Biblical Law and the Great Commission - RR190B3
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….with our responsibility to them, and we are certainly not to love people who are guilty of evil crimes. But we are to be Christian towards them.
….the difference you see. Then you don’t go in your power, you go in the power of the Lord. I was once asked to disarm a drunken Indian. Who was going got murder somebody. And he was a man who had knifed more than one. I was able to do it, only because of God's grace. Not because I had any use for that man. If I had gone there and told them I’m your friend, or I like you and I don’t want to see you do this sort of thing, I wouldn’t have had a chance, I would’ve been knifed. I went there knowing what I had to do was humanly impossible. But I had a duty under God. So of course we hate people. But that has nothing to do with it, what is our duty under God?
[Rushdoony’s assistant] Would you say that there would be a hatred for to some degree for people because of their attachment to the sin? How would you handle the question that Jesus was the friend of sinners.
[Rushdoony] Well, He was the friend of sinners who he had come to reclaim. He had come to seek his lost sheep, whom he knew. He had come to call out his own and he said “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. That ye should go forth and bear much fruit.” So he came to his own. To his wandering sheep.
[Rushdoony’s assistant] Alright, another question, we have about 5 more minutes here, we hear much these days about land use commissions and resource use controversy. Does Christian Reconstructionism feel that our basic views regarding land use revert to the Levitical laws pertaining to agriculture and land before or together with the need to change our social, political, and moral reconstruction. Can we have any real meaning or force in all of this.
[Rushdoony] Yes this gets us into the whole of the environmental movement and so on and so forth. Which is a worship of nature rather than of God. Now our problems with environmental abuse are fairly modern. I’m speaking of Canada and the United States. What happened as these two countries were being settled is that in order to attract people into the western areas, land was being sold at giveaway prices. Historic laws that were common law and common law English common law was Biblical law, that’s what it was. Like the Book of Common Prayer, the common law was the common faith and scripture, the common law of the land. [00:05:07]
Now in terms of the old premises of Biblical law, though...
Now in terms of the old premises of Biblical law, though shalt not steal meant and there are historic cases of this sort, that if you built a tannery with vary noxious odors next to somebodies house. You were guilty of theft, because you were robbing the value of his home. Because the stench of the tannery would make his home unlivable. That was theft, thou shalt not steal. So you were not to steal the value of someone’s property, by your abuse of the air or the land, or of the water stream. That is historically going back to Old Testament times, how thou shalt not steal was interpreted.
You can find it in portions of the Talmud, you can find it in portions of canon law. Canon means rule, law by the rule of scripture applying scripture. But I know in the states not only were these laws weighed by statute law, but tax breaks were given and are still given to corporations if they will come in for so many years. So they will move into and industrial park in California for 15 years and the tax break ends at that time so they will move to another end of the park. They will rent, they won’t build anymore.
Now a great deal of our environmental damage has come from such abuses of Biblical law, departures from it. Christians are given a mandate to subdue the earth and exercise dominion over it, to make it useful for the kingdom of God. So we are not nature worshipers, neither are we nature destroyers. And we have a calling therefore to use the land wisely. [00:07:58]
Now there are a great many myths about the nature of...
Now there are a great many myths about the nature of the land before the white man took over. For example, the buffalo which were growing in numbers vast heard, many numbers of them, numbering a hundred thousand or more. Moving to the total destruction of everything in their sight so that forests were disappearing, when they went through an area, even the bark of the trees was gone and what trees were left around rivers died. And the streams would run urine for days so that some of the early trappers found they were dying because the buffalo had been through there. The buffalo were penetrating eastward; and small groups as far as Pennsylvania on the east coast. Which meant in time they would have destroyed all the forests east of Illinois. When they moved the equivalent of 8 states away, you could see the dust in the sky from the movement of these vast herds. A hundred thousand to a herd of buffaloes. If there were a town in the early days in their path, when they passed over it there was not a fragment of log the size of a toothpick, nor a fragment of a bone of any human being left. That’s why they systematically killed the buffalo. Human life could not live together with them. We’re having a problem again with the buffalo as the federal government of the United States is allowing them to increase. Because they are immune to brucellosis and they are carrying it to the cattle. [00:10:20]
And ranchers in Montana and elsewhere have lost vast...
