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The Failure of Peashooter Religion

As men face the grim and pressing problems of a bitterly divided world, the problems of communism, anarchy, and lawlessness, they attack them with weapons of the peashooter class.

R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony,
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CA Farmer 233:4 (Sept. 19, 1970), p. 27.

Have you ever tried to stop a charging elephant with a peashooter, or to bring down a springing lion with a BB gun? The very idea is, of coursea, ridiculous, but, all the same, much of the world seems to believe it can be done.

As men face the grim and pressing problems of a bitterly divided world, the problems of communism, anarchy, and lawlessness, they attack them with weapons of the peashooter class. As a result, the problems increase instead of decrease.

The root of the problem is peashooter religion. The Bible declares that man’s root problem is that he is a fallen creature, at war with God and therefore at war with himself and his neighbor. Man is thus radically sick, and the name of his sickness is sin. The only cure is regeneration through the grace of God in Jesus Christ, and then growth in obedience to His law-word. As men become strong and disciplined by God’s law and obedience to it, they are then able to cope with the problems of our day all of which stem from a radical lawlessness. This is true religion, strong religion.

But peashooter religion has easier and more popular answers. Many peashooter preachers urge us to pass certain laws as the cure-all for everything. Others urge us to be nice to everybody as though being nice to a thief makes him more honest! The peashooter preachers offer every kind of answer except the one God provides, the re-creation of all things in and through Jesus Christ. The peashooter preachers offer us man and man’s way, when it is precisely man and man’s way which has gotten us into our mess.

Are things bad today? And does the prospect look worse for tomorrow? There is good reason for our ugly situation. Anyone who tries to stop a charging elephant with a peashooter has a very poor future.

Isn’t it time we forsook our peashooter religion for the power of God and His Word?


R. J. Rushdoony
  • 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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