Discipline - RR130CA142

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Discipline
Course: Course - Church Law
Subject: Subject:Law
Lesson#: 6
Length: 0:48:21
TapeCode: RR130CA142
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
IBL14 Church Law.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

Our Scripture is Isaiah 55:10-11; Isaiah 55:10-11. Discipline.

10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

Our subject today as we continue our studies in Biblical Law, specifically now church law, is discipline. Again this is a very much misunderstood subject. And there is really no excuse for the misunderstanding, because a very simple examination of any dictionary would correct the prevailing misconceptions. Discipline is basic to church law, it is basic to family life, to school, to every area of life. And yet the misunderstanding is appalling. To give an example: A while back, a couple complained to me about their daughter. They had, they said, disciplined her regularly. They had deprived her of various privileges. When she was somewhat younger they had slapped her, they had spanked her, and so on. And yet they said: “She is very seriously delinquent.” Which was true. She was pregnant. She was involved in experimentation in narcotics. She was persistently and stubbornly consorting with the worst kind of young people, male and female. She was in very serious trouble.

And yet in spite of their statements, it was not true that they had disciplined their daughter over the years. It was a thorough going misstatement. All they had done was to chastise, or to punish her. They had never disciplined her. What is the difference? Well, the dictionary tells us that discipline is: ‘Systematic training, and submission to authority. Also the result of such training is discipline.” Chastisement, or punishment, is: “The penalty or beating administered for departing from authority.” Now it is obvious that the two things, discipline and chastisement or punishment are related; but, different. Discipline is not punishment. Discipline is systematic training, systematic training in submission to authority, in growth, in terms of the things taught. And it is the result of such training which leads to self discipline. [00:04:22]

The girl in question had never had any discipline

The girl in question had never had any discipline. All she had had, over the years, was punishment. Nothing more. I could cite numerous such cases. Some years ago I knew a minister and his wife who had problems regularly with their daughter. I was not surprised, long after I ceased to have any acquaintance with this minister, that their girl had gotten into serious trouble and had a child out of wedlock. The child had been beaten regularly, but never disciplined. The parents themselves had no self discipline. With both these girls in these two different families, the girls were 20, 21, they could neither cook nor sew, they were incapable of doing any ordinary housework, they were incapable of holding a job because they couldn’t take orders, and the parents thought they were disciplined girls.

The difference between discipline and chastisement is fundamental. And chastisement, or punishment, can never supply that which discipline must supply. As a matter of fact, when children are well disciplined, as time goes on they need less and less chastisement or punishment.

I can look back over the years, and the number of times I had to punish my children was very few, because they were disciplined.

Now when we apply this to the church scene, the problem becomes apparent. What churches mean when they boast about a strict discipline is not discipline at all, usually, but strict punishment. There are almost no churches today with any kind of real discipline. There are some churches with punishment, and many with neither discipline or punishment. And whether it is in a home or in a church, punishment is useless when no discipline is taught. [00:07:27]

The failure to understand this distinction is responsible

The failure to understand this distinction is responsible for many of the problems that confront church life. To cite an example, Orthodox Presbyterian Church is undoubtedly one of the better churches of our time. And yet it has a little black book that is called the book of discipline. It has nothing to do with discipline! It is the book of punishment. And they fail to see the distinction. Their answer to problems is to punish; not discipline first and then punishment. But punish, punish, punish. Whereas other churches have neither discipline or punishment.

Now what is discipline in essence? I cited the dictionary definition, let us look into that definition a little further. The word discipline comes from ‘Disciple’ which comes from the Latin, and its origin is in Disco, DISCO, to learn. To be a disciple, or to be under discipline, is to be a learner in a learning process. If there is no learning, and no growth in learning, there is then no discipline. It is that simple.

