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Working with Confidence & Power

By Chalcedon Editorial
October 26, 2019
Godly work is hierarchical, i.e., under God. It is a plan in action; it is a form of trust in God’s predestination. It is a baffling fact to outsiders that Calvinism, with its predestinarianism, has produced the hard-working future-oriented men as against the humanists. But to work against the void is debilitating, and humanism readily loses its fervor and replaces it with terror and coercion. When we work in the context of the certainty of God’s victory, we work with confidence and power. Instead of esprit decorps, or ingenious reason, we work under and in the Holy Spirit.[1]

We live in uncertain times, but the faithful have always faced that and worse. We are watching the decline of our culture—like the slow sinking of a boat taking on water—but somehow the church has survived for nearly 2,000 years. This would not be the case had there not been a trust in God’s victory in history. Such a perspective is rooted in long-term thinking that is future oriented, i.e., postmillennialism.

Humanism is short-term thinking, and it is not work-oriented. Humanism is impatient, and when it cannot get its way, it quickly resorts to “terror and coercion.” We are witnessing this now as the sheer insanity of the radical Left engages in “terrorism-lite” with a new totalitarianism directed against its ideological, cultural, and political opponents.

They cannot work long-term for the future they want so they work only to destroy. They have no promise of divine victory, and they have no sovereign god in which to trust. The spirit they have is a human one, and its weakness is demonstrated in its emotionalism as it lashes out at every semblance of godliness and Christian tradition.

Not Being Anxious Over Evil

The Christian, however, works in terms of God’s providence which surely means the victory of God in history. After all, if God governs all things, then it only makes sense that the end can be described beforehand:

Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. (1 Cor. 15:24-25)

This is why we can work with both confidence and power because we are equipped with the strong doctrine of providence, the calling to work in God’s law, and the indwelling enabling of the Holy Spirit. In this way, we can contend with humanism regardless of how dark the days might be, because “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Rushdoony writes,

Humanism is an evil: we must do battle against it on all fronts. We must remember, however, that their coming and their going will only further God’s purpose and enrich God’s Kingdom, because nothing happens that will not further God’s Kingdom and the glory ultimately of His people in Him and to His purpose.[2]

Are we fretting because of our times? Then let us lean upon our faith. Are we worried about what we see around us? Then let us set our “affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2). The firstness we seek is the Kingdom of God itself which is also the very antidote for all anxiousness:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matt. 6:33-34)

The Church Is Perfectly Positioned Amongst Darkness

And if we are unencumbered by worry, then we are free to work in faith because faith should not lead to a passivity that waits only for God to work things out. Instead, our faith informs our eschatology which then informs our praxis. In short, providence and postmillennialism lead to faith and action which are the driving forces behind godly dominion:

In the Bible work is eschatological in meaning. It has a goal, the Kingdom of God. Work can be drudgery, a necessary means of survival, or work can be a means of dominion and subduing the earth (Gen. 1:26-28). Work can be a means of maintaining life and no more, or work can be the means of creating the future. Work thus can be done simply to maintain the status quo, or it can be the means of determining our tomorrows. Where work is eschatologically governed by the dominion mandate, it is constructive of things present and future. The modern era has seen the flourishing and decline of the idea of progress, but progress is simply the secular face of Biblical eschatology. (Emphasis in original)

The progress of humanism is grossly confused as we see the apex of technology and innovation juxtaposed against a rise in paganism, occultism, immorality, and violence. Fallen man can remake all his tools, but he cannot remake his soul. Darkness overshadows him, and he works tirelessly to dispel the light of God. Yet, in the midst of such darkness, we are perfectly positioned:

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. (Matt. 5:14-15)   

The Priority Is the Status of Our Light

Lest we think such an optimistic outlook is too grandiose—that remaking the world is obviously failing since we cannot seem to hang on to the Christian West—let us consider that our first priority is the status of our light and not the depth of the darkness that surrounds us.

For many Christians, they feel they are doing God a service by researching the darkness. This is a common thing among conspiracy theorists where a god-like status is ascribed to a secret cabal who exercise a control over history akin to that of God Himself. Such investigations do more harm than good because the call of God is to be a lighted city on a hill.

