Christian Reconstruction (Part II)

Christian Reconstruction (Transcripts)

R.J. Rushdoony

Chalcedon Founder

Christian Reconstruction (Part II)

R.J. Rushdoony

A few years ago I was involved in a case in the state of Kentucky. A number of states in the country had laws mandating the posting of the Ten Commandments, in some instances in the court houses, in other instances in the public schools. In Kentucky the law required that the Ten Commandments be posted in the public schools. This was challenged in the courts. The state of Kentucky asked me to be a witness in the defense of the Ten Commandments. I called attention to the fact in the hearing that every system of laws is an establishment of religion, that laws are inescapably religious. Every law says ‘thou shalt not do certain things,’ and all law assumes moral assumptions and morality is an aspect of religion, thus, every legal system represents an establishment of religion. I dealt with the historical aspects of the founding of this country. The nature of its legal system. Its roots in Biblical law. The fact that in one time Biblical law prevailed, generally, in the courtrooms.

The Supreme Court in The State of Kentucky sustained the use of the Ten Commandments. However the US Supreme Court declared the use of the Ten Commandments in class rooms unconstitutional, and ordered the posted commandments removed from every classroom. The court stated its fundamental reason that led to its ruling. Let me quote:

“If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all it will be to induce the school children to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey the Commandments.”

We certainly cannot have the children obeying “Thou shalt not steal” or “Honour thy father and mother.” What would the United States come to if they read subversive material like that and believe it should be put into practice? And out of fear, the children might possibly venerate and obey the Ten Commandments, to use their language, the Ten Commandments had to be removed from the classrooms of Kentucky.

Of course what you have in the classrooms is an establishment of religion, Humanism. I have testified again and again in courtrooms as to the fact that we do have an established religion in these United States and its name is ‘Humanism.’ I have gone into the classroom with textbooks from teacher training courses, one entitled ‘Sourcebook in Humanism for Teachers.’ This kind of thing, of course, does not trouble our Supreme Court. It is all well and good to teach religion in the classrooms, provided it is not Christianity, and provided it is Humanism. We are being reconstructed by humanism. What we need is Christian reconstruction. Reconstruction is manageable. All of God’s demands for us are within our reach. God does not ask anything of us that we cannot do. We are told in Genesis 1:26 following that in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth He made man. “In His own image created He him. Male and female created He them.” Now this tells us something about man and about education. It tells us that only Christian education can succeed. Because only that education which is established upon The Word of God is going to be true to the nature and character of man’s being. It tells us that basic to our faith is the centrality in the religious life of the person. It is man, not church nor state nor school which is made in the image of God. It is man therefore who is going to provide the obedience, the faithfulness. And, if man does not provide it, neither state nor school nor church can do so. It must begin with man. And, man must live by the every word of God. Modern education has been a disaster area.

I can recall very vividly one night in the nineteen-fifties. It was at a summer conference. And, after the meeting ended we all went outside and someone said in a few minutes Sputnik would be over. And sure enough and at the appointed time the first space satellite launched by the Soviet Union flew overhead. There was a great deal of hue and cry across the length and breadth of the United States that the Soviets had beat us in the race into space. As a result attention was called to the decline of mathematics and the sciences in our public schools as well as in reading abilities. And a very strong point was made for overhauling our public schools, and so a process of revision and of building up the curriculum was launched. In the seventies the decline continued. By the seventies, the public schools and universities were a disaster area. And so again there was a feeling that something had to be done to strengthen public education. By 1980 the schools had declined another four years, so that the college freshman was performing in 1980 on the 1970 high school freshman level.

Earlier this year we had a report released by the department of education on the disaster that American education, statist education, had become. The report gave, in watered-down form, data collected by a Senate Committee. At that meeting Senator McGovern, still in the senate at the time, had said that the American public schools were good at only one thing. Separating the taxpayer from his money. The report stated that there were twenty seven million illiterates in the United States, the highest percentage in our history, but that report understated all the data from the Senate Committee report and its one solution was we need to pour more money into the public schools in order to strengthen them. Of course, we know what will happen. It has happened again and again. If you begin with a false premise, the harder you work at that false premise, the deadlier the results, and the more futile the operation.

During the nineteen-forties, I was on an Indian reservation. I saw people who were dying of cancer and other deadly diseases being treated by medicine men with rattles and drums. They did nothing for the patient, except to disturb him. Because their premise was false, the results were also bad. This is the problem with secular humanism and its educational system. This too is the problem with secular humanism and its politics, so that we must say that our education, our politics, our economics and every church built on humanism to any degree will represent as it already has, a disaster area.