And ranchers in Montana and elsewhere have lost vast herds of cattle, because of the buffalo. So exercising dominion did require eliminating those herds of buffalo, they would have turned the whole continent, North America into a wasteland in time. So we are wrongly abused, a good deal of the United States is in much better shape now then before the coming of the white man; and the amount of forest is about the same, because forests are a renewable product in some areas or more. So we are subjected to many myths about human destructiveness. Remember the streams of America have never been polluted to the extent they were by the buffalo.
[Audience question] did the buffalo have any connection with religion? [laughing crowd]
[Rushdoony] The buffalo were important to the religion of the Indians, in that they would feed the skulls of buffalo they kept before they went on a hunt to satisfy the buffalo.
[Rushdoony’s assistant] Alright I think our time has come, we just want to quickly remind you before you leave of our schedule and a couple of other things. Two o clock were back here, that gives us one and a half hours, and our subject at two o clock is Biblical law and the great commission. Do you have your sheets? You will see that two o clock, Biblical law and the great commission.
[Tape picks up later on, Rushdoony speaking] This is apropos of nothing accept the fact that it is said that laughter is good for digestion and we have all just eaten. I’ll pass on a couple of stories that Ian Hodge who heads up the reconstruction movement in Canada told me when he was visiting in November. Ian said in these two stories that they were a good illustration of the fact that the faith has receded pretty much from the lives and minds of people in Australia. [00:13:18]
And he said, “Two Australians in a bar got into an...
And he said, “Two Australians in a bar got into an argument, and the one said to the other: “You’re so ignorant you probably wouldn’t even know the Lord ’s Prayer.” And the second one said: “I’ll bet you a bob I do.” So they both slapped their coins on the counter and the man started off: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep…” then the other one said: “That’s enough here’s your bob.” [laughing]
The other story was about the two Australians who were taking a hike. They cut through a pasture and they were half way across when they suddenly realized there was a hollow behind some shrubbery’s and there was a fierce bull there and he was charging them. And they knew they would never make it to the fence, and as they were racing for it the one panted to the other: “Quick, if, if you know a prayer say it!” the second one says “I, I only know one!”…“Well say it!”...”for what we are about to receive Lord make us truly thankful!”[laughing] [00:14:42]
Well, with that let us turn to more serious matters...
Well, with that let us turn to more serious matters, Biblical law and the great commission.
And Jesus came and spake unto them saying: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye there for and teach in all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And lo I am with you always even unto the end of the world, amen.”
Very often things common, very often used by us, lose through their familiarity, their meaning. We are all familiar with the words of Matthew 28:18 to 20. But we forget why they are called the great commission. Great in reference to what? If this were the only such order to the covenant people of God, it would simply be called the commission. Our Lord however called out 12 disciples to create a new Israel of God. The commission he gave to them was great in comparison to the one given by God to an earlier Jesus or Joshua, the same names. It is the same commission made great because it encompasses not only the Promised Land, Canaan, but the whole earth. It thus carries the same promises, expanded.
We read in the first commission:
“ 1Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,
2Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
3Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
4From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.
5There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
6Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
7Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.” [00:19:31]
The New Testament often echoes these verses...
The New Testament often echoes these verses. It is not only an obvious fact that the great commission an abridged restatement of Joshua's commission but also that the words of the first are repeatedly restated by our Lord.
First there are the parallels, beginning with the mandate to conquer, in Joshua's case the promised land is Canaan. In our Lords commission to us the whole world is to be conquered for him.
Second, the commandment in both cases is from the Lord. And in Matthew 28:18 the whole Trinity is specifically sited. Coming from the same source, the two commissions are essentially related.
Third it is assumed that the great commission means they shall teach all nations and command them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. Joshua was commanded to observe the law of God and turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. For the Lord promises to be with his faithful servants and “lo, I am with you always even until the end of the world.” Joshua is told the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest. This is the same promise in both cases.
