Christianity and Culture FUTURE Question and Answer - RR196B4
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[Audience Leader] It’s been a great joy to have Doctor and Mrs. Rushdoony, and please come and minister the word of God to us.
[Rushdoony] Thank you all for having me. I am so often treated as a kind of outlaw by many church people that it is wonderful to get so warm a welcome.
Our subject tonight is again Christianity and Culture, the present scene and the future. Perhaps nothing better illustrates our present scene than the case of Philip Zimmerman. Since 1993, a grand jury has been collecting evidence which may send him to prison3-5 years with a maximum fine of 1 million dollars. He has nothing like that of course. The case against him is a Federal one.
What has Zimmerman done? As far as I can ascertain he probably has never received a traffic ticket, let alone committed a crime. He has developed however, Cryptology for the masses. He has devised something whereby anyone with a computer can keep all his knowledge whether it is business or church or personal data, free from anyone tapping into his computer and collecting the information. He has enabled businesses and individuals to protect the privacy of their works and lives by this tried and tested encryption program, and he has made it available freely. [00:02:41]
During the first week of April, ...
During the first week of April, 1995, the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Zimmerman its prestigious pioneer award for helping protect the privacy of people, but the Federal government says it has a right to eavesdrop on anyone. It has a right to tap into their telephones, their computers, every aspect of their lives. In 1991, Congress attempted to pass a law making what Zimmerman was doing illegal, but people can reach Congress with their complaints, so nothing happened, no law was passed. But this has not restrained the Federal Government, which is planning to prosecute Zimmerman as an alleged arms merchant. He has no connection with it, but by some far-fetched reasoning they have said that he will enable an illegal arms business to flourish. Oddly enough, they do not care if any foreign government or foreign individual buys or takes freely Zimmerman’s encryption program, but they don’t want American having that privacy.
We are, in other words, fast returning to the world of paganism. The individual is to be totally under state control. And the will of the state overrides all laws. Telephone calls are now subject to eavesdropping. An expert has told me that if you use certain key words, the equipment will zero in onto your conversation immediately and record it. In the name of drugs control, properties are subject to confiscation even if one is innocent of any relationship with the drug trade, and so on and on.
Incidentally, three million families, mostly ordinary families like us who don’t have much property, have had their property seized and they cannot afford to fight getting them back, and when they have been able to and have won, the properties have not been surrendered in most cases.
Freedom is rapidly disappearing under the rule of the new paganism. At the same time license or licentiousness is replacing Biblical morality. [00:06:27]
There are two cases now in the courts whereby it is
There are two cases now in the courts whereby it is held that it is illegal to teach chastity in public schools. Why? Because natural morality leads to sin, after all the natural man will do as he pleases. So if you teach chastity you are implying that you need supernatural morality, Biblical morality, to be chaste. And therefore even if you do not mention in any high school course the subject of God and the Bible, to teach chastity is to establish Christianity in the school. Incidentally, the film that was the subject of the court action was produced by one of our men.
This means now, that if these efforts succeed, sexual sins are legal for children, legal to be taught in the schools which is already the case, but chastity cannot be taught. Twenty years ago, a man who spent most of his life in Sweden, Roland Huntford, an Englishman, wrote a book entitled The New Totalitarians. At that time he said, the Soviet Union which was still very powerful, was the old model of Totalitarianism, because of its use of terror. The new model, which he said would take over, and Sweden was the great pilot example, was education as the mean of remaking and reshaping every citizen. All men were to be brought into submission to the monolithic state, Huntford said, by means of statist education. And catharsis was to be found, he said, through rituals of hate. And he gave examples of these rituals of hate in the Swedish schools. The new totalitarians are anti Christian. But they say that what they are opposing in Christianity is a form of mental illness.
