[Sandlin] Absolutely.

[Rushdoony] And this is why some of these characters will only say Jesus.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] They can’t bring themselves to say Christ.

[Sandlin] That is right.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, how often they say it.

[Rushdoony] Mark, what was the name of the book that you and I and Otto Scot and Martin Selbride and John Lofton put out together?

[M. Rushdoony] The Great Christian Revolution.

[Rushdoony] The Great Christian Revolution. Yes. Your section, Mark, in that was a ... without talking about these terms, was really about their effect in the Church today.

[M. Rushdoony] Yes, the... you talked about these groups being Antinomianism. When you basically deny much of Scripture as Dispensationalism does and especially Antinomianism and ... in general. When you deny much of Scripture what has to happen is you have to make up your own Scripture.

[Sandlin] Absolutely.

[M. Rushdoony] And... and Pietism is famous for making up its... its own rules. In addition, because you have destroyed the authority of Scripture, churches that hold to these ideas tend to have very charismatic ministers. And I am not talking about their doctrine, their teachings about the gifts of the Spirit. I am talking about a very domineering type of leader who is: I say it. Don’t argue with me.

[Sandlin] His word is the counts the law.

[M. Rushdoony] This is the rule.

[Sandlin] Yeah.

[M. Rushdoony] This is... this is the law. This is what God wants.

[Sandlin] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

[M. Rushdoony] And whether it is the length of the skirt or a policy about alcohol.

[Sandlin] Yeah.

[M. Rushdoony] ...or tobacco or what you do on, you know, Wednesday night... this is what God expects of you and when you ... when you take God’s Word away some man’s word has to come whether... in whatever form. And that... ... that is ... that is why many of these ministers they... they have to get up there and scream. They have to act as the authority.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[M. Rushdoony] They have to act as the authority. And if... and if you get up in the pulpit and scream loud enough most people don’t want to confront somebody who can get that excited about what they see.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[M. Rushdoony] ... is the law.

[Sandlin] That is right. [00:21:10]

[M. Rushdoony] They have to get up there and lay down the law.

[Sandlin] And it is what Jesus warned against. Oh, how powerful is Mark chapter seven and the Pharisees who substituted or how does... how does Jesus use it, phrase it as it is... appears in the King James? Full well you have... basically saying you have substituted your own law, you know, for...

[M. Rushdoony] ... the commandments and doctrines of men.

[Sandlin] .... the commandments and doctrines of men for ... for the holy Scripture. So many of these people, too, want God made in man’s image.

There was a story I am ... wrote in the Chalcedon Report. I think it was, oh, several years ago about a female minister, Rush—you will remember the story—who was up speaking and talking about the difficulties people were going through and said, “God, we are in trauma and we know if we are traumatized, you are traumatized.”

[M. Rushdoony] Yeah.

[Rushdoony] Oh, my.

[Sandlin] And then one of our... went back and mentioned that in our church and one of our fine members raised his hand facetiously and said, “Pastor, let’s... let’s pray a prayer for God. God is really in tough, tough times these days going through all this trauma.”

But that is a... that is a logical result of the pietistic, quietistic, and perfectionistic spirit.

[Rushdoony] One prominent man in the Church in a recent book which was reviewed in the Chalcedon Report actually said, “Let us pray for God.”

[Sandlin] Yes. Or forgive God or something like that, too.

[Rushdoony] No, because he is going through quite a ... a trial with all the problems in the world.

Well, getting back to the name of Jesus, Christ is his title. That is his office. And that is why the New Testament especially in the epistles speaks of Jesus Christ.

[Sandlin] Yes.

You know, another point, Rush, that a lot of people miss is that when we say the name of Jesus and pray in the name of Jesus that doesn't mean the words as much as under the authority of.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Sandlin] We baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The most important thing is not the name, person, although I am not denying that it is important, but the authority behind the name. And I think a lot of people miss that point. Whenever we use the name of Jesus Christ we are speaking as people who should be under his authority. And so much of this pious godly used pimples, you know, and warm Jesus fuzzies has nothing do with that.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Sandlin] And it is just so pervasive in the Church today. I... Rush, you know, we... we get phone calls and letters from people who talk about episodes of... and people who go to churches and there is nothing there on Sunday except just this sort of... oh, what is the... the sweetness and light religion, you know, just soft religion.

