Which Reconstruction Movement - RR190A2
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…was reared in a Swedenborgian family, so they were not Christian. But his father believed in the value of memorization. So they were required to memorize a Bible verse every week, and were drilled on it. And William James at one point in one of his writings recounts the impact of this on him. Now he was never a believer, but he said at one point of his life he was on the verge of suicide. He saw the futility of all existence, the meaningless of everything, and so he was about to blow his brains out. It was one evening late at night, and he said just as he was about to do so out of his being welled a text that he had memorized as a child. “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” and suddenly he felt a sense of deep peace. Went to bed, slept and never thought of suicide again. Wasn't converted, but that’s the impact it had on him.
Now I use that story to lead up to a point. In the 1820s all the schools in the United States were Christian. The child was brought up in the school on catechism as well as on the Bible. He had a very thorough grounding in it. It took some years for the effect of that teaching to wear out, to wear off. So that the average age of criminals in the 1820s was 46. By the 1960’s it was 19. In other words with no Christian training they were no sooner out of school than in jail. And they were dangerous, not pragmatic criminals like those of a century and a half before. So the Christian training has its impact. It gives the child a basic grounding, so that even if he strays he will come back to it. The sad fact is that too many now who are converted in their more mature years, don’t have the discipline. Some few years’ back I met a young man who had gotten through school because he was so good at basketball, he was very tall, and an excellent player, went to college, came out, he may have played a little pro football but he was basically shiftless so, it was easy to see if he did, I’ve forgotten now, he didn’t last long. He could not read nor right, so when he was converted in his thirties the pastor sat him down to teach him how to read so he could read the Bible. But he didn’t have a basic discipline, and at that age he never did go very far, because he lacked the discipline of a Christian family background and of a Christian schooling and of the word of God. [00:05:00]
So even if the child of a Christian family stray they...
So even if the child of a Christian family stray they have a basic discipline so that when they come back they have a strength; they can be an asset for the lord. This man was a basket case, converted but a basket case.
[Audience] May I ask a question Mr. Rushdoony?
[Audience] What have you got to say in terms of martyrdom, today you brought that up in your talk here that at certain times in history people really suffered for their faith. What do you see happening now; do you see martyrdom persecution, this sort of thing, in the winds?
[Rushdoony] Oh yes, already today one missionary agency pointed out, and I don’t have the data. I should have saved the report, an average of 300 people are martyred for the faith somewhere in the world every day, every day. So we are living in a time of martyrs. Now the root of the word martyr is witness. And it means that for the witness of the faith we are persecuted and/or are killed. I think the martyrdom that Christians are going to face in this decade in various parts of the world, and we probably won’t hear about, it will be severe. And there is a reason for it. The Christian faith is on the march again. There was no persecution of Christian schools or homeschoolers in the United States in the 1960s, because they were a minor thing. In 1969 the number of Americans who professed to be born again Christians believing the Bible from cover to cover were 40 million. 20 years later in 1989 91 million, more than double. And the number of homeschoolers and Christian school children now number roughly 40% of the school population in the United States.
Now can you understand why their court cases and trials and why some are imprisoned. I’ve been in court after court as a witness for homeschoolers and Christian schools and churches. Of course the new mode of attack is a vouchers plan. For example in California $2500 is given to every child to be used at the school of their choice. That sounds wonderful, and a lot of Christians are suddenly 100% in favor of it. But the hook is this, where ever a state, city, county or federal funds go controls must go. And it will be used to wipe out the Christian character. They cannot kill the movement any other way, they can see it perhaps numbering more than 50% by the end of this decade and they want to kill it, by controlling it. They are especially afraid because now so many black Christian schools are being established. What has happened is that the black community is seeing its children turn into hoodlums of who the parents are afraid. With good reason. So black churches are starting Christian schools. If you have a VCR, Chalcedon has an excellent by a reconstructionist or rather about a black reconstructionist which we filmed. Go get your set, send 16 dollars to the office or 16.50 I forget which and it will be sent to you. It’s a half hour film or perhaps a little longer. This Church of God pastor, bishop McKinney. Describing what his church does. They’re a Christian school , they’re a day care. Feeding the hungry on the streets, they’re block busters who work on the streets with the dope pushers, the drug addicts, the street prostitutes. [00:11:00]
Now that church has been cited by the San Diego city...