This according to Huntford is how Sweden describes a Biblical Christian faith. In Sweden the new totalitarianism, Huntford went on to say: “Means that the judiciary is virtually infallible, and implicitly always right.” Paganism means more than not believing in God, it means the abandonment of everything taught by the Bible. With each decade since World War 2, more and more of the Christian faith is abandoned in favor of paganism as the new freedom. This freedom is one in favor of radical immoralism, and for the hatred of Christianity. We either return to a truly Christian, Biblically grounded culture and world, or we regress into paganism and into slavery. [00:10:57]
As I said yesterday morning, the two key areas of cultural
As I said yesterday morning, the two key areas of cultural expression are law and education. Our laws are increasingly non Christian, in fact the very idea of law as something fixed and eternal, as always true, such as “Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not commit adultery.” This is being replaced by bureaucratic regulations. We live less and less under law and more and more under bureaucratic laws and regulations. The regulations by bureaucratic agencies of the federal government and the states, as well as of the counties, now are so great that each year they fill the equivalent of a large library building. Whereas the laws passed in legislative bodies are very few by comparison, although too many, more than they should be. In fact some modern ideologues have denied the idea of law, which means that the rules of man have replaced the rules of God. This is an old hope. If you go back to Plato’s Republic in ancient Greece, most of humanity was to be made of workers who were to do what they were told, then there were the soldiers to enforce the rule of the leaders over the workers, and above them the philosopher kings whose word was law. There were no laws in Plato’s Republic, only the fiat will of man.
Law is being separated from God. So too has education. It is increasingly geared to conforming the mind of the student to humanistic statism, not to God nor to the family nor to one’s heritage. It is an exercise in the humanistic conversion of the child to paganism, to life without the Lord and without fixed moral laws.
A medieval idea which is still very, very prevalent today in evangelical circles is the doctrine of the Donum Superadditum. It is the belief that the natural man as he is, is essentially good, and all that he needs to make his life complete is Jesus Christ. This was a result of the thinking of Aristotle, it crept into the church, Catholic and Protestant, and has damaged both seriously. Instead of seeing man as depraved in every aspect of his being as the Reformed Faith holds, this view sees him as good, or almost good, needing only Jesus for the full measure of his satisfaction. All you need is Jesus, that is the Donum Superadditum gospel. “You’ve got a good life, you’ve got it made, now all you need is Jesus.” But such a view is not Biblical. Man is fallen, he is at war with God, and at heart he hates all of God’s law. He hates it with every fiber of his being. I recall years ago, someone came late at night, banged on the door and I let him in, and he was in desperation. He had, although he was a giant of a person and in excellent health except for one thing, a certain something like a varicose vein of the esophagus. And when he drank, which he did, that would swell and break, his mouth would be full of blood and he would fall, choking. And the doctor said: “Sometime this will kill you.” So when he walked in, he was near tears. “What am I going to do?” he said. And I told him: “You are a strong man; you are a bear of a man. But you are not in control. And you need to put Jesus Christ in control. And your only chance at life is to overcome your drinking, and you are only going to do it if the stronger man, Jesus Christ has command of you.” So I said: “Why don’t you pray? Pray to God and ask that by His grace He make you His in Christ?” He sat there for some time, and then got up and headed for the door. He said: “How can a man humble himself to pray?” [00:17:51]
Life without God
Life without God. This is the goal of the modern world. Man is fallen, he is at war with God, and at heart he hates God, he hates the Son, the Father, and the Spirit, and all of God’s law. So the fallen man and his world, is anti morality, anti God, anti Christ. It favors abortion, homosexuality, and every kind of evil. Because it wants no laws from God to govern men.
One person, a man of some prominence, who hated homosexuals with a passion kept it quiet, and he was against anything that would hurt homosexuals. What was his excuse? He said with some profanity: “I hate those blankety blank so and so’s,” and then honestly enough he said: “But I hate the Bible more.” So he was in favor of the gays, as against the word of God.
Today to break down all law, there are powerful forces seeking to make legitimate all child molestation. Did you know that the Kinsey Report 30 years ago was in favor of that? That Kinsey held that it was only bad parental teaching that made children upset when it happened. There are forces trying to make legitimate incest, bestiality, and other offenses in the name of freedom. Gaia worship is advocated by important persons in the international community, its target is the end of the division of humanity, into saved and unsaved, in to the lost and the Redeemed. In fact John Dewey in 1933 aimed his lectures at Yale, the key lectures of his career, against the Biblical doctrine that there are two kinds of people, the saved and the lost, and he said: “It is the ultimate expression of hostility to Democracy. In a democratic world, all people will be equal.” Doctor Norman Myers who has been a United Nations advisor, also advisor to the world bank, the U.S. state department, the Rockefeller brothers Fund, and more, has said and I quote: “There is no longer any we and they” That is, the Christians and the lost. “For the first time and for all time, there is only us. All of us humans together with all our fellow species, and other members of the Gaia community.” By other members he meant animals. They must now be given equality with us. [00:22:18]
The new community, the family of man and some would
The new community, the family of man and some would say the family of life, to include all plants and animals as well as men, allows for no moral and religious distinctions, and it must include our fellow species as they are called, fellow animals. One of the things that tickles me, is that there are scientists in India, Hindu’s, who are against the eating of all flesh because Hindu’s are vegetarians, who are now conducting experiments that they claim prove that vegetables feel pain when they are picked or cooked or eaten. Now what they are going to live on I don’t know, maybe they are going to get their nourishment by breathing air.