Discipline is submission to, a growth in, a learning process. Now, very clearly this points to the true meaning of the word. Discipline is thus by the word of God, by scripture. An undisciplined church is one in which the word is not properly or systematically taught. A church which denies the word of God cannot have discipline. A church which only preaches for conversion, John 3:16 over and over again, cannot have discipline, because it does not provide for growth, for sanctification. It does not teach the law, it does not teach the word of God, it does not give people systematic teaching in that which is the principle of growth. [00:10:07]

Saint Paul said

Saint Paul said: “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Regeneration is inseparable from the word of God, and the living church hears the word and grows in terms of it, and is disciplined by it.

Now our scripture is talking precisely about this. Today it is set down as poetry. But if you go back, say a hundred years ago, to a commentary like Alexander on Isaiah, or go back to any period between Alexander, and let us say Calvin, and read Calvin’s Commentary, any one of those commentaries would tell you: “This is talking about the discipline that the word of God gives.” Isaiah is saying that “As surely as the rain comes down and waters the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

In other words, God emphatically declares here through the mouth of Isaiah, that the principle of growth, of discipline, is His word, and it accomplishes the purpose for which He sent it. His word then will rebuke the sinner. It will drag out the ungodly. It will bring growth to those who are truly His seed. The principle of discipline is then first the discipline of God, and punishment without light is like beating a dead horse. And a lot of churches spend their time beating dead horses. [00:12:24]

This week I had a long letter from a very fine man

This week I had a long letter from a very fine man, who wanted me to comment on a new book by Skousen, The Naked Capitalist, which is really a condensation of Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope. It is a book about conspiracy, and about how this liberal Quigley, and I have the book and it is a very interesting one, goes into at great length about what they have done in the last hundred years. And admittedly through groups that are more or less conspiratorial groups, there is no denying it.

Now, the feeling of many people is, that such things are the key. And yet when we go back to the third century B.C., when Rome was young and vigorous, we find that a conspiracy was uncovered in Rome, the Bacchanalian Conspiracy, the essence of which was that everything that you can do is right, that there is no crime. “Do what thou wilt” is the only law. And they were planning to overthrow the Roman government. They had grown so powerful that they numbered over 50% of the people of Rome in their group. And yet Rome had no trouble in suppressing and destroying them. Why? Because in young Rome in those days, there was still discipline on the part of enough people, so that an undisciplined group, an immoral group, such as the Bacchanalians, were easily suppressed even though they were in the majority. Discipline gave power. And this is the essence of the matter today. Our problem today in church, state, school, everywhere, is that there is a lack of discipline. That there is not an element in the group that has sufficient discipline to maintain the group as a whole. And it only takes a very limited number to provide discipline that will maintain the entire body. [00:15:21]

For the church to forsake the word of God as the source

For the church to forsake the word of God as the source of discipline, is to bypass the power of the word for anarchy and for decay. True discipline is thus a learning process which is furthered by the Holy Spirit. This does not mean that there is no place in the scripture for chastisement. Chastisement is dealt with in Matthew 18:15-20.” If thy brother trespass against thee,” and it gives the directions whereby actions is to be taken.

Now it is important to understand here what Scripture has to say about punishment, chastisement. First of all it is talking about an actual, verifiable, known, transgression. That is, has he done something which is confirmable by witnesses, which is known, there is no argument about it. In other words, Matthew 18 does not deal with ‘Is there a problem?’ But a known problem. Something like adultery, theft, a knowable, verifiable transgression, so there is no doubt. And the first step is to confront him with a fact that is known to both. Then, if there is no desire to change their ways, then to report it to the church, and then action to be taken. The intermediate step of course is to go with a witness. This is the procedure for chastisement, or punishment. It has to deal, not with a suspicion of an offense, or a claimed offense, but a known, public, verifiable, offense. [00:17:48]

Thus Scripture provides for chastisement, but it basically

Thus Scripture provides for chastisement, but it basically requires discipline. Now, just as discipline cannot be equated with chastisement or punishment, so neither can discipline be equated with order. Order in itself is not discipline. Order can be an outcome of stagnation or death. The best ordered place of all is a graveyard or a showroom window. There is no disorder there. It is impossible for it to occur. A show case is fixed, there is no movement, no life in it. A graveyard is a dead place, there is no possibility of disorder unless it is introduced from without. Order in itself is not to be equated with discipline.