“Except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it.”

We have a task of Christian reconstruction. And God says that it is manageable because He commands it and He has made us in His image with knowledge, righteousness or justice, holiness and dominion and told us to “go unto all the earth and make disciples of all nations.” The family and the individual; these are the basic units in that task in Christian reconstruction and the basic and most powerful units in society.

I have called attention in a number of my talks here and there and many of you are probably familiar with them. Let me review just briefly the fact that God has given all the basic powers in society, save one, to the family, the death penalty. That alone is reserved withheld from the family. Control of children, which is control of the future, God gives to the family. Control of property, God gives to the family. Control of inheritance, God gives to the family. Control of welfare, again, God places in the hands of the family. Control of education is again a God=given power of the family. In all these areas now, by the fault of the Christian community, these powers have moved into the hands of the state, and they must be reclaimed.

Again God has commanded something of us that gives us the power to reorder all of society, the tithe. The tithe is to the Lord. It is to be given to every cause that serves the kingdom of God, the church, the Christian school, Christian colleges and universities, Christian missions, Christian foundations, Christian legal funds. Everything that works to further God’s kingdom. When we study the history of the church we find that whenever and wherever the church became corrupt, the people of God withheld their tithes and created new agencies and that compelled the church to reform. When the medieval church mandated that the tithe had to go to the parish church it ended reform, it required The Reformation.

Now again we see in many segments of Protestantism the teaching that the local church must get all of the tithe, which again will stifle the possibility of reform, and necessitate over throwing the chains which bind the Christian community.

Now as we look at the pattern God has established in His Word, we find that the pattern from Old Testament times to the early church and in some churches to the present, was that given by God through Jethro to Moses and then again directly to Moses. Moses refers to it for, example,  in Deuteronomy 1 that captains or elders or presbyters were to be chosen; one out of every ten families. And then elders or captains over fifties, hundreds and thousands up to the final seventy elders of Israel. This was the pattern of government; both in the church and in the state, by elders. In fact, we know that there were elders to govern within the city and elders to govern family cases and elders to govern civil cases. Every man was trained by the synagogue and then by the early church to be an elder unto God, trained in the law of God, to minister God’s righteousness in his own family, in the church, and in the community, whatever his station. As a result a pattern was developed which was, for centuries, provided government, even when civil governments collapsed. An interesting fact which is buried in the pages of history, that originally the College of Cardinals in Rome was made up of seventy laymen who were chosen for their knowledge of the law. That was very long ago.

Now, what this tells us is that God requires every man to be the central instrument together with his family and with his tithe in the work of reconstruction. All things are to be made anew and you are the instrument. How can this be done? We have a small group that meets weekly in our patio made up of our staff members and a few friends. The men are beginning to learn the responsibilities of being elders in Christ, to rule their own household, and to be responsible for the work of Christ in the community. One situation I’d like to cite recently, an example of what is happening, and we are only a handful of people.

I have never met the young woman. She has indicated that she is going to come by to thank our group. So I shall have an opportunity to meet her fairly soon. She was married to a man who was a drunkard, a wife beater, an adulterer and more. He came home one day and when she said something he took violent objection to it, beat her savagely so she was unable to go to work, broke the windows in the house, went out and systematically wrecked her car so it would not be drivable, including wrecking the windows. The men took care of the situation. One of our men happened to encounter her, learned of the situation, and to make a long story short the wreck was taken care of. A service man was found who would do the work freely and we paid for all the parts. It came to about $600. She was put in touch with the pastor of an evangelical church, almost next door to where she lived, and she is now going there faithfully and has found the Lord. This is eldership at work. I did nothing in all of this. This is one of several instances like this that occurred.

In none of them have I had any part. The men have their deacon’s fund. They administer it where the money is needed. They take care of the situations because they are God’s chosen instruments of Christian reconstruction. What I have described is nothing unique. It is being done on a large scale across country by many groups. This past June, I asked my wife Dorothy to accompany me to a particular church, because I knew she would find it a very interesting experience. It was in a city. It was in a very poor area. It was a church pastored by two blacks, and the membership was one third black, one third Mexican and one third white. The city was trying to condemn their building. If it was occupied by anyone else but two black pastors and their congregation it would have been condemned long before. Long ago, before the city grew in that direction, and then declined it had been a labor camp. It had been idle for a long time. There they have a Christian school with one hundred and sixty plus students. There they have a mission to the entire area. They have a food distribution program. They go around to all the wholesalers and scrounge for all the damaged packages, and once a week have a food distribution program. The members themselves are very, very poor. And yet, in their praise service, one after another got up and very joyfully praised God for all the blessings He bestowed upon them daily, and had made them rich in Christ. I looked over at Dorothy and I saw the tears pouring down her face. She said “To see the genuine gratitude of those people who have nothing is a profound experience.”

