Religious Earthquake (1)
Religious Earthquake (Part I)
[Steve Schlissel] The people who need no introduction always get the longest introductions, but I have been asked to introduce Rousas John Rushdoony. I like his name; it makes me feel more comfortable with being called Schlissel. I can tell you the first time I heard of Rushdoony I was, I worked for a Jewish mission and there was a fellow there who went to, had gone to Covenant Seminary and we were discussing an antinomian publication that emphasized the grace of God in Christ and he told me that he always like to balance what he read there with Rushdoony. And I thought; “what kind of drug is that?”
But, as I continued to study the Bible and be challenged by certain things in my dispensational thinking, I decided that perhaps I ought to look unto this ‘drug’ and so I called this gentleman, who is a minister in the Bronx, and a very faithful, godly man, and I asked him to recommend something, and he recommended The Politics of Guilt and Pity. And so I picked up this book, and that was the end of me. This personal story of course, is repeated a number of times right in this room, and around the country and around the world, not just with that particular book. What shocked me is probably what shocked you as well, is that Mr. Rushdoony assumed the Bible and then went on to apply it. And this is something that we had been unaccustomed to. We thought that the Christian life consisted in good prayer, and you don’t say too many curse words, which for living in Brooklyn was hard enough. As it turned out, he said the Bible applies, and he didn’t say it in a preachy way, he just did it, and that’s what shocked us, that’s what overwhelmed us.
So that was like being born again, again, and we then began to devour his literature. And over the years, a relationship has developed, and so in my introduction of Reverend Rushdoony, I would just like to focus on the personal aspects. I love him, I love that man, and I think he is a very important man. He’s an important man because God has given him faith. It’s really very simple; he believes the Bible, and in believing the Bible, he’s able to, through a covenant view, comprehensively engage with the revelation of God, and make specific applications in various areas of endeavors and life. It’s a very simple matter.
One who shared this ability was Dabney, in the old Southern Presbyterian Church a century ago. And you can tell this ability when you read the literature sometime after it was written and it has a freshness and a vitality and is capable of application once again, and you experience this when you read Dabney. You think that the man just wrote an op-ed page for the New York Times when you read what he has written. And it’s the same thing with Rush. If you go back to his writings from ‘59 and ‘60, you pick it up and you find that the things that he said are going to happen as necessary consequences, as particular actions have indeed come to pass. But I think one of the characteristics that most endears him to us is his courage. And we don’t often get a chance to see this. I’m going through some turmoil now in my own ecclesiastical life, thankfully not at the local church, praise the Lord!, but in the denominational realm, I’m able to empathize somewhat, and I think that we should all try to sympathize a little bit with what Rush’ has gone through over the years. By trying to be faithful to the Word of God, he’s been vilified by the visible church. People have absolutely hated him. Not just disagreed with him, but hated his guts, up and down. Why? Was it something personal he said against them? Did he blaspheme? He’s too careful in not naming names, if you ask me. He’s too kind and gentle, which is very surprising because he was born in New York City! Obviously his parents moved too soon, he should have stayed there a little longer.
But in his interaction with the church at large, he has come under severe attack. He’s been accused of all sorts of things that are not true and some things that are somewhat true but misunderstood. People think he has a low view of the church. He has a low view of tyranny – not of the church. He has a high view of the church and a high view of the Christ who rules the church. And he has a high view of other Christians. He’s been vilified in ways regarding a lack of an ecumenical spirit, but actually, he’s a most ecumenical man. He has a great regard for all those who’ve been touched by the Lord, a great tolerance for people from diverse backgrounds, and an affirming spirit for them to help them and encourage them in the work they undertake without a judgmental or hypercritical spirit. Well, I could go on. You know what I said; those people who need no introduction get the longest ones. But at this time I’d just like to ask us to give a warm welcome to Rousas John Rushdoony.
[Rushdoony] Thank you, Steve. You could have taken more time. I want to take a minute or two before we begin to talk about these conferences. This is the twelfth annual conference. The first one was held in this hotel also. And, despite the fact that the economy this year has hurt the attendance a bit, the attendance has been remarkable over the years and even more remarkable has been the impact. All kinds of movements have been started as a result of these conferences; crisis pregnancy centers, home schools, Christian schools, political action groups, you name it, a wide variety of movements have been started as a result of the work of Elizabeth and Clint Miller. Their impact has been widespread here and abroad. There is a movement underway now under the leadership of Michael Butcher and Steven Perks in Great Britain.
