Christian Conciliatory Service - RR161AA49

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Christian Conciliatory Service
Course: Course - From the Easy Chair
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 49
Length: 1:02:14
TapeCode: RR161AA49
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
From the Easy Chair.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission

Dr. R. J. Rushdoony, RR161AA49, Christian Conciliatory Service from the Easy Chair, excellent colloquies on various subjects.

[Rushdoony] This is R. J. Rushdoony, Easy Chair number 151 July 17, 1987. We have with us this evening—and Otto and I are looking forward to continuing our conversation with him—Mr. Lorrie Eck. Mr. Eck is the man who started the Christian Conciliation Service, first in New Mexico and subsequently in a number of other states.

A number of you are familiar with his work, I know, both because of contacts with the service and also because in our special double issue, 1982-83 of the Journal of Christian Reconstruction, Volume IX: Symposiums of Christian Reconstruction in the Western World Today we have three pages of an article from the Albuquerque Tribune about Lorrie Eck and his work. The Christian Conciliation Service in Albuquerque is recognized legally by the state and its decisions are binding. Of course, in various ways the same thing is true across the country.

We are very happy to have you with us this evening, Lorrie, and we look forward to many more such sessions together. Would you like to sketch broadly some of the nature of the Christian Conciliation Service, the kid of work you do and where you are active now?

[Eck] Well, the nature of the service basically is an attempt to be faithful to the biblical mandate that Christians not sue their brother in secular court, but instead take their disputes to the Church following the procedures that Jesus outlined in Matthew 18 in such a way that not only can the conflict be resolved in a way that is really consistent with God’s law and his principles of justice, but that the parties can have their relationship reconciled and really see that justice is done and that an opportunity for ministry which a conflict represents is taken advantage of. [00:03:02]

And so I guess you might characterize the ministry

And so I guess you might characterize the ministry as a ministry of equipping those wise men in the Church who have authority, who have recognized capacity as reconcilers and peace makers to exercise those particular gifts and to really be restored to the Church what has been a traditional responsibility of the body of Christ and that is to resolve conflicts with... within the Church. And to do it...

[Scott] Would you call these Christian courts?

[Eck] Well, I think you would, but, with, perhaps, the caveat that sometimes the medieval ecclesiastic courts carried with them somewhat of a negative, very legalistic, harsh, vindictive kind of connotation.

[Scott] Well, they were legal courts of the day, but they were part of the state apparatus, too, were they not?

[Eck] They were. And they... they were recognized to varying degrees by the state, which were in a somewhat different situation today. But there... there were obvious abuses at times where... where many times the individuals in charge of those courts became fairly legalistic, not really looking to prayer, looking to formulas and ... and, you know, kind of set procedures for resolving disputes that, perhaps, didn’t do full biblical justice. But I guess you would really call it a Christian alternative to the secular court system, a system that focuses, first of all, in trying to bring parties into voluntary agreement through principles of mediation or conciliation.

Now that is as distinguished from what we might call arbitration where the panel of Christians would actually render a decision that would be legally binding and that might award various kinds of relief from restitution to other kinds of relief that a secular court couldn’t award.

[Scott] Well, does you conciliation service conduct these arbitrations and hand down these judgments?

[Eck] The basic principle of who does it is, in a sense, is to try to encourage local church fellowships to identify a panel of lay people, if you will...

[Scott] ...selected for the purpose.

[Eck] ...selected for the purpose and selected, perhaps, in some different ways than regular secular mediators or arbitrators might be selected. In other words, perhaps one of the biblical principles of a good mediator is not one who is totally impartial, detached and in a sense neutral. Jesus is the model of our mediator and, of course, he was part of the godhead, part of the trinity and became incarnate very close and intimate with sinful man that he was trying to reconcile to the Father. [00:06:15]

So many times a good mediator, a good arbitrator is

So many times a good mediator, a good arbitrator is one who, perhaps, has a very close personal relationship with both of the parties to the dispute and, depending on the nature of the dispute, is hopefully one who has not only the spiritual maturity, but perhaps the technical expertise in ... in medicine or construction or marital relations or whatever the disputes might involve.

[Scott] ... in the subject, in other words.

[Eck] ... in the subject area.

[Scott] And... and taken from the community of the disputants.

[Eck] Well...

[Scott] ... but not an outsider brought in.

[Eck] That is right. Taken from the local church fellowship and taken generally as one who is recognized as... as a man of wisdom and spiritual maturity by the leadership of the Church. Very ... very often, perhaps, not the... you know, not the principle preacher.

[Scott] Not necessarily the minister.

[Eck] Not necessarily. But very often a person who is one of recognized wisdom who hears the Lord.

[Scott] ... an elder perhaps.

[Eck] Yes.

[Scott] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Well, also someone who has to live with this decision, because...

[Eck] Right, sure.

