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“Basic to Sound Action, Is a Sound Faith”: The Westminster Herald

By Michael McVicar
January 02, 2011

In the last issue of Faith for All of Life, I offered a summary of the life's work of Rousas John Rushdoony, the founder of the Chalcedon Foundation. "The Lord Will Perfect That Which Concerneth Me: The Work of Rousas John Rushdoony"1 served as a brief overview of Rushdoony's project of Christian Reconstruction and how that project related to the labor of the movement's founder and driving force. Many readers of the article contacted me to comment on their profound appreciation for Rushdoony's stunning and prodigious labor as a Christian scholar, activist, and writer. As a researcher who spent years studying Rushdoony, the feedback I received was edifying because it pointed to the deep interest in both Rushdoony's scholarship and his life-that is, readers are not only moved by the content of his ideas but also inspired by his biography.

With this in mind, Martin Selbrede, the editor of FFAOL, has asked me to explore the life and work of R. J. Rushdoony in more detail. Over the course of three articles (tentatively scheduled to appear throughout the 2011 issues of FFAOL) I will explore some facets of Rushdoony's life and work in greater detail. This, the first article in that series, deals with one of Rushdoony's greatest failures-an attempt to start a newspaper called the Westminster Herald, which he hoped would appeal to theologically and politically conservative Presbyterians. Although the project never took off, the failure of the Herald is significant because it helped lay the institutional basis for the Chalcedon Foundation and was in many ways a precursor to the Chalcedon Report and FFAOL.

The follow-up articles will examine Rushdoony's successes. They will focus on Rushdoony's long-time partnership with Presbyterian and Reformed Press, and Rushdoony's collaboration and friendship with Cornelius Van Til, the father of presuppositional apologetics and theologian at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

* * *

For readers unfamiliar with my previous contributions to this journal, I have previously documented multiple aspects of Rushdoony's early life and ministry. Aside from the article cited above, I have also dealt with Rushdoony's missionary work on an isolated Indian reservation in Nevada and documented his decades-long battle with the editors of Billy Graham's Christianity Today.2 This current article complements those two previous articles in that it is chronologically and thematically situated between Rushdoony's stint as a reservation missionary and his transition to becoming a full-time researcher, lecturer, and Christian social activist associated with Christian Reconstruction. For those who find inspiration in Rushdoony's Christian labor, the story of the Westminster Herald should prove interesting for the ways that it illustrates Rushdoony's deep desire to reform the Christian church, serve God, and keep His laws. These commitments often set Rushdoony at odds with those around him, putting him in the unenviable position of an outsider and a critic. The story of the Herald is a microcosm of this general tendency in Rushdoony's ministry, but it also serves as a lesson of the value of principled persistence. While the Herald failed, readers will see that the values that motivated Rushdoony to undertake the project also motivated him to found the Chalcedon Foundation and its long-running publication the Chalcedon Report. In short, this essay presents the Herald as a precursor to both the Report and Faith for All of Life and suggests that their successes grew out of the lessons Rushdoony learned from the failure of the Herald.

Blessed is the Name of the Government

In 1950, R. J. Rushdoony was in Owyhee, Nevada, serving as a Presbyterian missionary on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. Owyhee, located in northeastern Nevada just south of the Idaho border, is a tiny community in the Rockies. During Rushdoony's service, poor infrastructure coupled with severe weather to make winters long and hard. In spite of the difficulties of the mission, Rushdoony took his station in stride. "We are beautifully situated here," he wrote to a friend, "surrounded by high mountains and cradled in a small high valley."3 He fished, hunted, and spent the long winter hours studying books that he ordered from all over the United States. Rushdoony's day-to-day activities revolved around his missionary work. He spent much of his time developing his mission by reaching out to the Paiute and Shoshone Indians living on the reservation.