Now that church has been cited by the San Diego city council, a group of unbelievers for their impact on improving law and order. Saving the city money, and policing the area around that church. Because of the way they’ve gone out and warned people. The difference they’ve made through their Christian school. Well more and more blacks are moving into Christian schools. Which upsets the public educators greatly. And this is one reason for the voucher plan. But some remarkable things are happening. The Christian church is on the march the world over. And there for it is going to be attacked and persecuted the world over.
[Assistant] …reconstruction movement, there will be questions then after this period at about 11:55. [00:12:30]
[Rushdoony] There is always some kind of reconstruction...
[Rushdoony] There is always some kind of reconstruction movement underway as men of one faith or another seek to re order society in the world in terms of their faith. The only question is, whom do we want reordering, reconstructing the world? Christ or the enemies of Christ? All around us we see a drive today to create a one world humanistic order based increasingly on the worship of nature, of mother earth and Gaia. Both President Bush and Gorbachev last year spoke of a new world order. The same term that Hitler used not too many years ago.
But this worship of nature ironically is turning against man. As Robert Whelan has pointed out it works against human fertility, it is pro-abortion and pro-euthinization. According to Whelan, C.M. Chipiola wrote in the Economic History of World Population “A biologist said he had the impression of being in the presence of a growth curve of a microbe population and a body suddenly stricken by some infectious disease. The (Vasilas?) man is taking over the world.” The greens took this revolting view of humanity as a disease and ran with it. According to the Gaia atlas humanity is becoming a super malignancy on the face of the planet, spreading with insidious effect and (plumenting?) ultimate crisis. Green propaganda is full of the most negative images of human beings. We are always the destroyers, the polluters, the exploiters. The conclusion sometimes implied and sometimes stated is that “the world would be a better place if we got out of the way and left it to plants and animals.” end quote. There was something yesterday in the local paper which virtually said the same thing. As Lew Rockwell has pointed out “earth first” a radical environmental group given to spiking trees to maim loggers. Vandalizing road building machinery and wrecking rural air strips, has as one of its goals, cutting the world population by 90%. And has welcomed AIDS as a help. Humanism has ended as the enemy of man. [00:15:55]
And is in pursuit of the death of man...
And is in pursuit of the death of man. Its great premise is Genesis 3:5 that every man is his own god, knowing and determining for himself what is good and evil, right or wrong, law and morality. The separation from God always is death. As Solomon tells us for speaking wisdom, speaking wisdom through Solomon, “for who so findeth me findeth life and shall obtain favor of the Lord, but he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul. All they that hate me, love death.”
We live in a culture consumed by the love of death. It works to re order all things in terms of its death wish. It refuses to execute murderers, but it kills unborn babies by the millions. We are in the midst of a worldwide reconstruction movement which seeks to re order all things in terms of its will to death. Sigmund Freud held that as we would say in fallen man, the will to death is stronger than the will to live. As Christians we must stand against the death bound word with the world, with the word of life, Jesus Christ. We are plainly told for God so loved the world. That he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth on him shall not parish but have ever lasting life. He that believeth on the son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. Christian reconstruction begins with our regeneration, being made a new creation by the renewed image of God in us. [00:18:31]
At this point we must call attention to an important...
At this point we must call attention to an important fact. It is often been observed that armies march and die because of the ideas of long dead unknown to the soldiers. In the same way churches often strongly under the influence of forgotten men, follow wrong paths. One such person was (Herman Frederic Colbroogy?) who’s dates are 1803 through 1875, who’s church background was both Lutheran and reformed. More important, he was one of several thinkers who set forth historical and heretical views of sanctification in the 19th century. Views that are still influential today. Some in the holiness tradition held that with conversion there was instant and fully perfect sanctification so that no growth was necessary. We still have this view in the holiness churches, and also beyond their boundaries. In origin this doctrine grew out of Arminianism. (Culbroogianism?) grew out of Lutheran and reformed circles. Its doctrine was that just as regeneration was an act once and for all accomplished, so too was sanctification. The measure of sanctification given to us at the moment of our conversion was the limit of our holiness until death. It was there for like the holiness movement, a no growth doctrine. For as the holiness churches claimed perfection as they often wallowed in sin. [00:20:55]
The (Colbroogians?) wallowed in complacency in their no growth doctrine. Both these doctrines came out of seventeenth century pietism. The emphasis of pietism was not on obedience to the law of God as the means of sanctification, but on spiritual and devotional exorcizes. It was a return to the late medieval pietism with its pilgrimages devotional manuals and various groups given over to spiritual exercises and retreats. The Jesuits became masters of this after the counter-reformation. Curiously many of the holiness groups borrowed words from these groups. Pre-reformation and they will call their meetings retreats. And they are in more ways than one too often retreats, because they are concerned with a spirituality abstracted from applying the faith to everyday life.