Then Fifth, both commissions begin with an assurance that the commanding God has total power. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. The problem there for is one of faith and obedience, with disobedience comes defeat. Then and now. [00:22:08]
Sixth, in both commissions the mandate is not only...
Sixth, in both commissions the mandate is not only the conqueror in one form or another, but the mandate is very emphatically from the Lord. Joshua is told to arise and to enter into the land God was giving them. Jesus Christ after assuring them that all power has been given to him in heaven and on earth declares, go ye therefore. So the two commissions are closely related to God's covenant to Abraham and his promise. Look now toward heaven and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them, and he said unto him. So shalt thy seed be. And he believed in the Lord and he counted to him for righteousness. In Isaiah 52:10 we are told the Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations. All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. [00:23:31]
From Genesis to Malachi we are appointed towards the...
From Genesis to Malachi we are appointed towards the great commission. Our Lord speaks always in the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, and the gospels remind us of that fact. Fulfilling in the meaning of bringing and putting into force, not ending. In Daniel 7:13 and 14 we are told: “I saw in the night visions and behold one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven and came to the ancient of days and they brought him near before him, and there was given him dominion and glory and a kingdom that all people, nations and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Moreover even as God comforts and strengthens the distressed Joshua, who now is faced with an awesome task. So the Lord, the Lord at the last supper comforts his disciples. “These things have I spoken unto you being yet present with you. But the comforter which is the Holy Ghost who the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things. And bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you, let not your hearts be troubled. Neither let it be afraid.” God had told Joshua: “Be strong and of god courage. And again have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage be not afraid neither be though dismayed. For the Lord thy God is with thee. Withersoever thou goest. Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” [00:26:07]
All this should not surprise us...
All this should not surprise us. The Bible of the apostles was the Old Testament; it never occurred to them that it was invalid or that God's law was now obsolete. Christ had now paid the death penalty to free us from the law as indictment and a death penalty against us, in order to deliver us into living in the Lord, in faithfulness to his law word. We are saved says Paul, that the righteousness or justice of the law might be fulfilled or put into force through us Romans 8:4.
In James Moffats rendering of Romans 8:3 and 4 we read: “for God has done with the law weakened here by the flesh could not do. By sending his own Son in the guise of sinful flesh to deal with sin, He condemned sin in the flesh in order to secure the fulfillment of the law’s requirements in our lives. As we live and move, not by the flesh but by the spirit.”
Until the rise of the heretic Marcion no distinction was made between the Old and New Testaments. The Bible was seen as one book, a unity. One continuous revelation. Marcion saw the Old Testament as a revelation of a creator God who was unloving and whose word was wrath and law. Whereas Jesus Christ was the revelation of another God, a God of love. Much of the New Testament incidentally was also rejected by Marcion as Judaizing. He was not only inflicted with Gnosticism but was also the father of dispensationalism. Although his extremist view of two Gods was rejected in time, the one God accepted was seen by the Marcionites as evolving his revelation through a series of dispensations whereby he moved from the law to grace and then to love. Each rendering the previous dispensation invalid. Although Marcion was rejected, his ideas in part infiltrated the church. And we now have not only dispensationalism but a division of the Bible into two sections. We falsely separate law and grace, whereas the two are inseparable. Gods covenant is a treaty of law. All covenants are legal documents. A covenant is a legal contract. Now there are two kinds of covenants, between equals, then it is purely a covenant of the law. If it is a covenant between unequal’s as between God and Man, it is the covenant of grace and of law. God enters into a covenant with us, out of his grace and mercy and gives us his law as an act of proof of that grace and mercy. To say: “This is the way, walk ye in it.” [00:30:27]
The great commission thus commands that God...
The great commission thus commands that God's covenant of law and grace be extended to all men and nations. There is a requirement also of the covenant membership right, baptism. Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Baptism replaces circumcision which had been performed on the 8th day after a boy’s birth. Now it is interesting that the blood of a child only coagulates on the 8th day. So before that circumcision would have killed the child. Doctors do now circumcise children at birth, give an injection to the baby, an anticoagulant. God who made us also knew when the blood coagulated. So it was on the 8th day that he ordered circumcision.
