Founder


R. J. Rushdoony (1916-2001)

Teacher, preacher, theologian, advocate, father, husband, and (as he always liked to point out) Armenian, Rushdoony was many things.

This multi-faceted man has been called the Father of the modern Christian and home school movements because of his emphasis on the importance of a distinctively Christian philosophy of education.

Rushdoony gave priority to the Biblical family and its vital role in the formation of the godly society. Rush was just as likely to appear in court to defend the Constitutional rights of parents and churches as he was to answer his own phone and engage with callers, answering their questions and providing counsel.

Why He Started Chalcedon

Rush founded the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965 because he felt that there needed to be a Christian ministry dedicated to promoting the idea that the Christian faith is a faith for all of life, and that individuals, families, churches, communities, and civil governments must take their marching orders from God's law-word. As a result of his extensive writings and lectures, an entire generation of believers has been equipped to put their faith into action.

His Life

We've been asked many times who R.J. Rushdoony was as a person and the experiences and motivations for his life work.

Rushdoony was the son of immigrants who were well familiar with the realities of genocide and statist oppression. His mother and father escaped the Armenian genocide in 1915 and arrived in the US in time to give birth to him in April of 1916.

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1915

April 24th, the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire begins. By late summer the entire Armenian population of Van [now in Turkey] flees north toward the Russian border. Y. K. and Rose Rushdoony (pregnant with Rousas) make it to Russia and are able to get steamship passage from Archangel to Ellis Island, New York City, arriving in October.

1916

April 25th, Rousas John Rushdoony born in Sloan Hospital, NYC.

In late spring the family travels to Kingsburg, California, where father Y.K. Rushdoony is founding pastor of Armenian Martyrs Presbyterian Church (Presbyterian Church USA).

1925

Family moves to Detroit, Michigan, where Rush's father pastors a Congregational church. He is pictured here with his little brother, Haig. Rousas is 13 years old when the Great Depression begins.

1931

When Rev. Rushdoony's health takes a downturn, he resigns from the Detroit church and the family returns to Kingsburg, California farm. Rousas begins his sophomore year at Kingsburg High School.

1934

Rousas graduates from Kingsburg High School and attends Santa Monica Junior College for his freshman year before transferring to San Francisco Junior College the following year. Rousas' father was by then pastoring Bethel Presbyterian Church there. 

1936

Transfers to University of California at Berkeley.

Serves as youth worker in Chinatown, San Francisco Presbyterian Church.

1938

Earns a B.A. (English) from University of California at Berkeley.

1940

Earns an M.A. (Education) from University of California at Berkeley. At some point in his university or seminary days, he acquired the nickname "Rush."

1944

Earns a B. Div. Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California.

Ordained in Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

Accepts a call to a mission work at remote Owyhee, Nevada, on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation (there until 1953). Years later he would write a series of essays on what he learned from what he referred to as "my days on the reservation." They were published as The American Indian: A Standing Indictment Against Christianity and Statism in America (2013).

1946

First exposure to writing of Cornelius Van Til with whom he begins a correspondence.

1953

Leaves the mission work and accepts the pastorate of Trinity Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) in Santa Cruz, California, about 70 miles south of San Francisco.

1956

After reading Roderick Campbell’s Israel and the New Covenant, RJR considers himself a postmillennial.

1958

By What Standard? An Analysis of the Philosophy of Cornelius Van Tilpublished by Presbyterian and Reformed, which would publish all of his books for the next 15 years. Dr. Van Til reviewed the manuscript and recommended changes, including toning down Rush's vigorous expressions of appreciation.

After years of battling modernism and bureaucracy in the PCUSA, Rush is received by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, forms a Santa Cruz OPC congregation, and withdraws from the PCUSA.

1961

Intellectual Schizophrenia published. Rush had been speaking extensively on the problems of public schooling since the mid-1950's.

1962

Resigns from Santa Cruz pastorate and accepts job as a researcher at the William Volker Fund (which soon became the Center for American Studies) in Burlingame, California.

Moves to Los Altos Hills, California, in what later became known as "Silicon Valley."

1963

Rush received a two-year writing grant from the Center for American Studies. 

Moved to nearby Palo Alto, California.


The Messianic Character of American Education
published.

1965

His writing grant expiring, Rush moves to Woodland Hills, in Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley, at the urging of a group of discouraged former "Goldwater" conservatives who wanted him to begin classes. He begins the Chalcedon Foundation and classes in several locations in Southern California, notably at Westwood. In October he begins publication of a mimeographed newsletter to his supporters. He coins the term "Christian Reconstruction" in the second newsletter, dated October 31, 1965.

1966

Begins a 25 year run of “Pastor’s Pulpit” columns in the California Farmer, a widely read and influential publication to the western agricultural community. Rush would later call this some of his best writing, as he had a limited word count and had to get a message across to a readership he never saw. These essays were later compiled into the seven-volume A Word in Season series (2010- 2016). 

1969

The newsletter, always informally referred to as "The Report" is officially named The Chalcedon Report.

1970

Many in his own denomination are uncomfortable with Rush's views on public schools, God's law, postmillennialism, the immorality of fiat money, and more. No longer tied to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and unwilling to constantly defend his work to those who were unsympathetic or even hostile to it, he withdraws, by letter, from the OPC.

1971

Moves to Canoga Park, California.

The One and the Manypublished.

Begins radio series that eventually is published as Law and Liberty (1984). 

1972

First Chalcedon Christian School Seminar.

1973

CR #92 is the first typeset issue of the Chalcedon Report.