Many of these are really adaptations of old medieval movements. For example the Cult of the Sacred Heart, was still influential when I was a boy. The Moravian practices went far beyond anything any Roman Catholic group did in their exercises and in their excess of emotional substitutes for simple faith and obedience. No honest history is not written of the Moravians in the early years. What these movements have done is to leave the church with an evil heritage. A neglect of both faith and law, of doctrine, of biblical instruction, in favor of pious gush and emotionalism. Thus while the churches have grown numerically in the United States in a phenomenal way, the decline of Christian influence on American life at the same time has been a great one. In some areas more like a collapse. [00:24:04]
What we have seen as a result in one country after...
What we have seen as a result in one country after another is an ungodly, ungodly and evil reconstruction of society by the enemies of Christ. We must say to both the world and the church in Isaiah’s words: “Wherefore hear the word of the Lord ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem, because ye have said we have made a covenant with death and with hell are we at agreement. When the overflowing scourge shall pass through it shall not come unto us, for we have made lies our refuge and under falsehood have we hid ourselves. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.”
Neither shall modern man’s covenant with death and hell stand. God has his sovereign purpose for this world and for mankind. It is set forth in Jesus Christ, who is the first fruit of the new creation. We are now members of the new creation, a part of the new creation. He shall put down, Paul says. All rule and all authority, and all power for he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. Only after Christ is fully in power through us over all the earth will he return and then the last enemy, death shall be forever destroyed. We therefore have a calling to put all things under Christ. [00:27:05]
That is what Christian reconstruction means...
That is what Christian reconstruction means. Christ must reign, and the means of rule in any country, whether a family, a church, an association, a company or a country is law. Law provides the rules for living. This is the first and basic aspect of law. But it sets forth the required way of conduct. The rules for living in community and there is no community unless there is first of all a common faith. Law is there for always a religious fact. It sets forth a groups belief in what is ultimately right and wrong. Paul Tillich who I agree with on nothing except this, defined religion as ultimate concern. Whatever is your ultimate concern is your religion. So there are many people in the church who are not Christians because while they have come to church to get prior life insurance from Jesus, he and his word are not their ultimate concern. An insurance policy is not something you live by; it’s something you put away in the drawer. I recall one theologian shortly after the war saying the great danger of the coming years was that most people were beginning to regard Jesus Christ like a spare tire. You keep the spare tire in the trunk, you don’t want to go out on the road without it, but you don’t want to see it. And he said many people treat Christ that way. [00:29:35]
Well law is the standard by which man lives, by which...
Well law is the standard by which man lives, by which man must live. Without law a group can function only on the most primitive level, struggling for the barest survival. There can be no community without law. If all men are a law unto themselves then we have anarchy, not community. The basic ingredient of a community is a common faith and law. As humanism has broken down Christian community it has seen a progressive rise of lawlessness and disorder, because it has not been able to provide an authoritarian faith and law. The humanistic state has had to submit for Christian faith and morality coercion and legalized violence. The more advanced the humanism as in Marxist states the more intense and brutal the coercion.
I grew up in a small town in California; the population when I was a boy was about 3600. I lived in a farm a mile out of town. Even when I was in high school there was only one policeman in that community and a relief man occasionally when he took a vacation. It was a big event if somebody got drunk and was put into jail. And all the high school would talk about it. Kids would walk by the jail, because it was an event. Somebody was in jail. Now though there are only 900 more people more than that in that little farm town, they have 18 patrol cars and an office staff operating the radio. This is the difference that the decline of sound faith makes. Then the churches all were Bible believing, one was suspect of being slightly modernistic. But it was a town full of churches, it still is, but the difference is the decline of faith. [00:32:39]
The more advanced the humanism as in Marxist state...