Now it has not been easy over the years, nor financially always, or ever really, practical. But Clint and Elizabeth have done this as a matter of faith. And I think they’re going to have a great many stars in their crown in heaven, so I myself want to say, Thank you, It’s a great work you’ve done and I am deeply and intensely grateful.
Our subject in this session is ‘the religious earthquake.’ An ‘earthquake’ is an internal fracturing and moving of the earth. And all the world is subject to quakes. The shallow faults move quickly, frequently, as in the Pacific Rim, and the Mediterranean realm. Whereas the deep faults in the rest of the world move every one hundred and fifty to four hundred years. There is no escaping an earthquake fault, they exist everywhere. When the earthquake comes, buildings are commonly shattered, roads broken up and bridges destroyed. Earthquakes are a good analogy to what we face in the world of religions, and in the days and years ahead.
Polytheism is usually defined as ‘a belief in many gods,’ and rightfully so, but we can, perhaps, better understand it as a belief in a limited sphere; a belief in a limited sphere, for each god or religion. Thus, in I Kings 20:23, we read, “And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him, their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.” In some form or another, in polytheism, each god was and is allotted a limited sphere. In the church of our time, Christianity so-called is limited to the spiritual realm, the state to the political, the sciences to the knowledge of the physical and so on. But if the Bible is true, then our God rules over every sphere because; “…all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” Therefore, our faith applies to every sphere. Our God is Lord over all, because He is the creator of all things. Where the strict doctrine of creationism is weakened, there polytheism begins to arise.
Dr. Thomas Shirrmacher, in the April, 1992 Chalcedon Report, called attention to the fact that the word ‘religion’ came into use with The Renaissance, and that previously, the word used for differing faiths was ‘law;’ the Christian Law, the Islamic Law, the Buddhist Law, and so on. A faith was either polytheistic or catholic; that is either limited in scope or universal. The term catholic properly belongs to the faith, and only to a church if it insists that God’s Law not the church is universal in its jurisdiction. But, since the Enlightenment, or about 1660, Christian catholicity has waned, especially since the French Revolution. Christianity has been replaced, or Christendom has been replaced by the concept of ‘The West,’ that is humanistic statism.
Now, catholicity can be of two kinds; first, it can be the faith in the universal jurisdiction of God as Lord, savior and lawgiver. This, for us, is true catholicity. Second, it can be a catholicity of coercion, of brute force, as with Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, world Marxism, the concept of the United Nations, and of a ‘New World Order.’ This faith denies that there is a God-given law, a God-given catholicity, a God-ordained universal jurisdiction of God, not man. But this, the catholicity of coercion, has been the reigning faith of the twentieth century, a belief of ordination and predestination by man and the State, not God. We are living in the wreckage of that faith and law. It has been very productive of lawlessness.
As the twentieth century draws to an end, we see the rise of warring catholic faiths. First, the declining faith or law is Humanism. It has been the prevailing force for a century and a half in great clarity of expression. Its clearest expression in recent years was in The Humanist Manifesto I and II, both issued in The New Humanist. The first was issued in the May/June number, 1933, and the second in the September/October, 1973 number. Both were signed by prominent world figures of the day. Although, Humanist Manifesto I said it was designed to represent a developing point of view, not a new creed, it was a dogmatic statement and by its own statement, expressed a “general agreement on matters of final concern.” It expressed a belief in the environmental and cultural conditioning of men. It was thus in the tradition of Aristotle, John Locke, and John Dewey; a signer, by the way, that, instead of man being a fallen creature, he is a product of evolution and his culture. His mind, being ostensibly a blank piece of paper, man will be conditioned and in effect created by his environment, and education.
The second article of faith in The Humanist Manifesto I reads; “Religion consists of those actions, purposes, and experiences which are humanly significant. Nothing human is alien to the religious. It includes labor, art, science, philosophy, love, friendship, recreation, all that is in its degree expressive of intelligently satisfying human living. The distinction between the sacred and the secular can no longer be maintained. The complete realization of human personality to be the end of life and the resolve to seek its development and fulfillment in the here and now is the humanist’s social fashion…” we are told in the eighth affirmation. The twelfth tells us that religion must work increasingly for joy and living and no limits are placed on this quest. The thirteenth affirmation declares; “religious Humanism maintains that all associations and institutions exist for the fulfillment of human life.” The fourteenth point condemns the profit motive, and the conclusion of Manifesto I said that; “…man alone is responsible for the realization of the world of his dreams…” a contradiction, of course, because how can man be responsible when man is merely a product?
