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Magazine Article

Remembering Rushdoony

I was converted in a dispensational church and secured a B.A. in Bible from a dispensational college (Tennessee Temple College).

  • Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D.,
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I was converted in a dispensational church and secured a B.A. in Bible from a dispensational college (Tennessee Temple College). My first two years of seminary were spent studying at a dispensational seminary (Grace Theological Seminary). Yet, by the grace of God, while studying at Grace Seminary I began to detect disturbing inconsistences between the dispensational system (which greatly de-emphasizes the Old Testament and God’s law) and a truly Biblical theology. Consequently, in 1975 I transferred to Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, where I could pursue a more serious and potent theology.

At Reformed Seminary I studied under Greg L. Bahnsen. I soon became enthralled with his postmillennial and theonomic distinctives. And though this was all new to me, I soon learned that what he was teaching was not unique. He frequently referred to R. J. Rushdoony, encouraging students to read his writings. Though Greg Bahnsen brought me to a theonomic and postmillennial perspective, proclaiming the supremacy of God’s law and the kingship of Christ today, R. J. Rushdoony provided abundant historical and theological material filling out this intensely Reformed worldview.

I had learned much of basic Bible knowledge at Temple and Grace, yet it was through studying Rushdoony and his disciples that I became aflame with a zeal for the Reformed faith and a full-orbed Christian worldview.

My wife, Melissa, was a staff librarian at RTS while I was there. She had the task of cataloging their enormous collection of Rushdoony tapes. And I had the joy of listening to them after she cataloged them. I am thankful for both the audio technology and the future-oriented foresight that recorded Rushdoony’s many lectures. I am also thankful that many of these have ended up in polished form in articles and books. His books and lectures still provide a wealth of resource materials for deep worldview reflection. And my library is filled with Rushdoony materials.

I count it a joy to have known Rush, and to have spoken on the same platform with him at conferences. I am thankful also that he was willing to answer questions from this neophyte theologian whenever I would write to him about something. His ministry to me was not just third-party and academic, it was personal and practical.

Rushdoony is rightly deemed the “Father of Christian Reconstruction.” He was the first to crystallize its theological concepts in a coherent worldview format. His combining of presuppositional apologetics, Calvinistic soteriology, postmillennial eschatology, theonomic ethics, and covenantal theology — all elements that focus the believer’s attention on the supreme sovereignty of God over every aspect of Creation — provided a potent mix for a world-challenging, history-changing paradigm.

When he passed away I not only felt the loss of a mentor and a friend, but I feared the decline of a Chalcedon now bereft of its irreplaceable founder. By the grace of God, though, it appears that Mark Rushdoony and family and associates are up to the task, not only for continuing to reproduce and enhance Rushdoony materials, but also to charge confidently into the future with new educational products expanding and applying his views.

Though Rush is gone, he is not forgotten. And with God’s blessings upon Chalcedon and Rush’s prodigious output of materials, I believe we are in for continued promotion of his views for the historical long haul. And that is just what we should expect as Biblical postmillennialists!

  • Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D.

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., holds degrees from Tennessee Temple University (B.A.), Reformed Theological Seminary (M. Div.), and Whitefield Theological Seminary (Th. M.; Th. D).  He also attended Grace Theological Seminary for two years.  He is Research Professor in New Testament (Whitefield Theological Seminary), a theological writer, and conference speaker. He has written numerous books and articles on issues such as theology, ecclesiology, eschatology, theonomy, six-day creation, presuppositionalism, worldview, Christian education, and more.  He also offers a Christian writing correspondence course.  He is the Director of GoodBirth Ministries, a non-profit religious educational ministry committed to sponsoring, subsidizing, and advancing serious Christian scholarship and education.  He is a retired Presbyterian minister holding his ordination vows in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Assembly.

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