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Random Notes, 77

By R. J. Rushdoony
March 01, 1998
  1. In a little book of Table Graces published by Peter Pauper Press in 1986 are these two lovely ones:

    I'd be as impolite a child
    As impolite could be.
    To eat and forget to say
    A thank you, Lord, to Thee.

    I like this one very much to be said before grace:

    No ordinary meat — a sacrament awaits us
    On our daily spread,
    For men are risking lives on sea and land
    That we may dwell in safety and be fed.
  2. My father loved the dinner table, not because he enjoyed food, because he was indifferent to it, but for the table talk, with us or with visitors. Whether humor or serious discourse prevailed, all was welcome except for doom and gloom. Dinner table always meant an intellectual feast.

    He was also very absent-minded. Dinner usually began with a very hot soup, and my mother would warn him of it. And yet, always, he would take a hot spoonful without thinking and burn his mouth, exclaiming to my mother, "Why didn't you warn me?" She would answer, "I will next time," and we children would laugh to his puzzlement!
  3. The maliciousness and willful blindness of sinners continues to amaze me. Again and again, I have written that theonomy, or Christian Reconstruction, does not believe in a top-down society because we believe in conversion, not coercion, in regeneration, not revolution; but it makes no difference to these critics, no matter how we repeat it.

    Again, Andrew Sandlin in a lecture at a seminary had a faculty member relay a "question" through a student which accused us of being "anti-evangelical," of having no concern for the salvation of peoples, only their control. Now any issue of the Chalcedon Report reports on our interest or activity in a variety of missionary and evangelical activities all over the world, in Africa, Asia, Latin America, at home, everywhere. Such malicious blindness is startling.
  4. Christmas comes often to mind all through the year because of my habit of saving the most lovely Christmas cards, and those with thoughtful notes, to use as bookmarks, sometimes for years. I picked up a book now to cite in my writings and found in it a card and note from sometime in the 1960s, and it left me with grateful memories.

    Age does bring back memories, and this is good. At 82, I have many treasured memories, and many happy expectations of time and eternity. I like very much the Biblical description of death as being gathered to one's fathers. To see those venerable saints of old is an exciting thought.

    Meanwhile, we are looking forward to our family reunion at my brother Haig's home. (He and his amazing and wonderful wife Vula usually host from c. 45 to 80 of us.) Haig and Vula usually head up our Macedonian Outreach Missionary work. To give you an idea of their character, for Christmas 1997 Vula prepared a banquet and invited into their home c. 40-50 people, refuges and others.

    My father had the same old country sense of hospitality. He readily and freely invited people for dinner, or, with out-of-town people, to stay with us, and my mother never complained about all the extra mouths to feed on limited funds. The children were expected to help, especially with washing and drying the dishes. How many, many remarkable tales I heard from people from all corners of the world! To this day, any reference to some of these out-of-the-way peoples, such as the magnificent Lors, brings marvelous memories to mind.
  5. Words have always interested me, their use and histories. Take, for example, our English word priest; it is a corruption of presbyter. In Puritan America, churches were seen as God's family on earth: the pastor was called father, and the members brothers and sisters. (If you remember Melville's Moby Dick, the old Puritan preacher is called Father Maple.) With the Roman Catholic migration to the U. S., a change took place. Roman Catholic priests were called Mr. or Don or its equivalent in European languages. Roman Catholics in the U. S. adopted the American usage to call their priests "father," whereupon Protestants dropped the term. Baptists especially continued the usage of "brothers" and "sisters" for members. In the Presbyterian circles, however, the older usage prevails in legal language in that members of a presbytery are "fathers" (pastors) and "brethren" (lay elders).
  6. An important saying of Hillel was this: "Where much law is, there is much living." Without law, it follows, little life is possible.
  7. A great proposition of the faith as set forth by Wyclife and the Lollards was simply this: "No dominion without grace." Domination and tyranny go hand in hand with sin, but dominion presupposed God's law and grace. The great evil of the modern age is its continuing attempts to gain dominion without grace. The results are uniformly evil.

Topics: Culture , Poetry & Wisdom Literature, Biblical Law

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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