[Rushdoony] He is a part of the same community.

[Scott] And he is not leaving.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Eck] That is right.

[Rushdoony] What brought you to this? Your background is... your parents were both professors. You went to Harvard Law School. You took some work in medical school in order to have training in that field in relationship to legal practice. What brought you to a Christian conciliation service, applying law in this area?

[Eck] Well, I guess as... as an attorney who was a church member and, perhaps, fairly religious, but not a Christian, I began to be a little bit frustrated with kind of satisfaction of practicing law with the traditional tools and manner and approaches that I learned in law school, to begin to see the same clients returning with different conflicts that were manifestations of what appeared to be deeper spiritual needs, problems with unforgivenes and greed and bitterness and resentment and really finding that I was incapable of ministering to those needs or resolving in a permanent way the underlying root causes of the conflict. And, of course, found myself involved as a trial lawyer primarily suing medical doctors for malpractice in a... in an area where relationships were not healed, where they were, in fact, alienated. People were polarized and that it became after a while not too intellectually challenging and not very rewarding except financially. [00:09:20]

And then I began to see, I guess, in my own that despite

And then I began to see, I guess, in my own that despite a lot of intellectual training and a lot of skills as a trial lawyer that some very important relationships in my own life with my wife and children began to fall apart after seven or eight years of very successful practice, making a lot of money and having positions of prestige in the bar association and trial lawyers and teaching positions that a wife who filed for divorce and who left and had no intention of returning and no desire to be reconciled.

And I spent the next year in a mental institution, in a couple of jails in some situations where my own personal life really was in shambles and began to seek some answers and found that a lot of the psychiatry, a lot of the psychology that I had studied didn’t provide relief. I found that they did have some diagnosis of the problem in terms of saying that I had some guilt. But basically indicated it was guilt that was in my mind, mental, made up guilt.

[Scott] In other words, they didn’t recognize actual guilt or repentance.

[Eck] Or sin.

[Scott] Or sin. Well, my understanding in a rough sort of way is that the {?} fairly rapidly became an anti Christian substitute.

[Eck] And, of course, you ... you see in studying Rogers or Freud or Skinner that they start with a worldview of who is man and how do people change.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Eck] And ... and basically every psychological theory represents all of the elements of a theology. And... and a very bad theology from the standpoint of seeing permanent change and... I guess the thing that was an encouragement to me was that after what I suppose is a fairly typical situation in American society today where people have given up hope on relationships. They have tried counseling. They don’t love this other person. They don't want to be reconciled. They don't want any more counseling. They don't want anything but kind of to peacefully leave a very frustrating relationship.

And that was exactly the situation my wife was in and I was in and yet it was fortunate that the Lord brought into our life a number of individuals who really challenged us with the biblical standards, God’s standards of his hatred of divorce, even in cases where it might be permissive that it is never God’s will that people divorce. And began to really challenge us with us with the vows that we had made to each other and to really show us that the God that could raise Jesus from the dead could certainly resurrect this relationship. [00:12:31]

And I guess I was kind of challenged with the idea

And I guess I was kind of challenged with the idea of... and my wife, too, was perhaps the basic issue was did we believe in the resurrection. And my wife, who has always been a committed Christian, began to reflect on the fact that if she did believe in the resurrection that Jesus, that God the Father could certainly breathe life into what had become a very dead relationship. And he did. And I... I used... when I began to see the power of God, the power of the Holy Spirit to ... to start to reconstruct and to rebuild totally fractured relationships in a way that problems could be handled and resolved, I became excited with the potential that, you know, existed in a legal arena where so many people had given up hope on partnerships and marriages and ... and relationships with other Christians to the point of suing them or separation, divorce, or whatever you.

[Scott] You had a complete conversion.

[Eck] Well, you know, I suspect if you were to ask my wife she would say the Lord is still working on me, Otto.

[Scott] Yeah {?} That follows. That is no surprise. You know, I have often felt that God’s army really could have done better than to pull me in as a private. But I think it is fascinating that your conversion, you began to apply your conversion in your profession. And I think this is very unusual, because most people convert and join the church and let the minister tell them how to function and so forth on their own, but they don’t always apply it in their vocation.

[Eck] When I... when I became a Christian, I guess, when I first thought, when I really saw that. the... the wisdom in God’s Word and... and began to read the Scriptures and take them seriously was, you know, I have got to go to seminary and become a pastor. But I began to read the Scriptures and see that the mandate stay in the field where you were when you were called.

[Scott] Where you were when you were called.

[Eck] And I began to read. One of the things that really, I guess, convicted me, was and sometimes, perhaps, you take Scriptures not directly in the context in which they were intended, but I was reading the book of Titus as I was asking God these questions and of course Titus had been left there in Crete among some pretty pagan idolatrous kind of people. And as I was asking the Lord to sort of remove me from my colleagues in the legal profession that doesn’t have the best reputation for, you know, being spiritual. [00:15:31]

[Scott] {?} that is a start.