The more advanced the humanism as in Marxist state the more intense and brutal the coercion. The religious aspect of law means that there is a moral law mutually agreed upon by all members of society. That mutual agreement means that only a small minority of dissidents are at the source of trouble. Twenty years ago almost, a police detective in a major American city told me when the number of hoodlums or criminals in any city is greater than two percent it is out of control. It will outnumber the police and it would do as it pleases. This is now the case in more and more cities around the world. But humanism has that result, it makes every man his own God and with most men saying “my will be done” lawlessness prevails. Now that humanism is infecting every country and continent, this means that lawlessness is becoming almost worldwide. The Islamic revival has been an intense effort to stem this tide of decay by an enforced return to Islamic faith. Its coercion will prove in time as futile as that of Marxism. Community requires a basic faith in its law. This world has never seen community such as Christianity, with all the faults of the churches has produced over the centuries. [00:35:05]
It has among other things lead to the great missionary...
It has among other things lead to the great missionary movement in previous centuries. A hymn of a previous century sang “Hark tis the Shepherds voice I hear, out in the desert dark and drear, calling the sheep who’ve gone astray, far from the Shepherd pulled away. Bring them in, bring them in from the fields of the fields of sin, bring them in, bring them in. Bring the wandering ones to Jesus. Who will go and help this Shepherd kind, help him the wandering ones to find. Who will bring the lost ones to the fold, where they will be sheltered from the cold. Out in the desert hear there cry, out in the mountains wild and high. Hark, tis the Shepard speaks to them. Thus speaks to thee, go find my sheep. Where ‘ere they be.”
Perhaps some of you remember that hymn. And how zealously the chorus “bring them in” was sung after each verse and sometimes over and over again. This hymn has a long history of use for foreign and home missions. It is a vivid expression of faith and the necessary communion and community in Christ. To which people out of all tribes, tongues and nations are called.
People talk now about better race relations, who are themselves elitists and snobs. It was Christians such as those who sang these hymns who went out into all the world and who treated all people of all tribes, tongues and races as potential brothers and sisters in Christ. I don’t know the situation in Canada, but when I went in the beginning of the 40s to work among American Indians in an isolated reservation, unconnected to any bus or train line, a hundred miles from town, the number of Christians among Indians in the United States in 50 years had declined by 50%. Because modernism was eating the heart out of churches and they were abandoning missions. And this has happened the world over. [00:38:56]
There is still another aspect of law...
There is still another aspect of law. It not only provides rules for a living and the religious roots of community in one faith, but it also provides rewards and punishments. These apply in Biblical faith to both this world and the world to come. God's law provides various penalties in society for violations, up to the death penalty. It provides for censure and excommunication from the church, and the world to come tells us there is a heaven and there is a hell. Early in his writings Karl Marx recognized the psychological truth of the idea of heaven and hell, and he said that the socialist state must create a hell for those who disobeyed its will. And this is the soviet slave labor camps and other like punishments in other Marxist states. They have not been able to create the heaven. The fact of law means blessings and curses, protection and punishment, and heaven and hell. In every society in some form, this is what law means, curses and blessings. [00:40:45]
As God's law has gone out of fashion in the 20th century and its preaching, so too has preaching about hell. There was a pole taken recently, the most thorough pole taken in our time in the United States. Which showed that almost every one, all but 4% of the population, expected to go to heaven. Which meant that they were all very much satisfied with themselves. One woman who had been a part time, well for two years a full time prostitute and regularly had affairs, one of her two girls was not her husbands, who went to church, still felt she was still going to go to heaven, that she was a good Christian. Hell has dropped out of our preaching and as (Emorie Stores?) said in the last century in Britain: “When hell goes out of preaching, justice goes out of politics.”
By abandoning God's law, we have cheapened heaven, made hell obsolete and we have forgotten about justice. Then we must recognize the word law or Torah in the Hebrew has a reference to our lord. A century ago Robert Baker Girdlestone, a British Biblical scholar in his book: Synonyms of the Old Testament, their Bearing on Christian Doctrine. A very, very important study of Hebrew words. Wrote something of far reaching importance but which is very much neglected. I’m going to quote it in some detail, it’s a technical analysis, but exceedingly important. I quote:
“In 2nd Samuel 7: there is recorded first, the promise of God to keep an unfailing covenant with the seed of David, whose throne shall be established forever, and secondly David’s expression of thankfulness on account of this promise. In the opening of his song of praise David says “who am I Oh Lord God, and what is my house that though hast brought me hither to. And this was yet a small thing in thy sight Oh Lord God. But Thou hast spoken also of thy servants house for a great while to come. And is this the manor of man Oh Lord God?” the parallel passage 1st Chronicles 17:17 runs thus: “for Thou has also spoken of thy servants house to the estate of a man of high degree.” The word translated manor in the one passage and estate in the other is Torah which is generally rendered law. The first passage might be rendered: ‘and this is the law or order of the man’ and the second, thou hast regarded me according to the law or order of the man from on high.” Some versions have rendered these passages so as to bring our more distinctly a reference to the messiah. [00:45:20]
Thus in Luther’s version of second Samuel ...
