Restitution - Adultery - Psychology - RR190C6
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[Assistant] Alright, thank you very much. We will now receive some of the questions as they come in. The question here that I have in my hand: “Is it valid to apply thou shalt not kill in order to oppose capital punishment in view of the Lord saying “vengeance is mine I will repay” and “Mercy rejoices against judgment”
[Rushdoony] When God says thou shalt not kill, he means exactly that. We are never to kill except in obedience to his word. Now what does that include? It gives us the right, if someone breaks into our house at night, to kill him. God's law says so. So we are given the right of self-defense. It tells us that certain criminals are to be executed. God orders it. In those instances we are not doing the killing, we are doing his will, putting his law into force. Now when there is a war that is a war of defense, again God gives us the right to kill. So this is a blanket statement, thou shalt not kill. Not in terms of your standards. So we are not free to take life, except as God's law permits, and that's it; and God's law requires it at certain points. [tape indiscernible for a few seconds] …should die. God makes clear that he will exact judgment on the whole land. For example the law says. That if a man is found murdered out in the country between two towns, you shall calculate which town or city he is nearest. And that city has the obligation of trying to find the criminal. And if they cannot they must make restitution to God. Which will also involve of course something to the family of the person who has been murdered. So you see, God says even a murder where you cannot find the guilty party. You must make a restitution. That’s how seriously he takes his law. [00:03:32]
[Assistant] Next question, Oh you have a question?...
[Assistant] Next question, Oh you have a question?
[Man from crowd] Yes I just wanted to add to that when the woman was caught in adultery, and was cast at Jesus feet… [mic malfunctions] Jesus responded to that.
[Rushdoony] I’m glad you brought that up because [mic malfunction] one of those that is often misused and misunderstood. And if you don’t mind I’m going to take a little while to go over it. Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives, this is John 8:1-11.
“1Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
2And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”[00:06:17]
Now, you really have to understand the law, to understand...
Now, you really have to understand the law, to understand this passage. First of all we are told they were tempting him, they wanted to make him unpopular, the death penalty for adultery had not been applied for a long time. Adultery was becoming very common place. So they knew if Jesus said the death penalty applies, most of the people would be angry with him. If he said it does not apply they could say well he has claimed to be the one who has come to put the law into force, why isn’t he doing it? Think about this incident, the scribes and the Pharisees, what a crowd. Brought unto him a woman taken in adultery, and they say unto him: “Master this woman was taken in adultery in the very act.” That’s strange, maybe there is something I’m missing here but I always thought it took two people to commit adultery. Where was the man? Where was the man, why didn’t they bring him? So here you have a very interesting fact. You have some scribes and Pharisees, they've got a woman. But not the man and they come forward very self-righteously. “Now Moses and the law commanded us to such should be stoned, but what sayest thou? Are you one with Moses? Are you going to be that Primitive?” And our Lord paid no attention to them for some time, just doodling on the dust of the pavement there in the temple area, so they continued asking him. And he lifted up himself and said unto them, “Ye that is without sin among you let him first cast a stone at her.” Now that was the Law of Moses. A witness had to have clean hands. If you were guilty of a crime, you could not be a judge. You could not be a witness against the other. So he was telling them, you self-righteous people you dragged in this woman but not the man who probably one of their number or a friend of theirs. Now which of you is without sin in this matter? [00:09:54]
We’re all sinners...
We’re all sinners. But do we have the right to testify against someone when we are guilty of the same offense? No. Well he knew men, there was nothing in any man that he did not know, John tells us. And he knew these men and he scared them into silence. And when they heard it, being convicted by their own conscience of adultery, went out one by one beginning at the eldest even unto the last. Now that amuses me. Because here they were, the sanctimonious hypocrites yet they were maintaining formal etiquette. Which in those days was that the oldest man left a room or an area first. And no younger man left until the older, the next older and then so on down the line, left, was an act of great discourtesy. So what marvelous manners they displayed. [Laughing]
So they asked Jesus to be the judge, so Jesus is ready to judge. So as he lifted himself up and saw none but the woman, he said unto her. “Woman where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned the? Where are the witnesses?” No witness no crime. And she said “No man Lord.” and Jesus said unto her “Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more.” He knew she had sinned, but he also knew there was no one that could witness against her in all honesty and integrity. He didn’t set aside the law he upheld it. But he brought to life the hypocrisy of these people.
Now what I’m saying is nothing new, Dean Burgon more than a century ago wrote a book on this episode, and pointed out that it was carefully in terms of the law, in terms of every president that these Pharisees respected. And they respected the etiquette of an occasion, the oldest leaving first, for they were adulterers, every last one of them, and they knew that Jesus had something on them. They were scared and they left. Now that’s the story. It doesn’t set aside the law. Our Lord upholds it. But he also upholds due process as God ordains it.
