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On Death and Dying

I have been asked to write on death and dying. Since I am dying, according to my doctor (within a few months or years!), it seems fitting for me to do so.

R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony,
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I have been asked to write on death and dying. Since I am dying, according to my doctor (within a few months or years!), it seems fitting for me to do so.

My familiarity with death goes back to my earliest days, to World War I, when a young maternal uncle died. The loss was more like that of a big brother to me. I can recall vividly the puttees he wore as part of his uniform. When last at our Kingsburg cemetery, I visited his grave.

After World War I and into the mid-1920s, a very familiar event was the arrival of Armenian friends and relatives from the Near East. Armenians from Fresno, Kings, and Tulare counties gathered to ask if, during the massacres and death march, they had seen relatives and friends. The answers were sometimes grim ones.

I was thus very early familiar with death, but even more familiar with the Faith and the Bible, read daily to us by my father, often in two languages.

It never occurred to me to doubt the Faith. I was around six or seven when I first heard a boy express atheistic beliefs, and I thought he was crazy. I have not since changed my mind. To believe that creation is a mindless product is at best stupidity, if not a sin.

As a pastor, some deathbed incidents have made me very aware of the thin line separating us from eternity. I expect, when I die, to see the Lord and countless loved ones. It will be going home for me.

We live in a world of death because of sin and we have a duty to overcome sin and death through Jesus Christ. This is our major calling. When I die, I shall be with the Lord, and free from sin and death.

I have always seen unbelief as a form of sin and madness.

Now all that the Bible has to say on the world to come can be stated in a few paragraphs. God requires us to believe in the resurrection, but not to be too interested in it. God's commandments fill books; His comments on the life after death, a paragraph or two. It is obvious what we are to be concerned about. It is not Christian to neglect the law (much of the Bible) and to concentrate on life after death, to which little space is given.

God's priorities must be ours also. We must believe and obey the Lord. God does not exist to answer our questions! He is the Lord, the King, and Commander. Obey Him, and believe Him.

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.

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