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Praising the Wicked

By R. J. Rushdoony
March 23, 2006

(Reprinted from Bread upon the Waters: Columns from the California Farmer [Fairfax, VA: Thoburn Press, 1974], 93–94.)

CA Farmer 229:7 (Oct. 5, 1968), p. 37.

Praising the wicked, and rewarding them, seems to be the main purpose of our judges and legislators these days.

If this seems too strong a statement, then take it up with God because Scripture plainly declares, “They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them” (Prov. 28:4). The law in question is God’s law. If men abandon it, they are deserting not only law but righteousness and justice. They will therefore “praise the wicked” instead of contending with them, instead of trying to control and suppress evil.

Recently, I sat in a courtroom during hearings for two criminals, one caught in the commission of a crime, the other with a car he had stolen before witnesses. They were planning to plead innocent and were going to be provided with public defenders at taxpayers’ expense; those robbed would get no return, in one case for stolen funds and in the other case for a possibly damaged car. There was no thought in the court or law of the Biblical law of restitution. The penalty was being paid by the victims in many hours lost in the courtroom, lost goods, and taxes paid. The criminals, both with records, were dealt with gently, lest it prejudice the case, and the victims and police were questioned at times sharply.

A fair trail is a necessity under God’s law, but a court that continually penalizes the victims is in effect praising the wicked.

We need to ask the question, therefore, as to why men and nations praise the wicked. Birds of a feather flock together, and evil men will show their preference for evil, and guilty men will work to make justice ineffective lest it judge them also.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Prov. 29:18). A Biblical scholar, the Reverend Derek Kidner, has pointed out that the Hebrew for this verse can be translated literally as, where there is no prophecy or vision, that is, no preaching of the Word, “the people run wild.” Because there has been very little true preaching of the Word of God, the people run wild. And a wild people will praise the wicked.


Topics: Biblical Law, Justice, Philosophy, Culture , Poetry & Wisdom Literature, Church, The

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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