[Audience member] so if there was an authentic witness there she would have been stoned?
[Rushdoony] Two witnesses are required.
[Audience member] err two.
[Rushdoony] Yes, it requires two. It can be circumstantial evidence; you see it doesn’t have to be a person. But two kinds of witness. Yes, this is why in the Bible, confession is not acceptable. When Achan confessed, not until they went to the tent and found that his report was true could they pass sentence against him.
[Audience member] So even today that law stands in the case of adultery.
[Audience member] In the face of two witnesses.
[Audience member] The death penalty then applies?
[Rushdoony] It does in the eyes of God. I’m glad you brought that point out cause that was a problem the really church had to deal with. They took very seriously the word of God. And they knew that a mother who had aborted her child and that an adulterer or adulteress should die. But they also knew that the church did not have the power of the death penalty, just the state. And the state was made up of adulteress Romans to whom adultery was fun and sport. [00:15:00]
So how did the early church deal with this? Well if...
So how did the early church deal with this? Well if the person were unrepentant they were excommunicated. But if they were repentant we find that what they said to them was, “Now in the eyes of God you are a dead man. You committed an offense which requires capital punishment, but since there is no Godly state to enforce that, we therefore declare you in effect dead, and we bar you from the communion table.”
Now in various parts of the early church, they had different rulings on this. Some said seven years was time of fullness and then you could take communion again. Others said ten, some said for life. But apart from that, they were treated as repentant brothers and sisters in Christ, who, while having deserved death in the sight of God were alive because there was no Godly state, and apart from that one bar, the Lords table, they served in whatever capacity the church wanted to use them in works of mercy. So that was the way they dealt with that problem.
They have a number of serious problems in the early church and they dealt with them with usually amazing wisdom. One of them for example was that the Romans knowing how the Christians felt about morality, liked to seize Christian virgins and put them in houses of prostitution. Or in other instances they just raped them. And this was a very serious problem to the church because it was so common. And they ruled that in the sight of God, these girls were virgins still, and had to be treated as such when they were rescued. [00:17:46]
So they wrestled with a number of problems you see...
So they wrestled with a number of problems you see, facing the fact that there was a Godless state out there that did not care anything about God's law. And the church was not given by God the right to the kind of enforcement that the state had. So in terms of that they worked out things, to make up for that. Another thing, the Romans were aware of the fact that the law specifies that priests and Levites are to be whole men. So they would take and routinely castrate the clergy. So the church councils met and they said we cannot consider that the law applies here because these men are not such as described in the law, but these were men who have suffered this for Christ’s sake. Therefore in the eyes of God we believe they are whole men. So there were a number of problems created by the persecutions and the evil condition of the Roman Empire where the church had to come to decisions like that.
[Assistant] We have today too, under our present government. In other words if the enforcement of the law can only come to pass in a completely Godly government. Under that type of government the citizens of that country would be Godly people. Like Singapore similar, they have a government that enforces certain laws and none of those ...there crime level is low there litter level is low.
[Rushdoony] To give you an example to the point you said and how true it is. The court calendars are so clogged with cases today, that many cases they won’t bother with. I know of an instance of a man who passes as a holier than thou Christian. Who has robbed Christians again and again, in one case approximately $10,000, in another case, far more. And when the police filed reports on it in the DA's office and the cases did nothing. So I called the district attorney office on one case. And they said: “Well we have a private calendar and we don’t think $10,000 is enough to bother with, when we have so many other important cases, and drug dealers and the like to deal with.” And I said: “Well how much does the DA feel a person has to steal before it becomes a crime?” And I got no answer. [00:21:30]
Now that’s our predicament today...
Now that’s our predicament today. And it imposes a terrible problem on the churches because very often these are thefts of church moneys. And these people know what the law is like today so they get away with it. So it’s a difficult problem, very difficult, and some men, one man who was robbed found that the man had gone from one city to another and robbed and each church and then moved on and nothing had been done. He said as far back as I could trace him he had a history of theft.
[Assistant] Another question here: “Do you think God is more concerned with our relationship with him or with conforming to Biblical law? “
[Rushdoony] Well when are in relationship to God we are faithful to his law. We not in a relationship to God if we commit adultery, lie, cheat, and steal. So you cannot separate the two. The person I mentioned who had stolen $10,000 from a church. Was he in relationship to God? He thinks he is a super Christian and he always has a good reason for his thefts, wherever he has been across the United States. So I could never say of such a man that he has a good relationship to God no matter how sanctimoniously he behaves.
[Assistant] You have a comment?
