Condition of Christianity - RR168A1
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission|
(Introductory speaker) ..and I hope that you not only listen carefully to him today but that you read some of his books, if not all of his books, if possible. I believe that the ministry of this man is going to be used of God to be the foundation for the greatest revival America has ever experienced or will know in her future. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you the greatest, most important Christian scholar of the 21st century, Rousas Rushdoony.
[R.J. Rushdoony] About fifty years ago when I was a missionary on an Indian reservation we had some construction work to do and an elderly friend came to help us. He was in his late eighties but remarkably fit. He was an old missionary from China, fifty years in China. He had a degree in engineering and an MD. He was the only American for hundreds of miles around him in South Eastern China. As a matter of fact during the war in order to construct geography of that area the military called him in and he was able to help them. Dr. Dobson was a remarkable man. In his late eighties he not only mastered the work for us but ran around on the girders like a young man. One evening when we were sitting around discussing his work in China he happened to mention that his mail and supplies came in once every six months. And so our question of him was, “What did you do for medical supplies? What if you ran out in-between?” And he said, “I did regularly.” “So what did you do? How did you take care of an incision or a wound to disinfect it?” He said it was very easy. “I simply used something that every housewife used in her kitchen. We tried to guess but we were all wrong. And then he told us; sugar. “I packed the wound or incision with sugar.” And he said, “Now, one of the great discoveries in the history of mankind was when women discovered that in order to preserve peaches they had to seal the jar and make it airtight, but, in making jam they needed no such airtight seal because no bacteria would grow in the jam because of the heavy concentration of sugar anymore then bacteria would grow on honey.” Then he said something that I think is well worth remembering by all of us. He said, “Now, that was a great victory but somewhere in the past someone discovered that fact but now no one knows the meaning of it. Women routinely seal there canned peaches and do not bother to make an airtight on their jams without realizing. It is a forgotten victory. And he said, “Remember this, whether it is in the kitchen or in the life of the church, or in the life of civil society, forgotten victories become present defeats. Forgotten victories become present defeats.” [00:05:39]
Now I submit that the church today is littered with
Now I submit that the church today is littered with forgotten victories. We have no idea what the faith what was once about, what battles it fought, what victories it gained and as a result we are ruthless and we shall die without understanding our roots. Just a few illustrations before I deal with the present subject, “The Condition of Christianity”. In 1 Corinthians 6 Paul rebukes the Christians of Corinth for going to unjust judges, ungodly, unbelieving judges with their problems. Now commentators have dealt with that in one commentary after another without saying what was done. What did the Corinthian churches and other churches do when they read Paul’s letters, when they read his instructions, to find wise men in their own circles who could adjudicate matters? Doesn’t that strike you as strange, as somehow wrong that no one has bothered to explore,” What did they do?” Paul’s epistle was not for reading only nor is all of Scripture for reading only but for reading and applying, for living. What the church did was immediately to set out a court of arbitration in every congregation. And these courts of arbitration took care of all disputes within the church. Those who came had to agree to abide by the verdict which was in terms of the law of God. In no time at all these Christian courts gained such a reputation for justice that the ungodly were coming to them and saying, “We will abide by your decision, give us justice.” Well, the Roman courts were very, very slow. It took years to have your case heard and then it might take years before there was a settlement. One famous case took about forty-five years; sound like our courts does it not? As a result when Constantine, who was once called with justice, Constantine the Great, a man of great faults but with great virtues also, when he became emperor he realized where justice was in the emperor. It was in the church courts. “So”, he told all the bishops “whenever you go outside your door I am asking you to wear the garb of a Roman magistrate. Then everyone will know they can go to you for justice because the empire needs justice.” Now that is how the bishop’s garb came about. It is the garb of a Roman magistrate, a dispenser of justice. I doubt there are any bishops that know that. I could spend all morning going over verses of Scripture and how as with 1 Corinthians 6 the church applied these verses and created the social revolution. Rome hated Christianity because it was an empire within the empire, a government within their government which was doing a better job. That’s how the church was. “Forgotten victories become present defeats.” [00:10:52]