[M. Rushdoony] Pietism comes in... in a lot of forms. There is an extreme form where there is a lot of specific rules of dos and don’ts. And you must conform to this standard you are... or you are wicked. And ... but there is also the form of let’s love one another. Let’s just boil it all down to love.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[M. Rushdoony] When... whenever you take a biblical standard and a biblical basis for morality and a biblical basis for man’s responsibility and you replace it with anything else, whether it is a specific set of rules or love...

[Sandlin] That is right.

[M. Rushdoony] ...or... or treat all men as brothers or... or... or anything else, it is a form of... of Pietism. And it is an artificial morality.

[Sandlin] Yes. And there is... as Rush mentioned earlier there is... there is an ... an avid hostility to doctrine or any doctrinal standard.

Some years ago a group of people wanted me to pray as they sort of rush into the national day of prayer that they have and someone asked my advice. I was there at a planning meeting. I said, “Well, we need to have some doctrinal standards that the people are going to pray.” I said, “At least we need to start with the Apostles’ Creed.”

And one of the ministers said, “Well, we don’t want to exclude anybody that names the name of Christ.”

And I said, “Pray tell, who could name the name of Christ and oppose the Apostles’ Creed?”

And, of course, they didn’t want me there after that. But the set total... you know, it really is, Mark, a universalistic approach that just under the guise of the name of love and, of course, biblically love is law based and covenantal, but under the guise of this word, this magic word love we are to allow all sorts of subversions of the faith. And it... Rush, as you know, this is how the ... the denominations lost to Liberalism. But it is just as rank today among evangelicals and Lutherans and reformed and ... and others. And it really is a... it is a tragedy. And that is why organizations like Chalcedon and strong churches need to stand faithfully for historic Christian, biblical orthodoxy. And not capitulate to this sort of soft aversion to orthodoxy and just sort of soft religion.

[Rushdoony] Well, the Church has capitulated. The problem now is a restoration to sound doctrine. And it has to begin with an emphasis on the whole Word of God. And it requires that we stress doctrine as never before.

[Sandlin] Yes. That is right.

[Rushdoony] ... because without a stress on doctrine and on the law of God, we are disarmed.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] We cannot deal with this problem. And it has really eaten the heart out of the churches of the east and the west.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] ... through Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. All have been invaded by this kind of thinking. And it is damage has been very, very grave. [00:27:08]

The presence of Quietism I cited as very extensive...[edit]

The presence of Quietism I cited as very extensive and if the Quietists were to be believed they were on the verge of a new order. But it was a revolution the French Revolution.

To go back to some of the statements I made at the beginning, I called attention to the fact that Pietism arose in Germany well after the Reformation. It was, in a great and powerful way, a reaction against the Reformation. It was hostile to the emphasis on doctrine by Luther and by Calvin. It went back to medieval piety with its emphasis on a personal experience. But this was personal experience totally separated from doctrine, totally separated from the life of Christ, because it concentrated, not on the doctrinal aspects of the faith and what Christ had done, but on emotional reactions....

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] ...to Jesus Christ.

[Sandlin] Absolutely.

[Rushdoony] It indulged in what can only be called a great deal of pious gush.

Now, doctrine, history, law all these things that are basic to a biblical faith were set aside for a purely personal and emotional reaction.

Well, you know full well over your life time span you have reacted to some people very emotionally. You have been greatly drawn to them without knowing too much about them that they seem to be a very pleasing person, man or woman and you felt that they were going to be a force in the community or in the Church or in whatever organization you were in. And later on you found out that there was no validity to all of your emotional response to them.

Well, what the faith historically has stressed is knowledge, coming to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, knowing the meaning of his incarnation and of his atonement, his death, his resurrection. [00:30:32]

Now, you can respond emotionally to that knowledge...[edit]

Now, you can respond emotionally to that knowledge, but the important point is to know. This is what Jesus was and this is what he did and this is why he is relevant to every man to the end of time. But if you down play doctrine and history. And if you feel that sermons stressing doctrine or teachings emphasizing the life of Christ or the giving of the law by Moses and the history of the chosen people, of the monarchy, of the prophets, all this is unimportant and you only use the Bible as something that I am glad I hope is not done too much in my... our time, but in my earlier years it was not uncommon for some people, until they were ridiculed out of this practice, to shut their eyes and open the Bible and put their finger on a verse.