[Eck] You all know the joke about that. But, you know, the professional courtesy one. But the ... the Lord... you know, Paul wrote to Titus and said, “Titus, I left you there in Crete so that you could set in order those things that were not in order.” And I began to see that as I read through the Scriptures and the very clear biblical mandate that Jesus gave to resolve legal conflict within the Church, when I began to see that the only time that Jesus really even mentions the Church in Matthew 16 and Matthew 18 he was talking about the authority and the responsibility that he gave to the Church to deal with conflict and... and basically saying the gates which are kind of representative of the courts of hell shall not prevail against the authority of the Church. I, I guess, was naïve enough to take that seriously and began to meet with a number of other Christian lawyers. And as we studied 1 Corinthians six and Matthew 18 and saw that so much of the New Testament dealt with the resolution, reconciliation of conflict, we began to call together church leaders in the city. And it was interesting.

[Scott] Where was this?

[Eck] This was in Albuquerque.

[Scott] In Albuquerque.

[Rushdoony] 350,000 so it is not a...

[Scott] No, it is a good {?}.

[Rushdoony] {?} city.

[Eck] And it was a city where, interestingly, the... despite the ... the theological differences on many issues, we had a pastors from all of the mainline churches, the charismatic, evangelical, faith, fundamental, Bible churches come together and... and... and in fact come together not only individually, but through their kind of separate pastor fellowships which included the New Mexico conference of churches, the Pentecostal pastors, the black ministerial alliance, the Spanish ministerial alliance, the evangelical minister’s alliance.

[Scott] This probably reflects the fact that they were all these clerics who are inundated with personal problems in their congregations {?}

[Rushdoony] {?} [00:18:02]

[Eck] That is right

[Eck] That is right. Well, {?} the typical answer, of course, was that nobody likes to biblically intervene in conflicts. It isn’t fun. And, of course, they are... in... in a sense the model of a mediator is the Jesus model. And it is a model of laying down your life and it is a model that if you take a look at the way that Jesus reconciled between God and man as mediator, you know, he was in a situation where the party who was the mediator ended up paying the debt that he didn’t owe and up taking upon himself the abuse, physical and... and verbal and legal that was due to us and that is a very different model than the worldly model of mediation or conciliation and pastors often try to avoid conflict. In fact, we found, interestingly enough, that as we surveyed pastors who said, you know, this is great. It is biblically sound, theologically sound to resolve conflict within the Church, reconciliation is a major responsibility of the Church, but we have been lucky here at our particular fellowship, because we really haven’t had...

[Scott] We don’t have any problems.

[Eck] But as we went in and did surveys, actual anonymous surveys and asked members of that congregation about occasions in which they had hired lawyers to sue other people or had been involved in lawsuits in the last two years, we found that pastors... and how many times they told their pastor we found that the pastors even in small supposedly intimate fellowships actually knew only about less than five percent of the legal disputes. People didn’t consider that to be any of the church’s business. And, in fact, there were 8000 law suits each year in the city of Albuquerque that had church members on both sides, that’s 16,000 parties and they were spending, according to our survey, between 15 and 1600 dollars each for legal fees.

[Scott] Yes.

[Eck] This is .... and so that was like 24 million dollars of money and... and I ... I guess I consider conflicts between Christians to be the property of the Church. In other words, we ... people talk about, well, we have got to be a good steward of... of this money or this physical property. But we also have to be a good steward of our conflicts. And this... this stewardship means that we can be either a good witness or a bad witness by the way that we handle them. And, I... you know, for example, see a Christian say, “Well, I can’t give this 5000 dollars to my brother because I don’t really owe it to him and I could give it to God’s work,” when, in fact, if he could reconcile his relationship by, perhaps, paying with money a debt that he didn’t owe, it might be a kind of stewardship in terms of reconciling relationship and bringing a person to the Lord that might be more important than that financial gift to... to the Church. [00:21:17]

I mean, there... there is a matter here that many times Christians don't consider.

[Rushdoony] Well, the sad fact today is that too many churches don’t want conflicts. That is, they will not recognize or seek to include people who have conflicts.

Let me cite one instance, a very, very fine Christian woman, two small boys whose father was an outstanding Christian leader married the young man from a prominent church family who was outwardly of the faith, but actually was just conventional, not converted. And he ran off with another woman, came across the country with her to California, left her for another and then left her for another and in the process got a quickie, at least one quickie divorce and remarried and divorced and so on. And also was involved in misappropriation of funds so that there was a warrant out for him. He had gotten 10,000 dollars from one widow.

At any rate, an attorney, a good friend told this young woman, “You had better go to a local court and get a divorce, because with what he is doing he can come and take the house away from you. It is your money and your father’s money, but given the laws of this state you can be put out in the street at any time.”