At this point in his life Rushdoony was already a disciple of Cornelius Van Til's presuppositional approach to human knowledge. As a result, Rushdoony believed that the non-Christian religious orientation of many of the Paiutes and Shoshones on the reservation had important implications for the way they organized their lives. He blamed the deplorable conditions of the reservation's residents on the non-Christian religious orientation of many of the Indians and the failure of the United States government to minister to the Indians' spiritual and physical needs. "American Indians," he wrote in an early article, "holding loosely to the tattered remnant of their old culture and often with scant respect for it, show a marked disinterest in Christian missions," and most churches, he argued, show little interest in the proper Christian education of the Indians.4 In Rushdoony's view, the twin failures of indigenous culture and Christian culture left the Indians with only one savior: the state.

In fact, in Rushdoony's assessment, the failure of native and Christian cultures was so complete that the state was now a transcendent, almost godlike force in the lives of the reservation's residents: "[The state] is the giver of all things, the source of power, of land, and (having built a reservoir for irrigation here) even of water ... The government hospital delivers the children, and the government army taketh them away, and blessed is the name of the government each Memorial Day and Fourth of July."5 If the federal state stood as the giver and taker of life, then it was usurping the sovereignty of Christ, yet the non-Christian perspective of the reservation's inhabitants left them unable to properly understand the religious nature of their problem. The state, in governing men, denied them the freedom to govern themselves as Christians according to the laws of God. In short, Native Americans remained at the mercy of the United States government because they did not have a viable Christian answer to the social and ethical problems posed by reservation life.

Rushdoony's engagement with the Paiutes and Shoshones of Owyhee opened his eyes to the failure of the Christian church to speak to the concerns of contemporary Americans. Specifically, he worried that the church had lost its ability to instruct Christians on how they should understand contemporary cultural and political problems in terms of the gospel. This concern prompted Rushdoony to turn away from missionary work and focus his attention on reforming the church itself. While he never abandoned evangelism, his primary audience eventually became converted Christians, not potential converts. He worked tirelessly to popularize Van Til's presuppositional method and sought to empower Christian educators and thinkers because he believed such education would ultimately undermine a secular political system that endangered Christianity.

This led to Rushdoony's earliest attempts to merge political libertarianism with Van Tilian epistemology. He believed that if Christ is the King of all things, then the state cannot have absolute authority in the lives of men-only King Jesus has absolute power. In the remainder of this essay, I show how Rushdoony attempted to synthesize these broader political concerns into a religious publication aimed at educating Presbyterians and other Reformed Christians on the social and political implications of their faith. While this publication, the Westminster Herald, ultimately failed, it was an important stepping-stone in Rushdoony's ministry, as the experience taught him how to communicate his religious concerns to political conservatives and how to persuade religious conservatives into conservative political action.

A Tendency Toward Rigidity

While in Owyhee, Rushdoony received a small religious journal, Faith and Freedom.6Faith and Freedom was the publication of Mobilization for Spiritual Ideals. More popularly known as Spiritual Mobilization, Rev. James Fifield, a Congregationalist minister, led the organization and focused his attention on spreading free market ideals to nearly fifty thousand pastors and ministers.7 Although it didn't operate on the basis of a dues-paying membership, the organization eventually claimed nearly 17,000 clerical representatives who distributed Faith and Freedom and used it in sermons and in public outreach.8Faith and Freedom published the writings of such libertarian luminaries as the Congregationalist minister Edmund A. Opitz, the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, and the anarcho-libertarian Murray Rothbard. Although many of the authors often avoided religion in their articles, the periodical's provocative journalism nonetheless moved many clergymen to embrace Spiritual Mobilization's anti-tax, noninterventionist, anti-statist economic model. Faith and Freedom encouraged clergymen such as Rushdoony to see government as a problem, not a solution. Even though Rushdoony didn't agree with the organization's theological eclecticism, he did agree with its diagnosis of the problem and suggested treatment: Christians needed a robust theology capable of resisting the state and its attempts to usurp the sovereignty of Christ in the lives of Christians.