Manifesto II in 1973, after this preface, declared that the new, or next century, can and should be the humanistic century. The environment must be controlled, it said, which is an indirect way of saying that man must be controlled. We are told, “Humanity to survive requires bold and daring measures.” Another way of saying total controls. “We need to extend the use of scientific method, not renounce them, diffuse reason with compassion in order to build constructive social and moral values. Confronted by many possible futures, we must decide which to pursue. The ultimate goal should be the fulfillment of the potential for growth in each human personality, not for the favored few, but for all of humankind. Only a shared world and global measure will suffice.” There must be a new morality, according to the third affirmation, because ethics, it says, “…is autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction. Every man thus sets his own values.” “Any kind of human or sexual practice has legitimacy, short of harming others…,” the Manifesto says, “…or compelling them to do likewise. Individuals should be permitted to express their sexual proclivities and pursue their lifestyles as desired.”
Now, given the radical autonomy advocated by these Humanists, on what ground can they bar harming others? They’ve said there are no moral standards, no requirements that can be imposed on anyone, so how can they arbitrarily say ‘harming others is wrong?’ They have denied all ground for ethics other than the autonomous and situational. Can we not say then, in terms of man’s autonomy and the context of the situation, that man can harm and destroy others?
The 1992 trial of Jeffrey Dahmer for killing and eating boys and men whom he brought in to his house for homosexual use has been revelatory. One psychiatrist described Dahmer’s behavior as sane and as expressive of his lifestyle. And that’s exactly what it was. It is interesting that in his defense, his attorney said he only ate the boys he liked.
‘Humanist Manifesto II’ insists the principle of moral equality must be furthered through elimination of all discrimination based upon race, religion, sex, age or national origin. Of course, this went almost verbatim into the new Bill of Rights that we have. This is a creed which in effect outlaws the Bible and Christianity because both do insist on discrimination in terms of God’s Law, between good and devil, saved and unsaved, between Amalek and the chosen people, and so on and on. The Bible does require a variety of distinctions as basic to justice and social order. The twelfth affirmation calls for a ‘One World Order’ and system of world law.
Now, remember, all religions are law systems. And you will understand that Humanism is a militant, aggressive and intolerant faith. If you doubt this, try to include something Biblical in the state’s school system. The ‘Manifesto II,’ in closing says that; “…parochial loyalties and inflexible and religious ideologies must be transcended. Let us call for an end to terror and hatred.” And what do we see in the streets today? The kind of anarchy they called for.
Now, if these signers meant what they said in ‘33 and in ‘73, why did they not condemn the Soviet Union and its slave labor camps? Or Red China? Castro’s Cuba, and more? These Humanistic terror-states were not mentioned. The attack throughout in both manifestos is against Christianity. Humanism has given new definitions to hypocrisy, Phariseeism, and evil. It has created world-wide a destruction of family life, of community and order, of local agencies for self-government, and much, much more. Humanism is now in its death throes. Its children are destroying its cities and, in the process of its dying, it will work vast destruction.
A key area of Humanist power has been the Church; Catholic and Protestant, modernist, fundamentalist, or supposedly Reformed. These ecclesiastical institutions have substituted themselves and love for the triune God and for the Lord Jesus Christ. They have abandoned God’s Law for the state’s, and as good polytheists, have only statist law as their mainstay. They have surrendered to the enemy and glory in that fact.
I made reference to the fact that Aristotle held that the mind of man is a neutral thing, a blank piece of paper. This idea was used by Aquinas and by John Locke. Wherever we find this concept, we find an undue emphasis on conditioning and coercion. Conversion is replaced by coercion, in fact. This idea of the mind in John Locke bypasses God as creator, and views the contents of the mind, not as fallen, but as blank. All knowledge comes from sensation, sense experiences, which lead to memory and then to ideas. True education must thus control the experiences of the child or adult, which is another way of totally controlling the child and adult. Locke, after Aristotle and Aquinas, believed that there is nothing in the mind except what was first in the senses. Therefore, control the sense experiences and you determine the mind and the purpose. The adoption of this premise by Rome led to a marked shift in the nature of the Church of Rome from conversion to coercion. This stress on coercion, however disguised, is especially emphatic in modern Protestantism as in all Humanism. All avenues, or medias of experience become controlled as Humanism gains power.