[Audience member] Its actually a question, you have referred in addressing your earlier question, to the fact that you said it was a perplexing thing to deal with people who committed adultery and warranted the penalty and if the restoration wasn’t complete they were barred from the Lords table. I was just thinking of that individual in 1 Corinthians who was excommunicated for a period of time, and most commentators would agree that in 2nd Corinthians 2 Paul is alluding to that instant. And the text indicating here that there were complete forgiveness and complete restoration given to that individual in 2nd Corinthians chapter 2:5 through 11 that in this sense doesn’t necessarily affirm what you were previously stating, I was wondering if you could address that.
[Rushdoony] Yes, now that was the situation in that text the early church dealt with this type of judgment they rendered, they had meetings of various pastors in different parts of the Roman empire to deal with that, and with the Corinthian text in front of them. Sometimes they felt that there could be restoration. [00:25:27]
But when they felt it was it a deliberate offense,...
But when they felt it was it a deliberate offense, here is a girl who has an abortion, and that’s a thought out thing; when an act of adultery is committed and it’s something that’s been going on and it’s not a sudden thing, they felt this is different from a new convert who has a false sense of Christian liberty as in the Corinthian situation. Corinth as I indicated earlier today was a city of incredible depravity, so it was with difficulty that they were made to understand what God requires of them. So when there was a teaching and where someone was clearly taught and knew that they were sinning, the early church regarded it as something that should bar them from the Lords table for a length of time. So as I indicated there was a variety of penalties and it was in terms of how new is the convert? How much did they understand? Had they gone into this sin with high hand? Had they tried to cover up a sin? Such as abortion on the quiet.
So you see they tried very earnestly and genuinely to consider all the factors that were involved, and they very definitely did take into account the Corinthian passage. And I suspect that this church and many other churches have to face like decisions from time to time and how to deal with sinners; that there is a difference say between someone who has been in the church for a long time, and someone who is a new convert and still does not know the whole of the Bible and hasn’t done more than begun what the faith is about. So that’s why there were such variations in the early church. [00:28:19]
[Assistant] This is a related question: “If the death penalty was in effect today and a Christian murdered someone and later repented and asked for forgiveness would they still have to take the death penalty?”
[Rushdoony] Yes, for example in Puritan New England there was a specific case in which the historian Edward Morgan, reprinted a large part. A Captain Morgan when drunk murdered someone. He was taken to court, he was sentenced to death. And then the judge instructed the ministers of Boston to call on him and make known to him the way of salvation. Even the governor called on him. The man was converted; he gave a marvelous testimony on the scaffold where he was hung. He said he deserved to die, but he was grateful to the pastors of the community for their prayers and their witness which had led to his salvation. And he knew that although his life here was ended and that he was paying the just penalty for his sin, that he would soon be with his Savior who had given him an eternal glory. Now that’s the way the church used to view it. We still have chaplains in prisons for that purpose. But a lot of them today are modernists who don’t do much good. [00:30:24]
[Assistant] This may be getting a little bit more complicate...
[Assistant] This may be getting a little bit more complicated but it’s on the same line: “With David committing adultery and murder, was it that his faith that saw the day of the cross the reason he wasn’t stoned? Or his covenant God made with him? Why didn’t he get stoned or executed?”
[Rushdoony] Yes, certainly David deserved death. And God forbade him to build a temple even though he had accumulated the wealth and the materials for it because he said you are a bloody man. But God has the privilege of setting aside the penalty that none of us have. We cannot do that. But God can. And God in his sovereign wisdom saw fit to spare David. Even though for a much lesser offense from a humanistic point of view, Saul and his line were set aside. But God is the law giver. He can do whatsoever he pleases. And our Lord at the conclusion of the gospel of John when he tells the disciples what shall happen to them, they’re upset; their attitude is: ‘Why him and why not me and why me and why not him?’ And the Lords attitude was, he was the Lord. They couldn’t question him. So we can question our own wisdom and we must, but not God's. Not the Lords.
And we remember what he put Peter through at that point for his betrayal. And in the Greek the meaning comes out. He said Simon son of Jonas lovest thou me? And the word he used was agape, which means with a selfless love like divine grace. And Peter's answer was: “Lord thou knowest that I love thee, (Phileo).” But an ordinary human love, a weak frail love, so the second time he said: “Simon son of Jonah, lovest though me more than these?” Because he had said: “All others make forsake you but I will not.” And he used the word Phileo. And Peter wouldn’t say any longer that “I’m going to stand when no one else did,” all he said was: “Lord thou knowest I love thee, with my weak frail human body.” So the third time it was simply: “Lovest thou me with this weak human love?” And then Peter was hurt, and he said, “Lord thou knowest I love thee, with all my frailty.” So you see our Lord and his wisdom made clear to his disciples that each of them he was going to deal with in his sovereign wisdom and they were not to say: “Why me and not him?” [00:35:00]
[Assistant] As far as I can see there were no witnesses...
