An Old Strategy

By Mark R. Rushdoony
June 08, 2021

Now and then the left comes up with a popular meme that gains widespread acceptance. When you look at them carefully, they usually have roots in older ideas. The church has experienced this as ancient heresies with archaic names are revived and promoted as a supposedly better orthodoxy. Since both history and theology are neglected disciplines, people have trouble seeing how shallow these ideas really are.

Critical race theory, the “woke” movement, and Black Lives Matter are only new manifestations of an old strategy, that of manipulation by guilt.

Guilt is a very real part of man’s existence. It has been since the Fall and Adam and Eve’s attempt to “cover” (atone) themselves with fig leaves and hide from God. Without resolution in the atonement of Jesus Christ, guilt debilitates man. This is why it is such a powerful tool of manipulation. Once you convince someone they are guilty, you own them. They are in your power and so must follow some method of atoning (covering by payment) for their “guilt.”

In 1970, my father wrote a book that describes this. I suggest you read or reread The Politics of Guilt and Pity; it reads like it was just written. You will be able to see today’s issues in its pages.

Here is the important thing we must remember about manipulation by false guilt – it is anti-Christian to the core. The salvation offered in Scripture has as its purpose the removal of guilt “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12). The gospel frees man from guilt. To use guilt as a means of manipulation is thus the antithesis of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Of all people, the Christian should recognize any ascription of false guilt and repudiate its evil as a transparent power play. We have been saved by a gracious God; the preachers of false guilt will demand you pay for your sins repeatedly because they cannot offer the real resolution of justification. Don’t let them manipulate you. You are a child of God and are called, to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).

Topics: Church, The, Culture , Psychology, Theology

Mark R. Rushdoony

Mark R. Rushdoony graduated from Los Angeles Baptist College (now The Master’s College) with a B.A. in history in 1975 and was ordained to the ministry in 1995.

He taught junior and senior high classes in history, Bible, civics and economics at a Christian school in Virginia for three years before joining the staff of Chalcedon in 1978. He was the Director of Chalcedon Christian School for 14 years while teaching full time. He also helped tutor all of his children through high school.

In 1998, he became the President of Chalcedon and Ross House Books, and, more recently another publishing arm, Storehouse Press. Chalcedon and its subsidiaries publish many titles plus CDs, mp3s, and an extensive online archive at

He has written scores of articles for Chalcedon’s publications, both the Chalcedon Report and Faith for all of Life. He was a contributing author to The Great Christian Revolution (1991). He has spoken at numerous conferences and churches in the U.S. and abroad.

Mark Rushdoony lives in Vallecito, California, his home of 43 years with his wife of 45 years and his youngest son. He has three married children and nine grandchildren.

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