IBL05: Fifth Commandment (Craig Press)

The Family and Authority

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:02 Isaiah three from verse 12 through 4:1. The family and authority. With this we conclude our studies in the fifth commandment and will next week begin the sixth commandment, thou shalt not kill. The fifth commandment concluded this week with Isaiah 3:12 following through 4:1.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:37 “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:10 Moreover the Lord saith, because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:31 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, the chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, the bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, the rings, and nose jewels, the changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, the glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the veils.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:57 And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty. Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war. And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground. And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:36 The Romans said concerning the Jews, the conquered gave their laws to the conqueror. The conquered gave their laws to the conqueror. What they meant by this was that although Judea has been conquered by Rome, out of Judea came Christianity which conquered the empire. Legally however, the conquest of the Roman empire did not come in the days of Constantine.

R.J. Rushdoony: 03:23 The early so called Christian emperors were by and large politically Christians. That is they recognized that Christianity was now dominate in the empire or sufficiently strong that it was wise to seek a more or less Christian stance. It was not until the emperor Justinian, that the law of the Roman empire became Christian.

R.J. Rushdoony: 03:56 This was due not so much to Justinian personally as to the influence of his wife Theodora. The plans of Theodora is not better known to Christians today. Theodora was the wife of a circus acrobat in the Roman circus. Her father died when she was seven years old going on eight. And because her father owed money and was penniless, the mother and three daughters were sold into prostitution.

R.J. Rushdoony: 04:52 At an early age, not yet eight, Theodora became an acrobatic dancer and prostitute. The story of her life is a grim and an amazing one. Her two sisters and her mother disappear from history. They were scattered and sent to various parts of the empire and none of them every knew what happened to the other. But Theodora wound up as a very prominent and successful prostitute.

R.J. Rushdoony: 05:34 When she was barely 21, she met the emperor Justinian, or the emperor to be, Justinian. About the same time, too, Theodora who hated everything that her life represented was beginning to look for faith, an answer to the grim, hard life that she had known, something that said there was something else in the world. And she became a Christian. And by means of her influence, her husband Justinian became the great emperor and law give of the empire.

R.J. Rushdoony: 06:16 And Theodora has left her mark on all subsequent history. In fact, we can say today that the rioters and the revolutionists are all demonstrating in part against the law system that Theodora imposed on the Western world. Without knowing her name, they are in revolution against the Christian law order that Theodora established.

R.J. Rushdoony: 06:52 She sat with the lawyer as they reworked the entire body of Roman law. As they threw out vast sections of law and rose biblical law into the law of the empire and many, many passages clearly show her hand.

R.J. Rushdoony: 07:17 Our concern since we are dealing with the fifth commandment the basic response she instituted was respect to family law and sexual regulations. And it was clear in particular that she revolutionized civilization. All civilization since that time, this was the middle of the sixth century, approximately 535 A.D., has been a product of Theodora’s work. Her study of the scripture and her reshaping of the Western world of the biblical law. Her basic reforms concerning sex and the family can be listed under five headings.

R.J. Rushdoony: 08:14 First, only marital sexual relations were made legally allowable. All non marital sexual relations were made illegal. Second, all other forms of sexuality were classified as objectionable and this classification was applied to every social class without distinction. So that the family was made the way of life and the only legal way of life for all.

R.J. Rushdoony: 08:56 The words of the law code, it was called, and I quote, “The standard form of life for all human beings for all time and everywhere. This is the Christian way of life.” This was a tremendous revolution. By making it applicable to all, it declared that the nobility who had previously maintained a vast number of concubines as well as their legal wife could no longer do so. It meant that the poor masses who previously were outside the law, and it didn’t make any difference how they lived now also had to conform to the Christian standard.

R.J. Rushdoony: 09:46 Third, it made all the prohibited sexual activities punishable by law. And in particular every form of commercialized sex was made severely punishable by law. Force contracts for non family sexual relations were made illegal, concubines for example, lost it’s legal status.

R.J. Rushdoony: 10:14 And fifth, the family was made the defined public way of life and status. Now the effects of this legislations were extensive. Three important areas of this effect were inheritance of property. The inheritance laws now in terms of this law of the family governed the empire.

R.J. Rushdoony: 10:51 The legitimate wife and her children only now had a status and a standing before the law and none other. The inheritance could not be alienated from the unless they alienated it by a lack of faith. In other words, inheritance now as by the family and by faith. Therefore property no longer went to the state or to any illegitimate child or to a mistress.

R.J. Rushdoony: 11:36 They were cut off from the laws of inheritance. And today of course we are trying to undo this. The safe claims ensure the inheritance increasingly more and more. And increasingly illegitimate children are being given a standing. This works to destroy the family.