[Sandlin] They call it lucky dipping.

[Rushdoony] Oh, is that what it is?

[Sandlin] Lucky dipping. Yes.

[Rushdoony] It is apparently still done?

[Sandlin] Yes. Oh, yes.

[Rushdoony] Oh.

[Sandlin] Should I marry this woman, Lord? Show me whether I should marry her.

[Rushdoony] Oh, my.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Oh, my.

[Sandlin] Yes, that has been done. I have...

[M. Rushdoony] There is a modern version of that there on some of the religious TV channels. They... they... they are advertising computer programs that will randomly put a Bible verse on your screen. Of course the actors are saying, “I was so blessed by this verse that came up on my screen. It is just... it just spoke to everything that was... my day was about and it answered my problem.”

[Rushdoony] Well, I hope it had been ridiculed out of existence. Certainly when I was young they began to tell a story of the person who was doing that kind of hunting. He opened the Bible and put his finger on a verse and it said, “And Judas went out and hung himself.” And then he tried it again and his finger hit a verse, “Go thou and do likewise.”


[Sandlin] And the third one, he hit it and it said, “What thou doest, do quickly.”

[Rushdoony] Oh, yes, you are right. You are right. I had forgotten that. [00:33:07]

Well, this is the kind of thing that Pietism brought...[edit]

Well, this is the kind of thing that Pietism brought in. The more mindless the better. I can recall when I was young my sense of revulsion at those who ridiculed head knowledge of the Bible.

[Sandlin] Oh, yes.

[Rushdoony] What they had was a harsh knowledge. And I was only in my teens when I got enough nerve to challenge one man in his 20s on the subject. And oh, he was contemptuous of head knowledge. And everything was heart knowledge with him. And his heart knowledge didn’t go very far. All he knew from one end of the Bible to the other was a lot of key soul savers verses. And he was very angry with him when I told him that he was taking some verses out of context and said I had a damnable head knowledge which was going to lead me straight into hell.

I didn’t take kindly to it. I had nothing to do with that so and so after that.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] But this is the idiocy it led to. I can only recall vaguely, I am glad to say, some of the crazy stories I heard about how God had led this or that person in strange and marvelous ways. And I felt badly because I didn’t believe what they were saying. And here they were sweet saved souls.

After a while when I came to know one or two of them a little better, I began to realize they were vague on what truth is.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] Now, this kind of emotionalism really took over in the Church. And protestants and Catholics alike became gushy peoples so that as the romantic movement crept into the church and this type of Pietism was aggravated by Romanticism.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] ... the churches became feminine domains.

[Sandlin] That is right. [00:36:10]

[Rushdoony] The number of men who went to church began...[edit]

[Rushdoony] The number of men who went to church began to wane. There was a time in this country when people actually spoke of the three sexes, men, women and preachers. For a while there was actually spoken of as men, women and beechers, because of the prominence of the Beecher family. It did the faith no good.

Now one of the consequences was this. Because the emphasis of Pietism had shifted the religious center from God and the doctrines of the Word of God to man and his response, Emotionalism gave way in time to Rationalism and Rationalism meant Modernism.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] Well, the Pietist had been Modernists. They didn’t say we don’t believe in those portions of the Bible. All they would say is that they are not passages that speak to the heart, therefore they are not important. Well, if you eliminate a great deal of the Bible because it doesn't speak to the heart, you don’t have much of a Bible.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] And I submit that many Modernists have a bigger Bible than some of our Pietistic Dispensationalists.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] So out of this has come Modernism. And I am not the first person to say so. When I was young some excellent scholars had dealt with this and called attention to the very close relationship between the two.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] And it was not surprising, as one scholar pointed out—and I don’t recall his name now—because this goes back, I believe, to the 20s. And I was quite young when I read it, namely that Fundamentalism is given on the one hand in his services to a great deal of Emotionalism especially in those years and yet in its apologetics to Rationalism. [00:39:03]

[Sandlin] Yes, absolutely...[edit]

[Sandlin] Yes, absolutely.

[Rushdoony] And that is why the Arminian seminaries have very quickly gone modernist, because the collateral of this Emotionalism is Irrationalism.