Now the latest look at some of the history of the past
Now the latest look at some of the history of the past century or so. In order to understand the predicament that Christianity is in today from December 8, 1869 to October 20, 1870 the first Vatican council was held and on July 18, 1870 the dogma of Papal Infallibility was proclaimed. As against the medieval Conciliar Movement and the later revival of epistolical claims as against the Vatican this council marked the triumph of the papistry against efforts within the Roman Catholic church to dilute the centralized power and authority of the papistry. Pope Pius the Ninth believed intensely that the only solution to the growing secularization of the modern state and the implicit humanism of modern society was to extend very vigorously over the political orders Christian faith and morals. He saw the problem. He saw the world sliding into radical humanism and a great tyranny emerging. Whether or not we agree with Pius the Ninth solution, and of course we do not, he saw the problem and for about a century he delayed the radical secularization of the modern age. Only with Vatican Two were the power and the bulwark he created as a temporary thing broken down. While this event, the Vatican Council, did not go unheeded. It was seen by the increasingly secular states of Europe as a direct challenge. At the same time of the Vatican Council the Franco-Grecian war was being fought and Prussia, of course, was the dramatic victor. On December 2, 1870 just a few months after the dogma of Papal Infallibility was proclaimed King Ludwig II of Bavaria wrote to the Prussian King urging him to assume the title of German Emperor. [00:14:16]
At Ludwig’s invitation, the letter he sent was given
At Ludwig’s invitation, the letter he sent was given its primary shaping by Bismarck and its final approval by Ludwig. The Prussian King was not altogether agreeable to this. He preferred to see Prussian retain its privacy. He consented to what appeared to be the general will of the German states. On January 18, 1871 William the First, Hohenzollern proclaimed the German emperor in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. To understand this event and all the symbolism that went with it we must go back to the year 800, Christmas Day, and the coronation of Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor. The meaning of the coronation of William the First meant first let me quote the historian Francis William Butler, “It should never be forgotten that the German proclamation of the imperial status of the King of Prussia in 1871 was intended as a step towards the undoing of the mischief of Christmas day 800. The point that it served as a diplomatic reply to the pronouncement of papal infallibility as well as an assertion of the Prusso-German pride should not be overlooked.” [00:16:22]
What happened on that day was that the western church
What happened on that day was that the western church in the coronation of Charlemagne said, “Your authority must be primarily Christian. All of society must in every sphere be Christian and therefore the church crowns you emperor to signify that it is your duty to serve Christ in you sphere and not yourself nor your empire.” But, with the coronation of the German Emperor the Holy Roman Empire was dead and any attempt to impose a religious order on society was denied. An Empire independent from the church, any church, and from Christianity had been proclaimed. Then, second, this did not mean that the German Empire was antichristian. The Empire had strongly Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed constituencies. Rather, religion and the church were given a very subordinate status. The priority of the state was paramount. Rome’s relationship to the Catholics within the German Empire was by way of (Concordas?), agreeing to surrender various powers over the German Catholic church in return for the right to function. The state had to assent to whatever the church sought to do in a few spheres so that the churches status could be one of statist grace not divine right. The enlightenment premise of the priority of civil government to Christianity had openly prevailed. Not that this was new. It had prevailed in the late eighteenth century and it had gained a bloody victory in the French revolution. It was now the open premise of the newly created German Empire. [00:19:34]
Then, third, after World War ...