Now the interesting thing is that a child of 8 days cannot make a decision for the Lord. How can a baptized infant. The early church sought as a rule to baptize on the 8th day. Now what did this mean, no child can decide or choose Christ. But neither can we, because until we are redeemed we are all dead in our sins and trespasses. Born unto death in our forefather Abraham. As our Lord declares: “Ye had not chosen me but I have chosen you and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit and that your fruit should remain. That whatsoever ye ask of the Father in my name he may give it you.” These words spoken at the last supper were a preparation for the great commission. They are closely related to the fact that whereas the disciples expected one thing, our Lord called them to another.
First he tells them, ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you. Our salvation and our calling is God's choice. God is the Lord. Known unto God are all his works, from the foundation to the beginning of the world. All are his works. Totally known and ordained by him. He has chosen us and ordained us.
Second, his purpose is that ye should go and bring forth fruit. God orders our calling and its results. We are redeemed by his sovereign grace to be productive.
Then third, not only are we ordained to be productive, but he declares your fruit should remain. He has ordained that. This is why the point I made, which maybe startled you, that whether I love somebody or not is irrelevant. Because then my witness to him is my work. But if I do it because God commands it, then it is His work, that he has ordained, His work shall remain. Not mine, so what I think of the person doesn’t matter. What God ordains that I do matters. And he said that His word shall never return unto him void. And he has ordained he says in John 15:16 that our fruit shall remain, when it is done in him. So we don’t do any witnessing, or anything because we want to or because we love that person, but because God orders it, and it’s going to accomplish his purpose. [00:35:35]
All the results of ordained work in the Lord endure...
All the results of ordained work in the Lord endure throughout all eternity. Our work does not. I like the story of Dwight L. Moody, who when he went back to Chicago once after a revival meeting of some years to hold another revival meeting. A man across the street quite drunk stumbled across the street, and blubbered “Mr. Moody, I love you so. You saved my life, you saved me.” and Moody said: “I’m sure you’re right because it’s obvious the Lord did not.” [laughing] Go ye therefor in this confidence, that when you do the Lords work it remains. As Paul says: “But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ. There for my beloved brethren be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. For as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” We know that our labor is never in vain in the Lord because he calls us. And he ordains us. Remember Saint Paul who wrote these words was persecuted, beaten, imprisoned; but he knew that his labors are going to be fruitful long after his time, because God said so. He knew there was meaning in his life for all eternity, so in chains before a king, he could tell the king, he could wish he was in his place almost except for these chains. That’s how Paul felt, in spite of his imprisonment and abuse, about the joy of salvation.
The God who commissioned Saint Paul and us, declares through Isaiah in Isaiah 55:10 and 11, “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
When we proclaim the whole word of God, all of it, it cannot return unto him void, because he has ordained that it shall bring forth fruit. And that fruit, that work shall endure. [00:39:30]
Then fourth we are promised, ...
Then fourth we are promised, ‘whatsoever ye shall ask of the father in my name he will give it us.’ When we go forth in his name, word and spirit and when we ask in terms of his kingdom. We are to teach man and nations to observe all things that the Lord commands of them. We are over turners, like Christ of whom the prophet wrote when he said that God declares that I will overturn, overturn, overturn, until he comes who’s right it is. We in Christ are over turners, over comers. Chapters 14 through 18 of John’s gospel must be seen as a preparation of the disciples by our Lord for his death, resurrection, ascension and their great commission. It is a commentary in effect on it, in advance of its deliverance.
The commission is also to us. The whole word of God speaks to us, we have a calling. We are given marching orders and the whole world must be one for Christ. From Greenland’s icy mountains to India's coral strand, as the old missionary hymn proclaimed. There used to be marvelous missionary hymns that were sung constantly in the church to remind people of the great commission. It is not merely souls that are to be saved though they must be saved. But every sphere of life and thought must be brought into captivity to Christ. That’s why I am pleased that you have a group here to capture culture for the Lord.