In the spring of 1950, Faith and Freedom's editor, William Johnson, wrote Rushdoony in search of feedback about how he and other clergymen were using the publication. Rushdoony responded with an effusive note. He cited his predisposition toward "any publication which takes the stand yours does," specifically noting its support of private property and free enterprise as his principal points of agreement.9 In his letter, Rushdoony noted that many clergy he had spoken with regarding Faith and Freedom rarely attacked its merits, but instead denounced its "tendency toward rigidity" in its social and political positions.10

Rushdoony had little critical to say of the publication except to note that it, in fact, did not go far enough on many issues. Specifically, he argued that Faith and Freedom needed to attack the Christian church as a whole, and Rushdoony argued that the publication was not Calvinist enough. On the former issue, Rushdoony lamented Faith and Freedom's timidity in directly accusing various denominations of hypocrisy on economic matters, warning that the chief danger to conservatives is "the lack of an independent church press," which "has crippled the cause of freedom."11 On the latter issue of Calvinism, Rushdoony argued that "the American republic was the product of two streams of thought, classical liberalism ... and Calvinism."12 Faith and Freedom ably embodies the first stream of thought, Rushdoony claimed, "but the Calvinist objection [to collectivism and statism] needs stating also."13

Rushdoony's laudatory but nonetheless candid comments caught someone's attention because in July Spiritual Mobilization invited him to attend a conference at Carleton College in Minnesota to discuss Faith and Freedom and libertarian politics. "With great personal satisfaction," James Fifield, the president of Spiritual Mobilization, wrote, "it is my privilege to invite you to join with leading ministers in a conference dedicated to the exploration and study of individual liberty and its relationship to the Christian faith."14 Fifield sweetened the invitation by stating that all of Rushdoony's travel expenses would be covered by "the generous grant of two non-profit foundations."15 Although Fifield never named the two foundations, one of them was most certainly the William Volker Fund. The Volker Fund tended to support such small conferences under conditions of strict anonymity, but would send auditors to observe the proceedings in order to assess the value of its contribution. During the Carleton conference a Volker staffer, Herbert Cornuelle, attended the meeting and subsequently opened a correspondence with Rushdoony.16

The conference marked a major turning point in Rushdoony's ministry because it brought him into contact with some of the leading libertarian activists and organizers of the 1950s. At Carleton, Rushdoony not only met the Volker Fund's Herb Cornuelle, but he also met the Foundation for Economic Education's F. A. "Baldy" Harper.17 Cornuelle and Harper immediately sensed an affinity with Rushdoony and an extended correspondence blossomed that ultimately brought Rushdoony out of the Presbyterian Church and into the wider world of American conservatism. The Carleton meeting served as a critical catalyst for Rushdoony's career: as he began to correspond with and deepen his ties with thinkers and activists outside of the church, Rushdoony developed a theological system that negotiated between his Calvinist convictions and the anti-communist, anti-statist commitments of his new friends. Even as he strengthened his ties with political activists outside of the church, however, Rushdoony attempted to use his new network to change the church from the inside out.

Westminster Herald

At Carleton College, Rushdoony circulated an idea for an independent newspaper aimed at conservative Presbyterian laymen and pastors. The project grew out of his criticisms of Faith and Freedom and his missionary work at Owyhee. As he had indicated in his analysis of the importance of Fifield's periodical, Rushdoony believed that the lack of critical journalism within all major Protestant denominations imperiled the church. Further, as he explained to the participants at Carleton, his time as a missionary had convinced him that clergy could no longer effectively link the profound theological realities of Christianity with the lived reality of laymen. Inspired by both Faith and Freedom and the Carleton conference, Rushdoony hoped to launch an ambitious project to attack mainline theological liberalism through the organization of a new publication, Westminster Herald.

From the outset, the project was burdened by Rushdoony's struggle to synthesize his religious concerns with his newfound aspirations to reform American culture and politics on an explicitly Christian foundation. First, Rushdoony sought support for his religious journal from political activists who shared some of his basic presuppositions, but didn't believe those presuppositions merited an expensive new publication. Second, Rushdoony dreamed that the Herald would refight battles long settled in theological circles: he longed to defeat theological liberals who embraced Darwinian evolutionary theory and the historical criticism of the Bible, using the tools of Van Tilian presuppositional apologetics. In many ways, his desire to join political and theological conservatism was years ahead of its time. Decades later he did the same thing with the Chalcedon Report and found steady support and an ever-larger readership. In the 1950s there was no preexisting theological or political foundation for such a publication, and as a result, his goals for the Herald confused and alienated his potential supporters.