And the fact he married and remarried and there is no marriage. Well, she did get a divorce. And subsequently she moved to another part of the city. She sold the home. It was much too large and she was working to support her two sons in Christian school. And at the church she went, a large one that professed to believe the Bible from cover to cover the pastor told her she was not welcome and he said, “You have a problem and we don’t like people with problems.”

Now this is why your work, I believe, is so important, because you are facing up to problems. You are asking churches to face up to them. When, too often, they don’t like problems, because if you try to resolve a problem you might offend someone and it is better to sweep them under the carpet. [00:24:14]

[Eck] Well one of the policies that we have had is

[Eck] Well one of the policies that we have had is basically in any conflict where people are members of churches we really insist that some representative from that church participate in the proceedings and someone who is designated by the leadership as a person they trust and respect.

And one of the... one of the reasons for that is that to follow through faithfully the... the Matthew 18 process of resolving conflicts may come to a point of imposing discipline on a party who refuses to follow the decision of the Church or refuses to, you know, abide by some agreement or covenant that they have entered into and so it is very important that the leadership of the church that, perhaps, may need to take discipline lovingly for the purpose of enforcing the decision, but also for bringing for unrighteous action, has confidence in ... in the process and the credibility of... of what has happened. And this is a very common situation.

Churches don’t ... have not bee equipped to really deal with conflict. They have created all kinds of ministries of evangelism and building and teaching, but perhaps the basic mandate of dealing with unreconciled relationships, well, we have a mandate to basically be leaving our gift at the altar and making a priority out of going to one who had something against us is of primary importance.

[Scott] Well, here I think the American culture has created part of the problem. We are raised in this giant flowering euphemisms. We don’t ... from child onward to say what we think, because when we did we got punished. And therefore most Americans lose the ability to talk, the ability to be level and to say precisely and exactly what they think.

Now this is sort of like blindfolding everybody. We have... I am well aware, I have... I have known marriages where the husbands ...I... I got letters, as a matter of fact, from one of my business folks. One woman wrote and said, “My husband and I have been married for 25 years and until I read your book I never knew what he did.” And they{?} modern men who don’t tell their wives what they do. They... it isn’t that they are keeping secrets. It is that they just never talk. They just never explain themselves. They never describe anything. So you can imagine how this compounds in terms of personal relationships when your people are not talking to one another they don’t know one another and, of course, if they don’t know one another they grow apart or they never come together. [00:27:31]

And you ... you have embarked upon, I think, a masterful effort.

[Eck] Well, part of the reconciliation process in terms of the mediators often involves husband wife teams who are working together. I, you know, I... I find that having my wife, for example, present in a mediation session with another marital couple keeps me honest. In other words, sometimes I practice things that I haven’t preached and if my wife is sitting there, I am going to take the log out of my own eye before I can confront these other people and, you know, there is a certain balance between husband and wife where that one flesh relationship is...

[Scott] And the wives have a way of bringing you back to earth.

[Eck] Yeah.

[Rushdoony] Well, which book was it in which this woman found out what her husband was doing?

[Scott] It was the Raytheon book.

[Rushdoony] Oh, yes.

[Eck] Well, in cases where I haven’t had my wife involved in sessions at times I ... and I hear this one woman describing, you know, why it is that she is going to leave her husband and divorce him. And, you know, many times you... you listen to these sessions and the Holy Spirit has a way of kind of convicting you of things in your own life that, you know, I can get off... out of that session and run for the phone and call my wife and wonder if she is still going to be there, you know. But... so, you know, it is a matter of... of recognizing we need to meet each other’s needs and to try to be open and transparent about problems we have...

[Scott] And learn to speak.

[Eck] And learn to speak.

[Scott] That is a difficult thing for people who have never spoken.

[Eck] That is true.

[Scott] It is almost like with open confession.

[Rushdoony] Yes. I recall one of the most wonderful things I ever heard was in calling once on an elderly couple, Scottish. And the wife remarked and her husband seconded her, she said, “We are not only man and wife, we are very friends. We enjoy talking endlessly with one another.”

[Scott] You should be ... we should be the common state.

[Rushdoony] Yeah.

[Eck] Well, that is what reconciliation is about. You know, we have... we have lost the concept of friendship. And you talk about reconciliation. It is basically making enemies into friends. It is interesting kind of in a sense you see how few friends many Christians have. [00:30:17]

[Rushdoony] Oh.

[Eck] Now it is...

[Scott] Most Americans today have very few friends.

[Rushdoony] Lorrie, earlier in the day you made a very important observation, one among quite a number of very important observations, but one I think that is very telling in this context. You called attention to the fact that instead of being God centered, Christ centered, the Church today is consumer oriented. Do you want to expound more on that?