Then, third, after World War 1 and the Versailles Treaty, nationalism openly replaced Christianity as the constituting force of the new states formed by that treaty. The new nationalistic states as well as the older ones now looked to race and blood as the essential tie. That was the work of an American, Woodrow Wilson. German national, socialism and Hitler, while attempting to revive the German Empire strongly stressed Woodrow Wilson’s premise Nationalism. In one respect the spiritual father of Hitler was Woodrow Wilson. If central Europe was their reasoning could have a multitude of states based on race and blood, why not Germany? And why not restore the ancient boundaries of the Teutonic Knights for national socialist Germany? Then, fourth, with World War II, Imperialism took a new form, Marxist then Democratic. Vast realms fell into the hands of Marxism; other areas like Africa, India Bangladesh and more saw states created supposedly uniting warring peoples in the name of Democracy. Supposedly the ballet box would unite people who normally hated and killed one another and are so doing so although we are told nothing about us because it would make our policy look bad. At the same time deChristianization has happened rapidly and has become a major force. The greatest holocaust of the twentieth century has been the many, many, many mass murder of Christians which the press barely notes. Fifth. During the twentieth century the churches of the United States have grown rapidly whereas elsewhere the church has declined. The number of professing born again Christians or believers grew from about fourteen million in 1968 to about ninety-one million in 1988, more than double. All the same Christian influence and power have receded for more than a century. From the enlightenment to the present the focus of life has shifted steadily to Christianity to politics. Men’s hope is in salvation by politics. Men look to political leaders for solutions to life’s problems not to God and His Law. We have a drug problem. Has anyone in Washington come up with a simple fact that as with alcoholism the only cure for drugs in the main has been Christian faith? That all other solutions have been overwhelming failures. No one suggests it. Churchmen may believe the Bible from cover to cover but the faith is no longer the center of their being. So, while numerically the church has grown in the United States the faith is no longer the governing and the central, the dominant force in the life of believers. Their lives and thoughts are not dominated by Jesus Christ and His Word but by their various personal concerns. Westminster Larger Catechism begins,” What is the chief and highest end of man? And answer, Men’s chief and highest end is to glorify God and to fully enjoy Him forever.” Evangelicalism has become salvation centered. Man’s salvation is its highest concern whereas our Lord says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” or justice; a very different thing. Too often the Reformed community has become church centered; again a deformation of the faith. While salvation and the church are important they cannot take priority over God’s kingdom. But they have. [00:26:10]
And this is why the church is weak
And this is why the church is weak. We face today a world crisis which will surpass the fall of Rome and the breakdown of the medieval order. We are entering into a time of worldwide judgment; judgment by the Almighty on an apostate and evil generation. This will affect us first of all. As Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:17-19
1 Peter 4:17-19, “7For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”
When God brings judgment on an age He begins at the house of God, to prepare us, to punish us for our dereliction of duty, to teach us to stand the hard way with courage, knowledge and power, to overcome in Christ’s name and to establish the crown rights of Christ our King. I assume some of you do receive the Chalcedon Report. In the October issue which should have reached you in the past day or two, there is an article by attorney Shelby Sharp on the planned, all-out assault on the church which the lawyers who devised it called a nuclear attack, an obliteration attack. No one has broken that story except us. Why? Many Christians were informed of it. Was it cowardice? Well, there is reason to be afraid, we already felt the impact. You are targeted for destruction. Would you stand? We are far straying, far astray from the kind of service that God requires. [00:29:47]
The seventeenth century Puritan standard was the crown
The seventeenth century Puritan standard was the crown rights of Christ our King. That is not only forgotten but when it is sited it is treated as apparition or a strange and false teaching by many. What freedoms we still enjoy we owe to those who insisted on the crown rights of Jesus Christ. Every day the attack on Christianity is mounted and increases. In the name of the separation of the church and state the civil liberties of Christians are being denied. Just the other day a columnist used from coast to coast wrote criticizing a Catholic archbishop, basically a man who was a liberal, simply because he said it was the duty Catholic men in civil government to uphold the Christian faith even as it was the duty of Protestants to uphold their faith. And this long column said it was a clear violation of the plain language of the first commandment. Attacks on Christianity and Christian symbols are given full sway but any protests on these are treated as evidences of Christian totalitarianism. [00:31:44]
With respect to one incident E...
