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Do You Hear Laughter? Advancing Christ’s Kingdom by Hosting Small Group Studies

“I see now that the reality of Christian Reconstruction will only take place as committed laymen strive to take their place in the Kingdom and work with other similarly-minded believers to do likewise.”

Andrea G. Schwartz
  • Andrea G. Schwartz,
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We live in a noisy world. Some of the sounds are normal everyday ones of family life, sounds that abound in God’s creation, and even some unpleasant sounds like leaf blowers, traffic noises, and other manifestations of 21st century life. And, then, there are the sounds of both open and subtle rebellion against the triune God. These are not always audible (but many times are) as the society tries to live out the delusion that God is dead or that people can successfully act as though He were.

Psalm 2:1-4 reads: 

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.

I am assuming that those who read this are described in vs. 12b of this passage: Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Therefore, I ask the question that I chose as a title: Do you hear the laughter?

While this may sound like a strange question, it behooves us to examine all aspects of our lives and note exactly to whom we spend our time listening. Can those who truly don’t strive to fulfill the two Great Commandments have anything of true value to those of us who put our trust in Him? If we are really living by every word that proceeds out of God’s mouth (or earnestly endeavoring to do so) I submit that our hearing will improve, and considerably over time. Instead of bemoaning the sorry state of 21st century civilization, our ears will be tuned to the victorious commission we have been given, and we will genuinely hear the laughter of God.

How do I know this? Well, I have been privileged to have received instruction through the work of Chalcedon and specifically the writings and lectures of R.J. Rushdoony since the mid-1980s. Moreover, I have had the honor (and I don’t use this term flippantly) to have taught women since the late 1990s in Biblical Law and the consequences of adherence to it, as well as disobedience. 

With every class I have overseen, I have benefited greatly from the insights and understanding of those in class with me. Some were newer to the faith and Christian reconstruction in general, yet their heartfelt and Spirit-driven desire to love and obey the Lord brought a true richness I hadn’t anticipated, but most decidedly benefited from.

As a result, when my days as a homeschooling mom ended and I heard the Lord calling me to help other homeschooling families, the Chalcedon Teacher Training Institute was formed. At first, I wasn’t sure that the name wasn’t overly pretentious. But, along the way, I realized that my efforts applied across the board to any true student of God’s word. After all, in fulfilling the Great Commission, we all become teachers. That is how disciples are made.

Currently, as I write this, there are seven full courses* on the site (ctti.org) and more in progress. The most important one, in my opinion, is Rushdoony’s magnum opus the Institutes of Biblical Law (vol. 1). This course provides clear direction for each chapter, and each section of each chapter, by directing the participant to the text, the relevant lecture(s), and questions for thought and discussion. I have personally conducted this class in person, online in a group study four times and one-on-one with various individuals across the world. Keep in mind that doing a section weekly amounts to a total commitment of over four years. The purpose of group study is the valuable time when we discuss the questions provided for thought and discussion. The most rewarding part of all this is that many of my students have gone on to lead their own studies with women in their church or their children, as well. 

I submit that the more you understand regarding the victorious charge we have been given (both personally and culturally), the less you hear the noise of the world and the more you tap in to the reality that Jesus Christ, our Savior and Advocate, actually sits as the right hand of the Father and is ruling and reigning NOW. In other words, you can hear the laughter referenced in Psalm 2.

Those most distraught over the present are those who haven’t studied the past to realize that the Kingdom of God is truly growing from the mustard seed that Jesus spoke about. Because they focus too much on the noise of the world they fail to see how that tree has grown since the time Jesus spoke those words. The only reason professing believers seek another path (whether in a social justice gospel divorced from obedience, or a retreat into an expectation of rescue [Rapture]), is that their senses have been dulled or are hardly working at all.

Christ declared that all power in heaven and in earth was given unto Him. Why isn’t that enough for the church in terms of doing its job according to His law-word? Understanding the past demonstrates the ups and downs of Kingdom growth and helps us to persevere when we know how our forebears obeyed the call of God on their lives.

Psalm 42:5 reads: 

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

So, are you ready to improve your hearing and the hearing of those around you?  Here are some suggestions:

1. Go to ctti.org, subscribe** (no charge) and peruse the site to see the current course offerings and resources.

2. If you have never gone through one the Rushdoony books on which these courses are based, select one that catches your interest and look through the lessons. 

3. Consider those you know who might be interested in learning with you. Don’t dismiss this idea because there would only be a few of you. One-on-one learning between two people is highly beneficial when you consider all those we run into on a day-to-day basis. You will have much more reserve to pull from when engaging others. Propose the idea and see what happens.

4. Even if you just go through one or more of these courses by yourself, you will see that your tool box will expand in terms of your ability to share the faith in a genuine way with those with whom you come in contact. Trust me, your knowledge of Scripture will improve. 

5. In each lesson of each course, there is an opportunity for students to write a Point of View paper (position paper) to bring together thoughts and insights that resulted from study. Whether or not this is shared with anyone else but yourself, you will find that by putting your thoughts down on paper (or digitally) you will solidify what you’ve learned AND how you will apply it. Some might even choose to make it a social media post, or a guest editorial somewhere. Knowing what you believe and why helps in many situations in life.

Currently, my in-person classes are restricted to women, as I follow the Titus 2 model. That said, there is nothing contained in these courses that wouldn’t make them valuable for men also, or family Bible study. In fact, I have been informed that for some of our live group discussions husbands and children listen in and state they are the better for it.

When I look back at the genesis of the Chalcedon Teacher Training Institute, I realize that God had many details, participants, and benefits in mind that I could not even imagine. I see now that the reality of Christian reconstruction will only take place as committed laymen strive to take their place in the Kingdom and work with other similarly-minded believers to do likewise. 

Let me close with an invitation to anyone intrigued by my proposal with questions or practical application of what I have outlined here, to contact me via email at [email protected]. Also I want to share St. Paul’s words from Romans 10:14-15, as encouragement to those willing but feeling their inadequacy.

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Remember, you have truly good news to share.  The more you know (and apply it in your life), the better you will be able to share.
 

* Currently the completed full course offerings include: Institutes of Biblical Law, Revolt against Maturity, In His Service, Cure of Souls, Law & Liberty, Freud, and Foundations of Social Order. Systematic Theology is partially done as I’m adding to it for my live class. Hebrews, James & Jude is almost complete, and other of Dr. Rushdoony’s commentaries and books are in progress.

** When you do subscribe, please use your real name and an email address as we regularly are spammed by those who use offensive language for their name or email. Those I do not accept.