In their classic work How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren conclude, “You will not improve as a reader if all you read are books that are well within your capacity. You must tackle books that are beyond you… books that are over your head.”
Books have a transforming quality. This is intentional. God created the written word as the primary instrument in renewing the human mind. Although some information can come to us through what we see, the psalmist redirects “world-watchers” to consider that “the Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” (Ps. 19:7).
But our visually driven culture garners most of its intellectual nourishment from the glass teat of television rather than “tiresome page turning.” If we are to succeed in building Christian civilization Christians must recover rigorous reading habits.
More Gold in California
R.J. Rushdoony had a disciplined reading schedule — nearly a book a day for most of his adult life. Mark Rushdoony and I recently strolled down the extensive shelves of Rush’s 40,000+ volume personal library. I selected random books to see if Rush had read them. Nearly 90 percent of what I selected was underlined and indexed. It was amazing.
This explains Rush’s prolific output of writing. I looked at Mark with bewilderment as to how Rush could feasibly accomplish that much reading and writing. Then, to my further astonishment, Mark showed me the real gold mine.
He led me through the dark alleys to two standing shelves packed with thousands of pages of hand and typewritten manuscripts. I was staggered when Mark told me that many of these pages had never been published. One of the gems I viewed was a complete, unpublished manuscript on the Sovereignty of God. What else could I say but “Wow!”
Space doesn’t permit me to list all the titles that we looked over. In fact, Mark is still unearthing work that even he hasn’t seen before. What a fitting metaphor: there’s more gold to be mined in the old goldrush town of
Sustaining the Ministry of Chalcedon
Over the years we’ve received suggestions regarding the future work of Chalcedon. Some were good and some not so good. But three years removed from Rush’s passing I think our objective is clear: “Dance with the one that brought us!”
Our central mission is two-fold: finish publishing the works of R.J. Rushdoony and take the message of Faith for All of Life to mainstream Christianity through books, sermons and the Chalcedon Report.
I was recently reminded of the rightness of this simple mission when listening (on CD) to the first lecture in the original series that became the Institutes of Biblical Law. (The audio quality was superb even though the lecture was recorded in the late 60s!) What I heard sent a chill down my spine.
In this initial lecture on theonomy (“God’s law”) Rush proclaimed the law of God as the only standard of justice and the sinfulness of civil disobedience apart from God’s law. He also alluded to several other social ills such as the wickedness of judges who create their own law, and the encroachment of humanism and Islam upon western civilization. It was as if he was lecturing last week in response to our current cultural crisis. It was prophetic.
What this tells me is that we need not “add to nor take away from” the intellectual legacy left to our stewardship by R.J. Rushdoony. Our calling is simple: take the resources and blueprints he left to us and continue to reconstruct all areas of life in terms of God’s law-word. The only enhancement is to work harder at reaching our brethren within mainstream evangelicalism. To do this Chalcedon will need your help.
Two Simple Ways to Help
There are two simple ways you can support the work of Chalcedon. First, you can be a Chalcedon Underwriter by pledging your monthly, tax-deductible, financial support. You can choose from one of three Underwriter Levels that come with handsome benefits. Second, you can purchase materials from our extensive catalog. Starting on page 32 is a brief listing of many of our books and tapes, and you can check out even more online at www.chalcedonstore.com.
To learn more about becoming a Chalcedon Underwriter simply call our offices today at 209-736-4365, ext. 10 or email us at [email protected]. I pray that today you consider making an even greater investment in the work of Chalcedon. You’ll be planting in good soil.
Stay tuned for further updates!
- Christopher J. Ortiz
Christopher J. Ortiz is a freelance writer and independent communications specialist servicing churches, ministries, and publishers.