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No Shadow of Turning: Godly Confidence in an Era of Darkness

By Chalcedon Editorial
February 01, 2018
The infallible and inerrant Scripture is the only possible word from an omnipotent and sovereign God, and the doctrine of the infallible word is the inevitable corollary of the doctrine of God the omnipotent.[1]

When Rushdoony began his two-volume Systematic Theology, he did not begin as other theologians did by addressing the Doctrine of God proper. Rather, he began with the idea of “infallibility,” because Rush’s premise was that “theology means the total mandate of God through His word,”[2] and that his own ministry was “to move men to faith and action.”[3]

Like Calvin, who demonstrated that man’s knowledge is inextricably tied to his knowledge of God, Rushdoony tied the existence, authority, and sovereignty of God to man and history. Without it, we lose the confidence and faith that brings victory and instead live under the oppression of fear and evil:

The clarity of that faith in the infallible word gives the believer an assurance, strength, and joy in the immediacy of God. Men have lived confidently in darker eras than ours in the confidence and victory of that faith, whereas today the oppression and the fear of evil are very near to men, and the force of God’s word is very remote.[4]

The only kind of word from such an omnipotent and sovereign God is an infallible one, and whereas fallen man wars against such a perfect revelation, redeemed man should find confidence in it so as to wage spiritual and cultural war against fallen man and the powers that undergird him (Eph. 6:12).

An Unchanging Word for Changing Times

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. ~ James 1:17

What provides us our assurance and strength is that God’s revelation to us is complete[5] because He Himself is complete. There are no hidden potentialities in God, and there is not some aspect of Himself that He is yet to discover. He is the “Father of lights,” and with Him, we shall never see a turning shadow:

The word of God, on the other hand, is necessarily the certain and unchanging word true for all times, and infallibly so. Because the God of Scripture is the sovereign uncreated Being who is the maker of all things, He is beyond flux. “For I am the LORD, I change not” (Malachi 3:6). God is totally self-conscious. There are no dark corners in His being, nor is there any aspect of creation outside the totality of His government and decree.[6]

God’s providential government rules all things, because He has created all things. Therefore, we are called to critique the ever-changing world by means of God’s unchanging Word, but are we confident enough to do so? We might believe in the infallible Word, but that is not enough, as Rushdoony notes:

Does the church need to change with the times? Not if the church holds the truth; the unchanging truth of God needs to be applied to man’s changing times as the measure or yardstick whereby men and events are to be judged.[7]

Our critiques, however, must convert into Christian action, or we will end up stating only what we’re against and not what it is that we are for. If the world is failing, then we must build alternatives to their rule. We cannot wait for the times to be conducive for building. To simply defend ourselves against secular and religious criticism is not Christian Reconstruction:

Simply to fight off attacks is a strategy of retreat: it has no future.[8]

Godly Rule

Therefore, we must continue the great work of Christian education because this is the means by which we prepare Christian families for godly rule. Today’s evangelicalism is adept at building large churches but weak in terms of creating Christian culture. For this, today’s Christian needs a full-orbed faith that can create dominion agents who apply their faith to every sphere:

It is therefore of the utmost importance for Christians to develop epistemological self-consciousness. This means Christian education. It means a Christian philosophy for every sphere of human endeavor.[9]

The times may be dark, but the opportunities are great, so long as we walk and live with confidence in our omnipotent God and His infallible Word. In a sense, we are witnessing the end of an age, and we do not know what lies before us, yet for the believer who is grounded in God’s law-word, the era in which we live represents a great time to live and work:

The end of an age is always a time of turmoil, war, economic catastrophe, cynicism, lawlessness, and distress. But it is also an era of heightened challenge and creativity, of issues, and their world-wide scope, never has an era faced a more demanding and exciting crisis. This then above all else is the great and glorious era to live in, a time of opportunity, one requiring fresh and vigorous thinking, indeed a glorious time to be alive.[10]

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[1] R. J. Rushdoony, Thy Kingdom Come: Studies in Daniel and Revelation (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2001), p. 7.

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

[3] ibid.

[4] ibid., p. 1.

[5] God’s revelation of Himself to us is complete in terms of us, but it does not provide us with exhaustive knowledge of God Himself, as Rushdoony states, “The God of Scripture is not a hidden God, but neither is He wholly revealed, because His inexhaustible and incomprehensible Being are beyond the ability of finite man to comprehend or know exhaustively.” (The Word of Flux: Modern Man and the Problem of Knowledge, p. 97).

[6] R. J. Rushdoony, The Word of Flux: Modern Man and the Problem of Knowledge(Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2002), p. 90.

[7] R. J. Rushdoony, A Word in Season: Daily Messages on the Faith for All of Life, Volume 2 (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2011), p. 127.

[8] R. J. Rushdoony, Faith & Wellness: Resisting the State Control of Healthcare by Restoring the Priestly Calling of Doctors (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2016), p. 35.

[9] R. J. Rushdoony, Roots of Reconstruction (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1991), p. 596.

[10] R. J. Rushdoony, Intellectual Schizophrenia: Culture, Crisis and Education (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2002), p. 119f.

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Topics: Biblical Commentary, Biblical Law, Christian Reconstruction, Church, The, Culture , Dispensationalism, Dominion, Education, Eschatology, Family & Marriage, Government, Justice, Medicine / Healthcare, Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Socialism, Statism, Theology

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