The prophets are full of many amazing statements that tell us that in the fullness of time not only men and nations but also the natural world will be revolutionized. We are called to undo the work and ruin of man’s fall. Christ begins the new creation with his resurrection, with our regeneration and he summons us to go forth and accomplish these things, until all things are put under his feet and then the last enemy, death, then shall be destroyed. [00:43:19]
Isaiah 40:3-5 declares: “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness prepare ye the way of the Lord. Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places, plain; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”
We are told that as we push back and destroy the effects of the fall beginning in our selves, and as we redeem man and nations and every spear of life and thought. The very life span of man shall be dramatically lengthened. As Isaiah says in Isaiah 65:17-24.
We are also told in Isaiah 2:2-4: “2And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
3And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” [00:45:50]
We are that Jerusalem, and we are that people commissioned...
We are that Jerusalem, and we are that people commissioned by our Redeemer King to accomplish these things. “Go ye there for and teach all nations”. Why? “Because all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And lo I am with you always even unto the end of the world.” Amen.
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] Biblical law and the Great Commission. And if there are some things, questions that arose from your mind while this was being shared we appreciate hearing from you. Maybe before we get into this, one of these questions, there was a question previous and I think it relates Dr. Rushdoony. “Is there any Old Testament law that is not in force today, and if so why?”
[Rushdoony] Well the laws of sacrifice are not enforced as sacrifice, but as we were discussing during the lunch hour they have very important premises, that are important for us in our everyday life. Things we need to remember and to observe. I am completing a commentary on Numbers and I have completed ones on Leviticus as well as Exodus which I hope we can get enough funds to publish within a year. And I will go at length in those books on the sacrificial system and how important its meaning is for our time. Because the sacrificial system stresses various aspects of the atonement and also of our own necessity of becoming living sacrifices unto the Lord. So I will refer you to my books on that, because it’s a marvelous subject and I think a very exciting one, when we begin to treat those sections seriously, and attempt to understand: ‘What do they mean, and why did God so often repeat his commandments concerning the sacrifice. And why were there public sacrifices for the people as a whole as a nation? And personal ones.’ Think about that for a moment, consider the fact that we sin as individuals and then as churches and as nations we also go astray. So the sacrificial system tells us that we need to make right our relationship to God as individuals, as churches, as a nation. As families as well. There are well so many meanings that open up in a sacrificial system that while the blood part of it is fulfilled in Christ, the meaning remains.
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] Another question: “How do you see the destiny of the church in this age before the return of Christ? Will the church succeed in its mandate before Christ returns? What will the church look like that Jesus is going to return for?”
[Rushdoony] Well, let me say we’ve had an age of humanistic statism and it hasn’t worked, it’s been a failure. We've had eras when both Catholic and Protestant churches have ruled pretty much in various countries and that’s been better than statism but it has not been a success. What do I see for the future? Now when we go back over theology we find that theology began with tremendous debates and discussions on the doctrine of Christ, in finding the exact nature of Christ. Then defining God more clearly, having defined Christ. Then various communions have worked on defining the church and defining this and defining that in terms of extensive studies of scripture.
There is one area that the church has neglected over the past 20 centuries. And that area is the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. So that the creeds whether Nicene or the Chalcedon Creed or the Athanasian Creed don’t say much more than: I believe in the Holy Ghost, or: I believe in the Holy Ghost the Lord and giver of life. That’s not been an area of much study or debate. Now, if we see that as an area where the church has to do some growing up, what are its implications? As I see it, it means this: that in the future we are not going to look to institutions to do the work. Neither Church nor State, but the people of God, individuals, families. Associations of people who come together to form a group for this or that, for culture. For problems dealing with this or that aspect of community life. It will be people, doing the Lords work in the Lords Spirit. [00:54:12]
And I believe an important part of that is going to...
And I believe an important part of that is going to be a fresh understanding of the meaning of the tithe. The tithe is to the Lord, not to the Church. It’s to the Lord. Whether it be in the church or whether it’s a group of Christians here who are doing the Lords work through some kind of activity in the community, or through a Christian school, or through some organization.
