About ten years ago, a banquet was held honoring R. J. Rushdoony and his wife, Dorothy. It was an affair fit for a king, held in a luxury hotel in Naples, Florida. In attendance were representatives from Tri-City Covenant Church and Tri-City Christian Academy of Somersworth, New Hampshire, and Nicene Covenant Church and Grace Community Schools of Naples. Many of the guests gave eloquent testimonies praising the Lord for the prosperous ministries that had been given to them through Rush's doctrine. The testimonies ended, and I stood to go to the podium to give my testimony and to introduce Rush. I noted that Dorothy had tears on her cheeks. My introduction included my own debt to Rush, because I am certain that without his teaching, we would not have ministries at all.
I pointed out that we were greatly blessed to give tribute to Rush before his death, because after a great man dies, those who persecuted him while he was alive will suddenly rush to his tomb bearing buckets of whitewash. The phony whitewashers will have their temporary reward money robbed from widows' houses to build buildings. Perhaps some of them would even name the buildings after R. J. Rushdoony. On the other hand, we could count ourselves among those who went outside the camp bearing the shame, standing by God's man. Our reward will be permanent.
I observed that those who apply the theology of faithful prophets frequently make more money than the prophets themselves. This is also true in the business world. The inventor usually makes far less than the manufacturer and the salesman. This probably is how the Lord designed His economic rewards. Otherwise, we would all sit around trying to be abstract instead of doing concrete things, such as building schools and churches. Likewise in the business world, systems have to be designed to manufacture and bring to reality the creative advance of the inventor. In other words, the Lord calls tens of thousands of workers for everyone blessed with the unique gift of an R. J. Rushdoony. Most of us are called to be godly capitalists.
I ended the introduction asking the audience to welcome Rush to the podium with a round of applause. They stood to their feet and warmly applauded, but Rush remained in his seat. At first, I thought he might have fallen asleep. So did Dorothy. She gave him an elbow into the side, but from my vantage point, I could see that he was not sleeping, but deep in thought. Later I found out why. Rush quipped to me, "That was a very interesting introduction. Perhaps we should pray a curse on the first enemy who names a building after me."
We both laughed wholeheartedly, but Dorothy scolded us by saying, "Rousas! What a thing to say!" This struck both of us as even more hilarious, but behind the humor lies a great truth.
Reward Or Loss?
To be a friend of R. J. Rushdoony is to have an opportunity to sow a blessing or reap a curse. We read in Systematic Theology, Vol. II, "Those who receive a prophet or preacher, i.e., one who truly and faithfully proclaims the word of God, shall receive a prophet's reward" (812-3). (See Mt. 10:40-42.)
We of the Reformed tradition were first to call our pastors "Father," because as Rush wrote in his Institutes of Biblical Law, "He who teaches you the law is your father." I, and thousands like me, have been rescued from lawless religion by the Biblical theology of Rushdoony. Some of Rush's spiritual children will publicly acknowledge their debt to him. The great majority will not. Only one in ten of the lepers healed by Christ turned back to praise the Lord (Lk. 17:11-19). The thankful one, a Samaritan stranger, was made whole. The Jewish nine went their way counting their outward healing of leprosy as their due. After all, they may have thought within themselves, "We are children of Abraham."
The same pattern exists today. The blind pseudo-Christian bleats, "I am not under law, I am under grace.... After all, I prayed the Sinner's Prayer, did I not?" These will consider Rushdoony's theology and accept their outward healing as their due. These ungrateful ones will suffer loss of reward, but to those who have the grace to confess their need by saying "thank you," they shall receive a prophet's reward.
Rush has left behind his books. It would be a very good idea for every reader of this memorial to order a pile of Rush's books and get all of your family, friends, and associates to do the same. A prophet's reward is very good compensation.