Resources

Faithfulness

By R. J. Rushdoony
September 01, 2005

(Reprinted from The Institutes of Biblical Law [Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1973], 445–447.)

Faithfulness is a virtue stressed throughout the law and in all the Scriptures as a religious and moral necessity. The requirement of faithfulness to God, to law, to marriage, to every godly obligation is emphatically stressed. Moses summoned Israel to observe God’s law-word without turning “to the right hand or to the left,” and if they did walk in obedience, it would be well with them, and their days would be prolonged (Dt. 5:32, 32). Believers are called “the faithful” in the church’s terminology, and the term “faithful” is in Scripture the highest praise (Prov. 20:6; Rev. 17:14; Mt. 25:21; etc.). The walk of the faithful is in “the paths of righteousness” (Ps. 23:3); paths means ruts, wheel-tracks, and the reference is to established habits of godliness. God establishes His faithful ones in the engrained ruts or habits of righteousness.

Sanity, character, and stability rest on faithfulness, on dependability. Irresponsibility is the consequence of faithlessness, and ultimately, insanity so-called, which is the rejection of responsibility; it is the unwillingness to be faithful, to establish the habits of righteousness. Not surprisingly, modern philosophy, which has proclaimed so emphatically man’s freedom from law and from God, has been frequently marked by the fact of mad or at best unstable men in its ranks.

The non-Christian mentality is commonly characterized by this war on faithfulness. A study of Indian sculpture speaks of “the cult of desire” as the “road to release” from the burden of life.[1] In this cult, “the other world and this were made one,” and “Life and Liberation ceased to be separate entities.”[2] Salvation meant the total acceptance of all of life as holy: “the holiness of desire would … sanctify any vehicle: and if the mind is pure, all else, whether woman or man or animal, is but means.”[3] This means that the individual should “indulge in desire irrespective of the mate, divine, human or bestial.”[4]

To accept every act as holy is to deny emphatically the principle of discrimination in terms of good and evil. Faithfulness is adherence to an absolute law, and to persons and causes in terms of that absolute law and the sovereign God of that law. As against faithfulness, the way or walk is made a systematic unfaithfulness as man’s life, joy, and pleasure. Thus, in Africa, the Nandi have a saying, “A new vagina is comforting.”[5]

Because there is no principle of discrimination between good and evil, man and animals, persons do not count. Danielsson’s account of Polynesian love holds that, because of the lack of standards and of discriminations, “There was therefore no reason to prefer any particular woman or man.”[6] His description is, of course, of a degenerated culture, as is that of Suggs, whose description is of depersonalized and degenerate sexuality.[7]

The need for unfaithfulness as a principle came to focus in an organized movement, romanticism. Scott’s description of “the romantic fallacy” is excellent: “it identifies beauty with strangeness.”[8] The logic of this position is that, the stranger the object, person, or act, the better it is to the romantic. In Newton’s words, “The romantic … can never rejoice in the normal. What interests him must be the exceptional.”[9] This means interest in “mystery, abnormality, and conflict,”[10] a dislike of “whatever is law-abiding, whatever conforms to a pattern.” The romantic “refuses to acknowledge the existence of law as applied to self-expression … ‘Thou shalt be exceptional and follow that which is exceptional’ is his only commandment.… Abnormality is the negative of law. Its very existence depends on its refusal to conform to law-abiding behaviour.”[11] This means that freedom is identified with evil, sexual expression with unfaithfulness and perversion, artistic ability with violations of standards and perversity, and character with instability. The growth of perversion and perversity in every area of life is proportionate to the decline of faith and faithfulness.

Not only has there been a greater prevalence of perversity and perversion, but also a developing pride and boastfulness therein, as though these acts represent the wave of the future.[12] Health, vitality, and character are associated by these “new” people with sexual license, and faithfulness with Puritanism and crime.[13] In reality, the character of those given to this so-called sexual freedom is one of tormented conflicts and childish tantrums.[14]


[1] Kanwar Lal, The Cult of Desire (New Hyde Park, NY: University Books, 1967), 48.

[2]Ibid., 78.

[3]Ibid., 90.

[4]Ibid.

[5] Boris de Rachewiltz, Black Eros, Sexual Customs of Africa from Prehistory to the Present Day (New York: Lyle Stuart, 1964), 267.

[6] Bengt Danielsson, Love in the South Seas (New York: Dell, 1957), 79f.

[7] Robert C. Suggs, The Hidden Worlds of Polynesia (New York: Mentor, 1965), 107–119.

[8] Geoffrey Scott. The Architecture of Humanism, A Study in the History of Taste (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1954), 41.

[9] Eric Newton, The Romantic Rebellion (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1963), 59.

[10]Ibid.,57.

[11]Ibid., 64.

[12] See Vincent Sheean, Dorothy and Red (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1963).

[13] Arsene Eglis, Sex Songs of the Ancient Letts (New York: University Books, 1969), 1–5. Eglis blames a variety of murders, including that of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, on the supposedly devout Christian background of the murderers!

[14] See Mark Schorer, Sinclair Lewis: An American Life (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961), and A.E. Hotchner, Papa Hemingway, A Personal Memoir (New York: Random House, 1966).


Topics: World History, New Testament History, Biblical Law, Theology, Pentateuch, Gospels, The, Poetry & Wisdom Literature, Justice, Culture

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.

More by R. J. Rushdoony