Thus in Luther’s version of second Samuel 7:19 we read “that is the way of a man who is God the Lord.” Whilst his rendering of 1st Chronicles 17:17 is “thou has looked upon me after the order or form of a man who is the Lord God on high.” The words are grammatically capable of this rendering, but it is more in accordance with the context and also of the structure of the passage to regard the name of the Lord God as in the vocative sense. In accordance to the rendering given by our translators.” Unquote.
Now very briefly, what this means is not only that the law is the expression of Christ’s being and nature, But the very word law or Torah is used to refer to the messiah. To Christ God the son. More over Girdlestone made clear that the word righteousness or justice are equally, either word, translates to Hebrew. And our English creates a distinction between righteousness and justice where none exists in the Bible. And Girdlestone added with respect to righteousness and I quote:
“This quality indeed maybe viewed according to scripture in two lights. In its relative aspect it implies conformity with the line or rule of Gods law. In its absolute aspect it is the exhibition of love to God and to one’s neighbor, because love is the fulfilling of the law. That is putting the law into force. That’s what fulfill means, putting into force. But in neither of these senses does the word convey what we usually mean by justice. No distinction between the claims of justice and the claims of love is recognized in scripture. To act in opposition to the principles of love to God and one’s neighbor is to commit an injustice, because it is a departure of the course marked out by God in his law.” unquote. [00:48:25]
You see it is artificial to separate God from his word...
You see it is artificial to separate God from his word. It is the expression of his nature, of his being, of his righteousness, of his love, his wrath, his mercy. We are surrounded by the decaying culture of the humanistic west. The purpose and meaning of Christian reconstruction is very simply this. In the words of 2nd Samuel 19 verses 10 and 12, to bring back the king. To bring back the king. The Lord Jesus Christ is king. The very word Lord, which is the most common designation for God in the Old Testament and for Christ in the new, means exactly what our English word sovereign does, the absolute ruler, the king, the Lord over all. And if he is Lord over all then his every word must rule over all things. [00:50:10]
This is his mandate...
This is his mandate; it is time to bring back the King. Amen. Any questions now?
[Assistant] Thank you Dr. Rushdoony.
[Rushdoony] On page 596 of Institutes paragraph 3 our responsibility of true witness to not only avoid slander but to rebuke and discipline it as relative to a social order, now I find this witness as an echoed response necessary to most other exegesis. For example the theory that homosexuality stems from certain kinds of family experience, as a boys love for his father, his love for his mother incestuous. These being the least of the degenerate presuppositions, these scholarly attempts exalt themselves above God's law, judged instead as a human being and in terms of purely human consequences of his action. Their apostate mindset is anti-family. Example, abortion etc. Our public health department has told us its rejections that if the present rate of the increase continues, California a year from now will have more abortions than live births and a great portion of them financed by Medi-Cal. If there is a responsibility as an aspect of every day law system, where does the solution lie rather than the fault as members of Christendom today. In respect to bringing about change in our law system.
Now the change begins with us and our families. The best laws in every and any society are self-enforcing. Laws are enforced two ways. Either by brutal coercion or self-enforcement because a person believes that this is the way to live, that there is no other way that’s right. So behind the return to true law is evangelization, conversion. Bringing every man into a saving knowledge of Christ and under his Lordship. [00:53:21]
Now no one has to tell you not to break the law, because...
Now no one has to tell you not to break the law, because as Christ’s people, as born again Christians, the law is now written on the tables of your heart. You love his law; the thought of falling into sin is horrifying. Now you cannot find any other alternative then these two, coercion or faith. And coercive law ultimately breaks down, because how are you going to coerce the coercers? They become the number one law breakers. A couple of days ago my wife and I were talking with a man who was reporting on a visit he had with a refugee from the Soviet Union. There was a lively trade there in gold coins. And he said “They’ve been abolished legally sense 1917.” How do you know about them? “Oh there’s some big business in it over there.” Well who was at the center of it? Why the communist officials. Anyone who came over as a diplomat to the United States or Canada or anywhere else in the west would go to a coin shop and buy coins and go back there and sell them at at least double the price and make a profit, so in one area after another they were the smugglers, they were the law breakers. That’s why when one refugee was asked about 10 years ago “is there a mafia in the Soviet Union?” and he said “Yes its name is the communist party.” That’s why the break down, they still have the most powerful military force. But only as long as they pay it well. [00:56:16]
And as their ability to pay is receding they are allowing...