The early church did this in that they ministered to every conceivable name, homeless boys and girls. They went out and picked up the abandoned babies, sinceabortion was not always effective then being crude. And the babies would be abandoned under the bridges say at Rome, for the dogs to eat. They’d pick them up and take them around and pass them to Christians. Think about that for a moment. Here you are a member of the early church. You’re a persecuted person; you could have your head on a chopping block any time Rome feels like it because you’re the member of an illegal organization. And here comes a deacon and says, “congratulations you’re the father of a baby boy or a baby girl,” and you take that child in. That was one way the church grew rapidly. There wasn’t a need like that, that the church deacons and others who worked with them, including the widows of the church were not meeting. [00:56:11]
That’s how they grew, explosively...
That’s how they grew, explosively. I think we’re going to see that on a level never seen before. So I believe that led of the spirit, we’re going to see people come to the church as a kind of army barracks room where they get training. Where they are armed, and then they go out into the world to accomplish things for Christ. In their homes or out of their homes, wherever. So as I see it the people of God, not church nor state are going to dominate the next age. And I think great things are going to happen. I believe the Holy Spirit works more through individuals then through institutions.
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] Thank you. There was a question here that asked if you could clarify what you mean by we are over turners. Over turn what? Our government or whatever?
[Rushdoony] Yes of course, that prophesy in Ezekiel is concerning Christ and it was applied to the disciples because remember in Acts, It was said of Paul and the others, “these are men who turn the world upside down.” Well the world says that man is everything, and mans will must be done. Man’s kingdom must come. The Lord’s prayer says: “Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” When you say that you’re in favor of overturning the present order. Read the Magnificat, Mary’s some of joy. What does she say? Well she says the Lord will over throw the mighty, and exalt them that are of low state. Now the Magnificat was banned by kings who believed in their divined rights from use of the churches, because they said it was a revolutionary song. Well it is, because God is going to overturn through us, the humanistic world order. We are over turners. That’s what this building is dedicated to doing. Every time the word of God is faithfully preached here it is turning the world upside down. That’s why true churches and true pastors are not held in high esteem by the world. [01:00:15]
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] Another question...
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] Another question: “One of the main arguments against reconstructonism that I’ve heard is that we would be forcing our views upon an ungodly society. Therefore kind of legislating them to serve God, what would you say to this? What would you just say to the concept of that we’re forcing our views and that were legislating them to serve God?”
[Rushdoony] Well no one has ever made that statement that’s bothered to read anything that Christian Reconstructionists have written. You just what I heard what I had to say about individuals, families working in the spirit to accomplish these things, that’s not forcing anything upon the world. I don’t believe forcing anything upon the world is going to accomplish something. That’s what they’re doing in this country and in the states. And it doesn’t work, it’s only destroying society. So I’m not for forcing anyone to do anything. I’m for converting them to Jesus Christ. And then telling them: “This is the way, walk ye in it.” Now that’s what Christian reconstruction is about. It’s beginning as regeneration. Then holiness means living by every word that God has spoken. [01:02:09]
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] So much error has crept into...
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] So much error has crept into the church because we know little or nothing of church history and thus do not understand the way heresy affects our theology now. For example the Marcion heresy, for people who are not trained scholars, where can we get this kind of information.
[Rushdoony] That’s a marvelous question a very important one. A very, very thoughtful one. We do need to know more of church history. I am glad that some of the old church history books like Schaff’s church history have been reprinted in recent years. Schaff S C H A F F. And while he wasn’t totally sound in everything, he was marvelous in dealing with these heresies. I think we do need to have more teaching of Church history. I hope before many years there will be some new church history books written. So that church members can understand these things. Now I have tried in the Chalcedon report to deal with some of the various heresies in my position papers, including the Marcion heresy. And all of those papers have been reprinted and the Roots of Reconstruction which just came out a month or two ago. It’s about 1200 pages and it’s all my papers in the report from 65 through the early 90’s. So I do cover Marcion and a great many of the early heretics including Montanis and some of the more recent ones like kenoticism and so on. These seep in from intellectuals and before people realize it Bible believing churches are infected by them. So this is one of the areas where I trust in the next generation were going to see a great deal of progress. [01:05:22]
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] Another question...
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] Another question: “Are we to understand that extension to man’s life span will take place as the kingdom of God is established? How will this take place and can you give scripture you referred to for extended lifespan.”