[Eck] Well, I think the general observation that I have seen in trying to develop conciliation ministries around the country is that very often churches center in on kind of superstar pastors who really emphasize building a big church to the exclusion of building a pure church, who focus more on church growth than on discipline or discipleship or people who really are trained and instructed in the authority of God’s Word. And, of course, what that means in terms of sort of consumer orientation is the... the general tendency of churches is to ... for people to go a church as a consumer, where if they like the product, so to speak, they stay and consume for as long as it pleases them, but if they don’t like it they leave and go down the street to some other church and, essentially what it means is that the church really doesn’t have much authority in their life to bring correction or discipline or instruction or produce real disciples who are making a difference in the world, because what generally happens is that if the Church would ever decide to impose some discipline they would leave and the Church would feel they have a right to leave and... and essentially the... the Church doesn’t feel that they have any right to discipline then a merchant would feel that they could discipline a customer.

And so it... it creates an atmosphere that is really totally opposed to the authority that Jesus died on the cross to restore to the Church. And we have basically given back the keys of the kingdom. We haven’t asserted the authority in the jurisdiction that Christ died. [00:33:11]

[Scott] This was, I think, inherent in our Constitution

[Scott] This was, I think, inherent in our Constitution. By creating the first state in the history of the world that had no religion, the founding fathers, in effect, threw religion into the streets for anyone to pick up and claim in the name of any practice, custom, belief, creed or activity. The clergy of the United States were reduced to mendicancy. They had to attract a crowd. They had to beg for money. And I think it must be one of the greatest crosses for any minister to bear, because he has to be a beggar. And there is no ... there is no standard, there is no religious standard. Even an irreligious country like England still has an established church on the books and still pays that church a livelihood and could... The courts of England could throw out the Cybernetics as a false religion, because they have a religious standard. There is no way that our courts can define...

[Rushdoony] Not Cybernetics, Scientology.

[Scott] Oh, Scientology.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Yes. Well, they threw it out as a fraud.

[Eck] Well, of course, we know there is going to come a point when this world is going to realize there is not freedom of religion and every knee is going to bow and every tongue is going to confess that like it or not, the kingdom is not a democracy. It is a dictatorship with a King and his name is Jesus and I don’t believe we are going to see that it is going to be a pluralistic kingdom. And this is something where the... kind of one of these areas where the Church has bought in to the world system. We ran into a lot of problems with churches who have tried to set up books of discipline and order that deal with conflict that are based on kind of democratic concepts, but not biblical concepts. And this has created real problems with conflict resolution, because they have created a 200 page document, at times, to deal with matters that are already clearly dealt with in Scriptures.

[Rushdoony] Yes. That is a key point. I have had people submit to me sample documents like that and I tell them, “What about the Bible?” [00:36:08]

[Eck] And you can tell these documents have been drafted

[Eck] And you can tell these documents have been drafted by attorneys. And, of course, where churches are getting into trouble now with areas of Church discipline and so forth is... is because they ... they had it and probably couldn’t without the constant assistance of a staff of attorneys follow the procedures that they themselves have created to deal with conflict or the very discipline itself. It means that you can’t, if you can’t follow your own procedures, you do become, perhaps, liable for those individuals and...

[Scott] Well, tell me how the conciliation service has spread. You tell... it is a whole network now, is it not?

[Eck] It is really spread out in a sense through individuals in various parts of the country who have begun to really see first hand that God’s principles, God’s law can really bring justice and reconciliation that... that there cannot be real peace without applying biblical law, biblical procedures and remedies and... and where people have had an opportunity to observe that first hand and we have had hundreds and hundreds of people come to Albuquerque and to the other cities and observe for a matter of weeks or months at times the system in operation and gone back with a vision of ... of planting within their own fellowship or within their local church this kind of a ministry. It has spread.

And... and we have gone to two other cities and done training seminars and tried to really in... in a prophetic sense, I guess, really call attention to the biblical mandates and to show people that it... that if we take them seriously, that they will bring peace in such a way that the world will look up and take notice that we as Christians have an alternative that is restorative, that can reconcile seemingly impossible situations. We had, for example, the court system in Albuquerque adopt a formal court rule appointing the Christian Conciliation Service to give a mandatory conciliation lecture to people who wanted to get kind of a quickie no fault divorce. And the idea was they had seen, despite the fact that most of the judges were not Christians, that the other alternative dispute resolution systems that were not Christ centered, could do nothing but divide up property and custody and could not really produce reconciled relationships. And, of course, these judges were over burdened with each of them having thousands of cases pending on their dockets at any given time for divorce and coming back time and time again with the new husbands and new divorces and fractured families and really seeing that apart from Jesus Christ there is really no basis for... for peace or reconciliation. [00:39:26]

[Rushdoony] You have had a lot of cases involving money

[Rushdoony] You have had a lot of cases involving money and property also.