In summarizing the nature of the periodical, Rushdoony explained that it would serve as an unapologetic defender of Presbyterian economic and political theory by providing the "devotional Christian reading the laity demands and needs."18 His point was not, he explained, to make more Christians, because Christianity is at "its greatest strength in American history, [but] it exhibits the least Christian influence, because it is basically a body of sentimentally held and conflicting ideas. It is naive syncretism."19 Instead, he hoped the periodical would support the church when sensible and attack it when necessary. Clearly echoing Van Til, he argued that the point is to educate those who are already Christians on the finer points of theological orthodoxy. "Basic to sound action," he concluded, "is a sound faith."20

When Rushdoony pitched his new journalistic project to the Carleton College conference participants, he did so to a unique rogues' gallery of secular libertarians and religious mavericks. Oddly, for the theologically conservative Rushdoony, he seemed unconcerned with the irony of his proposal. When he approached potential backers at the conference, his most vocal supporters were Herb Cornuelle and Spiritual Mobilization's James C. Ingebretsen. Cornuelle's religious beliefs remain unclear in his correspondence with Rushdoony. At best, Cornuelle didn't mind Rushdoony's theological conservatism, explaining in a letter, "I am much intrigued by the idea outlined [at Carleton] regarding a publication for ministers and laymen in the Presbyterian Church."21 While Cornuelle hardly offered a ringing endorsement of Reformed Christianity, he did open avenues for support from other libertarians associated with the Volker Fund and FEE, including Baldy Harper. Like Cornuelle, Harper stopped far short of offering financial support for the project. Instead, he offered a stark warning, cautioning, "Your church ‘hierarchy' will be grossly unpleased, in the main, with your project."22

With little hope of secure funding from the Volker Fund, Rushdoony pressed James C. Ingebretsen at Spiritual Mobilization. Like Cornuelle and Harper, Ingebretsen shared a generically Christian persuasion, but identified himself as a religious agnostic.23 Ingebretsen made a halfhearted effort to stir up support for the Herald by pitching it to several of Spiritual Mobilization's major financial backers, but he ultimately recognized that public support for the Herald would prove a distraction from his duties at Spiritual Mobilization. "When it comes to raising money," he wrote apologetically, "my primary obligation and interest is in the direction of providing more resources for Spiritual Mobilization."24 All of this added up to a confusing and rather unsatisfying effort at networking for Rushdoony as he awkwardly tried to negotiate the beliefs of men who shared some of his anti-statist free market ideals, but none of whom shared his underlying religious convictions.25

Starting a Dogfight in Our Denomination

Undeterred, Rushdoony pushed on with the Herald, going so far as to assemble an introductory issue to circulate among Presbyterian clergy and laymen. The response was swift and underwhelming. Letter after letter came in response. Most affirmed the importance of the project. Some offered to subscribe. Few offered sizeable financial support. Most promptly demurred.

Rushdoony did find some support for his periodical among young clergymen and laymen from predominantly rural areas. One nineteen-year-old student at Southern Presbyterian College wrote a long, excited note to Rushdoony regarding the Herald:

I have been investigating the possibilities of organizing the faithful in our Church in order to present a united witness for the Faith and combat the spiritual wickedness. I felt that the most urgent need was a militantly conservative journal, for only after the laymen are informed will there be any hope of restoring a believing leadership and pure clergy in our beloved Church.26

Summarizing the sentiment of this letter and others like it, Rushdoony noted "the interest is mainly among the young men"27 who live "in the town and country areas, where Presbyterian thinking and tradition are strongest."28 Not only did these rural supporters prove capable of resisting the siren song of theological modernism, they also were more isolated from the pull of that other urban horror, communism: "Communists," Rushdoony reasoned, "are products of our rootless urban culture, [and] are rarely found in the rural areas."29 As a result, Rushdoony's rural supporters were inoculated against the twin threats of theological liberalism and the dangers of messianic statism, but they were neither particularly wealthy nor intellectually sophisticated. This was a cruel catch-22 for the aspiring religious journalist and editor.