[Assistant] As far as I can see there were no witnesses that would come forth and accuse David. There may have been witnesses but they would have a hard time coming against a sovereign, so he had no witnesses either.
[Rushdoony] Well there perhaps were witnesses in the palace, we don’t know.
[Audience] But they wouldn’t come again.
[Rushdoony] Yes. But at any rate God was the judge there and we were not, and this was God's decision and we can’t question God's decisions.
[Assistant] Next question: “Could you explain the Luke 16:16 please? The law and the prophets were until John. Luke 16:16. Since then the Kingdom of God is preached and men press into it.”
[Rushdoony] Yes, the law and the prophets, that is Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah. These were the persons who prevailed until John. And John was the fore runner. And John declared: “The kingdom of God is at hand, repent!” So all Judea was agog, they went out into the wilderness to hear him. Now here it’s hard enough to get people to come to church to hear us, but here the crowds go out to hear John the Baptist in the wilderness because this was sensational news. That the Messianic age apparently was beginning, the Messiah was about to come. Since that time, since John the kingdom of God is preached. And every man presseth into it. They were crowding around Christ, they wanted to be in the Kingdom, but on their terms, what did they do John tells us? They sought to seize him after the miracle of the loaves and fishes and make him king. “Good you’re the messiah now you be the messiah on our terms.” So this is what our Lord means.
[Assistant] Alright third question: “When asked how many times we should forgive our brothers for sinning against us Jesus said 70 times 7, he didn’t say to stone him or penalize him according to the law. Is there a paradox there? How do we forgive and forget. We are to become like Jesus and he forgives and forgets and at the same time keep the Law with his penalties.”
[Rushdoony] I’m glad that question was asked, I’m very glad; because it points out a very important fact to the understanding of the Bible. For us words now have become emotional and personal in content, so that we miss the Biblical meaning; I called attention to our word peace, no problems in our meaning today. But in the Bible it means restitution, recompense. Now there’s the difference. Now what’s the word forgive in the Old and New Testament? It has two meanings. Charges dropped because satisfaction has been rendered. It’s a legal term. It has reference to Gods court of law. We don’t say to someone “Okay stop bothering me, I forgive you.” No. We don’t have that prerogative, forgiveness is a theological thing. We must forgive on God's terms. Satisfaction is to be rendered restitution is to be made.
Now the one exception to that is that on certain occasions it could mean charges dropped for the time being. We have only one such usage according to the Dr.(Skildar?) of that in the New Testament, the word on the cross: “Father forgive them, (these Roman soldiers,) for they know not what they do.” Defer the charges for the time being. So if your brother offends against you and he makes restitution, seventy times seven you should forgive him although it’s a little annoying of course. But the key is there forgiveness involves restitution. You see we don’t forgive in terms of how I feel or you feel. But in terms of God. That’s the basic premise of forgiveness. Charges dropped because satisfaction has been rendered, and for us the charges in the sight of God have been dropped because satisfaction has been rendered through the blood of Jesus Christ. So when the Bible says that our sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ, it means the charges against us the death penalty against us is dropped because Christ paid the price. He made the atonement. [00:41:24]
Well seventy times seven...
Well seventy times seven. That’s pretty hard, but as long as there is a readiness to make atonement to our neighbor. You see the atonement is two ways, it is between man and God and it is between man and man. To make satisfaction, to make reparation, or restitution. Then you forgive. I don’t think your brother would sin against you seventy times seven if he has to pay the price each time.
[Assistant] Maybe this will fit in this dialogue we are having here: “What about Judge not that thou be not judged.”
[Rushdoony] Yes, and our Lord also says which is rarely quoted, judge righteous judgement. So what does our Lord say: “Don’t judge by your standards. Don’t look at the person’s looks or his dress or the length of his nose or any other personal thing. Judge not lest ye be judged, for with what measure ye meet out it shall be measured unto you again.” So if you’re going to use these personal standards those personal standards can be a prod against you; but judge righteous judgment, in terms of Gods judgment.
[Assistant] I guess the Bible also says :“He that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” Such a fitting scripture. “You mentioned psychology and its influence on Christianity could you comment on that? “ As a matter of fact there were two questions on that. Commenting on the psychologizing of Christianity, and its effect.
[Rushdoony] Well psychology is literally the doctrine of the soul. Psyche, or soul, ology, or logos; the word or the theology of the soul. It was once a branch of theology, the doctrine of man. But it has become totally humanistic and man is seen as an animal that has evolved. As a result psychology today is an enemy of Christ and an enemy of everything the church holds. It is trying to replace God's law, and increasingly our courts are resorting to psychologists, to rule on whether a man can be tried or not. Well all unbelief is insanity, to believe that the world came out of nothing is not only a violation of science, evolution also violates the law that there can be no spontaneous generation, and so on and on; and they substitute eons of time for God. As though given enough time these accidents could take place. (Burgeon Russle?) said that: “If you had a million monkeys typing away on a million [Tape skips] produce everything is rubbish. Well if you’re going to replace God with chance which is what the non-Christian does, then your psychology is not going to see man as responsible for his acts. And you remove the foundation of all law. [00:46:12]
Then you replace law with counseling and psychiatric...
