Stability in Troubling Times
Twenty years ago, California experienced the Loma Prieta earthquake. I remember vividly sitting in a karate studio watching my daughter’s class when the ground began to shake. I gathered the children and moved them under the doorframe just in time to avoid being hit by all the trophies that were on a shelf above where I had been sitting. It was obvious that this was not your run-of-the-mill quake—something significant had occurred. In October of 1989, there were no cell phones so I was unable to contact my husband or find out how my elderly mother-in-law, who lived with us, had fared. Instability ruled the hour.
My son was glued to his pocket radio because the San Francisco Giants were about to begin game one of the World Series against the Oakland A’s. His biggest upset during the quake’s aftermath was that the game was called off all because of a little earthquake (6.9 on the Richter scale). When he told me that the Bay Bridge had collapsed, I became angry. I had more to think about than a disappointed eleven-year-old who felt the need to make up a preposterous story.
However, the Bay Bridge had collapsed and there was other significant damage and loss of life. Fear and uncertainty ruled the day. No one knew what was going to happen next, as aftershocks literally rocked our world.
We are living in fearful and unstable times. We have an inflation-based economic system that is teetering on the edge of collapse. Many have suffered loss in savings and retirement accounts through no fault of their own. We see our constitutional republic dissolving while statist politicians daily usurp every facet of individual liberty, and march our once-Christian nation toward socialist tyranny. Godless subversives aggressively erase every shred of Christianity from the public square with their eye on removing Christianity from the hearts and minds of the faithful.
Those who are not feeling these pangs are either oblivious to circumstances around them or are financially benefitting from these instabilities. These are times of judgment against unrighteousness, and those God-haters who revel in their short-term victories are only marching towards their own death and destruction.
Faithful Christians do not escape the painful realities in times of God’s judgment (Matt. 5:45), even though they have, in many cases, taken stands against the evil that is overwhelming their culture. Although they have tried to live faithfully, consistently tithe, providentially save, and budget funds to provide a Christian education for their children, many find themselves in difficult circumstances, with incomes ravaged by the situations we are all facing. The tendency in times like these is to bunker down, protect what is remaining, and scale back expenditures. Unfortunately, many choose to allow their children’s Christian education to become a casualty. For them, it becomes a luxury that can be set aside, instead of an essential of life and Kingdom service designed to build spiritual capital in their children.
Time to Storm the Gates
However, this is not the time to retreat from our duties as Christian parents. In fact, it is time for Christian parents to be even more diligent in the care and nurture of their precious children. Furthermore, homeschooling Christian parents need to challenge professing brothers and sisters who leave their children under the supervision and tutelage of those who hate the Lord, His laws, and His sovereignty. We need to call to account their commitment to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” and encourage them to be faithful in this most serious calling.
If we are going to be faithful friends (Prov. 27:6), we need to exhort those in our churches to confess with Joshua, “[A]s for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Josh. 24:15). To do this Christians must be well versed in the unbiblical nature of statist education and be prepared to discuss it. Books such as The Messianic Character of American Education, Intellectual Schizophrenia, Victims of Dick and Jane, Revolution via Education, The Harsh Truth About Public Schools and The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum1 all deal with the underpinnings of the humanist, statist educational monopoly while providing insight and direction to those who wake up to the poison of the public schools.
I know all the arguments that Christians levy against Christian education: Their children are missionaries. Who will be left at these schools if all the Christians leave? If they place their children in Christian schools, they will not have enough money to donate to their church’s building fund, and on and on. I seriously wonder what it will be like for them as they stand before the Lord giving an account of the stewardship of their children.