And as their ability to pay is receding they are allowing, and this I have from a man connected with the European intelligence service, entire battalions are being allowed to escape across the border and into Western Europe. Why? “Let them feed these men, we don’t have the food for them. Let them escape across the border, it will mean less mouths for us to feed and easier for us to have power.” Coercion leads to the progressive disintegration, the only way law can work in the long run is when it is self-enforcing because it is written in the hearts of a people. When it’s the law of the Lord that they love, then: “Oh how I love thy law.”
You see that’s how we return to godly law and order. We have a task of regeneration. And we just don’t convert them and say now you can sit in the pew and go to heaven in due time. We convert them to be soldiers of Christ, that’s Paul's imagery. Put on the holy armor of God. One of my favorite men in church history is General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army. Now there are a lot of things where I would disagree with Booth on, I’m an old fashioned Calvinist. I don’t like most of the Calvinists around today, their traditionalists and their sour people too often. So doctrinally I would disagree with General William Booth on a number of points, but I love the man, I love to read about him. One of my favorite books is his, In Darkest England and the Way Out. A take-off on Stanley's book when he discovered Livingston In Darkest Africa and the Way Out. Well Booth was a remarkable man. He said:
“Too many of the churches disapprove of me, and they really have no desire to convert the kind of people I do. Because what are you going to do when you convert a girl who was raped and sexually used as far back as her memory goes. Or a boy who before he was of school age was taught to be a thief. What do you do when you convert them? They have no skills. All they know how to make money is to prostitute their bodies or to steal.”
So he proposed setting up a job training Core to train these converts and he began to do it, did remarkable things. He said of the main line churches of England, he said: “You know all they do is to convert a man, as they see it and then they mummify him so that the only action he is capable of once he is set in the pew is to reach for his wallet. And he doesn’t do that very well.” Now if you want to see Christian reconstruction in action, start studying all the things that the Salvation Army does all over the world. [01:01:17]
I think they have reprinted In Darkest England and...
I think they have reprinted In Darkest England and the Way Out. So you might go to your salvation army and ask about it. And then some time look up in a book of poems a poem by Rachel Lindsay, an American poet who was born in a Salvation Army family. And the title of the poem is titled General William Booth Enters Heaven. And it’s a magnificent poem; I can’t read it at any time without crying. But it portrays Booth blind at his death. Waking up in heaven seeing. And all the old army lassies and lads there with their trombones and drums to lead him on up to see King Jesus. Where Booth kneels down to receive his crown, a magnificent poem. Well Booth was a Christian Reconstructionist. That’s what his life was dedicated to. A great man.
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] I have a couple more questions for you here; you might want to read them.
[Rushdoony] “You have said the word fulfill means to put in force, therefore Matthew 5:17 where Christ states that he didn’t come to destroy the law and prophets but to fulfill them means he came to put his law into force is that a correct conclusion? “
Yes. That’s the meaning of the Greek word that is used there. If you take it in any other sense then the passage is nonsense, you have then Jesus saying, I did not come to destroy the law and the profits but to end them. That’s ridiculous. He says, I’ve come not to destroy them, but to fulfill them, to put them in the fullness of force. And not one jot nor one tittle shall pass away till heaven and earth pass away. And that’s how the early church lived.
Do you know that they took it so seriously that in the early days the council of cardinals was 70 men. After the 70 elders who counseled Moses. And in Scotland till the Vatican put a stop to it they were so literal minded that they actually before communion would have a Passover feast with a lamb. And in 1990 when I was in London there were two Scots there who were from villages in Scotland, older men, one was a retired military man and the other had been I think in parliament or in the state service somehow, they came up to me and said: “we understand some mend think you’re a little strange cause you keep the biblical dietary laws, do you?” And I said well of course I do. And they laughed and they said: “Well in our villages we’ve kept them as far back as anyone can remember. It never occurred to us to disobey the law of God, of course if you go into Edinburgh or Glasgow they don’t know anything about it. But both of us and our villages we still live by Gods law. And that’s the way it’s always been.”