[Rushdoony] Yes well of course I cited Isaiah 65. We see that after the fall the lifespan of man gradually began to decline from a great length that you see in Methuselah, to about 150, 135 and then the you’d hear reference to four score years and 10, and Jacob at 135 I believe told pharaoh mindful of what the lifespan of men had once been: “Few are my days and evil.” So as the fall deepened man’s life was affected. And as we push back the fall I believe we shall push back the time of death, and we are told one dying at a 100 shall be accounted to have died at and under the punishment of God. I believe that literally. I was very, very moved in the 50’s when a doctor friend, a very devout Christian, took me with him to a very important medical meeting and at that medical meeting this doctor specialist in cardiology said that he had noticed something in hospitals. That people who were devout Christians, tended to come through surgery and recuperate more quickly than non-Christians. And that when it was touch and go they tended to survive where the non-Christian did not. So he said now it would be a difficult thing and involve a lot of work to prove that statistically, there are too many imponderables but he said: “I saw enough of this to make me think that longevity and faith have a connection.” [01:08:49]
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] Yes?...
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] Yes?
[Audience Member] Oh I just wanted to make a comment about the heresy thing and the history thing. There was one book that I’ve run across that covers the, it’s called the Socialist Phenomenon by Igor Shafarevich, (Rushdoony: “Yes.”) he goes into the Moravians, you mentioned the Moravians earlier and he goes into the what you would call the socialist heresies quite a bit, so for anybody that wants to study that end of it. I found it was rather authoritative work myself.
[Rushdoony] Tremendous work, tremendous work. Thank you for bringing that point up. Shafarevich was a mathematician, still alive in the Soviet Union and so important in his work in scientific research, that they did not dare send him into a slave labor camp, even though he was a very vocal and still is a very vocal Christian. Harvard recently canceled an invitation to Shafarevich to speak because he is one of the world’s great scientists. Because he made some remark they insisted was anti-Semitic. He very obviously believes, that it is let me say Christians who believe in Jesus Christ. Not anyone that believes in God that goes to heaven. [01:10:38]
So they took umbrage at that type of position...
So they took umbrage at that type of position. In his book what he does demonstrate tellingly, and there is a short version of the book, in Solzhenitsyn’s book From Under the Rubble, he says that all socialism as militant atheism has a will to death. It is suicidal, and its goal is universal death. Not life. So writing years ago in From Under the Rubble he made it clear he thought socialism was doomed because of this will to death, because of its hatred of God. Now one of the things the book the Socialist Phenomenon deals with which was very moving to me is one of the few scholars who ever dealt with the Masdakites of Persia. The Masdakites seized power and they were the first radical socialists in all history. They wanted the total communism of all property, of all money, of all food and of all women. And the matter is of personal interest to me because when the Masdakites seized power they told Armenia that they were going to require them to come under their domain and become Masdakites, instead of Christians. And they said: “We want proof that every one of you are converted, and the proof will be that ever father will sleep with his daughter and every mother with her son.” Because they were against everything that scripture represented and for total communism, equalizing everything. And the Armenian princes or Naharars in the Armenian refused to a man and put their heads on the chopping block. And one of them was named Isaac Rushdoony and that’s my grandson’s name. So what Shafarevich wrote about in the socialist phenomenon is a matter of family history.
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] Another question: “What are the means by which we are to fulfill the great commission? How can we as individuals participate?” [01:14:21]
[Rushdoony] That will vary in terms of who you are...
[Rushdoony] That will vary in terms of who you are and what certain circumstances are. Some people who are every limited in their health or their means have none the less accomplished great things. There are some whom I have known who are house bound, who still call around to everyone in the church to find out if there are needs, and then to alert people in the church to take care of them; or if there are needs in the community, and then to call them to the attention of Christians. It’s amazing how much some people can do. And then also to be in prayer for all these things. There are more than a few people across country who are not allowing age or infirmity to limit them but are using the telephone as a means of getting things done for people in need.