Then you replace law with counseling and psychiatric treatment which doesn’t do any good, because Sigmund Freud himself said that what psychoanalysts can do is not to cure, (he said) in a letter to the mother of a homosexual young man: “We cannot promise to cure anyone, there are no cures.” The idea of curing implies there’s a standard of what is normal and what is not. But he said: “What we can do is to help your son understand why he does what he does.” Well that’s all the psychology and psychiatry pretend to do. To make the criminal understand why he does what he does. And when he understands it, he’s released. So is it any wonder why he goes on committing the same crimes?
And now we have ministers who are using psychology in the church and in the pulpit. In fact there are more books on psychology sold to ministers across the United States than books of theology. I think that’s terrible and it explains why the church is in the trouble it is. I wrote against psychological counseling by pastors in the Chalcedon report. And it got passed around among psychologists and I really heard from them, didn’t bother me though. [laughing]
[Assistant] Right, there's another question here that is put this way: “One question used to repute Christian reconstruction and reconstructions view of the law is the question dealing with Old Testament law in regards to a reprobate son who causes his parents, or assaults them, being put to death.” What is your response in other words to the death penalty to rebellious kinds?
[Rushdoony] Yes, first I believe it’s God's law, period. Second, most people will say in regard to that “Oh you believe in stoning the little children!” well that’s ridiculous, that’s not what it’s about. In fact it speaks of a rebellious son. Incidentally in the New Testament the word children applies to anyone under thirty, our Lord calls his disciples little children. They were grown men, married men. Now, what that Law of Deuteronomy specifies is that the habitual criminal is to be put to death. [00:50:00]
And the family is to side with the Lord rather than...
And the family is to side with the Lord rather than with their blood, with faith, rather than blood. Now that law has been very, very deeply imbedded in the law of the western world, and until 1972 was on the books on some states of the United States and before World War 2 prevailed in virtually every state. Now the states varied on the application of it. But the variation was this, whether it was the third or fourth conviction that established whether a man was a habitual criminal; in which case he was executed, even if the theft were only a twenty dollar theft, but he had established by a pattern of crime that he was a habitual criminal and set in his ways and there for he paid the death penalty. When I grew up no one thought that was anything but good sense. And those who knew where it came from in God's law took it for granted that it should be obeyed. But it has reference to an incorrigible delinquent or criminal.
Now that we have made that law no longer binding by Supreme Court action in 1972, we have a growing problem of more and more crime and more and more habitual criminals. And the average murderer now gets less than six years in the United States, which means he’s out to commit another crime, and there are rapists who are out in a few months and rape again and again and again and nothing is done about it.
[Assistant] How do you feel this would affect the economy if this was enforced?
[Rushdoony] I've never thought of it from the perspective of the economy, but think of the savings in the care of these people in prison. I don’t know what it costs you here but it’s an excess of 45 thousand a year to keep a man in prison in California and across the United States. An excess of 45 thousand! Now most of us don’t make that kind of money and were paying for these prisoners? And now we find out that they can see X rated movies to keep them happy because that’s what they love. So good any savings that could come from eliminating them, that would be welcome. It would lower our taxes.
[Assistant] Some years ago it was reported here that it was 50 thousand dollars, estimated when you consider court costs it was over 50 thousand over 10 years ago.
[Rushdoony] Well I imagine if we figured in court costs it would be well over 50 thousand in the States.
[Man from crowd] There is a study that I read where their controversy dealt with you know should you, you know the idea of the parole board, should they let them out because it costs 40 thousand a year to keep them in. As opposed to even execution, might as well just let them out cause it costs as much to keep them in. They actually proved in this study that the result of letting them out to steal and to kill again cost up to 10 times as much in other words 400 thousand a year per. [00:54:32]
[Rushdoony] Thank you, that’s a very important comment...
[Rushdoony] Thank you, that’s a very important comment. Very important. I know of one case where a very godly woman was subjected the most brutal rape imaginable. It took her almost 2 years to get the court to act on it. Endless pressure, and now he’s going to be out. He’s only been in since some time last fall, by the end of the year. And he’s very, very determined to get even with her. Now, surely God's curse is on a society which allows such things to happen.
