I first encountered Rushdoony in 1979. I had recently graduated from Bible college and was majoring in history and philosophy at a state university. Though I was a committed Christian, I had never been exposed to Reformed teaching and I lacked a coherent Biblical worldview. When a friend gave me Rushdoony’s A Biblical Philosophy of History, it transformed my view of history and theology. Rushdoony offered a compelling explanation of God’s sovereign control of all things and His purposes that govern history.
My second encounter with Rushdoony was in 1981 in seminary. A charismatic magazine, New Wine, interviewed Rushdoony and made reference to The Institutes of Biblical Law. I was fascinated with the book and Rushdoony’s ability to reveal the richness of the God’s Word and show its practical lessons. For the first time, I found a writer who didn’t make fun of the Old Testament law, but treated it with respect and saw it as relevant. Reading during the wee hours of the morning while working as a security guard, I found Rushdoony far more interesting and profitable than the grim stuff typically assigned by the seminary professors.
It was at seminary that I learned Rushdoony had enemies. In a church history paper, I made a passing reference to Rushdoony’s The Foundations of Social Order. The professor erupted with nasty comments: “What does he know about this, anyway!?!” “Would you trust a man like that?!?!?” The professor, who was a disagreeable lefty, made no other comments — not even about the liberal historians and theologians I quoted in the paper. Rushdoony, it seemed to me, had made all the right enemies.
Over the years I had a chance to visit with Rushoony, to invite him to speak at conferences, and to interview him.1 But most memorable were the times we broke bread together. On one occasion I had dinner with Dr. and Mrs. Rushdoony. Dorothy was blind and had trouble feeding herself. It was humbling to see a great theologian and Biblical scholar lovingly and dutifully help his wife eat. On another occasion, in 1994, Rush had dinner at our home along with a bunch of friends and a large number of children. Rush had just finished describing his family’s Christian heritage — which goes back for centuries in Armenia. As he gave thanks for the meal, he prayed: “May these children, and their children’s children, be Christians until the end of time!” It was a touching prayer that revealed the essence of his message. Two weeks ago, while holding my new grandson for the first time, I prayed that God would sovereignly and graciously bring him to faith in Jesus Christ. It was the same prayer that Rushdoony had already given, over a decade before, for my grandson.
1. For the interview dealing with Rushdoony’s life and influences, see Contra Mundum 13 (Fall, 1994), 33-38. It is available online at http://www.contra-mundum.org/journals.html.
Topics: R. J. Rushdoony, Family & Marriage, Biography