Chalcedon Report, No. 163, March, 1979

Blasphemy often loves to present itself as a new and higher truth and, therefore, the true way. Certainly this is true of many today who tell us that God, Who declares, “I am the Lord, I change not” (Mal. 3:6), has indeed changed. Apparently, with age and a new “dispensation” of declining powers, their god now confines himself to purely “spiritual” concerns. Once, in his younger and cruder days, he may have spoken about weights and measures, diet, money, sanitation, politics, economics, education, and more, but, now that man and science have supposedly caught up with him in these spheres, and passed him, this god is silent, and he deals only with spiritual matters as befits an aged and declining person. The laws of this old and shriveled god are now primitive and obsolete, and man can now do, we are assured, a much better job in all these areas.

This is the plain meaning of dispensationalism and antinomianism. It limits God. It declares that God is now not sovereign and, therefore, has no word for every area of life and thought. These people, in effect, believe in an aged and old god who is for old or retreating people whose only thought is to leave the world, not to exercise dominion under God over it as their necessary service.

The recent conflicts with state and federal agencies over Christian schools have brought forth a coast to coast chorus of protests from these champions of retreat and flight. The schooling of our children, they declare, is not a Christian concern, but a secular and humanistic one. The concerns of our faith are to be purely spiritual and ecclesiastical, they declare.

This very clearly denies God’s sovereignty. It implies and declares that most of the word is secular, which the dictionary defines as “pertaining to this world or the present life, worldly as contrasted with religious or spiritual.” If this be true, then it is a serious error for the church to regulate sex and marriage and to condemn adultery, because our Lord makes clear that sex and marriage are for this life only (Mk. 12:25). One of the most influential dispensationalists perhaps holds to this view, because he is currently adulterous and yet widely honored. Nonetheless, God does ordain and regulate sex and marriage strictly, because His law and government are total, not merely spiritual and ecclesiastical.

God’s sovereignty, law, power, authority, and government cannot be limited. He is Lord and Savior of all things, their total Creator and Governor. Hence, in every area of life and thought, we must be under His law-word and jurisdiction. There is no sphere of life, nor any area of activity, which is outside God’s jurisdiction. Man can never step outside God’s government and law to create a purely humanistic area of government and law wherein man is sovereign. At no point in man’s life or in all creation can we say, “Here God’s government and sovereignty stop, or abate, and here man’s word, sovereignty, and government take over.” All such thinking, however spiritual it professes to be, is a radical compromise with humanism. It is an assertion of the tempter’s principle that man is somehow, somewhere, and in some way entitled to be his own god, knowing, or determining for himself, what constitutes good and evil (Gen. 3:5). Such a view is original sin, whether in the mouth of Satan or in the mouth of a spiritual pastor. God is alone the Lord, in all things, over all things, and everywhere.

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R.J. Rushdoony

(1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.