R.J. Rushdoony: 12:06 Theodora works established the family as the custodian of inheritances. The family only forfeited this by lack of faith.

R.J. Rushdoony: 12:22 Now, closely related to this is the second aspect. The family was made the agent and power with respect to property. The family became the social system now rather than the state. Wherever control of property resides there is the power in a social system. And the entire work of Theodora in terms of scripture likes to make the family, the godly family and the godly heir in the family, the inheritor of the property and the controller of the property.

R.J. Rushdoony: 13:09 This immediately undercuts the power of the state. This is why in order to reestablish the power of the state, the ancient Justinian code, the laws that have been a part of every western nation from the days of Theodora have had to be undercut.

R.J. Rushdoony: 13:34 First for the state to enter in and claim a part of the property and the inheritance of the family. And second to destroy the family and it’s integrity. Without the Christian concept of the family, without the Justinian law, without Theodora’s work, any society quickly moves into social anarchy.

R.J. Rushdoony: 14:09 Theodora rescued the Roman empire from that social anarchy. The kind of thing that had been common place in which she had experienced in her person began to disappear. It was now illegal. And when it was existed, it was in defiance of the law and punishable by law. The wife and the children were protected by the law. The purpose of the law was to protect the Christian family and the Christian heirs in the family.

R.J. Rushdoony: 14:47 Theodora saw in terms of Scripture was the source of family’s authority was God. And the immediate local of authority in the family is the father or husband. As Saint Paul spells it out in 1 Corinthians 11 versus one through 15. Now Theodora is one of the strongest women in all history. And it is significant that there was not a trace of feminism in her bones.

R.J. Rushdoony: 15:22 She didn’t put her trust in a woman’s power, but in the family’s power was the husband or father as the head of the family. Our scripture this morning, one with which Theodora was very familiar, for she knew her Bible, speaks to what happens when there is an abdication by the father or a denial by the state of the father’s authority. It leads to social anarchy.

R.J. Rushdoony: 15:58 “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” I dare declare that when women rule over men, children gain undue freedom and power and they become rulers over their parents. And the rulers then are simply emasculated men who lead people astray.

R.J. Rushdoony: 16:30 And the end result is social collapse and captivity, which is describe in the latter part of the chapter. And this the end result of a system in which women and children rule on is the humiliation of women which culminates in the declaration of that day, seven women shall take hold of one man saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel. Only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 17:03 Society is in such a state of anarchy that a lone woman is so defenseless that seven women lay hold of one man and say, “We will provide our own food if we can only have your protection. If you will only take away our reproach, our defenseless state.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 17:23 Isaiah saw the absence of man’s authority, or his abdication of it as productive of social chaos and anarchy. In terms of scripture throughout the Bible, man as the head of the household is the necessary principle of order. Now dominion is God’s principle for man over nature.

R.J. Rushdoony: 17:51 This is declared in Genesis 1:28, and it is emphasized throughout all of scripture. Dominion is the calling of the man. It is his responsibility, and when he abdicates it, he throws the entire family and ultimately the entire social order out of kilter.

R.J. Rushdoony: 18:17 Dominion as the nature of the male we find demonstrated by God not only in mankind, but throughout nature. Studies by biologists in recent years have demonstrated how courageous Freud was in reading the nature of man and animals basically in terms of sex. Robert Ardrey in his books has reported for example that dominion is the basic drive in every species of animals in the males.

R.J. Rushdoony: 18:58 And it reveals itself in three different ways. First, in territoriality or property instinct. All animals have it. All male animals so that a male animal will have a particular territory that is his. He will control it. Or a bird will have a particular branch on a tree, a male bird, and he will guard that against other male birds of his species.

R.J. Rushdoony: 19:28 Second, there is a sense of status or hierarchy affecting the order. In every barnyard in nature everywhere. And third, basic to the animal concept of survival is order. This is the function of the male animals. It is only in zoos which are welfare economies as I pointed out previously that the animal is more concerned with sex than he is with dominion.

R.J. Rushdoony: 20:07 Now, with the female in nature as well as the man, the sexual and maternal instincts are personal. Her concern is personal, not social. When women become concerned with problems of law and order, it is because these problems have become personal, because her family and its safety is endangered. It means things are far gone.

R.J. Rushdoony: 20:42 In every age when you see that women are concerned with what’s going on in the world of politics and economics, when there are the ones who are reading and studying and carrying the cause of conservatism as to date, it means that there has been an extensive abdication by man so that women are compelled by necessity to defend law and order. It is an unnatural condition, and it puts an undue strain on the woman.

R.J. Rushdoony: 21:18 She carries an undue share of the responsibilities. Her normal function and nature is to be personal, to be concerned with the personal, her husband and her children.