Institutes of Biblical Law, Vol. I published, beginning the modern theonomy movement. These essays came from a long series he had begun shortly after he started Chalcedon, and represented a project he had conceived in seminary.

1975

Honorary Doctor of letters degree from Brainerd Theological Seminary.

Moves to Vallecito, in Calaveras County, California. Rush had been concerned that the rapidly rising property taxes would make his Los Angeles home unaffordable and had been looking throughout the state for alternatives. Providentially, he sold his Los Angeles home after a real estate spike, but before such a phenomenon hit rural areas. Not long after moving, Proposition 13 froze the increase of property tax increases. The Calaveras County property was subdivided, with thirty acres going to Chalcedon.

Religious liberty cases begin to come into prominence.

1976

Ross House Books is established as a publishing house. The name was to honor Dorothy Ross Rushdoony, who for many years typed all Rush's manuscripts, which he wrote longhand. For some years it was a separate non-profit. After Rush's death it was absorbed into Chalcedon.

1978

Receives Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Grove City College.

First testifies as an expert witness in a religious liberty case in Louisville, KY. The next fifteen years would see him frequently travel throughout the country for this purpose.

Wrote Chalcedon Position Paper No. 1: “Conflict With the State.” These are soon available in a three-volume set, An Informed Faith(2017).

1980

Earns Ph.D. from Valley Christian University for his work published as The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum in 1981. VCU was a school in Fresno, California started by Murray Norris. It was later forced by the state to cease operations because it did not have authority from the state of California to confer degrees, a claim it was unable to successfully challenge.

1982

Meets at White House with  [Ronald Reagan's] Presidential Counsel Edwin Meese (later Attorney General) over religious freedom of Christian schools.

1983

Travels to Australia twice, and again in 1986, 1992. The second trip produced a series of lectures that were printed in 1983 in Australia and in the US in 2000 as The "Atheism" of the Early Church.

1987

Rushdoony testifies in the landmark homeschooling "Leeper Case" which, according to attorney Shelby Sharpe, proved pivotal in the freedom of homeschooling, not just in Texas, but throughout the nation. When the homeschooler's  victory was upheld unanimously by the Texas Supreme Court, the prosecutions of homeschoolers abated.

Travels to UK, again in 1989, 1990, 1991. During the 1991 trip he met with Brian Griffiths, chief policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher at No.10 Downing.

Chalcedon Report first published as a magazine.

1991

Chalcedon Christian School and Chalcedon Chapel move into the newly completed facility on Hwy 4 in Vallecito, CA. This building is now the site of Chalcedon's offices.

1994

Systematic Theologypublished.

1996

Many supporters gather in San Jose, CA to celebrate Rush's 80th birthday. He was presented with the book A Comprehensive Faith with contributions from many authors outlining his influence on their thinking and theology.

1998

R. J. Rushdoony steps down as President of Chalcedon; made President Emeritus, Chairman of the Board.

2001

February 8, 2001: Rousas John Rushdoony passes away in his home in Vallecito, CA with his family surrounding him.

2003

Dorothy Rushdoony passes away in her son Mark's home.

2005

In January, Chalcedon officially changed the name of the magazine to Faith for All of Life. The Chalcedon Report became the newsletter sent to supporters bi-monthly.

2015

Chalcedon held six 50th anniversary celebrations across the United States to acknowledge the milestone of 50 years of ministry, and share its vision for the future with hundreds of supporters.

2016

This year marked the 100th anniversary of Dr. Rushdoony's birth. Chalcedon began work to revamp the website and to put into print all the Chalcedon Report articles and Position Papers authored by Rush into mutli-volume sets, as part of its "legacy project".

How to keep learning from or about Rushdoony:

Visit the Resources section of this website to access books, articles, audio recordings, and videos of Dr. Rushdoony. Visit our Connect section to find study groups and ways to get your questions answered.

Institutes of Biblical Law Volume 1, The

The Institutes of Biblical Law has as its purpose to reverse the present trend of denying the impact of Biblical law. It is a starting point for how to govern society under God's law.

Institutes of Biblical Law: Law & Society Vol. 2

The relationship of Biblical Law to communion and community, the sociology of the Sabbath, the family and inheritance, and much more are covered in this second volume of The Institutes of Biblical Law. Its purpose is to point men to God and His Word for the government of their lives and our world. 

Institutes of Biblical Law Volume 3: The Intent of the Law, The

In this third volume of Rushdoony’s The Institutes of Biblical Law, we get a summary of the case laws, the practical implications of the law, and the obvious poison and death which comes to a culture which violates covenantal law.

One and the Many, The: Studies in the Philosophy of Order and Ultimacy

Rushdoony examines the history of Western thought from the standpoint of the one and the many and demonstrates clearly that the most astute thinkers were unable to resolve this philosophical conflict. A complete return to the Trinitarian view of God and its implications for a Christian social order solves the dilemma.

Cure of Souls: Recovering the Biblical Doctrine of Confession

In this path-breaking, remarkably readable volume, R. J. Rushdoony examines the Biblical teaching on confession and sets it over against the errors of Romanism and the neo-Freudianism of modern Christian counseling. This book is sure to empower both clergy and laity as they discover the powerful tool of Biblical confession.

Exodus, Volume II of Commentaries on the Pentateuch

This second of five volumes of Rushdoony’s Pentateuch series presents a thorough examination into the historic path of Israel as described in the book of Exodus, and establishes how in Christ, the exodus is now a glorious ascent into the justice and dominion of the everlasting Kingdom of God.

View all of Rushdoony's articles, MP3s, research papers, etc.