With respect to one incident E. Robert (Lictor?) has written, and I quote, “The New York Times gave it front page coverage accompanied by a separate reaction story, an unassigned editor, assigned in-house column and a guest (Ophat Peace?). What was the focus of all this attention? The Tiananmen Square massacre? The savings and loan bailout? No! It was a Synod approval of Jessie Helm’s proposal to bar federal arts funding of material that is indecent or obscene or denigrates people or groups based on their religion, race, creed, sex, handicap, age or national origin. Senator Helm’s legislation was occasioned by federal supported works such as Andres Serrano’s picture of a crucifix submerged in his urine and especially Robert Mapplethorpe’s exhibit of explicitly homoerotic and sadomasochistic photographs. The furor that ensued in the prestige press was aimed however not at indecent art but at government intimidation. That was one of the words used to describe the Helm’s amendment in the Times on July 28. Among other words were chilling, childish and intolerable. One artist quoted went further claiming that the ultimate end of such congressional action is fascism. The Times seemed to endorse this position by printing it an op-ed piece that explicitly linked the Senate’s action to Adolf Hitler’s view on art. And that was just for starters.” [00:34:03]
Well, the wiser course of course would be to end all
Well, the wiser course of course would be to end all socialist, fascist subsidies by the federal government to the arts. But my concern at the moment is to find out that there is full freedom to attack or insult Christians and Christianity and any defense by Christians is howled down as evil. Let us remember the steps taken by our humanistic world order from a coronation of William the First as German Emperor to the present. In all this development the church has been asleep as to what the world has been doing. Except for the modernist world churches with their gospel of salvation by political action have been a hallelujah chorus for the state. Meanwhile, too many fundamentalists have been busy waiting for the rapture or computing the date for its occurrence and then recomputing it to be it all relevant to their times.
The sad fact is that about half of all evangelicals are not even registered to vote, do not pray about the great problems of our society let alone do something about that, and tend to be more in debt then unbelievers despite the plain words of Scripture. Because they view themselves as God’s children they expect Him to bail them out when the bank calls their loan. If we had children like this they would be of no use to use. How much less will God be indulgent towards them? But the future as well as the present is not entirely bleak. We are in fact on the brink of the greatest reformation of all church history; one centered not on the church as an institution but on the faith as the God provided answer to the evils of a fallen world, a reformation in which the church will be the barracks room, the training camp, from which Christians will go forth to serve and to conquer in Christ’s name. [00:37:14]
We may personally dread the coming judgment but we
We may personally dread the coming judgment but we must religiously rejoice in it. If God does not judge our present world then it is because He has abandoned our generation to perish in its sins. For our society to continue as it is is the worst future our God could ordain for us. We are told very plainly the meaning of God’s chastening. Hebrew 12:4-11 we read,
Hebrew 12:4-11”4Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”
Now note it speaks of resisting “unto blood” as a necessity, if God so ordains that Christians must face. ”Ye have not yet resisted unto blood.”
“5And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son (every son) whom he receiveth. 7If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.9Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?10For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.11Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” [00:40:10]
Christians of our time too often seeking to be partakers
Christians of our time too often seeking to be partakers of His holiness choose to be partakers of the world’s casualness. Tithers are few. Family prayer is not too common and a desire to relate the faith to the totality of life is often rejected. There are encouraging signs of course. The rapid growth of the Christian school and homeschool movement indicates that a revival is under way; a very different kind of revival. A growing number of Christians and Christian groups seek to apply the faith to various areas of life and thought. Conferences whose concern is reconstruction are increasing rapidly. Biblical commentaries and theological books are selling at an increasing rate. A few years ago when the second reprinting of Calvin’s commentaries took place that if the best seller lists were accurate then Calvin would be at the top. You won’t find that in the New York Times book review. There is a growing hunger for relevant Christianity. All this points to a battle with the forces of humanistic statism as they seek to suppress and destroy Christianity. From the days of Voltaire to the present the self-appointed humanistic elite has had it as its goal the obliteration of Christianity. As against this goal our goal is set forth in the Great Commission, disciplining all nations. And we look forward to the triumphant proclamation, “The kingdoms of the world are become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever.” Thank you. [00:43:25]