Of course, as I said, the city fathers were giving them trouble perpetually. I found a lawyer who volunteered his services, a very brilliant lawyer, and he was trying to help them. And he said “they are wonderful people but you know everything I tell them they say thank you and they go right on doing what they are.” They had finally gotten enough money just before I arrived to take care of the building. To meet the requirements of the code and the threat of being shut down. But they had seen an opportunity. There was an old hotel downtown that was being condemned and they bought it. And they promptly opened it up to take care of all the street people who had no place to sleep at night, to house them and to feed them in the name of Jesus Christ. That is Christian reconstruction by people who believe in it and it is working. I look forward to regularly also to a call to another person engaged in Christian reconstruction. She is an elderly black woman, a widow, who started a Christian school that the city fathers have fought tooth and nail, and are doing everything to kill. She has a few hundred students. She called me from her sick bed a few days back, to tell me how happy she was because the apartment next to their school was now vacant. She said “praise the Lord we have room to grow in now. We are praying for the money. Will you pray with us?” She is involved in Christian reconstruction. Incidentally every teacher there on her staff gets a copy of our Journal of Christian Reconstruction. They mean business!

Or consider what is happening, and there is a great revival underway in the black community beginning in California. In Watts, Dr. E.V. Hill who was, some years ago, as a young man a socialist, a modernist and associate with Martin Luther King has now a tremendous ministry with a Christian school with an adult training school to train every member to go out and convert everyone on his block for Jesus Christ. And they told one blind convert that she had a duty to do the same. She won one hundred and sixty one out of one hundred and sixty two people on her block. She did it by reaching a few women, training them, holding regular prayer meetings for all the others. The one hundred and sixty second person moved elsewhere. They sent word to the block to where he was coming to meet him in the name of Jesus. I could go on and tell you of others like that who are out to win the black communities of this country for Jesus Christ. And they are battling the city fathers, every one of them. They are battling the Negro leaders who are federal officials, and hate everything Christianity represents. But they are working, and they mean business! What they plan to do is to make of the black communities in this country a new Puritan army and to command this country for Jesus Christ.

We need to be working also. We see this reconstruction going out in the homeschool movement as well as the Christian school movement. The homeschool movement in California alone commands one hundred thousand families. Nationwide it is a powerful movement and it is a witness to the fact that men and women are assuming their responsibilities under God to govern their families and to teach them. One woman alone, whom I know, is concerned with the anti-Christian legislation in California. She has two small children and cannot go out and engage in political activities but she follows the legislation in Sacramento and if anything anti-Christian is proposed she is on the phone up and down the state to alert pastors to tell them to “get busy!” She writes letters, she calls the legislators, and, in fact, when the Congressman visited on Thursday, she was there at the meeting with her children, and the Congressman immediately recognized her by name because he had heard from her often enough to know that she meant business, and to his shock, every one there in the auditorium virtually represented something of the same perspective. This is Christian reconstruction.

One of our associates who will be at our arts and media conference as a speaker is R.E. McMaster, Jr. R.E. McMaster, Jr. was in Guatemala, spent two days there with former president Rios Montt, whom we helped overthrow. Rios Montt was on our mailing list, and a man interested in Christian reconstruction. And R.E. McMaster outlined for him a program of Christian economics. R.E. called me before he left and he said, “Rush’ do you know I have been working on my presentation and I have taken more notes that I can use and I am going to be working on a book. And I said, “By all means do so.” And he said, “Do you know that I have eighty pages of notes on the economic implications of debt?” Think about that! If the Christian community, or a small fraction of it, would say “debt is forbidden by God on any long term basis, more than six years.” As a general principle we are told; “Owe no man anything, save but to love one another.” If a significant fraction of the Christian practiced that it would end inflation. It would stop our current monetary and national policies in their tracks.