[Assistant] Another question here: “There are many end time doctrines which promote that humanism or the world order will greatly restrict the church or cause, or cause it to isolate ourselves till His coming, many say we will go through a great tribulation. What is the reconstructionist stand on this?” Number two and this is along the same line, “Does natural Israel act as a time piece for the church and are we to look to Israel with respect to what is spoken in scripture to there?”
[Rushdoony] Well to begin with the latter part, national Israel has no place in God's plan except insofar as it returns to Christ. And I believe in the fullness of time they with all others will be brought into the kingdom. But no one comes in apart from Christ; no one has any place in God's kingdom apart from Christ. I think it is a very sad thing that many people act as though there is a special place for the Jews just because of blood. Rather than grace. [00:57:23]
Well, humanism is restricting the church today...
Well, humanism is restricting the church today. In many countries it is a very serious matter. We live in areas, particularly in Canada and the United States, where the church has a greater freedom than it does in most of the world. The anti-Christianity in Europe towards state churches, they have state churches so they have Christianity as the established religion. But they are using that facade to destroy the churches. In some and, well I’ll name one country and this is not unique, things like this are being done in a number of them. In one country in the continent everyone has to pay a 6% tax which goes to the church. And this is how all beautiful ancient churches are kept open. But if you join the church you pay a 12% tax. Which means you don’t join. You don’t join. In one country because it’s a state church, every citizen can vote in all the church elections. Which means in that particular country which is supposedly a part of the free world, the Marxists control most of the churches. So that it is rare for a Christian to be an officer in any of the churches in that particular country.
So you don’t have to wait for the future for restrictions to be placed upon the Church. Those restrictions are already here in many countries. And these countries are horrified by what is happening in the United States, and in Canada, with the reconstruction movement and the charismatic movement and the fact that these things are cropping up in their countries. They feel that these are things that need to be stamped out. So they’re very, very angry and upset. So we may face intense persecution precisely because life is returning to the dry bones of the Church. [01:00:35]
[Assistant] Next: “What is justice in Biblical terms for the multitude of ministers falling into moral sin today? When is restitution sought by means other than death, where is the line drawn? Is there a line?”
[Rushdoony] Well Peter tells us that judgment begins at the house of God. So we must say that we in the church have a duty to keep a clean house, precisely because we bear the name of Christ. The sins in the church are far more offensive to God then those of the world. So God's judgment is going to begin in his house. Think of the Churches today and the abominations they practice. I read a little before I came here, earlier this week, of a Presbyterian church in Rochester, which has called a woman as a pastor who is a lesbian. And this is not altogether unique. There are other instances of it. Now that sickens us. How do you imagine God feels about it, and what his judgment is going to be? Judgment begins at the house of God. Therefore we especially need to keep our houses in order, because we want his blessing not his judgment. [01:02:49]
[Assistant] “It seems that our justice provides anything...
[Assistant] “It seems that our justice provides anything but swift and sure penalties. Are we to believe that swift and sure sentences are the Biblical model? Our North American justice system leniency seems to permeate even in our churches. What would the Biblical position be? How do we balance leniency and harshness, harshness per Singapore? Which of these two options are more preferable? To preach at people first and foremost or to genuinely serve their human needs first? Is there another more preferable way?”
[Rushdoony] First of all the problem with our courts today is not that, well, the kind of decisions and court hearings that are made deal with technicalities, and appeals are on technicalities, and cases are reversed by superior courts and the supreme court, not in terms of was the man innocent or guilty, but what were the technicalities? Did the court clerk make an error? Did the judge say something in error? These can be trifles of ridiculous character. But cases are reversed 5, 10, 15 years after a decision on these trifles. All of which have nothing to do with the merits of the case; was the man innocent or was he guilty? [01:05:00]
So what we have done is replaced justice in the courts...
So what we have done is replaced justice in the courts with form. Formalism. And that’s evil, that’s Phariseeism. The Pharisees were the ones who debated on whether or not a man could walk so many yards on the Sabbath without breaking the law. And one question they never did resolve, what about an egg a chicken laid on the Sabbath, could that be eaten? Or what if he laid it the day after the Sabbath? Hadn't he labored over it? Or she rather [laughing] during the Sabbath. They created problems that they debated about endlessly, and our courts have become like the Pharisees. They spend all their time quibbling over trifles. So it is no wonder justice is not done, Singapore has proven that justice can be accomplished a couple weeks. There is no reason why it couldn’t be here, it used to be that way once. But we’ve put the emphasis on technicalities. And the result is devastating. Was there more to that question? I don’t remember all of it.
[Assistant] I think that pretty well answered it. Next, “Could you give a definition of grace?”