One commentator on what Doctor Myers has held has said and I quote: “Furthermore, according to Dr. Myers, creation of such a new world ethic is no side issue; it is recognized as an imperative by world institutions" such a United Nations Environmental Program, which in collaboration with radical environmental groups created a "world ethic for living sustainably" in 1991. In that same year, globalist theologian Hans Kung was commissioned UNESCO to create a "Declaration of a Global Ethic" which would impose a set of binding commitments upon religious leaders and institutions.
From Kung's perspective,” and by the way, Kung was a noted Catholic theologian until he was forbidden to teach by the Pope not too long ago, and he is joined by man Protestant leaders.
“From Kung's perspective, traditionalist religions have an ethical obligation to cease to exist.” Do you understand what they are telling us? If we were morally decent people we would vote ourselves out of existence, we would disband all Bible believing churches. [00:25:13]
In his 1991 book, ...
In his 1991 book, Global Responsibility in Search of a New World Ethic, Kung declared: “Any form of church conservatism is to be rejected. To put it bluntly, no regressive or repressive religion, whether Christian, Islamic or Jewish, or of whatever prominence has a long term future.” Furthermore according to Kung: ‘There will be no room for religious diversity.” And they mean that they are not going to allow room. “Because if ethics is going to function for the well being of all, it must be indivisible.” No one else allowed to have their faith. “The undivided world increasingly needs an undivided ethic. Post modern men and women need common values, goals, ideas, visions.”
And they call us bigoted and narrow minded. They are not going to allow anyone to exist who disagrees with them. Already in Sweden if you go to a Bible study you become an outcast in the community. The church there is a state church. This means that everyone has a right to vote in the churches elections, so guess who wins when they have an election for church office? The Marxists. So the church is run by ungodly men. Very clearly, the death of Christianity and of biblical faith, law and morality is the goal. Failure to recognize this hostility is a self imposed blindness on the part of some churchmen.
The current forms of anti Christianity are really sophisticated versions of the thinking of the Marquis De Sade. The presupposition is that man’s only true realm is the natural. The Marquis De Sade said that since the Bible and Christianity advocate a supernatural morality, they must be forbidden. Everything else, including every crime, he said, should be made legal. [00:28:11]
The death of God school of the early ...
The death of God school of the early 1970’s is really basic to our current mindset. It did not end, it was simply absorbed by all the modern seminaries, so that in all the modernist seminaries the death of God school of thinking is basic. And what did they say? They did not say that God is dead, but: “God is dead to us. We will no longer pay attention to God, whether he exist or not is irrelevant to us, we want a world without God or Christ.” So in our public School, value clarification teaching prevails. It teaches the students: “There is no ultimate good or evil, good and evil is what is good and bad for you. You decide, you make your own morality.”
Now such a world is anarchistic and lawless. It is the world of the book of Judges, when because God was not recognized as king, as lord over all, every man did that which was right in his own eyes. This morning I called to your attention the fact that in Calvin’s Geneva, that was precisely the gospel of the Libertines who fought against Calvin, who blackened his name all over Europe, who hated him with an intensity that we can scarcely appreciate. But Calvin won over the Libertine’s, whose champion was Servetus. And we as Calvinists are going to triumph over the new libertines, because their outlook and their world is suicidal. It destroys the foundations for community and for life.
One of the remarkable books of the past quarter of a century was Harold J Berman, The Law and Revolution, the Formation of the Western Legal Tradition. Harold J. Berman in that book said that the Western world is founded on the doctrine of the atonement, that every system of law that made possible Western civilization, rested on the doctrine of the atonement, and therefore God’s law. That if you violate God’s law, restitution is necessary which only Christ, the incarnate god, can render. When you break the law against your fellow men, restitution then alone is possible, and it was true that at one time we did not have prisons except to hold people pending a trial, it was restitution; either by death, or by paying for your offense, making restitution. [00:32:17]
Berman predicted that early in the next century if
Berman predicted that early in the next century if we had not returned to the doctrine of the atonement and the law it presupposes, our civilization will be in a total state of collapse. But he says it will return. What you and I represent, is the beginning of the return of Christ the king, because we affirm his atonement as the premise of our life, and his law as the rule of justice in our society. The foundations are being destroyed right now. This destruction will mean the death of our civilization, but I believe a greater culture, a truly Christian one is under way.
