When R.J. Rushdoony passed away in the early months of 2001, many wondered what would happen to the Chalcedon Foundation. The question arose: Can a ministry that began in 1965, primarily focused on the lectures and writings of its founder, survive his death?
Well, almost sixteen years later, it is safe to say that under the leadership and guidance of Mark Rushdoony, not only has Chalcedon survived, but it has emerged with a renewed focus to make sure Rushdoony’s titles remain in print, and also to publish manuscripts that were completed awaiting publication. A slogan emerged that graced banners at our Extending the Reach events with Rush’s picture on them which simply read: Read Rushdoony.
And that is precisely what has happened. People in greater numbers began to read his material. Parents in the homeschooling movement who had benefitted from his efforts and life work (often unknowingly so) began to do more than just concern themselves with which school curriculum to purchase. They became hungry for a full-orbed faith which applied to every area of life and thought—one that could embrace a thoroughly Biblical worldview.
So Chalcedon’s president, Mark Rushdoony, and its board members, along with ensuring that Rush’s written material and audio sermons and lectures were available for purchase, made the bold move to also have them accessible online for anyone with an internet connection. One must admit that this is not a customary marketing plan; but it was a Biblical one in line with Matthew 10:8 which instructs, “Freely you have received, freely give.”
Our faithful supporters appreciated the opportunity to continue to access materials as well as share them with those they wished to reach with Chalcedon’s message that the Christian faith is a faith for all of life and that God’s law is the means by which we conquer the world in Jesus’ name. Little did we know in 2009–2010, as we revamped our existing website, that right around the corner was the cultural phenomena of social media and the ubiquitous nature of smart phones. Over time, it became obvious that our website wasn’t capable of meeting the new status quo technologically. What’s more, we realized that in order to respond to the growing appetite for Chalcedon’s message, we needed to make some significant changes so that people searching on Google for R.J. Rushdoony and Chalcedon would end up with accurate results from us rather than from detractors.
I am happy to report to our supporters that a renewed Chalcedon website has been worked on for over a year to produce an internet user experience that will not only allow people to read Rushdoony, but to make use of all of Chalcedon’s resources as well. To give you an idea of what this project entailed, let me share some numbers.
# of Magazine issues from 1997 to the present—162 (and more back issues being added regularly)
# of Magazine articles from 1997 to the present—1579 +
# of Research articles—1018 +
# of Audio albums—150 +
# of audio tracks—nearly 2000
# blog posts—350 +
# of books/e books—150
+ assorted videos, position papers, and journals of Christian Reconstruction
Thanks to the efforts of my faithful colleague (Jill Rouse—Dr. Rushdoony’s granddaughter) and a host of capable volunteers, we have categorized by topic this entire body of material. What’s more, thanks to a faithful supporter who had produced transcripts of the audio lectures, we now have a website architecture that allows for most of our material to be searched for key words and Scripture references. This material reflects more than just Dr. Rushdoony’s works. It includes like-minded writers who have contributed to Chalcedon over the years and their articles and books.
We also are partnering with a web development company whose owner is a dedicated, theonomic, Reconstructionist homeschooling his ever-growing family. He and his colleague provide us with an opportunity to enhance our web presence while keeping true to our mission and vision.
One of the things we endeavored to correct with this refresh of our web presence was the absence of good biographical information on R. J. Rushdoony. Thus, our new site has extensive background information on Rush, along with biographical material on his life, his family roots, and photos of him from childhood to his active work with Chalcedon. This will improve our SEO (search engine optimization) so that interested persons will hear from us rather than detractors.
Now visitors to www.Chalcedon.edu will have the opportunity to research by topic, author, format, and language (for those materials that have been translated into other languages). They will encounter a user experience very much akin to behaviors they are used to on popular library and commerce sites. And they will have access to examine material before they choose to purchase. In short, material will be available for pastors to prepare for sermons, students to include Chalcedon material in school papers, and students of Biblical law to have a powerful search tool to gather the particular information they seek.
Remind, Renew, Reconstruct & Restore
The “About Chalcedon” section reminds the reader that Chalcedon’s ministry is not underwritten by foundations or grants, but by the contributions of its underwriters and monthly supporters. The new website hopefully will renew their commitment to help Chalcedon continue to move ahead with equipping the church to renew its mandate to disciple the nations and reconstruct every area of life and thought to the honor and glory of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Our “Give” section makes it easy to fund this important work along with financing special projects that will further enable Chalcedon to restore society to a Biblical base.
Those who have worked with us to develop the revamped site have told us over and over how unlike any other site the Chalcedon site is. One comment we heard repeatedly was, “Many organizations are narrowly focused but attempt to look bigger and more influential than they are. Chalcedon is different. Yours is a ministry with vast resources and our task is to help people know just how important you are.” Every step along the way, our own focus and determination to advance Chalcedon’s message rekindled as we could see the potential that lay before us. We have added Virtual Master Class Webinars for young people, along with providing men and women individual online studies to enhance their understanding of Christian Reconstruction. Our “Connect” section will keep people up-to-date about these events and others. We have added a Faith and Action Blog, encouraging supporters to share how they are applying Biblical faith throughout their lives, in order to encourage others. This, along with our three existing blogs, will feature regular blog contributions in other languages, along with translations of our books and materials so that Chalcedon’s reach will extend throughout the world.
Is there a better time to reconstruct than now?
- 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].