Even with this degree of support from young, rural clergy and laymen, Rushdoony found few supporters in the church's hierarchy. In fact, many conservatives in the Presbyterian Church familiar with the project tried to dissuade Rushdoony from moving forward with it. Warning of the disastrous consequences to both his ministry and his wallet, they argued that Rushdoony was picking a fight against a firmly established liberal hierarchy that could not be dislodged by a small publication like the one he proposed. In response to one such letter that registered support for Rushdoony's ideas but urged him to end the project, Rushdoony replied,

I thoroughly share your feeling about starting a dog fight in our denomination. I am by nature averse to such things, and it was only after long and prayerful consideration that I was ready to make this present step ... The fight is already being waged against us, and there is no evading that point. I do not want to respond in kind, but I do feel that our fundamental principles need re-asserting, that we need to put up our own candidates, and take up patient, Christian action.30

At every turn, much like his non-Presbyterian, secular associates, Rushdoony's Presbyterian supporters urged him to understand the awkward position into which he was attempting to pull them and warned him of the personal consequences of his actions.

As a case in point, Dr. Samuel G. Craig, the theologically conservative president of the Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, living in Princeton, New Jersey,31 offered Rushdoony everything short of his direct support. "I am disposed to think," Craig wrote, "... that it would be better for me to at least keep well into the background in the early period of the publication."32 That such "support" did Rushdoony little good was not lost on the aspiring editor. As Rushdoony later observed in a forlorn note to Ingebretsen,

[T]he more prominent ministers, like senators, will play safe until they feel that open support is politically expedient. I have received very enthusiastic letters from a number, written immediately on receipt of the Westminster Herald, promising help, but, as the days go by, they seem embarrassed by their outburst and find themselves "too busy" to do much.33

Most prominent men in the church recognized that Rushdoony was hankering for a dogfight whether he knew it or not. As a result, they gave their support privately and kept their wallets and mouths firmly closed.

On a more personal note, one of the most blunt and telling responses to the Herald came from John M. Paxton of the Board of National Missions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Paxton, like so many others familiar with Rushdoony and his ideas, registered his support but encouraged him to abandon the project.

I am much interested in your venture in journalism ... I am not, however, financially able to assist in the project. It is quite beyond my present ability to undertake, nor could I in good conscious incourage [sic] you to proceed in the financial indebtedness, which I am sure will incur in such a project ... I am not unaware of the sacrifice you have made but I am loath to see you inflict upon yourself and your loved ones more of the same, and of course, you must know it will mean ostracism if not more. I speak to you in perfect frankness as a friend.34

Unbowed, Rushdoony largely ignored such advice no matter how practical or heartfelt. He longed to participate in the larger theological and ecclesiastical debates taking place within orthodox Presbyterianism, but short of support from small, rural clergy and laymen, he found little denominational interest in a journalistic project that addressed long-settled issues. This nominal support for the Herald succeeded in making Rushdoony a controversial regional figure among Presbyterian clergy on the West Coast and made his life difficult when he decided to leave the reservation in Owyhee for a pastorate in Santa Cruz, California.

Conclusion

The isolation of Owyhee and the transition back to the city took its toll on Rushdoony's long-term goals of reforming the Christian church. During his time in Owyhee it had become clear to Rushdoony that the reservation was not an environment conducive for achieving his newly formulated goals of using education to revitalize both the church and American culture. In response to this realization, Rushdoony sought out a pastorate that would allow him to advance his ministry. After some searching, Rushdoony accepted a call to the pastorate of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Santa Cruz, California.