[Eck] Surprisingly probably 50 percent of the cases have been business, commercial, injury kind of cases that generally have involved surprisingly large sums of money, probably averaging 100,000 dollars or more case. I thought initially that the conciliation service might be characterized by many as a petty, neighborhood, barking dog, deck, you know, small debt collection type of things. But those usually are not the ones that have been brought and it is, in a sense, they are a little bit easier to resolve, because many times there aren’t the strong feelings of bitterness and anger and resentment that have built up during marital relationships.

But is important in these areas. People... people sometimes get the idea that the Christian solution is for people to hug each other and split the difference.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Eck] But you see that... hat God’s Word sets forth very clear standards of what appropriate levels of restitution are and sometimes those levels are, you know, people talk about win, win solutions to resolving conflict. And you begin to see that violate God’s law and ...

[Scott] {?}

[Eck] ... you... somebody loses and...

[Scott] Somebody has got to lose.

[Eck] ... and loses big.

[Scott] Right.

[Eck] And ...

[Rushdoony] I would say the biggest problem the movement has had is that all the country churches will pick up this idea, but when it comes to practice, that hug and forgive idea is what prevails. They don’t want to go into the problem. They don’t want to resolve it. And so basically what they are doing is to try to destroy exactly what the service is trying to ...

[Eck] Exactly. {?} I would say that, you know, the reason I am here talking to you is because I have come to see that... that... that the weakness of the system, you know, what is going to solve problems is not a system, but people who know the Word of God, who take it seriously and that means not only the substantive principles of biblical justice, but the... the... the evidence that is appropriate. The remedies that... that the whole process that goes into producing true reconciliation has to be based on God’s law and God’s procedures and, quite frankly, within the Church across America today, the leadership, the attorneys and many of the ones that have been involved in the process simply have not been equipped with... with many of the aspects of really knowing the Word of God and knowing how to apply that in a practical sense to conflicts and... and without the work that Chalcedon is doing. [00:42:35]

[Scott] Well...

[Eck] This... this will never be accomplished.

[Scott] Well...

[Rushdoony] No.

[Scott] I had an interview over the Cincinnati radio this morning. I had to get up at 5:30. The radio fellow’s show began at nine o'clock Cincinnati time which is six o'clock our time. And the subject was our revolution. The subject was that talk I ... I gave some time ago. What is happening in the United States? And, of course, what is underway now between congress and the president and in many other areas and levels is the illusion that a society can live without authority and a general uprising against the idea of authority, the president’s authority or anyone else’s authority and this I suppose is where the church has come in.

One of the callers in to the radio program compared the discussion to the situation of the Catholic Church where the bishops are rising against the Vatican because thy don’t think the Vatican should have that much authority. And I said, “Well, how could you have a church in which the buck stoops nowhere, in which the discussion goes around forever.”

[Eck] Good.

[Scott] Which is sort of a whirlpool that we have reached in the political sense in the United States where no issue is ever resolved, because no one has admitted to have the authority to resolve it. And here you come in with the Bible. And then, of course, if you accept the Bible you have to accept guilt. You have to accept sin. You have to accept error and you have to make restitution.

[Eck] And the problem...

[Scott] That is a very difficult lesson.

[Eck] You... you see very quickly the problem is there has been a complete abrogation of authority on the part of the Church.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Eck] ON the part of the... the heads of families.

[Rushdoony] Right.

[Eck] ... on the part of the government and the... you know, there needs to be a restoration and a recognition of... of authority and to... and a recognition of to have authority you have got to be under authority.

I began to see when I was, you know, really asking the Lord to rebuild the marriage that it was very important for me to see that, as a husband, one of the reasons why I could complain about my wife’s rebelliousness was that as a husband I wasn’t submitted. And I am not talking about a dictator. I am talking about somebody, though, who really is pastoring and watching over my soul as one who gives an account and as one who is meeting with me and I am trying to be open and transparent and confessing the problems with and beginning to see, too, that ... that the people that God did put into my life as pastors in authority had come in as servants. In other words, they had come in and really made every effort to make my ministry and my family successful, had been servants to me. [00:45:43]

And they had authority, not because they came in and

And they had authority, not because they came in and announced it, but because of real servant hood and, of course, I called me to look at relationship with my wife and began to see that not only had there been a good period of time when as a husband I had not been under authority and yet was asking my wife to submit, but had not modeled with her the kind of servant hood that my pastors had modeled for me. And, you know, this is something that if the Church, heads of family would assume the authority that God has given them, many of these problems would be resolved. The Church where people are truly pastored....

[Scott] Well...

[Eck] ...don’t have this conflict.

[Scott] We find this going all through American life. I was astonished to discover when I joined a large corporation of third week I was there I fired a man who was reporting to me because I found I caught him a lie. And he flew out right away into the chairman and said, “Otto fired me and he hasn’t got the authority to fire me.” He said, “This isn’t the way things are done here.”