The significant fact is that form the beginning, whether in Eden, Babel, Rome, Babylon, the United States or the British Empire or the Soviet Empire, all things established on anything other than the God of scripture and on the Biblical doctrine of atonement end up in confusion and death. We live in a dying world, but a new world is being born, and you are a part of it. We are the people of life. All things are being shaken, so that as we are told in Hebrews: “Only the thing which cannot be shaken may remain.” We are the people of the future, because we are the people of Christ.
In the 60’s, the campus revolutionaries, the sexual revolutionaries, held: ‘the whole Christian era is in its last day’s’. The number of Christians from 68 to 88 more than doubled in this country, and elsewhere in the world. And we believe that the whole humanistic statist era is approaching its last days. One of the sharpest minds of this century, Eugen Rosenstock Huessy, observed in 1945 as he looked ahead and I quote: “No people can live without faith in the ultimate victory of something.” And he felt that no one could live without faith in the word of God and the God of Scripture. He said also, tragically, how few still believe that the past 2000 years have really been a story of man’s salvation. The two millennia of Christian history. The average layman or even theologian will speak with at best admiration for the life and teachings of Jesus, but appears to think that God has more or less abdicated since then. Yet unless we do believe that Christ began a life process which has continually transformed us and the world we live in, true faith is dead. We are the people of victory. [00:37:06]
Rosenstock Huessy rightly stated that paganism has
Rosenstock Huessy rightly stated that paganism has always affirmed unintentionally, while it speaks of one world, the disunity and the dividedness of mankind. When man is at war with God, he will be at war with himself, and he will be at war with his neighbor. He cannot create a one world order. The old pagan myth from Greece about the God Kronos, devouring all of his children, is true of all paganism. It destroys itself. Wherever the human spirit in mans thinking replaces the holy spirit, man kind decays and dies. We alone are the people of the future, but only if our faith is totally Biblical and Christ is for us Lord and Savior, in and over every realm of life and thought.
The Bible is full of such magnificent statements about the certainty of our victory; Paul especially uses some amazing phrases to express that. He was a Roman citizen, and no doubt he was familiar with Rome and with the Roman triumphal entries. The victorious generals would march into the city with their army, the crowds would line the streets, chariot after chariot would be loaded with gold and silver that had been captured, and behind the chariots in chains would be the kings and nobles of the realm conquered. It was a spectacle designed to convey the idea of Roman power, of Roman majesty before whom nothing and no one could stand. And how did Paul describe us? He said: “For thy sake oh Lord we are slaughtered like sheep all the day long. But, we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.” The power and the majesty, the imperial splendor of the triumphal entries was as nothing compared with the power and conquest that is ours in Christ, and it is one that shall stand for all eternity. So we must say again with Paul: ‘If God be for us, who can be against us? We are the people of the future.”
Let us pray. [00:41:04]
All Glory be to thee God the Father, God the Son and
All Glory be to thee God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, who by thy sovereign grace has chosen us to be Thy people, ordained that for all time and eternity that we are heirs of Thy eternal kingdom. Make us mindful of how rich we are, and how powerful we are in thee, so that in all things we may indeed be more than Conquerors in and through Christ. We give thanks to Thee for these Thy people, whom Thou hast through all eternity and for all eternity ordained to be thine. Bless them by Thy spirit. Empower them by Thy grace, and give them a holy boldness as they face the trials and adversities, the animosity, of the world that hates Thee, and which shall be judged by thee. How great Thou art oh Lord, and we praise Thee. In Christ’s name, amen.
[Audience Leader] What questions do you have for Doctor Rushdoony?