Bernard Berofsky has written that for Locke; “..freedom is the power to act in accordance with one’s will.” Thus, a man’s ideas of freedom, necessity and power are products of his sense experiences. Berofsky says; “Locke defines a voluntary act as one that is preferred by the agent, even if the act is not free, even if the act is performed necessarily.” Thus, the control of experience is the control of the mind. Again quoting Berofsky; “Since freedom and will are powers of persons, freedom cannot be meaningfully prepredicted of the will. Hence there is no genuine concept of free will.” Ironic is it not? The Humanists, the Lockians, the Deweyites who all insist on freedom, as against God’s decree wind up by reducing freedom to necessity; a state-created necessity.
But the world of Humanism is decaying, it is collapsing all around us, and you may have been awakened last night by the sirens which mark its dying. But, another coercive faith is threatening it everywhere. Islam is on the rise, and its power through immigration is now world-wide. It is a major force in Europe. In the United States, both houses of Congress have been opened with Islamic prayers, and the fundamentalist chaplain was the one who took the lead. There are over one thousand mosques in Britain, with two million plus Moslems, and an Islamic Parliament for Britain in process of formation. Other European countries face worse problems.
We can best understand the coercive nature of Islam by looking at marriage. Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:25-29 that;
“…husbands are to love their wives even as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it, to sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word.”
And Paul continues by saying;
“…so ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself, for no man ever yet hated his own flesh but nourisheth it and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church.”
Among other things, we are also told; “…marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled.” But Mohammed, in the Koran says; “…your wife is your tillage, go into her howsoever ye will.” This is a law that makes legitimate any sexual perversion by men. Moreover, as against St. Paul’s statement, “…he is Jew, that is a covenant man, who is one inwardly…” Mohammed emphatically declared; “…he is a Muslim who is one outwardly.” And the Five Pillars of Islam deal with externals because it is not the faith of the heart, and the unity of faith and life that has any meaning.
Mohammedism is a religion that rests firmly on man’s total depravity and it links this to the name of ‘Allah.’ The grim fact however is that for centuries, Turkey held the Caliphate illegally and dominated Islam. By World War I’s end, this dominance was shattered. All the same, since 1880, Pan-Turkism, or Pan-Turanism; the Turks call themselves ‘the sons of Turan,’ has been on the rise. The Turkic world extends from West China; sixty million there, across Siberia and Central Asia, into the Caucuses and the Azeri Turks of Azerbaijan, into Turkey and the Balkans, where many Turkish enclaves exist. Today they are all over the world, even in Australia in growing numbers. The Turkish premise set forth in its Holy War Statement of November 23, 1914, declared that killing Christians is a sacred deed and he who kills even only one shall be rewarded by Allah. The Turkish goal is plainly affirmed in the statement, ‘not world salvation but world domination.’
Pan-Turanism and Pan-Islamism are not compatible movements, but they do overlap. At present, the many Turkic and Islamic states of the Soviet Union are working toward an alliance. They are courted both by Iran and Turkey, and also Saudi Arabia; Islamic and Turkish powers toward the goal of world domination, a grim fact is that somehow, Turkey was recently supplied in return for not moving against Armenia, which Iran and Saudi Arabia were prepared to block, for their own expansionist purposes, with a satellite system whereby now it can broadcast television programs espousing Pan-Turanism from China into the Balkans. The whole goal is the elimination of all Christian minorities and peoples in Asia Minor and then an advance into Europe. Gorbachev had agreed to this goal in return for support. Yeltsin apparently has also consented. These two forces, Islam and Pan-Turkism, recognize the growing weakness and decay of The West, the decline of the churches into modernism and sentimental pietism, and the increasing cowardice of Western man!
Our word ‘phobia’ comes from the Greek word ‘phobos’ which originally meant ‘flight’ but which came to mean in the New Testament times, ‘fear and terror.’ A dog can smell fear in a man and will attack, and the same is true of other animals. Among men, again and again in history, men and nations have scented fear and weakness in others and have destroyed them.
Phobia is now very much a part of Western man’s life, and psychiatrists, doctors, psychoanalysts and psychologists and other counselors are making millions dealing with it. This kind of phobia or fear marks the absence of faith, that is, of true and prevailing faith in Jesus Christ, in the triune God, and His Law-Word. If we do not supplant fear with faith, we shall be destroyed. The religious earthquake is upon us. The ground is shaking, is fractured and is opening up. Who shall be swallowed up and destroyed; We or they? The answer depends upon us. Thank you.
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 is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. 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