Well there are pockets of that sort of thing in different parts of the world. And I come from such a background because my people came from Armenia, the mountain next to Ararat, and the name of the village was (Norquel?) which means new village. It was of course 2000 years old but they never changed the name. When Saint Gregory the Illuminator taught Christianity to Armenia in about 310 AD, The king was his cousin so he called in all the nobility and some of the other dynasties that had previously ruled so that Gregory could preach to them all. And a very high number accepted the faith, and they felt they had to live by every word of God. And the one thing, and to show you how literally they took it, everything, the dietary laws and everything, they said well, we should provide not only a clergy that comes forward because they feel called, but we who are of nobility and previous royalty should provide out of our own house hold, whoever feels called, at our own expense, someone to be a pastor. So they provided pastors for the churches. And the only difference between those and the others was that they, their name was prefixed by Lord. So that instead of Pastor John he would be Lord John. And in my particular family since about 320 AD to the present there’s always been someone in the ministry, not always father and son sometimes brother and brother, father and nephew but always someone since about 320 AD.
Now that’s how literally many people have taken the faith. And I know because I’m going on 76 now, even in small town rural California how closely people lived in terms of God's word when I was a boy. And these were Swede’s and Danes and Italians and Portuguese and Armenians. The native Americans were very few, it was an area of foreigners, settlers. Because the country was fairly new. And when I was a boy there was a family in the area that was known to be un-churched and un-believing and everybody thought they were crazy. God had given a word, you believed it, you lived by it. You see we’ve had a major revolution, especially sense World War 2. Now, most of the people living have been born since 1940. And the majority sense still 1950. So they don’t know what the world was like before World War 2. Well it was much more different before World War 1. Far, far more Godly. So we’ve lost touch with our Christian roots. And to the extent to which God's word in many areas was still the way of life. [01:11:55]
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] I’ll just give you a little...
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] I’ll just give you a little bit of a rest here and read this to you, another question. “Would you explain if there is any distinction to be made between the eternal law word of God and the law of Moses. Then the quote 1st Timothy 1:9 that the law is not made for a righteous man but for the lawless.
[Rushdoony] Yes there is no distinction between the law of God and the law of Moses. Because Moses gives us what God gave him. And the law is indeed given in part as a restraint on the lawless. But as Calvin and others going through scripture made clear, the law has a variety of meanings. It is a restraint on the lawless, it is a master to teach us the way of life, it is a guide into the way Christ has laid out for us how God would have us live. So that there are various references to what the law is, a light, a lamp, a guide, a rebuke and so on. So we cannot take anyone of these references and say this limits what the law means. It has all these implications.
To illustrate, now how many of you have read Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment? Well it’s a very interesting book because it is about Raskolnikov the student, a radical, an unbeliever, a revolutionary who believes that there is no such thing as conscience, that law is arbitrary and that social utility can justify a great many things and thereby make it possible to do what the Christian would regard as a crime. So he’s going to prove his theory practically by murdering someone who is worthless socially. No more than a flee or a vermin, a mouse. So he murders this old woman who was a totally useless person and he’s going to prove that there is no sense of guilt inbred in a man, native to his being. Well to his dismay he begins to have guilty feelings and it outrages him. He finds he is ducking policemen because he feels guilty. [01:16:00]
In the course of the time between the commission and...
In the course of the time between the commission and his confession he encounters this girl Sofia who comes from a very wretched family, whose father has forced her into prostitution at a very early age. And Sofia enrages him and upsets him because she knows she is a sinner. She knows that what she is doing is a sin. And she tells Raskolnikov: “You too are a sinner.” And he is infuriated by this because for an ignorant peasant girl who is a prostitute to tell him that he is wrong, totally, in what he is doing is unthinkable. It ends up with him being sentenced to Siberia and Sofia meeting him as he leaves to hand him a New Testament. But the whole point of it was that for the ungodly the law is a threat, not a lamp, not a light.
Well when I was a student and we were reading a book in class on Russian literature taught by a Marxist who ridiculed Dostoyevsky, another student who was totally on Raskolnikov's side and I were discussing and arguing the thesis back and forth of the book one day as we had lunch together and as we left we rounded the corner to go back to the campus and a police man was coming down the sidewalk towards us. And Dick turned around and ran. He had so identified himself with Raskolnikov that he saw himself as the murderer, and so I went after him and I said: “Now who’s right?” [laughing] So he said: ”I’m gonna quit that blankety blank course!” [more laughing in audience] which he did. [01:18:42]
[Rushdoony's Assistant] another question, wait a minute. I think we have to get these in order here; we do have them in order. “Mr. Rushdoony, can you please give me your opinion on secular literature in Christian school, example books on mystery, fantasy, these things that bring us off the path of the Lord, or do these things bring us off the path of the Lord, please answer this. Or maybe that would be the first one.