[Audience Member] Doctor Rushdoony, do you think it is interesting that from 40-50 years ago, humanist dystopian novelists like Aldous Huxley and George Orwell in the books that they wrote were so well able to describe the end result of that which they believed in as humanists, in for instance Brave New World and 1984? [00:43:22]
[Rushdoony] Yes, the interesting thing is that they
[Rushdoony] Yes, the interesting thing is that they dreamed up these ideal social orders, and they themselves saw the judgment that would come upon them. And in the early years of the modern age, a great many Utopian works were written by the humanists, most notably of course, Sir Thomas Moore’s Utopia, but that was one of a great many. But what happened was after Word War 1 the Humanists themselves began to see that it would not work. And since World War 2 the Avant Garde thinkers have increasingly been very pessimistic, and they see less and less hope. One of the things it has done is to repeat something that has happened before, in Greece and in Rome, and now again. A belief in over population. It wasn’t true in Plato’s day, and it wasn’t true in the Imperial years of Rome, and it isn’t true now, but they are prone to believe everything is falling apart, and therefore they are ready to believe any myth that comes along. Consider how in the past twenty years we have had the myth that a new ice age was going to destroy the world, and now the green house effect, and so it is warming up and the polar ice caps are going to melt, and all the cities are going to be flooded, there is always a new version of a dooms day kind of scenario, and of course the environmentalists are full of them.
So even as they are planning through U.N. and Congresses and Parliament this marvelous new world order, they are also predicting its death. It is interesting to that again and again they have decided that we have to cut the world population by so much, and have proceeded to do it. In Red China of course, they are creating a fearful situation, over twenty years ago they limited every family to one baby. Well, this was a disaster because boys took care of the fathers, the oldest boy did. And if you had one baby and it was a girl, then you have no social security and the Chinese government couldn’t pay it. So they have been drowning the baby girls or killing them. The result is that now the boys are growing up with no girls to marry.
So they have squads going down into places like Vietnam and elsewhere to kidnap girls, to bring them up to become brides. And they like them because they cannot speak any Chinese, and therefore they are helpless, they can’t escape. So it is creating a major social crisis. Incidentally through the U.N. the United States is funding that Chinese de-population program. [00:47:51]
[Audience Member] Yes, Doctor Rushdoony on Saturday
[Audience Member] Yes, Doctor Rushdoony on Saturday night you mentioned how the Roman Empire when it disintegrated looked to the church for doing the courts and other matters and such, today as we see our civilization breaking down what is our course of action, do we stand by and wait for the secularists to look to us or do we create our own Christian state?
[Rushdoony] Well, that is a question which we at Chalcedon with the limited money we have, and we never know from day to day if we will have enough and sometimes we don’t, we are trying to address ourselves to. First, to provide the theological, the Biblical premises for Christians to act. Second, we began long before Chalcedon was founded in 65, 10 years before I began working for Christian schools, and at the time it seemed like an unrealistic goal, but now the Christian schools are growing so rapidly, and homeschools, that some state school administrators believe that they will be wiped out if they don’t stop. We are working, and we have been for the past few years to reestablish Christian charity to replace welfarism, and we are working here and abroad. And we believe, and I don’t think we will get to it in my lifetime, that we have got to reestablish Christian healthcare. All hospitals and healthcare was once Christian, we need to get back to that.
In other words, we need to take back one area of life after another from the state. We do it by Christian self-government. The basic government is the self government of the Christian man. If I may take a minute to go into the issue of government, because this is basic to the Reformed faith although not often talked about. The puritans would speak of the various kinds of covenants or governmental spheres. First of all the self government of the Christian man, then the family as a government under god, a very important government. It is an area where you have your first state and your first church, and where you learn your economics and a great deal more if you are properly taught. Then third the church is a government. Fourth the school is a government, 5th your job is a government, it tells you for one thing when you have to wake up in the morning, and how many hours your going to be at a job, and what you are to do there, it governs you. Then private organizations, the community you live in, they do a great deal to govern you, their standards, their expectations. [00:51:53]
And then 7th, one form of government among many is civil government. For half of our history as a country we never talked about government meaning Washington or the state house, we said civil government, because it was one government among many, and not a very important one. Because most of government in this country was in the hands of the 6 other forms of government that I mentioned. It is only been in recent years in my lifetime that you have seen big government. It began first of all with the election of Lincoln, and the war time concentration, but even then Washington was small potatoes in the years afterwards. I used to have a picture and I don’t know what has happened to it, because I really prized it, it was a picture someone took when Taft was President, William Howard Taft. Now that was after 19, I think he was elected in 1909, and he was president to 1913 I believe. At any rate here was a picture which showed the front of the Whitehouse, and you looked over to the old State Department, if any of you know that building, it is now I think annexed to the White house, but it is some distance, and there is nothing in between but a lot of grass, I don’t mean lawn, just wild grass. Weeds and the like, and staked out there on what today would be the center of the Whitehouse lawn was the Taft family cow.
