VIDEO: How to Understand Rousas John Rushdoony

Well, you can start by getting his name right!

That’s what the late R. J. Rushdoony’s son, Mark R. Rushdoony, wanted you to know right from the get-go when he gave this talk about his dad earlier this year.

It’s hard to believe that the movement begun by his dad — after he had coined the term “Christian Reconstruction” to refer to the rebuilding task Christians have in this world — is now in its 6th decade of existence.

Here, Mark Rushdoony offers a unique perspective on the man: the perspective of a son growing up under his father’s ministry from its earliest days.  He speaks of the men who shaped his thinking, and the experiences that formed his approach to applying the Bible to all areas of life.

This was the first of several very interesting and insightful lectures given at Branch of Hope Church (OPC) in Torrance, California.

I plan on posting more of these.  Stay tuned!

How to Be a Reconstructionist in a Non-Reconstructionist Church

So maybe you’ve finally bought into the basic tenets of “Christian Reconstructionism.”  You’re a Calvinist in your understanding of God’s sovereignty and salvation.  You are covenantal in your theology.  Your eschatology has lost its fear of the future.  (And for that matter, fear of the present.)  You believe Jesus Christ is reigning as king over all the earth NOW and is gradually subduing and conquering His enemies even as we speak (although he seems to be taking an awfully long time to do that).  You’re a presuppositionalist in your apologetics (and you intend to prove that by naming your next male child Cornelius).

Worst of all, you are convinced that the ethical standards of God’s law are alive and well and still govern the planet — while the rest of your family and friends and practically everyone else you know, including Christians, are convinced that they do not.

This presents a problem.

How do you now find a church that preaches and teaches and believes like you do?

In other words, where and how do you find a “Reconstructionist-friendly” church to attend?

Answer: you do one of two things.

  1. Pray that you live within reasonable driving distance of such a church.  And you ask around within the circle of people whom you hope might know where one of those churches might be.  Or,
  2. Resign yourself to the fact that, (a), no such church exists within a Sabbath’s day journey from where you live, and so, therefore, (b), you learn to become a resident Reconstructionist worshipping and fellowshipping in a congregation of non-like-minded-but-probably-just-as-committed-to-the-Gospel-of-Jesus-Christ-as-you-are believers.  You may feel like a fresh-water fish in a salt water pond.  Things could be worse.  At least there’s water.

Option #1.

If #1 applies to you–that is, you do find that there is a Reconstructionist church in your neck of the woods–then rejoice, your search is over.  Perhaps.

That church is going to be small.  Very small.  Tiny, in fact.  Just like the denomination that probably ordained the pastor who ministers there.  Fact: the more well-defined (and out of the mainstream of evangelicalism, even Reformed evangelicalism) the theological distinctives of a particular church are, the smaller its size.  It is in the minority of the minority.  You will be part of a remnant of the remnant.  You will be an outlier.

If you’re okay with that, again, your search is over.  Just remember, your church will be its own “small group!”

Option #2.

This is the more likely outcome.  You’re a theological (and eschatological) oddity.  You’re Reformed with respect to the Gospel, but you’re un-Reformed with respect to the Law.  Some will call you hermeneutically confused.  Some will call you heterodox.  Ignore them.  You are better informed than most as far as what the Bible says about God’s authority over us.

So, where should you worship?

Answer: wherever there is a church that has (a), preaching you can tolerate, (b), music you can tolerate, and, (c), people you can tolerate.  It’s that simple.  You’ve got your doctrine down cold.  (Or hot.)  You’ve got the Holy Spirit dwelling in you and available 24/7 as a lifetime counselor/comforter.  You’ve got the Savior.  You’ve got God as your infinitely generous and loving Father.  You’ve got His enscripturated Word as your infallible field guide, training and service manual.  So, beyond that, you’ll just have to be liberal (biblically charitable) when it comes to assessing the fitness of a particular church to be graced on a regular basis by your humble, eschatologically-upbeat presence.  Thankfully, Calvinism is now cool.  More Christians, young and old, have become, at least to some degree, “Reformed.”  Hipsters and oldsters united in a common bond of TULIPs.  This makes your job a little bit easier.

Bloom (and grow) where you’re planted.

It might not be the ideal greenhouse or garden.  But as long as you get sunlight, food and water to sustain you (and there aren’t too many locusts and aphids) be content with that.

Be prepared to be a closet contrarian.   No need to be strident about it, though, needlessly pontificating your superior positions on various scriptural dogmas.  Be prepared, as Peter says, “to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (I Peter 3:15)  “Study to show yourself approved”–someone who “does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)  Do this faithfully, and people will wonder at your unsinkable optimism and winsome attitude about the inevitable victory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and successful evangelization of the whole world in time and in history prior to the Lord’s return.  Make ’em want what you’ve got!

Don’t make folks irritated or exasperated with your apparent confessional peculiarities.  But don’t be ashamed of your Reconstructionist leanings, either.  Remember, the people who oppose you will do so because they are either ignorant or else misinformed about the biblical and historical and hermeneutical basis for the theological “distinctives” and perspectives of Christian Reconstruction.  So, don’t be “sorry” for embracing these perspectives.

Remember, theonomy means never having to say you’re sorry.