A Rattlesnake’s Kisses

By R. J. Rushdoony
November 13, 2006

California Farmer 255:2 (Aug. 8, 1981), p. 25G.

I returned late last night from another state, where a prominent and nationally known pastor was on trial because of the Welfare Department’s attempts to control his Christian school and home for delinquent girls. I told my wife with amazement of the efforts of the state, despite a state law forbidding all such controls over Christian agencies. A state spy’s report was introduced by the defense, and a state official was compelled to read the stupid document. It was about a church prayer meeting, what was sung, who prayed, how many girls were in the restroom at one time, and so on and on! When I told my wife how amazed I was at the evil and stupidity of it all, she said, “Don’t expect kisses from a rattlesnake.”

She was right, of course. Apart from God, men are as trustworthy as rattlesnakes. St. Paul tells us of such men: their mouths are open sepulchers, i.e., their words give death, not life, and they are full of cursing and bitterness. They are quick to hurt and kill, given to destruction and misery, and aliens to peace, because “[t]here is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:18).

Giving a man a high office does not make him good: it only increases the scope of his evil. No man is made a saint by man’s election. To expect good from ungodly men is like expecting figs from thistles, according to our Lord (Matt. 7:16). We have been giving power for years to all kinds of agencies and bureaus without considering that it is evil to create such concentrations of power. Too much power is dangerous in any man’s hands, and certainly a great source of evil in ungodly hands. We cannot breed rattlesnakes and expect nursemaids.

Topics: Christian Reconstruction, Culture , Statism

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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