Our Threatened Freedom

What Is Government? (03:57)

R.J. Rushdoony


R.J. Rushdoony: 00:00 What is government? This is R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threatened freedom. One of the more used words in all languages today is government. When most people say government, they mean the federal government, or the state, county or city governments, or all of them combined. Such a use of the word is a major departure from biblical, puritan and early American usage.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:28 The bible speaks of government as the attribute of God and of Christ. Isiah 9:6 declares of the Messiah and the government shall be upon his shoulders. On the human level, all government is by delegation. Delegation from God, and there are seven basic levels of government.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:48 The first area of government and the most basic is self-government. The self-government of Godly man. Without this, we have only lawlessness. One of our most serious problems today is this lack of self-government. The second area of government is the family. In the bible, the family is set forth as the most important single institution or agency on Earth. The family is man’s first and most basic government. School and church, from childhood on. If family government is weak, the country is weak.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:28 A third area of government is the church. Too often today, the church either does not govern or it governs weakly because people are in rebellion against all good government. A fourth area of government is the school. For better or worse, schools are a very important form of government. Their influence in government marks us for all life. Bad government in schools can and usually does mean bad government after schooling and for life. This is not all, a fifth area of government is our vocation, our work. You and I are governed by the work we do. It sets the pattern for our time use, our training, our income and our daily lives. Our employers govern us, and the kind of work we do governs us. Our work, thus, is a very major form of government.

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:27 The sixth form of government is our community or society. What people think, do and expect of us does govern all of us. We do feel social pressures, which govern us. Finally, a seventh form of government is civil government. There was a time when no one spoke of state or federal governments as anything but civil government. One form of government among many. Today, civil government is trying to control all other areas of government, to usurp the powers of self-government, the family, church, school, work and society. This is the meaning of totalitarianism, the control of all other forms of government by civil government, which spells certain disaster for any country.

R.J. Rushdoony: 03:21 What is government? It is certainly not the federal government. It is, overall, the government of almighty God and under God of a variety, of God ordained spheres of life and agencies. It begins with our own self-government. If we deny the government of almighty God and if we fail in self-government, then we invite slavery and totalitarianism. You will get the kind of government you exercise. This is R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threatened freedoms.

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