Well, that picture told me a great deal about Washington D.C. in those days before World War 1, and it wasn’t a big city. If the president had a family cow that was staked out on what is now the center of the landscaped area of the lawn and they milked their own cow for their own family use, you know we had a small bureaucracy in Washington, in fact virtually none. That is how much the country has changed in my lifetime, I was born in 1916. And it was because we were still as a Christian people seeing self government as the basic government and then the family. We have got to get back to that and we will create a Christian revolution.
[Audience Member] Doctor Rushdoony is there any attempt to organize the scientific community in terms of Christian outlook, to more balance the secular atheistic world view of scientists? [00:55:40]
[Rushdoony] Well there have been one or two organizations
[Rushdoony] Well there have been one or two organizations, and I am out of touch with them, that sought to do that, one of them was taken over very quickly by the theistic evolutionists. However one of the interesting things in the scientific community that I find very important, and I have this second hand, is that increasingly some of the most brilliant new inventions are coming from Christians. We are providing the minds that are the future creators of technology, and are beginning already to create a new technology. A few years back I was hoping we could get funding to try to bring together all or some of those people and have a conference and let them talk about what they are doing, but it didn’t pan out.
[Audience Member] Could you comment on the receptiveness of Christian Reconstruction in the Church in America, the independent Charismatic, the Evangelical, and lastly the Reformed Church?
[Rushdoony] Well, they don’t like us. And some of them have made it clear they would be happy to see me dead and out of the picture. Well I haven’t any plans in that regard for the present, and Lord willing I will be around a while to bedevil those people. An interesting aspect of our work is that we have reached a lot of people who are outside the faith, because we made the faith relevant to them. And we’ve excited a great many people within the church because we made the faith relevant to them. Right now we have a movement underway in Britain which we are helping finance, there is a movement underway in Switzerland which we are helping finance, there is a movement underway in Germany, in Spain, in France, in Australia, in Canada, in Guatemala, in South Africa, and other countries, and I regularly hear of things happening in other countries that amaze me because I didn’t know about them, I’ve heard recently from some in India, and that has been a happy surprise, I knew of only one person working their with a common goal, and he was a native of India who was a professor of Neurology of Oxford where I met him about 8 years ago, he has gone back as a missionary to his own people, both medical and as a teaching missionary. I don’t know where else our work is to be found, but well, Singapore. I haven’t met anyone there, but we do have some material that goes there, and a friend, R.E. McMaster, some of you may know him, was over there and said he went to the biggest church there which has 4 services a day in English, Chinese, and a couple of other languages, always full, huge congregation, very much geared to youth, and he said: “What amazed me was that half an hour before the service the church was full every time with people there studying their bible and reading up on what ever the text of the day was.” We regularly encounter evidences that Christian Reconstruction is in a great many out of the way places, so it is very encouraging and heartening. And a lot of it is of the Lord without anything from us. [01:01:34]
I had a phone call in the mid ...
I had a phone call in the mid 80’s which really amazed me, it was a young man in some community in Texas, and he said: “I have been accused of being one of your followers and I’d never heard of you, so I asked around and got your phone, and so I am calling to talk with you.” He said: “Just from my Bible reading, I decided to take God’s law seriously. And I cut corners in order to pay off the debt on my house and get out of debt because the Lord convicted me on that score.” And he said: “All hell broke loose, people in the church and my in laws all accused me of being led astray by you.” But he said: “I feel that in spite of all the hostility a blessing because I am obeying God at every point as I read the Bible and I see that my life has to be conformed to His word.” So I think the Holy Spirit is at work. I think he inspired that young man even as he led me to the same decisions.
[Audience Member] In a related question, do you see a decline in pessimistic eschatology in your travels in the church in general, or do you think we will suffer with that for some time to come?
[Rushdoony] Do I see a decline in pessimistic eschatology. Well, that is a point at which some people resent me, a lot of the aumills really feel that I am bad news. I was told by someone that a few years ago there was a meeting, and I guess it was a conference or something, and about 20-25 of the top premillennial preachers were there, and they had a meeting, and they were beginning to get a bit troubled about some of the absurd predictions some Premills were making that were discrediting the movement, and my name came up. And all of them said that they had not abandoned their premill thinking, but they were a little less sure of themselves, because of things that I had written. But of course they would never admit that publically. So I do think the pessimistic outlook of many eschatology’s is being moderated to a degree. Some of their own numbers have confounded them. (Weisnett’s?) book predicting the Rapture in 88, and (Camping’s?) book predicting it in September of 94, and there have been minor predictions of that sort, have hurt the cause of these people greatly. And I have been told by a graduate of a major premill dispensationalist school, that whereas in 1980 they had a waiting list of churches eager to take their graduates, now one in 4 finds a church on graduation. And these are churches that are premill but are no longer ready to have a man who is always preaching the rapture. They are a bit leery of them. [01:06:05]
[Audience Member] Doctor Rushdoony, we’re in ...
