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A Christian Renaissance

By R. J. Rushdoony
May 02, 2010

In the first newsletter, instead of a report on activity, I want to discuss the significance of what you, my supporters, are doing.

Most of us know the Renaissance as a period of great art, promoted and sponsored by wealthy patrons who were the kings, dictators, and rulers of that era. That art was the beautiful icing on the Renaissance era: the heart of it lay elsewhere.

For centuries, the church had been the major patron of arts and letters, and a Christian culture had flourished. Emperors and kings very early began to subsidize contemporary thinking with this view. There were clearly religious trends pointing towards humanism and statism, but it was the heavy, steady, and long promotion of these things by subsidy that was responsible for the rapid spread and victory of these forces. Europe has been steadily conquered by a rapacious and brutal statism; the Renaissance was a period of showy art, but, behind the façade, it was an era of brutal terror, and era that brought monstrous men to power, some of whom made the Borgias look pale by comparison.

Our age is seeing a similar development. The major and minor foundations have been extensively captured by the forces of humanism and statism, and a new age of terror is developing all around us. Scholarship, arts, and literature are being subsidized to serve the purposes of humanism and statism, and our schools and colleges have been largely captured by these forces, as have been most publishers and periodicals.

This movement has been a long time in developing: it cannot be defeated overnight. It cannot be defeated by short-sighted people who want victory today or tomorrow, and are unwilling to support long-term battle. The future must be won, and shall be won, by a renewal and development of our historic Christian liberty, by an emphasis on the fact: the basic government is the self-government of the Christian man, and by a recognition that an informed faith is the mainspring of victory. History has never been dominated by majorities, but only by dedicated minorities who stand unconditionally on their faith.

What you are doing, in your support of me, is to sponsor a counter-measure to the prevailing trend, to promote by your support, interest, and study, a Christian Renaissance, to declare by these measures your belief that the answer to humanism and its statism is Christian faith and liberty. Our choice today is between two claimants to the throne of godhood and universal government: the state, which claims to be our shepherd, keeper, and savior, and the Holy Trinity, our only God and Savior. You have made your choice by both faith and action.

(Reprinted from The Roots of Reconstruction (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1991), 546.)


Topics: Christian Reconstruction, Statism

R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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