The new church called Rushdoony to its pastorate, and Rushdoony left Owyhee in May 1952.35 The 300-member church was affiliated with the mainline Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).36 Although Rushdoony had strong support from some in the church, many in the congregation immediately attacked his theological and political conservatism. They were particularly angered when Rushdoony solicited support for his struggling Westminster Herald project and voiced his unwavering support of Van Til's presuppositional apologetic method.37 Several in the congregation, however, remained fiercely loyal to Rushdoony and they petitioned to separate from Trinity and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). At least sixty-six members split from Trinity and joined the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, a secessionist church founded by J. Gresham Machen.

With a significant portion of his own denomination against him and deep divisions in his first pastorate, Rushdoony continued to cultivate the connections he made at Carleton College to build support for his ideas outside of the boundaries of traditional Presbyterianism. While it seems clear from his correspondence and activities that Rushdoony loved his work as a missionary and preacher, it seems equally clear that Rushdoony felt at home with the political activists he met through his association with Spiritual Mobilization, FEE, and the Volker Fund. In fact, it's reasonable to suggest that Rushdoony saw no tension between his associations with these political activists and his duties as a Presbyterian missionary and pastor.

The activists staffing Spiritual Mobilization, FEE, the Volker Fund, and any number of other fledgling "conservative" or "libertarian" organizations were at the forefront of a broader and growing movement to attack federal management of the economy, criticize U.S. foreign policy, and roll back the social welfare advances of the New Deal. For secular libertarians such as Ingebretsen, Harper, and Cornuelle, their political and economic agenda had a quasi-religious force behind it that remained unarticulated and ambiguous. For others, however, resistance to a centralized federal government was not simply a matter of liberation and spiritual well being: it was a religious obligation rooted in the deepest traditions of Western Christianity.

In this essay I have attempted to outline how Rushdoony's time on the Duck Valley reservation led him to this latter position. His time on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation convinced him that modern Christianity had abdicated its responsibility to address the very problems of political theology that it had bequeathed to the modern world. On the reservation, Rushdoony believed that he had seen two peoples: a race that had lost faith in its own history and in the religion of the culture that had conquered it, and another that was eager to reject its God-given Christian liberty for government management of its peoples' lives. Rushdoony longed to carry these insights to other Christians through a publication like the Westminster Herald. Over the next two decades, Rushdoony refined his message and approach. He eventually learned how to persuasively present his message to political and religious conservatives with the concept of Christian Reconstruction, a project that remains alive and well to this day.