The Sheep and the Goats
Consider this passage:
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Matt. 25:31–46, emphasis added
Let’s examine this passage from the point of view of the Lord speaking to parents in terms of how they raised and nurtured their children in the faith. Consider the verses italicized above. Could they not apply in this fashion? Here is a suggested paraphrase:
First, the positive reading: When I was hungry and thirsty for Truth and was uncovered in my sin, and was imprisoned in my own rebellion, you were there to provide instruction in wisdom, and words of understanding. You were there to give subtlety to me when I was simple, to provide me with discernment and discretion. You saw to it that I was taught by those who would lead me to true wisdom—the fear of the Lord—and made it so that I did not remain a fool. You arranged for me to be satisfied when I hungered and thirsted for righteousness, by teaching me to love God and keep His commandments, because that is my duty as a human being. For whatsoever you did to the least of my brethren (your children) you did unto me.
Now, the negative reading: When I was hungry and thirsty for Truth and was uncovered in my sin, and was imprisoned in my own rebellion, you sent me to a place that told me there was no absolute Truth. You sent me to a place that refused to speak the name of the Lord except in a profane way. You left me to learn history and science from those who claim there is no Creator, there is no God, and there is no need of salvation from sin. You placed me under the authority of those who would pervert the picture given in Scripture of Christ’s relationship to His bride by exalting that which God declares an abomination. For whatsoever you did to the least of my brethren (your children) you did unto me.
Sobering, isn’t it? For those who have been obedient, there is more work to be done within the greater body of Christ. Speak to those in your extended families, churches, neighborhoods, and jobs who profess to love God and believe His Word, and show them that they are allowing their children to drink from a well that you know is poisoned. Proverbs 31:8–9 delineates our responsibility to
Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
A Better Investment
Rushdoony was fond of noting, “History has never been dominated by majorities, but only by dedicated minorities who stand unconditionally on their faith.” We are at a point, as a dedicated minority, to challenge the world, the flesh, and the devil by uncompromisingly declaring the crown rights of King Jesus. As Dennis Peacock was fond of saying, “The time for polite Christianity is over.”2
To help that dedicated minority stand unconditionally on their faith, Chalcedon is spearheading a multi-pronged approach to disseminating the simple yet powerful reality that Jesus Christ is Lord of all, and His law-word is and should be the rule of law over every sphere of life. As Rushdoony so eloquently asserted again and again, Christians will not accomplish this by the sword. Revolution is not the answer—regeneration is.
The resort to revolution or to revolutionary tactics is thus a confession of no faith; it means the death of a civilization because its people are dead in their sins and trespasses. They may use the name of the Lord, but they have by-passed him for “direct action.” In doing so, they have forgotten that since Day 1 of creation, all the power and the direct action are only truly in God’s hands. By assuming that everything depends on their action, they have denied God and His regenerating power.
And they have forgotten our Lord’s requirement: “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). Regeneration, not revolution, is God’s way.3
God has given each believer a sphere of influence in which to operate. The Biblical model is not the platform of stardom or mass appeal, but one-on-one, making disciples of all nations. For it is in the interpersonal relationships, marked by Christ’s directive to us to “outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom. 12:10) and providing service (Mark 10:43), that we reconstruct our society.
Each of us has been given by God distinct and useful talents that He expects us to use to further His Kingdom. First, you have to become an expert in knowing and applying God’s Word to everyday situations in order to effectively use these talents. This comes about as God’s law-word is the starting point for all decisions and courses of action. Next, you need to actively seek to develop relationships with those with whom you come in contact. Since they, too, experience the results of living in a fallen world, there will be many conversations and circumstances where they will benefit from hearing the Biblical solution to their situations and concerns.4
Law & Liberty Study Groups
Getting started is easier than one might imagine. Chalcedon already has the volumes of books and essays left by its founder, R. J. Rushdoony, and the position papers5 of Chalcedon’s Vice President Martin Selbrede to educate those willing to become part of the dedicated Kingdom-seeking minority. Utilizing Rushdoony’s excellent small but potent volume Law & Liberty, small groups can begin to comprehend the relation between God’s law and true liberty. Already there are groups around the country making use of Law & Liberty utilizing study questions that are available for download from the Chalcedon site. These informal study groups introduce students to the reality that apart from God’s law established in our culture there will never be liberty. Group leaders have a program at their disposal to help them disciple interested participants. Today’s troubles and instabilities are making the harvest ripe.