[Sandlin] In each of those three that we are talking about—Perfectionism and Quietism and Pietism—Rush, there is a real diminution of the judicial aspects of the theology.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Sandlin] And a prime example is the doctrine of justification in soteriology and the substitution of the importance of regeneration which for these people means born againism. The only thing that is important for them is their decision that they made for Jesus. I think I mentioned before that I occasionally get letters from people with little gospel tracts saying, “Well, we heard that you never had a conversion experience.” And, of course, when they say conversion experience, you know what that means, one of their slinging mucous across the front of the church jumping and screaming sort of thing.

But like both of you here, I was, thank God, raised in a very Christian and a very godly home and taught the gospel from a youth. But for them the important thing is not the doctrine of justification or Christ perfect law keeping righteousness imputed to the account of the elect, but their own born again experience. It was, of course, popularized in the 70s by, of course, one of the presidents and ... and noted, very noted international evangelists who are constantly stressing born again. You hardly ever hear them talk about the doctrine of justification.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Sandlin] Justification by faith alone, because that is a judicial aspect of theology that is not related to man’s... not directly related to man’s response, as you were saying earlier, Rush. So man can’t take any credit for it. It has nothing to do with him.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Sandlin] And therefore it is just out of league.

[Rushdoony] Well, one of the key questions that Pietists cannot normally answer is: Why the cross?

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] Why the necessity of Christ dying on the cross? Because the law of God requires the death penalty on all sinners.

[Sandlin] Absolutely.

[Rushdoony] And no sinner can make an atonement for himself, because everything he does is tainted by his sin.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] It required the sacrifice of a sinless one, the sinless Lamb of God, a vicarious sacrifice dying in our stead to make atonement for our sins.

Now that doctrine of the atonement and the vicarious sacrifice and the necessity of the law because it is that which requires the death penalty upon is.

[Sandlin] Absolutely. [00:42:19]

[Rushdoony] It is gone...[edit]

[Rushdoony] It is gone. Christ died for us. How? Why? What was the meaning of it?

[Sandlin] Sure.

[Rushdoony] It is gone. And there have even been theologians who confess to believing the whole of the Bible, word for word, who say they don’t know what that meant, because they don’t believe the law.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] Therefore the cross is just a kind of emotional experience.

[Sandlin] Sentimentally, yes.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Sandlin] Well, they will often say the liberals and the evangelicals the cross is the greatest expression of the love of God. But they don’t understand that it is equally the greatest expression of the justice of God.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Sandlin] If God would not permit his own Son to escape from the law of God, from his own law, for a violation of the law, that is dying on behalf of... of us and our imputed sin to him, he obviously has a... has an impeccable view of his own law and that is just so lost, Rush, as you have wisely pointed out, so lost today. And that is why we have a very eviscerated sort of faith. We have cut the heart out of theology which is the atonement.

[Rushdoony] Well, we have to recognize that these movements which are very much with us have to be supplanted.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] ...by the whole Word of God, by the teaching of law and of doctrine. And this is a necessity, the pressing necessity in our time. We have sin defined for us in the New Testament in the first letter of John as the transgression of the law. Sin is also defined in 1 John in the Greek text where it is clear as anomia, anti law-ism. This is the heart of sin.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] The other word for sin, as I have pointed out on other occasions is hamartia, missing the mark. You and I as Christians can be guilty of hamartia, not of anomia if we are truly Christians, because instead of being anti law, we are pro law. We see it as the justice of God, the righteousness of God which must be fulfilled, put into practice in us and that is what Paul tells us, I believe in Romans 8:4, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us. [00:45:26]

[Sandlin] Rush, you know, you ...[edit]

[Sandlin] Rush, you know, you ... this... we have got to get back to the objective authority of the Bible, because there are so many people.... occasionally a minister will preach a very powerful message and, of course, he will go to the back of the church and some Antinomian church member will come out and say, “Well, pastor, God really didn’t speak to me in that verse today,” as though they have to have some special sort of revelation for the Word to be effective. But any time that the Word of God is preached, it speaks to people, because the Word of God has objective authority.

[Rushdoony] With assurance or conviction.

[Sandlin] Absolutely. But there is such... and Mark alluded to it earlier about... what did you read today? Well, the Holy Spirit spoke to me in this verse today and... and maybe he didn’t speak to me in this verse and I didn’t like this verse as much. And it... it is just... just really pious gush.

[Rushdoony] It is putting it on a very, very personal level when it should be seen on an objective level.

[Sandlin] Absolutely.