R.E. McMaster said, “No one has begun to fathom the implications for an economy of a people who would observe the Biblical laws concerning the management of money. It would revolutionize society.” But very few people are concerned. It is easier to live like slaves, which is what it means, Solomon tells us, to live in debt. The power of the Christian and the world of economics, of politics and of all things is enormous. We are commanded to care for our own. “He who does not care for his own is worse than an infidel.” This applies first of all to families. It means caring for your parents. It isn’t easy but then it wasn’t easy for them to care for you when you were a baby and your diapers needed changing and you woke them up and two and three in the morning to be fed. But it is blessed, even though it is not easy.

Moreover to care for our own means to care for those within our fellowship, our fellow believers. I spoke once in a church with a few thousand members and a missions budget between a half a million and a million dollars. And I said there was a great need in the church to take care of one’s own. The shut-ins, they needed someone to do the housekeeping. Those who were too old to drive a car needed someone to take them to the shopping center. And so on and on, I listed the practical steps whereby there could be a ministry to one's fellow members. I had been invited there two or three times to speak, but strangely I have not been invited back since then. It is easy to give money to missionaries to do something in Africa or India but not as easy for us to take time and minister to a fellow believer.

On one of my trips a couple of years back I visited with a very fine doctor, a good friend. And he told me that he had walked out of his church, a Presbyterian church. Because, he said, there is an elderly woman in her eighties who is a member, whose family goes back to The Colonial Period here in this community. She is the last member. It is a beautiful church. It was built in large part because of her family. The same glass windows commemorate members of her family and she is the last member thereof and her funds are so limited that she is barely able to eat. So he said I reported it to the session. I said we should take care of this woman. And he said “I offered to give a hundred dollars a month if the church could come up with enough for a living income.” He said “I didn’t hear anything from them until a few weeks later I happened to meet one of the elders on the street and I asked him about it, and he said Oh Doc’ it’s all taken care of! We got papers from the welfare department and helped her fill them out and she is now drawing welfare.” And at that point the doctor walked out of the church. He said “those people are near to the Lord with their lips but far from him in their hearts.”

But reconstruction is on the way. The late Lester Roloff set a pattern which at least one hundred other institutions are now copying. Ministries to juvenile delinquents. Lester Roloff’s homes when the present construction is finished will there, at Corpus Christi, take care of fifteen thousand delinquents. Between ninety and ninety five percent of the young people who have left those homes ten or twenty years later are not only hardworking and honest citizen’s but faithful to The Lord and many are on full time Christian service to use that unhappy phrase. They go there at the ages of eleven and twelve, the girls, many of them working as street prostitutes. The boys as narcotic pushers, some of them with murder in their background.

What is happening is this; government is being taken away from the state step by step, by home schools, by Christian schools, by Christian agencies which minister to teenage drug users, and we have some such Christian agencies in California. To the homeless on the streets. To alcoholics, to every kind of need in the name of Jesus Christ and the state is concerned. In a number of states across the country measures are being made to wipe out rescue missions. The sad fact is that too few churches are coming to their rescue. These rescue missions are doing a remarkable work. In Santa Ana California when the city council moved to eliminate the rescue mission by rezoning and making it impossible to relocate anywhere in the city. Over three hundred men who had been street bums, but were now hard working workers or business men poured into the council chambers to say that rescue mission made the difference between us and a street bum, your welfare department did not. By the way that rescue mission is operated by Louis Whitehead, no relation to John, a black ex-marine who left the service a quarter century ago, saw the people including some ex-veterans, ex-soldiers sleeping under the bridges along the river and as a Christian he said the Lord makes me responsible for them.

I could spend another hour discussing the kinds of things that people led by Christ are doing. God lays a burden on all of us to do something in our families and in our homes with our lives and with our tithes. He has made reconstruction very easy, and it is now possible for us to take government back from the state simply by obeying God in these things. And that is why we have a problem with the state right now. That is why we have a persecution of churches, of Christian home schools and Christian schools, because government is slipping out of the hands of the state, into the hands of the people, where it belongs under God. People who are administering this new government in terms of Christian Reconstruction in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and according to His Word. “This is the victory that overcomes the world.” This is why “...the heathen rage and take counsel together against the Lord and against His anointed.” But “He that sits on the circle of the heavens laughs. He holds them in derision” and He says to the nations “...fall down at the feet of my Son. Kiss His feet lest He be angry and ye perish in your way.” “Blessed are all they who trust in Him.” Therefore “trust and obey, for there is no other way.” Thank you.