Discipline is something that is alive. It is to be equated with the living word of God, with the law word. This is why the expression: ‘Law and Order’ is unsound. What we want in society is not order, a dictator can provide order. A tyrant, a murderer can provide order of sorts. But discipline is something else, and law is something else. True order is a product, thus, of true law. Therefore only that discipline which comes from the word of God is productive of true order.

Our society today is very much concerned with order. It talks about discipline, but it means punishment. It cannot see a return to true order, until there is a return to true discipline, to the word of God. We have declined, and the decay is deep, precisely for this reason. I finished early this morning reading a book on the slums of New York. The answer is basically environmental, as given by the author and various authorities. And yet, the interesting thing that appears even in that book is this: as far as the buildings are concerned, 15, 75, a hundred years ago, the slums in New York were far more fearful as far as the physical structure was concerned. In those days men put up, very quickly built buildings which were often window-less, on all but the front rooms, and without plumbing, and without the most elementary facilities. Today, at least, those facilities exist. The basic structures of the buildings, built of brick or stone, is sound. [00:21:49]

What is the difference? In those days, although you

What is the difference? In those days, although you had for example, in the Italian section of New York, one street that was known as ‘Murder Block’, by and large the whole area was clean and law abiding. People did come, fresh from Sicily and Naples, and land there and not know what toilet facilities were like, because they had never lived in any modern housing. And there were amusing problems very often in the first few weeks. But the thing that could be depended on was that very quickly the place was, however primitive, scrubbed, orderly, and well-kept.

Today the problem is in these buildings which were in some cases built no too many years ago to provide a new kind of housing, a hope for these slum dwellers, they are within a very short time a shambles. Garbage is dumped in the halls. The buildings become honeycombed with rats. And the rats is there only because the garbage is there, and the place is unspeakable, unsafe for anyone to walk down the hall. Both because of the people and of the rats.

What is the difference? It is that society has lost that elemental factor, religious faith, which provides a discipline. Which enabled the immigrant or the poor person coming from, say, Appalachia, into the city a generation or two ago, to discipline himself and to grow. That capacity for growth which is a product of discipline is gone today. And the result is the slums are growing in the big cities faster than they can rebuild housing. [00:24:18]

And the new morality is creeping into the churches

And the new morality is creeping into the churches, and the fundamentalist churches are increasingly going overboard on the ‘Jesus Freak’ kind of religion. The reason is a basic lack of discipline. Because there is a lack of the word of God in the church. There can be thus, no change, until the word of God again accomplishes its task because men submit themselves to the Word, and the church preaches the word. “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

Let us pray. Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, we thank Thee that Thy word has brought order into our lives. Has brought growth, healing, and strength. And we pray our Father that Thy word may again go out into a parched and dry world, to bring forth life and growth in Thee. Provide Thy church oh Lord by Thy word and by Thy Spirit, and make us again a people, law abiding and orderly in Thee. And make us oh Lord instruments in the restoration of Thy word and of Thy discipline, that this nation again may show forth Thy righteousness, and Thy truth. Grant us this we beseech Thee in Jesus name, amen. [00:26:51]

Are there any questions now, first of all with respect

Are there any questions now, first of all with respect to our lesson? Yes.

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Can there be…?

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] No, because of course the product of discipline is always self discipline. This is the end result. Now this is where, for example, some kinds of religious schools have failed signally. Some years ago Bing Crosby commented in an article in the Saturday Evening Post on the failure of the Catholic schools with his boys. His boys had not gained any discipline from them, he said. All the schools did was to punish very strictly, but they didn’t teach discipline, and so there was no self discipline which resulted.