[Rushdoony] Here God speaks.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] And here man must listen. Not to sit in judgment on what God says or to say it blessed my soul this day. Maybe it didn’t.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] Maybe it brought conviction.

[Sandlin] Absolutely.

[Rushdoony] Maybe it brought a knowledge of the shallowness of their lives.

[Sandlin] Absolutely.

[M. Rushdoony] Well, not only is it presumptuous to presume that the Holy Spirit wants to speak to each Christian separately and that basically goes back to the ... the... the Quaker idea of the inner light, really. But it is also assuming that the Spirit is going to tell... the Spirit of God is going to tell us to do something different...

[Sandlin] Absolutely.

[M. Rushdoony] ... than God has already given us in his Word.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[M. Rushdoony] That there is somehow two versions of ... of what the deity wants.

[Sandlin] Yes. That is right. Well, Calvin is so powerful on that in the Institutes when he talks about the work of the Holy Spirit in the Word of God.

People say, “Well, I need the Holy Spirit so that it can understand the Bible.” Calvin said just the opposite. Get into the Word of God.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Sandlin] That is where the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is in the Word of God. He is not somewhere out abstract somewhere out here.

And Luther, despite the fact that he was far from perfect, understood that truth at least in principle, the declaration of the Word of God is what is important, the declaration of the Word. And these ministers, Rush, oh, I could go on and on about this, that a prostitute themselves with all these sort of pragmatic sermons, you know, please the congregation sermons. They have prostituted their calling when they don’t stand up and speak the infallible Word of God. [00:48:09]

[Rushdoony] Well, Perfectionism, in particular, has...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Well, Perfectionism, in particular, has a very powerful influence in this country. It did also in Germany, but its greatest source of influence was in the Wesleyan groups in the United States. They insisted that the works of righteousness were personal in the sense that they were no drinking, no smoking, no gambling, no dancing and so on and so forth. Now some of those may be practices to be avoided, maybe all of them, but the point is: You are dealing with trifles there essentially.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] You are not dealing with the fact of man’s rebellion against God.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] And his refusal to obey the law of God. You are saying: In your personal life you can be holier and purer if you don’t do these things ands you have got to come apart from the world. Don’t get involved too much in things including politics. Pull off to the side and do a lot of praying.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Separatism of an ungodly sort.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] We are told to separate ourselves from ungodly people within the Church and ungodly churches.

[Sandlin] Yes.

[Rushdoony] But not from the ungodly in the world, else must we needs go out of this world, Paul says. We are in the world to conquer the world.

[Sandlin] They want separation from responsibility, Rush. That is what they want.

[Rushdoony] Exactly. That is their idea of separation. Separation from responsibility.

Well, the American Christian Church has been in the past the most powerful single force in the world, the most powerful force in history. It created a world wide missionary movement in the last century which changed the face of the world. We are still coasting on some of the benefits of what the Christians of the last century and of pre World War... World War I era did. Since then we have been moving in the wrong direction. And we have not assumed a responsibility. We have stressed personal holiness to the exclusion of commanding men and nations with the holiness of God. And the result has been a growing irrelevance of the Christian Church in the world today. We have today a remarkable fact. More than 50 percent of all adults profess to be Bible believers and born again Christians. And never has the Church been less relevant to the world or to the United States. [00:52:00]

[Sandlin] That is right...[edit]

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] This is why I regard these movements as disasters that have virtually destroyed Protestantism. And there are some scholars who believe that Protestantism is a spent force, a matter of history, because it has become like the monks of Athos in the Middle Ages imitating Hindu mystics, contemplating their navel. The Eastern Orthodox Church actually condemned a prominent theologian for saying this navel contemplation was sinful. And that is still read in the... in the condemnation, the anathema in the Eastern Orthodox churches on a particular day every year.

Well, we have too many navel contemplators. They think the be all and end all of God and of his kingdom and of Christ and of his work is their peace of mind, their soul satisfaction. And they could not be more wrong.

It is frightening to realize how much we have gone astray.

Our time is nearly up. Do you have a final comment or two to make?

[Sandlin] One thing, Rush. What is so... a great irony, is so many of these people will damn Secularism, but they don’t realize it is their very policy of retreat that permits Secularism in the first place.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

Well, thank you all for listening and my especial thanks to Susan Clare Loeffel for a very important question. Thank you and God bless you all.