And the chairman said, “Did he say that he fired you in so many words?”

And he said, “Yes.”

“Well, then,” he said, “There is nothing we can do.”

And I didn't realize that I had broken all their policy. I had face to face fired a man, because they had set up a system where there was a sort of internal mediation. He would be transferred to another department, all kinds of nonsense would go on. They would send him a telegram when he was out of town. They would do anything to keep from facing up to the facts of life. And yet, you know, if you keep a man at a job for which he is unsuited, you are doing him an injury.

[Eck] Well, and that... that has been a... you know, an obvious problem where people in the Church, for example, who have a conflict, very typically today if you ask them: Will you submit to this dispute to the most respected , wise, competent, trusted Christian who you know loves you and who, you know, is expert within your friend, many Christians will not in that situation even submit to anybody from the Church. They would rather go down into a secular court, but somebody who doesn't follow biblical principles, who they don’t know, who they don’t have any relationship with.

[Scott] Take their chances. [00:48:17]

[Eck] And this... you know, when... when you talk about discipline by the...

[Scott] Do you suppose they would rather do that because it is more impersonal and they are afraid of the exposure of what you are offering?

[Eck] Part... Part of it is that. I suspect part of it is not wanting other individuals to know what is going on in their life.

[Scott] Yes.

[Eck] In fact, one of the things you commonly hear in terms of involving somebody who has been kind of a pastor to the person or, at least, who they would call their pastor involving them is they ... they would not want this person to know about this kind of problem which really indicates a basic deficiency in the relationship of the pastor, parishioner, if you will and it is...

[Scott] Too personal.

[Eck] Yeah.

[Scott] They would rather go into a public arena with a personal problem than they would a private arena with a personal problem.

[Eck] But it says something very critical about who is the Lord of the person’s life. When ... when an individual would rather submit to an individual who is a non Christian who constitutionally can’t follow biblical standards of procedure and evidence and law over the most trusted and respected Christian that he knows and the Church takes action to disfellowship or excommunicate that person. You can see that essentially for him to believe the he is really part of the body of Christ, he is, perhaps, deceiving himself in terms of lordship and that is not, perhaps, saying anything about his ultimate salvation, but is a real recognition that there are many people who, frankly, don’t think the church has any authority to speak. It is like these cases where people feel their private life in terms of fornication or adultery or whatever, is absolutely none of the church’s business.

[Scott] {?} And say so.

[Eck] Yeah and say so and in court.

[Rushdoony] {?} case the woman was indignant. What business of the church’s was it that she was involved in adultery? She didn't deny the fact. She denied that the Church had any right to discipline her for it.

[Eck] Well, and the theory has not been the falsity of the charges. It has been the invasion of their supposed practices.

[Scott] Well, as... as you said before, the Church has abdicated a long time ago. I wonder how long ago.

[Eck] That...

[Scott] ...that it turned into totally emasculated institutions.

[Rushdoony] I think I can answer that. It began in the 1820s when the Church began—and revivalism helped create it—looked to a star. The star system as created. And from the early years the stars were in trouble. One of the greatest stars of the last century, the first nationally prominent pulpit star was Henry Ward Beecher.

[Scott] Well, {?} Parker. [00:51:33]

[Rushdoony] Yes

[Rushdoony] Yes. And down to {?} Baker. The star system neither generates a strong moral congregation, nor does it lead to a strong moral leadership.

[Scott] I guess the collapse of Calvinism in New England...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] The growth of Arminianism and the turn between 1820 and 1830 probably even before that....

[Rushdoony] Under Jackson you had men looking to the state for solutions rather than to the Church. And the answers were no longer in terms of Scripture, but in terms of the state.

[Scott] Well, you know, this is one of the reasons that the European Christians—and there are still a remnant—at least very scholarly have never been able to make sense out of American Christianity which is a brand all its own. There is lots of shouting and crowds and ... and money and buildings and glass Cathedrals and all the rest.

[Eck] Well, we have created a cultural Jesus who is kind of in our own image.

[Scott] It is Jesus Christ superstar. And that was ... as some {?} sort of travesty has gone deep into the culture. But people who... therefore must really be truly converted to go to your conciliation service and go through it. I would say that the ... how is the... how have they fared, those that have gone through it?

[Eck] Well, the ... I guess one of the things you find. Some... some people’s motives initially, quite honestly are a little bit mixed.

[Scott] Sure.

[Eck] With a high cost of justice today in our... spending 20 or 30,000 dollars.

[Scott] Cheaper than a lawyer.

