My father is Rousas John Rushdoony, Chalcedon's founder and Chairman of the Board. From him I have learned more than to honor my parents; I have learned to honor my Christian heritage and pray for God's covenantal blessing on my children; and I have learned that I am in a line that represents generations of faith.
Islamic Ottoman Turks blinded my father's grandfather. When this did not stop his performance of his duties in the Armenian Apostolic Church, they killed him. My father's father was left orphaned as a young boy but was rescued by American Presbyterian missionaries to whom he expressed lifelong love and gratitude. As a young man working at that mission, he escaped the Armenian genocide of 1915-16 by escaping with his wife, then pregnant with my father, into Russia and then to the United States. From my father I learned that his family had been uprooted from the land of their birth and centuries of proud tradition because they were Christians held in contempt by a non-Christian culture. From my father I learned that, as a Christian, I must always stand in terms of my faith.
My father in some ways represents a thinking older than his eighty-three years. In more than the literal sense he was conceived in the Old World and yet born in the New. His parents were uprooted from a place where their history went back over two millennia; much of that tradition was passed on in the Armenian communities and churches in which he was raised. The "old country" was still a very real part of their lives. He was surrounded by Christians who survived massacre yet could project dignity and Christian grace. When he entered school, English was his second language. He learned to have a keen understanding of Christian history and a special appreciation for the persecution of believers. His early years were spent on a farm in a rural area of California. He remembers the first time he saw an automobile. He has often felt closer to an earlier generation of not only Armenians but even Americans, for he very early came to appreciate the strong Christian Faith that created the United States. Defending America's Christian heritage, and that of Armenia, sprang from a religious conviction to stand for the Faith far more than nationalistic motives. This is why he can be critical when some would wish him to remain silent. The Faith takes priority in his thinking over both country and ecclesiastical institutions. This is not to say he is past-bound. His work is in the Kingdom of God, which shall not see its fullness until every knee shall bow and every tongue confess the name of Jesus. From my father I learned that my first allegiance is to the Kingdom of God and His Christ.
My father takes Scripture very seriously, yet he does not wrestle with it. He is not an evidentialist; he can accept Scripture because it's God's Word without feeling he must understand the mind of God. His theology is not based on his understanding; it is based on faith in the sovereign, all-knowing God who reveals Himself in his Word. Many times he has responded to those struggling with an issue in Scripture by calmly saying, "We must believe it because that is what the Word of God says." From my father I learned my presupposition must always be the truth and wisdom of God's Word.
My father believes actions rather than words best evidence faith. Yet he has not tried to build a large organization. He has instead tried to encourage others to use their expertise in their own calling to further the Kingdom. From my father's influence I have learned that God's Word does not return to Him void.
My father preaches the Word of God, but never in a vacuum. He seeks to understand thought and culture. Hence he reads an amazing spectrum of subjects. But he reads not just good books but some bad books as well. He has, therefore, been able not only to preach the truth as a minister, but also to explain error as a scholar. From my father I learned that ideas have consequences.
My father is future oriented. He is a postmillennialist but his optimism is not limited to his theology. He was once offered a large salary and a fine house by a man who wanted him to stop his denomination's already advanced slide into modernism. My father said he had more important work to do. He saw the real battles, both culturally and theologically. He denounced humanism when many churchmen thought it a noble concept. He encouraged Christian education long before most admitted there were real problems in public education. He proclaimed the validity of Biblical law when it seemed the church was universally gravitating toward the gospel of love. He started Chalcedon when such religious foundations were an anomaly. From my father I learned it is most effective to preach the Kingdom of God while you are working toward it.
I, like many others, respect my father as a man of God and a scholar. I also respect him as a father. I am gratified at the respect people hold him in. Many are awed at his impact. But his influence has not been through his originality but because of his faithfulness. His scholarship has had as its purpose faithfulness to God and His Word. His scholarship draws man back to God and points out the past and future victories of God's people. In the sense of proclaiming God's truth he has been a faithful prophet. He is not a perfect man, and we should not look for perfection in others or ourselves. But as our teachers and ministers we should look for men who are faithful to God's Word and who see God as the center of life, meaning, time, and eternity — like my father, Rousas John Rushdoony.