It’s amazing how people can be caught up in things by the spirit and moved to do things. We have on our staff now a very remarkable young man, 30’ish, a film producer, very much a Hollywood type character when I first knew him. He became a Christian first converted to a kind of dispensationalist faith, and then he said he ran into a concrete wall when he first read my books. So he began doing some films with a Christian thrust. His film with Pat Boone doing the narration A Better Way is the best anti-abortion film, and he won an award for it. But he was asked to go to Romania to do some documentary filming, when Chuchesque was overthrown. And he found that the missionary group that was asking him to go was just going to use the films to raise money and not to do anything for the children. It was a group out of eastern Canada. So John Upton being a very blunt person and a giant of a man ticked them off in no uncertain terms. And said: “You’re taking advantage of the incredible evils here being done to children to raise money, not to help.” So they became angry with him and they were holding the plane tickets and they pulled his ticket. So there he was stranded without money. And Susanne told me that he called home to say he had no money. And he described what he saw. And Susanne said it was hard to understand him, he was sobbing so and she said John is not an emotional person. Hot tempered but not given to crying. Parents who were murdered by Chuchesque, their children thrown into institutions to be warehoused. Some of them in their teens and couldn’t walk because they were so malnourished. And the guards male and female abusing these children sexually. [01:19:50]
And they cried, clung to him, begging him to take them...
And they cried, clung to him, begging him to take them. And he promised he’d be back. Well he’s rescued in the past year 72 children. Some of these seriously handicapped. A girl he brought over recently because beginning from the time she was an infant she was crying out of hunger, was beaten so she’s going to have to have plastic surgery done to her face, and we have someone who is volunteering to do that. And a neurosurgeon is going to see to it that she walks. She just turned 18 and has never been able to stand on her feet. Too weak from malnutrition. And a dentist is remaking her mouth, seventeen new teeth being put in. A dentist volunteering his services found it very difficult to work because he had to stop and go off to the corner to blow his nose and wipe his eyes because the girl was burbling with joy. And she had learned enough English to say: “These people love me. Christians love me.” And the dentist said “it’s the first time in my life I’ve ever seen anyone enjoy being in a dentist chair.” Well this is one man who caught fire, and think of the various house wives who’ve caught fire and are taking some of these children and young people, and are finding it not easy but a blessing. [01:22:27]
I could go on and tell you of others who are doing...
I could go on and tell you of others who are doing like work in other fields. Remarkable things are being done, so there is a revolution out there, and it’s creating a great deal of opposition. Because what people are seeing is that Christians are on the march. They’re out to bring everything into captivity to Christ, little children and old people alike. And they’re totally bewildered and baffled by it. They can’t understand this new force that has come into the world. The Christians are not just holed up in their churches where they’re ineffectual and doing nothing. They’re not only educating children but they’re going out into all the world, doing remarkable things. And if you think the enemy is not afraid, you’re fooling yourselves. They’re worried; they’re worried sick about this Christian revival. Which is a revival where individuals are doing things, if it’s no more than taking care of one person in their neighborhood.
There is one black pastor, we have a film of one and its available I mentioned. Go Get Your Stuff, By Bishop McKinney. With 16.50 postpaid I believe it is. But there is another pastor in Los Angeles, Watts, who has not only a Christian school but he has a training school for men and women in his church. And his goal is that they are to convert Watts to Christ. And he told of this one elderly woman legally blind who came and she said she wanted to help. And they said alright aunty. You find the other Christian women on your block and start a prayer meeting with them and then work to convert everyone on the block. So with her white cane she went from door to door, started a prayer meeting, then started working on every black family on that block. And finally they had them all converted accept one man who hated Christians and was something of a hoodlum. And he decided to move from there because he had a whole block of people witnessing to him all the time and he couldn’t take it. So he wouldn’t allow any of the neighbors to help him when a moving man came another black to load his truck. So they asked on the quiet this man who had the truck where he was moving to. So they went and called two or three Christians they knew on that block and said go and help him unload and be good neighbors and when you’re through tell him you’re Christians.[laughing] It really blew the man’s mind [laughing more] well I could go on all afternoon with stories of that sort but things are happening.
[Rushdoony’s Assistant] Excellent. Were going to just take a little break. We will break till 3. [01:27:16]