[Eck] Sometimes what they are expecting is for the Church to come in and put its imprimatur of approval on an unbiblical divorce. They are looking for some quick, inexpensive way to resolve a legal problem without hiring an attorney. So that to say that ... got to say we have people sign a covenant the time they enter the process that very clearly sets forth their responsibilities and the process that could very easily result in matter’s of discipline. And it is the kind of contract that is a very tough contract in terms of the narrow way that Jesus describes to deal with disputes. [00:54:25]

Many people, frankly, do feel challenged

Many people, frankly, do feel challenged. I hope it is not manipulative, but we sometimes do tell people that you have to be fairly serious about your Christian commitment to want to follow this process. And sometimes people are... are, you know, at least challenged to want to think that they are and, frankly, there is usually one or both of the parties whose commitment is a little less than {?} but the Lord often opens up incredible opportunities to really witness and to teach and to minister and to heel.

And so even in situations where one of the parties may seem fairly insistent on thinking they want a divorce and basically don’t believe they want to work for reconciliation, we carefully discern, first of all, whether we will get involved in the case, because we obviously don’t want to facilitate any type of a separation that is unbiblical. But if the Lord will show us many times that, you know, here is a case where... where hearts can be changed and where he wants us involved simply because by being alongside of these people and praying with them and ministering to them, that God will bring reconciliation. And, of course, it is contagious process. I guess we... we get frustrated at times about the increasing levels of divorce and litigation, but the exciting counter part of that is that when Christians begin to become reconciled, it is equally as contagious. They... these people who see the power of Jesus to resolve conflict and see that the wisdom that there is in God’s law, that God in setting forth his law is not some mean, over spoiled sport in the sky that is trying to ruin the fun in life, that his laws are the way to freedom and the way to peace. And as people even see that and see that although we are saved by grace, but the way we are free in life is through his Word, Son, they become excited, because of a first hand personal experience that has been more of an intellectual decision to accept the four spiritual laws or the doctrines of Christianity, because they have seen the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of Jesus to resolve. [00:57:02]

And this... this is exciting...

[Scott] And this applies... this applies in properly disputes.

[Eck] In ... in any kind of a dispute. And, of course, it is a matter of really recognizing that perhaps our role is sort of a John the Baptist role of preparing the way for the Lord, of making his paths straight so that instead of being like the Scribes and Pharisees who are so surrounding the ones needing healing that they have to bring them down through the roof, our role is, perhaps, one of getting those obstructionists out of the ways so that Jesus can get in with the Word and the ministry to bring healing and...

[Scott] How does this affect he rest of the congregation?

[Eck] Well, one thing the congregation begins to see is that conflict is a corporate responsibility. You know, Otto, you have a debt and a business deal or you have some type of an injury or you incur some damage, it may be of a type that you financially, individually can’t take care of. Now a lot of times traditionally we have said, “Well, if Otto went out and... and made that debt and couldn’t pay it, that is his problem. Or if he wants to forgive a guy when he could have sued him and collected the money, you have got to live with that stupid decision.” But when the congregation begins to see, hey, Otto is very likely to forgive and bring reconciliation, if you know he has brothers and sisters in the Lord who are going to supply him with a coat if he gives his away, it is going to make it much easier for that person to make the right decision.

So one of the things that happens is people begin to see conflict as a corporate responsibility and don’t view it as some isolated matter and they begin to see that each one of us is called to be a peace maker, to be a reconciler and to step in to conflicts and even conflicts particularly with those people who are very close to us, because those are...

[Rushdoony] A quick question and a quick answer, because we have about two minutes left. What can people do if they are interested in exploring the possibility of setting up such service in their community?

[Eck] Well, I... I think there is a number of options. I ... I ... and I wish I could say there is some blue print or model that applies to every city. I don’t believe there is. I believe God has a unique plan for developing this type of a ministry within local churches around the country and one of the lessons we have learned is the model that has worked well in Albuquerque or Minneapolis or Chicago may not be the ... the model for San Francisco or Santa Rosa. So we do have with... with Christian Legal Society at the national office that does supply materials. We... We have in virtually every state one or more of these conciliation services who are very willing to come and meet with local church leadership and attorneys and business people and ... and prayerfully discern what God is doing in the body of Christ in that city and how the ministry needs to develop and who needs to be involved with it and it is something that is very difficult to put into a formula. [00:60:34]

But I... I believe in reading the scriptural mandate, calling together people who have a vision for what God is doing in bringing his kingdom to this earth and the authority of the Church that ...that people will be led in ... in what is not a complex process. It involves simply identifying peace makers who know the Scriptures, who know Jesus, who are led by the Holy Spirit, who know how to minister. And there is no fancy training course. There is no quick answers to equipping people except identifying those who know the Lord and who know his Word and who know how to minister.

[Rushdoony] Well, our time is really virtually gone. Otto Scot and I have been visiting with Lorrie Eck, who has with his Christian Conciliation Service created a movement which extends from coast to cast and is a major force in the dominion work of the kingdom.

Thank you all for listening and thank...

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