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Rushdoony In Brazil

A special report on the ongoing work of translating R. J. Rushdoony's books into Portuguese.

  • Felipe Sabino de Araújo Neto,
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As I have written before, I discovered Rushdoony’s writings by divine providence.1 I had never heard his name. Not even my friends, students at theological seminaries in the USA, had ever talked about him, or even mentioned his name.

Reformed theology is still in the minority in my country (Brazil). And the predominant view in our Reformed camps is a mix of pietism, pessimism, and antinomianism. The “Lutheran” two kingdoms theology reigns sovereign in our pulpits, and the inscripturated law of God is not viewed as “a perfect rule of righteousness” (WCF, Chap. 19), valid for all mankind (even after the Fall).

When I discovered the doctrines of grace I became even hungrier for the Word of God. At the time, I read a great deal every day and was constantly looking for solid food. But some subjects and theologians are not even mentioned in our churches or seminaries. For example, I had never heard about postmillennialism. All the conferences were about amillennialism and its enemy: premillennialism (historical and dispensationalist). And I had never heard one word about theonomy. It seems that there is only one view about God’s law: a norm for Christians only (and for some aspects of this life only), not for all society and all of life.

So, Rushdoony’s writings had to be discovered by divine providence. The internet (particularly Google searching) was a blessing to me in this respect. Despite my love for the writings of Spurgeon, Pink, Lloyd-Jones, Gordon Clark, and others, I was shocked by Rushdoony. His style was simple and his prose clear. His arguments were powerful and his knowledge incredibly vast. He speaks with boldness and authority. I was reading a modern prophet.

Then, I came to realize that my fellows also needed to read this prophet sent by God. All of them were reading escapist books, drinking from rotten waters, like Michael Horton, John MacArthur, etc. Of course, I realize that these men have a Biblical view on soteriology, but that’s about it. They don’t teach the Biblical doctrine of dominion. They don’t realize that we must occupy under God until He comes. They don’t teach that we must build families, churches, schools, and hospitals governed by the law-word of God.

It was in Rushdoony’s writings that I came to see the sanctifying use of the law. This aspect is particularly neglected in the modern church. Even modern Reformed theologians commit this grave error. Yes, we are justified by the grace of God in Jesus Christ, but as Rushdoony correctly pointed out, “man’s sanctification is by means of the law of God.”2 The Spirit of God will not use any other norm or law to sanctify us. We are sanctified by the truth, and the law-word of God is truth.

Then I started translating Rushdoony. First, his articles and excerpts from books. And as I was reading, rereading, and translating more, I became persuaded that Rushdoony was unique. As a result, still thinking of reaching more people with his singular material, I started a project, to translate and publish (in physical format) all of Rushdoony’s books. Despite all the obstacles (mainly, meagre financial resources), by the grace of God, I have published many books. The first I translated and published was God’s Plan for Victory. What dynamite! I reread this little gem a couple of times.

You can check the books that we have already translated here: The new ones, recently translated, are an important addition to our growing Rushdoony’s library in Portuguese.

Flight from Humanity

Foundations of Social Order

Noble Savages

Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum

Law & Liberty

Good Morning, Friends - Volume 1

I am very happy to finally publish Noble Savages (I used the old title in my Portuguese edition: The Politics of Pornography). Even unbelievers have welcomed this book. I asked William Edgar (Westminster Theological Seminary) to write the preface. He read the book with enthusiasm for the first time and wrote an excellent piece.

I believe Rushdoony’s writings are fundamental to the future of Christianity. As Andrew Sandlin wrote in the preface to A Comprehensive Faith, “it is only by an application of Rushdoony’s thought to all spheres of human existence that Christians can expect to ‘reconstruct’ modern life on an explicitly Biblical basis.”3 And what is Rushdoony’s thought? That each and every area of life must be brought under the rule of God by means of His infallible law-word. Let Rushdoony speak for himself:

If God is God, if He truly is the Lord or Sovereign, everything must serve Him and be under His dominion, the state, schools, arts, sciences, the church, and all things else. To limit the jurisdiction of the God of the Scripture to the soul of man and to the church is to deny Him.4

And by God’s grace I can say that, because of my work, Rushdoony, the postmillennial faith, and theonomy are “famous” in Brazil. There is much opposition to his name and his positions, of course, but people talk about these things now. And many young Christians have embraced his victorious eschatology and are trying to apply Biblical law to all of life.

A friend of mine, inspired by my work, translated Lessons Learned From Years of Homeschooling by Andrea G. Schwartz, which I am planning to publish in paperback edition soon. In fact, education is one of the most promising areas to introduce Rushdoony’s works in Brazil. Many families are finally awakening to the crucial need of a Biblical education and homeschooling in a scenario where the humanist state governs everything. Even Catholics are reading Rushdoony’s books in this area, particularly Intellectual Schizophrenia and The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum.

As was expected, the churchmen are more hostile to Rushdoony and his books. He is routinely ignored or opposed. But as I always say to my coworkers, maybe we are working for the next generations. In the providence of God our grandsons and the sons of our grandsons will be born in an atmosphere more favorable to God’s law. And Rushdoony’s books in Portuguese will be waiting for them. What a great banquet!

There is still much work to be done. And I appreciate Mark Rushdoony’s vision—he has been a great encouragement in my work. Without his support and permission, the voice of his father would not be echoing in the land of Brazil.

Night is coming, when no one can work. Let’s work while it is day!

Felipe Sabino is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Editora Monergismo


2. R. J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law (Vallecito, CA: Chalcedon/Ross House Books, [1973] 2020), p. 4

3. Andrew Sandlin, ed, A Comprehensive Faith (San Jose, CA: Friends of Chalcedon, 1996), p. 1.

4. R. J. Rushdoony, Roots of Reconstruction (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1991), p. 182.