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Determining the New Direction of History

​We have a limited view of God’s providence if we see it only in terms of events and not also as an aspect of our epistemology. It’s not simply that God controls every creature and every action but that we also have a “universe of total and personal meaning” because of it. Our responsibility is based on the fact that we “move in the light of God’s providence.”

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Every day our problem is less and less humanism and more and more ourselves. Is our life and action productive of a new social order? Are we governed by principles and ideas which will help determine the new direction of history? Is our thinking still directed by sterile statism, and do we believe that the answer to man’s problems is to capture the machinery of the state, or do we recognize that we must first of all be commanded by God before we can effectively command ourselves and our futures?[1]

In his 1972 article, “Post-Christian Era,” Rushdoony voiced the dissenting opinion regarding what was happening in our modern time. Men still drunk on Enlightenment spirits believed we were moving into a post-Christian era whereas Rushdoony saw the inverse:

It is not a post-Christian era that we face but a post-humanistic world. Every thinker who evades that fact is past-oriented and blind; he is incapable of preparing anyone for the realities of our present situation. Humanism on all sides is busy committing hara-kiri; it is disemboweling itself with passion and fervor; it needs no enemies, because humanism is now its own worst enemy. We have lived thus far in a post-Christian era, and it is dying. The important question is, what shall we do?[2]

If humanism is dying—we see it even more so today—Rushdoony asks, “What shall we do?” In other words, for Rushdoony, the response of the Christian to his times is always faith and action, and Rushdoony is stating this as one who is devoutly Calvinistic. His high view of God’s providence did not decrease the necessity for Christian responsibility:

Providence for us means a universe of total and personal meaning which becomes our life and world by the adoption of grace. We then move in the light of God’s providence and grace as responsible covenant-keepers. We have a place then in that total government, a meaning, goal, and calling. Responsibility for us is then not a chore but the key to a world of knowledge, holiness, righteousness, and dominion under God as His image bearers.[3]

A Theology of Determination

We have a limited view of God’s providence if we see it only in terms of events and not also as an aspect of our epistemology. It’s not simply that God controls every creature and every action but that we also have a “universe of total and personal meaning” because of it. Our responsibility is based on the fact that we “move in the light of God’s providence.”

For in him we live, and move, and have our being. ~ Acts 17:28

One might think that Arminianism emphasizes the will and determination of man, but it is a strong view of God’s providence that truly empowers us as God’s image-bearers. For the Arminian, God is weak in light of the power of nature, Satan, and man’s will, but with Calvinism, God is all-powerful and supporting man as a secondary cause:

[M]an is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-28), so that, by virtue of that image, he is a responsible creature who has a secondary power of determination.[4]

This sort of theology is empowering, but a simple scan of contemporary Christianity yields the opposite data as Christians look for foolish answers in an end times escape or by probing the mind of God for some prophecy about who will be the next president.

Men doubt today that God brings forth His purposed results, and they refuse to work for any goals … We live, briefly, in a political or statist era, a day when men believe in the ability of the state and its politicians to solve problems by means of their legislative hocus-pocus, when the desperate need instead is for faith and work.[5]

A Time of Glorious Opportunity

The last thing considered is a theology of determination where we plan and act so as to help shape the coming era. As Rushdoony said, “The important question is, what shall we do?” God’s providence does not encourage passivity or escapism, but rather thrusts us into Kingdom work:

All God’s providential workings and government have as their goal the glory of His Kingdom.[6]

Even in our prayers, the emphasis is foremost on the Kingdom of God. We are to pray continually, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). And if that is the emphasis of our prayers, it is also the emphasis of our actions as we seek to fulfill God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.

But the growth of the Kingdom is gradual as our Lord taught in Mark 4:28, “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” Rushdoony notes:

But “first the blade,” and the blade cannot appear without a planting. This is the time to create new and free schools, Christian hospitals, independent professional societies, Biblically principled, and new enterprises of every kind. The time is now.[7]

The time is now because we are approaching a post-humanistic world in which humanistic man is at war with himself and therefore cannot command the future as he once supposed. This means that a door is open for Christian Reconstruction because it offers a coherent Biblical worldview which emphasizes the advancement of godly rule and a Christian social order. The issue we have is whether we are preparing for the times in which we live:

We must recognize that this is one of the greatest if not the greatest opportunity yet to come to Christianity. This is a time of glorious opportunity, a turning point in history, and the wise will prepare for it.[8]

There is no greater emphasis than the Kingdom of God, and all that Chalcedon teaches and publishes is focused foremost on the advancement of the Kingdom and Christian responsibility. We desire your prayers and continued financial support in order to help us to continue in this great mission of Christian education.


[1] R. J. Rushdoony, Faith & Action: The Collected Articles of R. J. Rushdoony from the Chalcedon Report, 1965—2004 (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2019), p. 449.

[2] ibid., p. 448.

[3] R. J. Rushdoony, Systematic Theology in Two Volumes (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1994), p. 164.

[4] ibid., p. 163.

[5] Rushdoony, Faith & Action, p. 450.

[6] Rushdoony, Systematic Theology, p. 153.

[7] Rushdoony, Faith & Action, p. 450.

[8] Rushdoony, Faith & Action, p. 448.

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