R.J. Rushdoony: 21:34 Whereas the normal inclination of the male is to be concerned with that which is law and order, dominion, the social, the broader perspective. This is why men and women need each other. With out each other, they tend to become territorial. Perhaps a dramatic and extreme example of the male and female concern is apparent in Henry the Eighth and his first queen Catherine.

R.J. Rushdoony: 22:08 Henry the Eighth is very badly treated by history. He was a very brilliant man. And when he took over as king, the scholars of Europe, the humanistic scholars all rejoiced. Here was a man after their own heart. He was a scholar. He was a very talented musician. He was a brilliant intellect. He was a very capable man in every respect.

R.J. Rushdoony: 22:39 In fact, his brilliance was one reason why he went astray. Because if a mind as brilliant as that of Henry so much power, he will be able to exploit his power more readily.

R.J. Rushdoony: 22:57 Catherine on the other hand was an intensely personal sort of person, a very devout intensely religious woman who went to mass several times a day, and spent several hours in praying so that five hours of religious exercises each morning to begin the day was quite common place for her.

R.J. Rushdoony: 23:22 And yes, the tragedy of this situation was that Henry was concerned with preserving the stability of England. Every foreign power was trying to overthrow him. And as he had no male heir, then a war of succession for the throne would immediately ensue as had torn the country apart until his father took over. And the foreign powers would intervene and England would be finished.

R.J. Rushdoony: 23:56 A male heir, this was what he was concerned about. On the other hand, Catherine’s interests were so purely personal that she never saw that her father Ferdinand of Spain was using her as a tool to the point where England was being badly harmed. And because here were two people, one representing a male concern with order, the succession, the stability of England to the point of immorality, having no thought to his marital vow. And she so purely personal that she could be used to the Nth degree.

R.J. Rushdoony: 24:40 And you had a crisis and a tragedy develop. Men and women need each other. Therefore, scripture says, “A man shall leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife,” that he may exercise dominion not in an unbalanced way because he becomes unbalanced without the women. That he might exercise it together with her help and with a full orb and healthy perspective.

R.J. Rushdoony: 25:16 A matriarchal society always comes about when society is in breakdown, when men have abdicated. Look around to see where you have full fledge matriarchal society. In America today, the negro populous has been from the time it landed here as it is in Africa matriarchal. Women rule. Why? Because the men are irresponsible. They cannot be de depended on to support the family.

R.J. Rushdoony: 25:53 And so it is a matriarchy. It’s unhealthy. And nothing the federal government can ever do will change negro society until negro men become responsible. The famous rule of Indian, American Indian society. I lived among the American Indians eight and a half years. It is a matriarchy. The men are irresponsible. They are alcoholics. And so the woman must take over, and the consequence is deadly. It is a society in state of collapse.

R.J. Rushdoony: 26:42 A matriarchy does mean that women are in power. In means that women are burdened because there is no real power. They are trying to do two things, be father and mother and cannot do either successfully when they are so burdened.

R.J. Rushdoony: 27:02 And the trend to matriarchy is present today in all western culture. As for my people, children are there oppressors, and women rule over them.

R.J. Rushdoony: 27:17 Today’s revolutionary activity is directed first and foremost against the family, against the family system that the empress Theodora gave to the west. We cannot understand the revolution of our day unless we realize that both the law and the state and the school are waging war against the family.

R.J. Rushdoony: 27:54 The school is doing everything day by day to destroy the family through its teaching to make it impossible for the parents to help the child with it’s schooling, through the new math, the new English, and so on. So that the family will be broken.

R.J. Rushdoony: 28:11 Psychology and education are promoting ideas of permissive which strike directly at parental authority. Permissive is a revolutionary concept. It prevents the growth of self discipline. It destroys parental authority. It is the real reason behind juvenile delinquency today. The destruction of parental authority is the growth of permissiveness.

R.J. Rushdoony: 29:02 A lack of discipline, self discipline and discipline leads to self importance. If you’ve watched the television program when they have youths speaking or read the youth pages that some of our daily newspapers have, you have this theme over and over again. Listen to us. We want to be heard! All right, listen to them. They have nothing to say. Nothing to say! Delusions of grandeur. Tremendous ideas of their self importance.

R.J. Rushdoony: 29:39 But when 200 years ago teenagers were commanding troops and conducting businesses and were ship captains, today they are immature, incompetent juveniles, barely literate and demanding, “Listen to us!” When they have nothing to say.

R.J. Rushdoony: 30:04 This self importance destroys all standards save that of sheer humanity. We are people, therefore we must be heard. This fall I was amused and disgusted in reading the account of a San Fernando school teacher, San Fernando Valley school teacher who had taken a group of her students, well to do students on a trip through the Soviet Union. And they came back and they had a front page interview in some of the papers.