Rushdoony: yes that is a difficult question to answer with a yes or no. Because first of all Christians have failed to produce the literature they should and second many of these books are written by men who's faith while not orthodox, is reflected in what they write. For example Robert Lewis Stevenson, now he wrote with his parents old fashioned Presbyterianism. His theology at many points very weak, but it is interesting that to his last day in Samoa he continued the practice he had at home, and he was the only white man in Samoa who did, all the natives did, they had evening prayer every night with scripture and hymns. And Stevenson would lead the natives and his household and his family, his book Treasure Island in many ways reflects the old fashioned Scottish discipline and bible teaching he had. So that Stevenson's writings I think can be used in Christian schools, so can Sir Walter Scott's. We have to go to these books, one by one and then select those we feel that most meet our standards. [01:21:55]
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] Another question here, I think...
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] Another question here, I think that may be pertinent to what has just been shared. “You mentioned no growth doctrines such as the holiness movements. What do you feel the main no growth doctrine accepted by the church generally is today?”
Rushdoony: I would say it is there disregard of the law of God, because then it takes them back into the medieval pietism, spiritual exercises in the place of action. This is why although technically you would have to say the Salvation Army is an outgrowth of Wesleyan holiness movement. It broke with them totally in that it has stressed a climb of faith in every area of life and thought, and whether you go to Australia or New Zealand, the work they’re doing is superb.
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] I think this is related to the subject of holiness, for instance do we have to accept quote “People the way they are,” In view of the fact that God says hate what is evil, God's word says what’s highly esteemed among men is an abomination before God and how do we handle people, I guess is what the question is saying there, in the midst of all that? Do we confuse the person with the sin, whatever?
[Rushdoony] That’s a very important question because it gets to the heart of a problem that has done much evil in the church. The Greeks had a schizophrenic view of people. They believed that there was a difference between the mind and the body. So that Socrates, and I’m talking about what Plato recounts in his dialogs, could lie at the table while they ate and talked, involving himself in homosexual play with one of the men while discoursing on virtue. [01:25:00]
This was the problem Paul faced at Corinth...
This was the problem Paul faced at Corinth; fornication was not regarded as a crime by the Corinthians in particular. Because it had to do with the body and virtue had to do with the mind. This led to an evil proverb which is still with us. “Hate the sin but love the sinner.” well now does sin exist? Is there adultery without an adulterer and an adulteress? Is it a thing? No, it’s an act between two people! You cannot separate it from what people do. So when you are dealing with people you have to say the sin and the person are one. Out of the heart come all these things, not from out in the air that’s environmentalism. So we have to see that we hate the sin, we do not love the sinner. But we do try to save the sinner.
One man, and this goes back 50 years when I was a young pastor, a somewhat older pastor told me that he was glad that I had made contact with such and such a person. Because he said: “I don’t like him, I couldn’t do anything for him.” And I said: “What does that have to do with your calling in Christ?” We had a falling out over that. Because whether I like a person or don’t has nothing to do with what my responsibility in Christ is. It might be someone I certainly don’t like. In fact there ways and their habits can be repellent to me, but that doesn’t matter to God, he says that I have a duty towards that person. I’m not supposed to love the sinner before I can go to him; I’m supposed to love God. And that's why I go to the sinner. One of the most beautiful death beds I have ever witnessed, and I’ve been at a lot of death beds, was a young woman, I found it difficult to believe when she walked into church, cause I knew how promiscuous she was. Yet she was gloriously converted, and made me ashamed. Within two months after she was converted, she learned that she had paresis, Syphilis of the brain. And that she was going to die of it. It took her some months to die. And yet she asked me if I would bring her a little cross so that when she could no longer speak she could look at it at least. And shortly before she had died she had been in a coma. Her days in, I don’t know where I had been, I came back and she ...when she heard my voice, woke up, smiled like an angel, motioned with her chin to the cross and her mother took it and gave it to her and she kissed it and she smiled at me, and died soon thereafter. Now there was a girl who, who’s ways were really repulsive before she was converted. But you see I had no right to think my thoughts there, but only God's. And God saved her; I didn’t, because I really found it hard to believe she was converted. I knew her too well, I knew her reputation. But God converted her. [01:30:38]