[Audience Member] Doctor Rushdoony, we’re in (Badridge?) I told you about Louisiana Action network, which is an organization which is putting forth Biblical government, and we have, what we do is to articulate Biblical government at every opportunity, whether it be before the Senate or on the radio or with one on one individuals or whatever, and we have also proposed a stance similar to Nehemiah’s building of the wall where God has placed burdens on people’s heart, and they will in small groups focus on those particular burdens, say if they have a real anti pornography if they see the proliferation and they want to do something about it, we are setting forth that, we have with our constitution set the boundaries, or with the mission statements or goals that they would move in those directions, and how would you view that method by which we are taking?
[Rushdoony] We need organizations that are dedicated to specific purposes, because one of our problems today is that too many people have the attitude that you cannot fight city hall, and they are not ready to do anything. One of the things that impressed me about, well, 30 years ago I guess it was. I ran across a woman in Los Angeles who together with a few of her friends organized themselves as letter writers, and before long they had thousands upon thousands of women, all over southern California, when there was something that was very bad that was coming up on the state or Federal level, would write letters immediately. By telephone they would alert each other: “such and such a bill is coming up in the state legislature, or in the house or the Senate, express yourself as a Christian against this or in favor of it as the case may be.” And thousands of letters would pour in. It was marvelous the good impact they had. Of course when one woman died the organization gradually faded away, but for about 7-8 years it was very important in its impact. Now, we are too prone today to think you can’t fight city hall, you can’t do anything, and to surrendering, and that is wrong, morally. We need wherever we are to do what we can, to try and counteract the present trends, and to use all the legal means available to do so. [01:09:47]
[Audience Member] You mentioned Christian school and
[Audience Member] You mentioned Christian school and other institutions like that to have a generational effect on a country, let me ask you about the preaching of the word and the importance of that in the church. The preaching of the word.
[Rushdoony] Well, of course that is basic. Without the hearing of the word the Christian cause would fold. It was at the center of the Reformation. Was Calvin did at Geneva was to begin with a particular book of the Bible and to preach it systematically, all the way through, and then take another book, and he always had one or two books of the Bible that he was going through. What he was doing was to teach systematically the whole word of God. Now that was done by the apostolic fathers. If you go back and look at the collected works of the apostolic fathers you find that their preaching was simply going through a book of the Bible, it was not topical, it was in terms of every chapter and verse of each book of the Bible, right straight through. So they knew the whole counsel of God that way, and every time the church has gone back to a very systematic teaching of the whole word of God, things start to happen, because then what people have is a solid knowledge, good marching orders. This is foundational, and as some of you know, basic to all of the work I’ve been doing has been the fact that for years I have been preaching, and teaching, and almost all of these taped and they are circulating all over the world, on a particular book. Right now I am going through the gospel of John Sunday mornings, and these are taped and are available. Thursday nights I am going through Genesis, they are not taped but they will be published eventually.
Now I believe we get nowhere without the Bible, and we have to begin with the systematic teaching of it. [01:13:09]
[Audience Member] Doctor Rushdoony, a question that
[Audience Member] Doctor Rushdoony, a question that has bothered me for a long time, it seems like in the early foundation of America, in the early days of Colonial America, pretty much biblical law was the law of the land, how did it degenerate so quickly?