Again, our first priority is the status of our light, and our light is our good works:

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 5:16)

What are our good works? They cannot be anything less than God’s law:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:17-19)

If our priority is the status of our light; if our light is our good works in terms of God’s law; and if we are also a city, then the great work we must do now is primarily within the community of faith itself. A city lighted by good works must be observable by fallen man, and the only way that can be universally achieved is if Christians are practicing God’s law towards one another in every place.

Focus on the Community of Faith First

Therefore, the growing darkness of the culture around us should drive us to increase our light, but if our light is dim then it is because we are not unified around the mission of building the city of God. We are more concerned with political policy than serving our own. We labor more for prayer in school than tithing and giving in order to ensure that each Christian child is provided a Biblical education. For example, how many single Christian mothers—the modern widow—are forced to send their children to public schools because of a lack of financing? If we are truly Kingdom-driven, and truly desirous to create a Christian governing class, would we not generously invest in the untold thousands of Christian children currently being trained by Caesar’s high priests in public education?

This is but one example of how we can focus on the status of our light and increase its strength, but there is so much more to be done. Our current Christian schools and homeschooling families must have their light increased by learning and embracing Christian Reconstruction so that their efforts to train their children can be focused on advancing the Kingdom. In other words, we must do more than baptize a humanist curriculum.

We need the same in our churches so that they can become armories dispensing marching orders for today’s Christian soldier (c.f., Eph. 6:11, 2 Tim. 2:3).

Then there is healthcare (see Rushdoony’s Faith + Wellness), justice (1 Cor. 6:1-8), employment, and more. So many areas in need of Christian application, and it all can be done without focusing upon changing the darkness of society. Our calling is first to shining our light, and the better we can shine, the more darkness we can dispel.

Christian Reconstruction begins with the light found in the community of faith, or as Peter describes us, a “holy nation”:

 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of DARKNESS into his marvellous LIGHT. (1 Peter 2:9, emphasis added)

When we are gathered together with the community of faith, we are that royal priesthood, but when we go out into the world, we are “strangers and pilgrims” (v. 11), but the apostle reiterates Christ’s calling to be that lighted city:

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:12)

Although we do not forsake ministering to the world, there’s no better way for the unbeliever to behold our good works than by us living in terms of God’s law first within our own community.

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Gal. 6:10)

The city of God must be organized, orderly, and visibly exercising God’s Word within itself. The wicked cannot achieve this—they can only increase their darkness. We, however, can work with confidence and power because our sovereign God has assured us of victory.

This all begins with the tithe because such efforts require social financing. Rushdoony was clear about this—devoting a book to the subject—and we’ll conclude with a common paragraph paraphrased throughout his works:

The tithe has a major social function which needs restoring. It is futile to rail against statism if we have no alternative to the state assumption of social responsibilities. The Christian who tithes, and sees that his tithe goes to godly causes, is engaged in true social reconstruction. By his tithe money and his activity he makes possible the development of Christian churches, schools, colleges, welfare agencies, and other necessary social functions.[4]

Chalcedon leads the way in this great mission of Christian Reconstruction, and we ask that you stand with us in prayer as well as with your generous financial support. Please take a moment to prayerfully consider sending your tax-deductible gift to Chalcedon today. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

[1] R. J. Rushdoony, Systematic Theology in Two Volumes (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1994), p. 1075.

[2] R. J. Rushdoony, God’s Plan for Victory: The Meaning of Postmillennialism (Vallecito, CA: Chalcedon Foundation, 1997), p. 28.

[3] R. J. Rushdoony, Systematic Theology in Two Volumes (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1994), p. 1020.

[4] Edward A. Powell and R. J. Rushdoony, Tithing and Dominion (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1979), pp. 8-9.


Topics: Biblical Commentary, Biblical Law, Charity, Christian Reconstruction, Church, The, Conspiracy, Culture , Dominion, Education, Eschatology, Family & Marriage, Justice, Medicine / Healthcare, R. J. Rushdoony, Reformed Thought, Socialism, Statism, Theology

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