Since the late nineties, I have conducted Biblical law classes,
taking women of varying ages through Rushdoony’s Volume 1 of the Institutes of Biblical Law.
It has been quite a journey. My format is a simple one. I request that
participants read the chapter and come prepared with a) questions that
arise in their mind as they go through the material b) insights they
have c) disagreements with a perspective presented and d) a willingness
to delve into my prepared questions for thought and discussion. I also
have done one-on-one classes with women motivated to study but unable to
participate in one of the group studies. The format was the same,
except when a woman was ready for a discussion, we would set up a
mutually beneficial time to connect. Some women have worked through the
questions I provide with their husbands in preparation for class.
My original class was an in-person one. All that followed since have been conducted online and included participants from the all parts of the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa. This is no small commitment for me as the instructor, nor for the students, as the entire process spans almost four years.
Nothing pleases me more than when these women “turn the corner” and transform from individuals who think “maybe” Biblical law is important, to those who appreciate that the process of becoming holy has everything to do with loving the law of God and putting it into practice. Well, there is one thing that pleases me more than the above. It is when those who graduate begin to teach other women (or their own children) and go from being continuing students of the law to also becoming teachers of the law.
In order to expand the potential of the Chalcedon Teacher Training Institute, I prepared a website (ctti.org), where the entire course is available online—section by section, chapter by chapter—with links to the text, Rushdoony’s lectures, a PowerPoint recorded summary, and my prepared questions for thought and discussion. This has allowed many more to have some guidance as they conduct classes themselves, using the course as a guide or for individuals tackling the material on their own.
Part of the privilege of interacting with such faithful women is the opportunity to assist them when problems or issues arise for them personally or in their families. Because they are grounded in the law, it becomes a true exercise in putting legs to their faith, confronting the difficult and sometimes heart-wrenching circumstances. Together we find the reliable guidance from Scripture so that they can face the future knowing that God rewards faithfulness and that true answers are found within the pages of God’s Word.
Some specific instances come to mind where issues of addiction, infidelity, rebellious children, and illness are brought to my attention. My philosophy of counseling is not to “solve” others’ problems but to get enough information about the situation to steer them into an understanding that ultimately they are dealing with areas of obedience or disobedience (either in themselves or others) and that the law of God is there to help with possible reformation, resolution, reconciliation, and finally restoration.
No, the issues do not disappear overnight, nor does every conversation or session end with all being resolved. However, I always emphasize that they must posit victory in that the Lord promises He will never leave or forsake those He has brought into His family. Usually, there is work to be done and an honest self-examination to ensure a commitment to bringing about resolution. After all, it is most often the path of least resistance just to give up.
Those who have gone through the Chalcedon Teacher Training Institute course of Institutes of Biblical Law in some cases have continued their studies in the area of Christian education and Christian charity. I am forever grateful that I received this kind of hands-on training and mentoring from the late R.J. Rushdoony and his wife, Dorothy. In many ways, they prepared me to answer God’s call to help as I had been helped.
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].