[Rushdoony] Grace is the free unmerited unearned favor, love and mercy of God. We contribute nothing to it. It is his sovereign gift to us. It is a power which when it is given to us, makes us a new creation; so that all things are made new, the old passes away. We are a new creation. It is not our doing. It is often a source of amazement to many people. I have had people tell me laughing: “I’m the last person I ever thought would be a Christian. If you had known me before, you would have thought that a character like myself would certainly be hell bound, and I was. And it was nothing I did; it was God who did it.”
So grace is the unmerited mercy and favor of God. It’s both mercy and favor, because he takes us into his household. Now, there is a very interesting point here. In ancient royalty in antiquity in Bible times on record there were no hereditary noblemen. A nobleman was created by the grace of the king or the emperor. And the word in the Greek, as well as in the Hebrew for friend can also mean prince. And when our Lord says “Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I tell you,” and when he calls them “friends” in John at the Last Supper, he is using the word that means prince, because if you are the friend of a king you are a prince. It’s the same word that is used in the Septuagint or Esther 1:18 when it speaks of the princes around Ahasuerus. They were his friends. And if you become the friend of a king you are immediately in the Biblical sense a prince. That makes you a member of the royal household. [01:10:13]
So what are two of the consequences of being a prince...
So what are two of the consequences of being a prince, a friend of the king? You eat at his table, the Lords table. And you put on garment he gives you. Remember the parable of the wedding feast, and the man who came in his own garments, his own righteousness and would not put on the kings garments. He was thrown out because he refused to be a friend, a prince of grace. So when our Lord calls us his friends he is saying “You’re princes by my grace. We are members of the royal family of all creation.” A marvelous fact.
[Assistant] this morning you referred to that, you mentioned that the Islamic religion was raised up to confront humanism from the west. You believe Islam is the major enemy of Christ? Does Islam have its origin in hell?
[Rushdoony] Islam is an anti-Christian religion. I believe it’s a very evil religion. Mohammad, who had a smattering of knowledge of the Old Testament and of the New claimed that he was the greater prophet or the great prophet predicted by Moses, and that Christ was the forerunner of himself. So in a sense he had to validate both Moses and Christ, but he refused to recognize either Judaism or Christianity because of their rival claims to be the true religion. So he was also very hostile and Islam has been very brutal in its treatment of Christians. It is a false faith. I know the Koran. There is nothing beautiful or noble about it. [01:12:52]
[Assistant] Another one here...
[Assistant] Another one here: “Royal law states love they neighbor as ourselves, Modern thought is we don’t love ourselves yet. What is the Biblical response to this thought? That breaking the law is because we don’t love ourselves?”
[Rushdoony] Well that’s psychological clap trap. I would be willing to admit that because the sinner does not love God he doesn’t love anything including himself. He’s at war with God, he’s at war with man and he has an inner warfare with himself. But we as the sons of God manifest something different. Now there is a point here which our Lord refers to in more ways than one when he says “give full measure heaped up and running over.” And when he tells us to give to him that ask of them and so on. What he was referring to was the royal virtue. Now royalty commands a great treasury. And therefore kings could give generously and so our Lord commands us to be generous, to give freely, because we are princes of the royal house. And we are not to act like poor peasants. And so he commends the widow’s mite. She was the daughter of the king. The royal virtue means, a readiness to give to the Lords work, a failure to follow the niggardly ways of most people. We act like royalty, true royalty, the royalty of Christ. [01:15:48]
[Assistant] “Rahab lied and commanded as a rehab lied...
[Assistant] “Rahab lied and commanded as a rehab lied, she lied, no she didn’t lie people around her did. (He’s having some trouble reading the question) Was commanded as a woman of faith, people have hidden persecuted people from men that wanted to kill them, is it okay to lie or to withhold the truth when it is for God.”
[Rushdoony] We owe the truth to God and to courts of justice and to Godly men. We do not owe it to anyone who is going to use it to do evil. I had a minister say to me in his wifes presence, and his ministry was a mess from beginning to end, and this was during the time of the time of the watts riots, that if a man broke into the house and demanded to know where his wife was hiding, in a very secret place. He would have to tell them the truth, and allow her to be raped. Now I don’t think that’s Godly. We don’t owe the truth to men who are out to do evil. In Psalm 51 it tells us that we consent to theft if we stand by and see it done or allow it to be done. We are partakers of the crime. The truth is to promote the work of God and his kingdom, to promote justice. We don’t tell the truth to help evil doers.
Now that was once a truism, but now-a-days there are some people that are going to be holier than God. They’re going to make Rehab somehow to have been wrong and God meant something else when he said what he did about Rehab or the midwives in Egypt. Now I just don’t understand that. [01:18:13]
[Audience Member] Further to that question, this is...
[Audience Member] Further to that question, this is something that has bothered me and a number of parents, we have a very active social services, and the possibility of them coming in and apprehending our children because they don’t agree with us disciplining them with the rod or something, if they were asking us questions like how we discipline them are we in this case using that principle to justify not telling them the truth then?