R.J. Rushdoony: 30:42 And the first sentence read, and the rest of the long article simple repeated the same thing in different words, and I quote, this was the conclusion of the teacher and the students, “People are people no matter which side of the iron curtain they call home.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 31:04 Now, was it necessary to go the Soviet Union to decide that the Reds are people? I can tell you without going to Africa that they are people there, the Negros. And without going to China that the Chinese are people. But what’s the meaning of this? It means that you’re only standard is man. Therefore good and evil have no meaning. You are beyond good and evil.

R.J. Rushdoony: 31:32 You’ve destroyed all standards and you have nothing but anarchy. So people, that’s the great wisdom, the great law, the great standard. And of course the students are only just a little step ahead of their parents. Listen to what their elders have to say. Read the letters to the newspapers. Listen to the talking and radio shows. Or read Abigail Van Buren’s and Ann Landers’ columns and what people write. And you realize they have no sense of law, no sense of standard.

R.J. Rushdoony: 32:23 One woman wrote in recently to one of these columns. And she was upset because some people, some of her friends and family were objecting. She was planning to have a 25th wedding anniversary, a big party, invite all her family and friends even though she and her husband had been separated for many years.

R.J. Rushdoony: 32:45 She couldn’t see anything wrong with her desires for a party. This lack of standard, this lack of discipline, this lack of law is far gone. The family is virtually gone in law. There are only six states in which the father is by law still the head of the household and is also the logical, legal custodian of the children: Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas.

R.J. Rushdoony: 33:33 Everywhere else, the man is gone as far as the law is concerned. And it’s very interesting that the Jews who for centuries preserved themselves by a strong sense of the family have so eroded it that the law today in Palestine is that a child takes the nationality of its mother. And several cases are before the Supreme Court of people in Israel who have been denied citizenship although their father’s a prominent citizen because their mother is not Jewish. In their circles, too, the breakdown is far gone.

R.J. Rushdoony: 34:23 Added to this social erosion and legal erosion is the erosion or assault on the family from within the church. And today you find this everywhere. You find it even in your conservative churches. They boast about having so many activities that the family has not time to be a family. They have mother down there for activities for Monday through Saturday, and the children and the father. You’re supposed to be, if you’re a good church member, in the church three, four, or five days a week.

R.J. Rushdoony: 35:03 Family is virtually outlawed by this. But if you go into the liberal churches, what do you find? This book cites the possible physician day in the churches, Rustum and Della Roy, their book Honest Sex. And it comes out for total permissibility of every kind of sexual activity. In fact, they try to play the role of a prophet. And they declare that in 10 years at the most, homosexuality will be entirely permissible. There will be polyandry and polygamy. And there will be a variety of other practices that will be fully recognized as moral.

R.J. Rushdoony: 36:01 Again another work by Dr. [inaudible 00:36:04], a Swedish doctor and psychiatrist goes a step further. And this book which has been published throughout Europe as well as in this country, this physiatrist demands that we treat these people as minority groups that have been long discriminated against. And therefore we give them subsidies now to atone for what they have suffered through the centuries. And so he is for not only legalizing but giving subsidies to those who practice incest, pedophilia, homosexuality, and other deviations. There isn’t a single kind of perversion that he leaves out of this book.

R.J. Rushdoony: 36:59 And there are actually moves in many countries today who legalize homosexual unions as well as various other perverted practices. The end result of this that women are being stripped of their rights that were won by Theodora and are being thrown into a sexual market and an anarchy society. The empress Theodora learned the hard way out of the ugly experience of her childhood and youth.

R.J. Rushdoony: 37:30 She came to a Christian faith like a drowning person to a live preserver. And through her efforts, the West was given biblical law as its foundation. And the biblical standard of the family was made the law of every western country until now. They are trying to undo what Theodora did. And they will throw the family and women back into the same cesspool out of which Theodora by the grace of God gave up.

R.J. Rushdoony: 38:24 Thus we are in a critical age. And we must say to this generation that they are heading for suicide. Except the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain of that building. Let us pray.

R.J. Rushdoony: 38:51 Our Lord and our God, we give thanks unto thee that thou art on the throne and that the government is upon thy shoulders, and that age after age thou has raised us unto thyself. People to do thou will by thou power to overturn the powers of darkness. We give thanks unto thee that the empress Theodora by her knowledge of scripture laid down so good a foundation which we have enjoyed for 1500 years.

R.J. Rushdoony: 39:32 Give us grace therefore our Father to establish again the house of our culture on that foundation, on thou word and thy church. Bless us with this purpose in Jesus name. Amen.

Rev. 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.

Learn more about R.J. Rushdoony by visiting: https://chalcedon.edu/founder