Access your downloads at our archive site. Visit Archive


When we talk about government, we should remember that the heart of all sound government is self-government.

R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony,
Share this

CA Farmer 248:15 (Sept. 2, 1978), p. 29.

When we talk about government, we should remember that the heart of all sound government is self-government. We fail to grasp the nature of our problem if we do not recognize that, basically, government is self-government. Throughout history, wherever and whenever self-government declines, statist government increases proportionately. If men will not govern themselves, someone else will.

Our Lord stated the matter very clearly: “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin … If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:34, 36). As we shake off the bondage or slavery of sin, we thereby assume our self-government in terms of the dictates of God’s Word and Spirit. We grow proportionately more free as we are sanctified.

The problem of our time is that men want neither freedom nor self-government. They want the advantages of slavery without its penalties. Slavery offers cradle-to-grave security, and it offers a master who solves all problems for us. Most people want slavery but are not honest enough to call it slavery. They sugarcoat it with all kinds of political slogans to make it sound like heaven itself, and they are the first victims of their propaganda.

To be free, Scripture tells us, is to be in Christ and under His command. He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), and there is no true life nor freedom apart from Him.

The heart of true self-government is to live in terms of God and His Word, because His way is the way of life. It means that we keep ourselves from idols (1 John 3:21), because the heart of idolatry is the worship of man, the worship of our will, the state’s will, the church’s will, any will and word other than the Lord’s. It is humanism.

Political tyrannies and powers grow as men forsake God’s government and its requirements of them for the seemingly easy way of slavery. Most men today are slaves by choice. Their slavery is for them man’s best hope and way, and they are eager for more slavery rather than less. Apart from Christ, men will grow in their sin and therefore their slavery, even as a Christian will grow in his freedom and self-government.

Now, are you growing into freedom, or into slavery?

R. J. Rushdoony
  • 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