Access your downloads at our archive site. Visit Archive
Magazine Article

The Renewal of Christendom Is R. J. Rushdoony's Legacy

R. J. Rushdoony was my spiritual father and my most important teacher.

  • Howard Phillips,
Share this

R. J. Rushdoony was my spiritual father and my most important teacher.

On a flight from Virginia to California in 1975 on behalf of The Conservative Caucus, an old friend, Frank Walton, seated across the airplane aisle, handed me a Chalcedon Position Paper concerning socialized medicine.

My late father-in-law, Dr. Walter O. Blanchard, had been a determined foe of those who sought to intrude the government between doctor and patient.

In 1962, while still a Harvard undergraduate, I had testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means in opposition to legislative proposals which presaged the comprehensive governmentalization of health care which has been affected during the past four decades.

I was excited by Rushdoony's insights and arguments in opposition to socialized medicine but what gripped me was his reliance, not on human reason, but rather on Biblical stricture.

That was brand new to me. The idea that the Bible spoke to my public policy concerns and, as I soon realized, to all of my other concerns as well, was the first step on the road to a comprehensive Christian faith.

My appetite was whetted. I devoured Volume I of Rush's Institutes of Biblical Law, and, subsequently, read most of his other books as well.

For the first time in my life, I began studying the Bible, at last appreciating that every word contained therein has a unique, enduring meaning and purpose.

On long driving trips, accompanied by members of my family, we began listening intently to Rush's sermons, each of which was characterized by teaching, even more than preaching.

I learned that all I possess is a blessing from God and that permanent ownership is His. As His vice-regent, I am obliged to be a good steward of that which He entrusts to me, duty bound to use my resources to help build His kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven.

My children are His, so I removed them from the control and influence of what is a competing sovereignty, the schools of the anti-Christian state.

In his commentaries concerning the Sabbath, Rush taught me to take hands off my life and to be at peace in the knowledge that Jesus Christ is in control and at work, even when I am at rest, perhaps especially when I am at rest.

On a personal level, Rush was patient and encouraging as I grappled with the meaning of Christian faith, at last realizing and acting on the fact that, without Christ's substitutionary blood sacrifice, there is no atonement for our sins.

As one called to battle in the public policy arena, the lessons Rush taught me afforded coherence and a "vision of victory" in my study, my analysis, and my advocacy.

The sovereignty of the Triune God is the fundamental premise of sound thinking. God is sovereign in all jurisdictions: family, vocation, education, military affairs, and civil government.

Law is always the will of the sovereign. Christ the King is our lawgiver. The society that rejects His law cannot be rightly characterized as Christian.

All thinking is presuppositional. God's truth, as revealed in Holy Scripture, is the only correct starting point.

Neutrality is a myth. Jesus Christ is truth itself. Thought and action either conforms to truth, or is in rebellion against it.

All ideas are inherently, inescapably "religious." All institutions and all activities, therefore, are "faith based." Planned Parenthood, Gay Men's Health Crisis, the Legal Services Corporation, the Department of Education, and the National Endowment for the Arts: each operates from presuppositions about the nature of God and man.

Jurisdictionally, the state ought not govern the family or the church. That which is subsidizes, it regulates. Each of us is accountable in some degree to those from whom we receive benefits.

Funding of "faith-based institutions" is not a new notion, but invariably it corrupts and compromises the donee as well as the donor.

Faith has no boundaries. It is relevant to every area of life and thought.

It is my conviction that, decades from now, in the perspective of history, Rousas Rushdoony will be recognized as the man whose scholarship and persevering exposition sparked the renaissance of Christendom first in America, and then, throughout the world.

Even now, Rush has a living legacy in the home education movement of which he was the intellectual progenitor.

He never favored theocracy, as was alleged by ignorant, undiscerning, sometimes malevolent, critics; but he never shrank from the fact that we live in a theonomic world, whether we admit it or not.

The restoration of theonomic logic to the American political discourse is not the least of R. J. Rushdoony's legacies, and I for one have been grateful to bear the standard of Biblical reality in the electoral arena.