[Rushdoony] A Professor of law was very interested in what I had to say in Institutes of Biblical Law, did some study on the subject and he telephoned me and he said: “I have found that well into the 1840’s, courts and jury’s decided cases out of the Bible. The judge would instruct the jury, and the jury would apply the word of God to the particular offense. What happened was that the Unitarian movement began to affect very much, the nature of the country. The Unitarian movement produced a great many of the lawyers and the politicians of the times. And this was deadly, when the politicians and the lawyers, people in key positions were no longer interested in Scripture, why then the country began to part company with scripture, and to go into a humanistic course of action. I have had a running argument with a couple of very fine southern friends who think the world of John C. Calhoun. I don’t, I don’t think he represents the old south. Thornwell and Dabney, great theologians, and men like Benjamin Morgan Palmer who preached in New Orleans, better represent the south. In fact, in his lifetime, Calhoun was not liked by most southerners, because they were suspicious about him, they didn’t think he was a Christian, which he was not. He was one of the co-founders of the Unitarian church, in Washington D.C. He attended the Episcopalian church of his wife’s membership, when he was home. His thinking is pragmatic, not Biblical, in all his writings, and I have his collected works, I know what he has had to say, it isn’t Christian. And it is sad that too many people in the south today as well as in the North think of him as a great guide. He isn’t. I think we’d do better to go back to men like Dabney, one of my favorites, and Palmer. Benjamin Morgan Palmer, and Thornwell. [01:16:38]
If I may be excused to digress a bit and tell a story
If I may be excused to digress a bit and tell a story about Dabney, Stonewall Jackson, you may know this, took him on as his chaplain, and at the staff meeting he asked Dabney to come in to open and close it with prayer. Well when they were discussing military strategy Dabney couldn’t keep his mouth shut. So he kept telling them what they really ought to do, and how they ought to attack this or that way, and Jackson immediately fired him as his chaplain and said: “I am taking you on as chief of staff.” And he proved to be a winning team together with Jackson.
[Audience Member] This is kind of a follow up question to the last one, not just another country but also an institutions, schools that were established early on as divinity school and have been solidly biblical have slid into abandoning the Bible, and as we think about things that we as a church are involved in here in our own school, what is kind of the pattern of events or actions to avoid to keep from going down that slope?
[Rushdoony] I think the requirement is what I was talking about earlier, the faithful and solid preaching of the word. What it will do is to drive some people away. They want minimal Christianity, just enough to get into heaven by the skin of their teeth, but not so much that it will really change their lifestyle too much. They don’t want the preacher and the Bible messing up their lives. Well, the more we return to the strong and faithful preaching of the word, the more, while we will have losses, we will have a stronger laity, people who know the word, who believe the word, who understand the doctrine and apply it. And that is how we are going to gain strength as churches and as a Christian movement. The Scots used to talk about Scotch revivals, that is, revivals where you preach people out of the church. Because you lay down the line so clearly and firmly that the wafflers waffle their way out of the church. That may be a bit strong, but it did give them muscles in their churches, and when they came over here, I am not Scottish as you know but my wife is, and to 1900 75% of all the colleges and universities in the United States were started by Scots, and they provided a great many of the clergymen in the Presbyterian fold. They were not that numerous, but their impact was tremendous.
[Audience Leader] One more question. [01:20:41]
[Audience Member] In our legislature right now which
[Audience Member] In our legislature right now which happens to be in session there is a debate over what they are calling forced heirship, in Louisiana, a half of your estate, more or less, will go to your children upon your death, and with certain exceptions, if you are convicted of killing your parents then you don’t, you are not a forced heir and such like that, I have forgotten, I am an attorney, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been in law school and I haven’t studied that particular provision, but they are debating it right now, and they are telling us, that this is the only state in the Union that this exists and I’d like to know what your view is on that.
[Rushdoony] Sometime I’d like to be able to speak to you on the family, and why it is so important. But in terms of Biblical law, the family really controls the future, and one of the ways it controls the future is not only because it controls children who are the future of a society, but this control of inheritance. And in God’s law, the oldest son, who is Godly, and responsible as well as Godly, was to inherit a double portion. So if there were two sons he would inherit 2/3’s if the estate and the responsibility for the care of the parents all their lives. And the other son would inherit 1/3. Now if any were not Godly they were not to inherit. What this did, and this was abided by for a long time in Christendom, it meant that you capitalized the Godly seed, that Christians did not give their wealth to their ungodly children, they built up an inheritance for the Godly. And we need to get back to that premise, and there are ways at least in California whereby a family can virtually disinherit any ungodly child, they have to leave them one dollar, so they have to be mentioned to that extent, then they cannot challenge it. But another method is to create the living trust, which varies from state to state, whereby well before your death you take pains to make sure that there is a Godly settlement, and that the State cannot come in. Because today the state regards itself, legally, as the primary heir. It takes its portion out of the estate before any member of the family can do so, it gets the first cut. But with a living trust or whatever it is called in your state, various devices, you can reintroduce the Biblical premise and preserve the integrity of the families properties. It can be very very ugly, and it doesn’t make any difference how small the estate is, the state and the Federal government seek to control it as far as possible. Does that help answer your question? It is a big question, and it is something that would take a weekend to go into all the ramifications of. [01:25:43]