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Discipline and chastisement, together. Yes. The two go hand in hand, and you cannot get anywhere just by chastisement, it has to be discipline and chastisement. And discipline and disciple are basically the same words. Discipline is the process of becoming a disciple, so that the faith becomes a part of you. And you become a witness to that. [00:29:00]

So a child who is well-disciplined is a disciple of

So a child who is well-disciplined is a disciple of his father, he has learned the discipline that his father wants to communicate to him, and he can, in his own way now, do that which his father once did for him. And do it for himself and to himself.

Any other questions? Yes.

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] I can’t hear…

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Yes, the Jesus Freaks, and there was an article in the paper about them this morning, are those who want to ‘freak out’ as the people on LSD and others do, only through a so-called Jesus experience. And it is to have a trip, you see. So what they are after is not to submit themselves to a moral authority. Not to become new creatures in Christ. It is to take a trip, to have an emotional experience. They have now, what is known as: “Jesus Rock”. And this is how they have the ‘freak out’ with Jesus. It is rock and roll basically, but it is supposedly geared to Jesus. The L.A. Times two weeks today had a long article on what a marvelous thing this is.

At the Lagoona Rock festival, they had Jesus Rock. And while ‘Jesus Rock’ was being played and they were freaking out for Jesus, rape was also taking place all over the premises. In other words, it had no relationship to the Son of God. They were taking His name, and it was blasphemy. And the Jesus Freaks are now of course invading the fundamentalist churches, and they feel this is a marvelous thing, and a way of getting a lot more people. It is a basically immoral, anti-Christian movement.

Yes? [00:31:48]

[Audience Member] ...

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Yes. You can find some of these Jesus Rock songs where the words sometimes are not bad; in others they are rather embarrassing, they are painful to hear. Some are tolerably good. Now the problem is, we hear those words in the context of our faith, you see. It is a different thing to hear them in the context of the experience of these kids who are not Christian, and who just want a freak out without acid, as it were. It is an entirely different thing for them. So they approach it for no other reason than to have a wild emotional experience, and you see it in terms of the word of God, and you read those words differently.

Any other questions?

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Right, you cannot separate the two. They have to go together.

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] There has to be the both. If they are separated, ultimately there is no discipline, you see. If you separate chastisement, and deny it, ultimately there is neither discipline or chastisement.

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Yes?

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Yes, but you see; first you set up the learning process. If they are of the Lord, if they are His seed; and that is why the comparison there is to the seed, our Lord then used the parable of the sower and the seed. If they are of the Lords seed they will grow in terms of that discipline, if not they are going to either wither or be cast out. They must be, they are chastised then, because they will not be disciplined.

[Audience Member] …?... [00:36:40]

[Rushdoony] Yes, well, I am glad you brought this up

[Rushdoony] Yes, well, I am glad you brought this up because it points out our problem today. You see, the child’s world I the home, the church, and the school. The child needs discipline in the home, the work, and the school, and he needs chastisement in all three places.

Now, supposing only one of those three is providing both discipline and chastisement? They have all the more of a problem then because the other two are pushing all of the burden on that one, and so the problem is enhanced. Now, this is the problem in many Christian schools today. The parents have failed and the church has failed, and so they expect all the discipline and all the chastisement to come from the school, and they might object to some of the chastisement as well. So you see the problem, it puts… in other words, society as a whole has to be in on this, and then when the state as well, a fourth factor, doesn’t provide discipline, and there is a breakdown of law and order in the state, you can see how the problem is all the greater, because in this one area of the child’s life all of this has to be communicated. This is why, in a time of social chaos, it becomes so very difficult to renew the situation because it is one agency here, or another agency there that is carrying the load; in one case it will be the school, in another case it will be the church, in another case it will be just the home, and it is an uphill battle because the other agencies are not cooperating, and are in fact working against them. [00:38:45]

[Audience Member] ...