[Rushdoony] A very good question. And I know of an actual case, where one man in the ministry was accused of spanking a child. And the police came to take away the children and the wife said: “Oh of course I don’t agree with my husband on this, and I’m against it.” Whereas she did more spanking actually than he did, otherwise the children would have been taken from her. And she told me “I saved my children from evil homes because in my community the foster homes are uniformly terrible places. And that’s where my children would have been placed.” and she said: ”I knew that social worker and what an ungodly and immoral woman she was, I didn’t owe her the truth. And I saved my children.” [01:20:14]
[Assistant] Another one is...
[Assistant] Another one is: “Many missionaries believe that in order for the Lord to return that every kindred, every tongue, every nation must be evangelized for Christ. Do you feel that this is a prerequisite to his coming, if so is there other signs of scripture pointing to his imminent coming?”
[Rushdoony] Well I would agree with those missionaries but I would say that doesn’t mean when they are all evangelized and converted that the end will come pronto. It can be a long, long time thereafter. But before the end all peoples, tribes, tongues and nations I believe will be in the kingdom.
[Assistant] Another one, back to the Great Commission here: “Can you please explain how an individual should be approached and brought to an experience of salvation, please include your understandings between belief and faith. And the free will of man and the sovereignty of God in accordance to evangelism. I think maybe we have covered that.
[Rushdoony] Well it’s still a good question and important to go over. For this reason: I don’t believe there is a standard form of witnessing to people. I think that it becomes artificial if we work out a formula. We pray, and God provides the opportunities and then we use the opportunities. And it can be in very, very different ways. The difference between belief and faith is a very real one. We are told in scripture that the devils in hell believe and tremble. But they’re not saved and they don’t have a saving faith. I can believe in something but if I don’t act on it I don’t have faith. And I have had more than one person who has become converted say: “I always believed in the Bible and Jesus Christ. I knew it was true, but I didn’t have faith, I didn’t act or live in terms of it.” [01:23:04]
Now, a saving faith is something in terms of which...
Now, a saving faith is something in terms of which your life is governed. I can believe in the theorems of Euclid but I don’t live in terms of them. I just accept them. I believe in the law of gravity, but I don’t govern my life in terms of it. It is anything of any consequence to my day by day living. Faith is something in terms of which our whole life is governed. So that it is more than our breath. It is that which governs the totality of our being.
[Assistant] Alright I think we are going to have to conclude quickly, but I think we will include just one more question. “In regards to dominion and contrasting environmentalism, do you think that management of all other life is or is not the beginning of the erosion of God's law, for if man attempts to control and regulate all other life where is the line to be drawn pertaining to euthanasia, genetic cloning, attempts to eliminate imperfect man through humanistic statism, truly we are on the path of the fall of civilizations as we have begun to control our own population, abortion, birth control. Please expound on regenerated men and faithfulness to Gods law alone through the commission mandate and dominion through Christ in relationship to all of these items.”
[Rushdoony] Well that’s a very fine question but a big order for a few minutes. Let me say this. Men today are playing God with the environment. They really feel that not God but they alone can manage the world around us. And they believe that they and the animals they seek to protect are more important than human beings. We have a problem in California up in the mountains where I live, we have lot of mountain lions. Now where we are mountain lions have a territory of about 5 miles, he requires 25 deer a year and a lot of smaller game to live. When they mate as soon as the cubs are big enough they are driven out by the mother. They must find their own territory. But in a number of parts in the states, in Montana for example and California there are so many of them that they have to move out of the mountains. On the farm lands there aren’t enough animals for them to live off of so they head for the cities where there are cats and dogs and human beings.
What they will not publicize is the fact for example in Sacramento our state capitol, a city of maybe half a million with the suburbs; they have caught several young mountain lion on the university campus grounds. One person I am told has been seriously mauled by a mountain lion. One of our staff members has told me this is true also in Montana and a person has been seriously injured there. Before long at the rate the mountain lions are increasing, they are going to be killing and eating people in the cities. Meanwhile they are releasing wolves who are fearful predators and man killers. And I believe they are releasing them in places they won’t tell us about. They are already a problem in some parts of the state, to cattleman and especially sheep men.
Where we live we have so many deer because hunting licenses have been made so expensive its prohibitive, and at the time when it is hunting season, people go into the woods with cowbells to drive away the deer so the hunters won’t get them, that last year we did not get any fruit whatsoever from our trees, because the deer ate them all. There would be groups of them the yard during the day time several times a day. And they were getting to be so they were hard to drive off they were so sure of themselves. Now with the German shepherd we keep them away. But now the bear are increasing up in the national forest and two or three have been sighted in our area. They too because of over population and no hunting are moving down. [Tape ends] [01:29:05]