Homeschool Co-op Classes
One of the most eager and receptive groups is homeschooled high school students. They are sharp and acutely aware of the challenges their generation faces. Moreover, their parents are constantly looking for innovative ways to prepare them for higher education, the job market, and service to God’s Kingdom. Homeschooling veteran teachers whose children have graduated could serve as instructors for these groups. I just finished teaching a public speaking class (Fall 09) using Law & Liberty as my text.
One mother shared with me the profound impact my class had on her son, who before participating was complaining about being homeschooled and eager to go back to public school. She reported that after a week or two, the complaints ceased and he began sharing with her and his dad the subjects that were covered in the book and in our class. Both parents began reading the book. She thanked me for being an answer to prayer. Now, she said, her son understood that everyone has an agenda. He’s glad he is learning from a Christian world and life view.
Offer your services to the homeschooling community in your area, possibly teaching a class in history, economics, or current events. With the revamped Chalcedon website, countless materials are at your disposal that present a full-orbed application of the Christian faith to all areas of life.6 Not sure how to implement this? Email me at the address below and I will be happy to help you identify areas where you can contribute to others.
Young Mother Support Groups
This is a fertile area (no pun intended) for Christian wives and mothers to make an impact. Many new mothers grew up without a dedicated course in home economics, never babysat, and were never taught a Christian perspective on child rearing. In my experience, many are actually intimidated by their infants. Coming alongside them in a mentoring role will make a huge difference in the lives of these families.
I make a point of initiating conversations with parents of small children while shopping and am continually surprised at how willing they are to share the circumstances of their lives. I lead the conversation to the future reality of schooling and before long, they are asking for my contact information because they wish to discuss homeschooling with me.7
The Possibilities are Endless
I believe that if we work together and brainstorm about moving the Kingdom of God forward in our time, we will come up with many innovative strategies. For example, what if the men of the local church made a point of providing informal seminars to the young men of their congregation sharing with them the details of their professions? The results could include mentoring relationships as some of the young men pursue similar career choices. How about voluntary tutoring services, making oneself available to assist families with children who are struggling academically? Maybe you have expertise or a natural ability in a subject area in which they are having difficulty. Maybe you can offer encouragement and support. You will discover all too quickly that the opportunities outnumber those willing to seize them.
The house of cards of humanistic materialism is crumbling. It is not going down without a fight, but its bankruptcy is so obvious that only fabrications, lies, and coercive tactics are able to prop it up. The question is who will be there to pick up the pieces when its inevitable collapse occurs? Those who have been trained in the humanistic, atheistic, materialistic model? Will they be able to deal with the instability that is sure to present itself as the Nanny State can no longer handle the lawlessness and chaos it created?
No, those who will be prepared to establish a Biblically faithful society will have been schooled in Biblical law, and will be able to identify practices and ideologies that stand in presumptuous, open rebellion to the Lord. Rather than trample underfoot those who oppose them, they will seek to make disciples of former enemies, sharing the Good News of Christ, that through belief and faithful living they can become sons rather than foes. Those who have been taught a systematic theology, an accurate history, and who are subject to the reign and rule of Jesus Christ will be the rebuilders of our culture.
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. Matt. 7:24–25
2. A part of his sermon “The War Between Two Seeds.”
3. R. J. Rushdoony, “Revolution or Regeneration,” Position Paper 105, Roots of Reconstruction (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1991), 426–428.
4. Training sessions can be arranged via Skype by emailing [email protected]
5. Available for download at www.chalcedon.edu
6. Anyone who has gone through Rushdoony’s Institutes of Biblical Law or Systematic Theology is equipped to teach on a variety of subjects.
7. Get some business cards made up with your phone number and email address, and have them ready to share with those you come in contact. Be prepared to minister!
Topics: Biblical Law, Charity, Christian Reconstruction, Church, The, Culture , Dominion, Education, Family & Marriage