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Yes, I mentioned in this last Chalcedon Report, which you may have received yesterday, the case of a young hoodlum who was shot to death recently in this general area. And the problem the police are having with his mother. The mother is creating a major problem. Why? They shouldn’t have shot her son. Well, he had just killed a man and was trying to kill the police and had injured one, but no, they shouldn’t have done that to her boy, he was such a good boy. He had a record as long as your arm, and he wasn’t twenty yet. Now, that is the kind of situation, this may be an extreme example but it isn’t as extreme as you might think. The major problem today very often is with the parents. For example, I know that in one beach town where during Easter week, highschool and college youth congregate, the biggest problem he police have there, and they have so many tens of thousands of kids descending on this relatively small beach town that it is almost an impossible police task; but their biggest problem is with the parents. They pick up these girls and they pick up these girls and then they call the parents, and that is when the trouble really begins.

So, this is why as we try now to restore discipline and punishment, any agency that does it carries a triple or quadruple burden, because it is functioning for the school, the church, the home, and the state. And it has the hostility sometimes of two or three of those agencies. Yes? [00:41:16]

[Audience Member] ...

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] The lack of a sense of responsibility is due to the departure from Biblical faith. And apart from Biblical Faith, every religion, every philosophy the world has known has been environmentalist. And this is what you have today. We had here a sex crime in the L.A. area recently when a girl of 13 was murdered. The man was caught in Arizona, or rather shot and killed. And this mornings paper had a statement by an in-law of the man who was shot, the criminal, who had a long record of sex crimes. And she said: “He was a wonderful man. He helped many people in many ways.” Said the woman, her eyes swollen and red. “He must have been tortured inside. If we had only known before, we would have done anything to help him.”

In other words, it wasn’t the poor man’s fault because he was a sinner, oh no, he was tortured inside, and we failed him. I f we had only known and done something to help him. driving here this morning we were listening to a dentist who is on some kind of welfare council, and what is his answer to the problem? Why, many of our delinquents, practically all our delinquents have bad teeth. And most of the time the kind of dentistry they get is poor dentistry, and what is the result of bad teeth plus poor dentistry? It is social hostility. And the result is delinquency and crime, and rioting in the streets. So, he is trying to enlist the better dentists like himself, to provide good dentistry for these hoodlums. Now, what is going to keep these kids off of candy and cokes and what not, to rot their teeth even further? You see the absurdity of this, but this is the logic of environmentalism. It destroys discipline, and it destroys punishment.

Well, not entirely, it does retain punishment, but who is punished? Why, not the slum dweller who pours garbage into the hall, the board of health comes around and issues a citation against the landlord, he gets punished. And you get punished, with heavier taxation, to provide for these people. Now you are going to provide better dentistry for them. Next time you pay your dentist bill, remember you are paying it for some of these kids with social hostility as well.

Now, you can’t have it two ways, you see. Either the individual is responsible before God, and must submit to the regenerating power of God and the discipline of God, or else environment is the answer. And when you have environmentalism, you have denied Christ, even though you may claim you are a Christian, as some people do. One public school official who claimed he was a born again Christian, was insisting to me a while back that the problem is environmental. That is nonsense. [00:45:56]

Well, our time is up unless there is just one more

Well, our time is up unless there is just one more question, we have an announcement or two, first of all this Thursday, February the 11th at 8 pm, at 411 Wilshire Boulevard at the first Federal Savings and Loan, our Chalcedon guild will have another meeting in the second of a series of studies in magic and witchcraft. There is no admission charge, but a free will offering will be taken. Then to remind you again of the February 20th, Saturday, economic seminar with Doctor (Semholdts?) $13.50 per person, dinner included, at Knox berry farm. On march 11, Thursday, also at the Santa Monica woman’s club, 4th and Wilshire, just across the street from the meeting place for this Thursday, there will be a special meeting of the guild with the Reverend T. Robert Ingraham speaking on War against Life and myself on Magic and Witchcraft.

Are there any other announcements? Yes?

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] No. No reservations needed for Thursday this week, or Thursday March 11th, but for the Senholdt seminar yes. Is there another announcement? Let us bow our heads for the benediction.

Now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, amen. [00:48:07]

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