1. Michael J. McVicar, "The Lord Will Perfect That Which Concerneth Me: The Work of Rousas John Rushdoony," Faith for All of Life (November/December 2010): 6-11, 24.
2. See Michael J. McVicar, "‘First Owyhee, and then the World': The Early Ministry of R. J. Rushdoony," Faith for All of Life (November/December 2008): 18-22, 33; and Michael J. McVicar, "Working with Pygmies: R. J. Rushdoony, Christianity Today, and the Making of an American Theologian," Faith for All of Life (July/August 2008): 14-18, 32.
3. R. J. Rushdoony to Kantorowicz, March 22, 1945, R. J. Rushdoony Library, Chalcedon Foundation, Vallecito, CA (hereafter cited as the RJR Library).
4. Rousas John Rushdoony, "Christian Missions and Indian Culture," Westminster Theological Journal 12, no. 1 (May 1949): 1.
5. R. J. Rushdoony to Orval Clay, February 24, 1945, RJR Library.
6. Readers interested in Faith and Freedom can find an online archive of the publication at http://mises.org/literature.aspx?action=source&source=Faith%20and%20Freedom. For an excellent history of the publication, see Eckard V. Toy, "Faith and Freedom, 1949-1960," in The Conservative Press in Twentieth-Century America, eds. Ronald Lora and William Henry Longton, Historical Guides to the World's Periodicals and Newspapers (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999), 153-161.
7. I have outlined Rushdoony's relationship with Spiritual Mobilization in Michael J. McVicar, "The Libertarian Theocrats: The Long, Strange History of R. J. Rushdoony and Christian Reconstructionism," The Public Eye, Fall 2007, available online at http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v22n3/libertarian.html. For a more complete history of Spiritual Mobilization, see Eckard V. Toy, "Spiritual Mobilization: The Failure of an Ultraconservative Ideal in the 1950s," Pacific Northwest Quarterly 61 (April 1970): 77-86.
8. Ralph Lord Roy, Apostles of Discord: A Study of Organized Bigotry and Disruption on the Fringes of Protestantism (Boston: Beacon Press, 1953), 286.
9. R. J. Rushdoony to William Johnson, March 14, 1950, RJR Library.
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid.
12. Ibid.
13. Ibid.
14. James W. Fifield, Jr., to R. J. Rushdoony, July 1, 1950, RJR Library.
15. Ibid.
16. Herbert C. Cornuelle to R. J. Rushdoony, August 30, 1950, RJR Library.
17. Rushdoony had been corresponding with Harper, then at FEE, for several months prior to the conference but had not yet met him in person. Although it is not clear how Rushdoony began corresponding with Harper, it appears that Rushdoony was operating as an author or researcher for FEE by early 1950. See R. J. Rushdoony to F. A. Harper, April 26, 1950, RJR Library, and F. A. Harper to R. J. Rushdoony, August 31, 1950, RJR Library.
18. R. J. Rushdoony to Herbert C. Cornuelle, October 10, 1950, RJR Library.
19. Ibid.
20. Ibid.
21. Herbert Cornuelle to R. J. Rushdoony, August 30, 1950, RJR Library.
22. F. A. Harper to R. J. Rushdoony, October 18, 1950, RJR Library. Ultimately, the Volker Fund, citing its long-standing "non-denominational" policy, rejected offering any assistance to the Herald (Herbert C. Cornuelle to R. J. Rushdoony, May 20, 1952, RJR Library).
23. For Ingebretsen's religious convictions, see James C. Ingebretsen, Apprentice to the Dawn: A Spiritual Memoir (Los Angeles: Philosophical Research Society, 2003).
24. James C. Ingebretsen to R. J. Rushdoony, April 10, 1952, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, collection 147, box 9, folder 32 (hereafter UO Libraries).
25. Further, Fifield, the spiritual engine behind Spiritual Mobilization "is not," Ingebretsen relayed, "particularly sympathetic to your theological position, but he likes what you are trying to do and has been giving the magazine some publicity" (James C. Ingebretsen to R. J. Rushdoony, June 10, 1952, UO Libraries). Despite his theological disagreements with Rushdoony, Fifield spoke favorably of the Herald during his radio program.
26. Robert Glover Shoemaker to R. J. Rushdoony, October 5, 1950, RJR Library.
27. R. J. Rushdoony to Samuel G. Craig, October 11, 1950, RJR Library.
28. R. J. Rushdoony to James C. Ingebretsen, April 15, 1952, UO Libraries.
29. Ibid.
30. R. J. Rushdoony to C. Ralston Smith, May 10, 1952.
31. Partly as a result of Craig's sympathy for conservative theology, Rushdoony eventually would go on to have a long and highly productive relationship with the Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company.
32. Samuel G. Craig to R. J. Rushdoony, September 20, 1950, RJR Library.
33. R. J. Rushdoony to James C. Ingebretsen, April 15, 1952, UO Libraries.
34. John M. Paxton to R. J. Rushdoony, June 11, 1952, RJR Library.
35. "Santa Cruz Church Formed," The Presbyterian Guardian, July 15, 1958.
36. David Watson, "Theonomy: A History of the Movement and an Evaluation of its Primary Text," (master's thesis, Calvin College, 1985).
37. "Two Churches Organized in California," The Presbyterian Guardian, June 15, 1958.


Topics: Biography, Christian Reconstruction, R. J. Rushdoony

Michael McVicar

Michael J. McVicar's  dissertation exploring the relationship between the ministry of R. J. Rushdoony and the American conservative movement was later published in book form entitled, Christian Reconstruction: R.J. Rushdoony and American Religious Conservativsm. He lectures at various universities in Ohio. McVicar is not a Reconstructionist. He can be reached with questions and comments [email protected].

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