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The Stolen Church

The greatest robbery of our day is the stealing of the church. The church properly belongs to Jesus Christ.

R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony,
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California Farmer: 227:3 (August 5, 1967), p. 32.

The greatest robbery of our day is the stealing of the church. The church properly belongs to Jesus Christ. It exists in His name, and its purpose is to preach the Word of God, administer the sacraments, and faithfully apply godly discipline to Christ’s members. But the church has been stolen. The thieves are the modernists, socialists, humanists, all of which adds up to one fact, anti-Christianity. Using the name of Christ, these sanctimonious thieves have crept into the church, gained control of it, captured the pulpit and the bank accounts and endowed funds, and they are using the church to advance their anti-Christian purposes. Instead of proclaiming Christ, the church is now preaching social revolution and financing it. First of all, then, the church has been stolen from Jesus Christ.

Second, the church has been stolen from the people of God, from faithful Christians. In numerous cases, faithful Christians, whose money built the church and supported the pastors, have seen a minister or priest assigned to their church who denounced his faith, preached doubts concerning Christ, promoted social revolution, and drove out of the church the very people whose faith, work, and dollars had built it. These Christians have been robbed: their church has been stolen from them. When they protest the theft, these faithful believers are actually denounced as troublemakers! Is it any wonder that shock and bewilderment are being expressed in many communities?

What can be done? To answer that question, it is necessary to look realistically at the situation. Two things are under attack: first, Christianity, and second, church property.

The church property has been largely captured, and the law courts on the whole support the legality of that takeover. This is very regretful, but not much can be done about it now. The more important questions are, have they captured us, and will they destroy Christianity?

They cannot capture us if we refuse to be a part of them, if we walk out of their anti-Christian churches and lay afresh the old foundations of true faith. And they cannot destroy Christianity, because it is not of man but of God, not a natural force but a supernatural force. On the contrary, God will in due time judge and destroy them, and we had better avoid these churches which are headed for judgment.

We are in a battle, and we had better realize it and move in terms of it. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph. 6:13). And what kind of a stand can you make associating with thieves and supporting them?

The church must be rebuilt, not in terms of any man’s wishes, but in terms of the Word of God. If it is to be Christ’s church, it must be governed by God’s Word and Christ’s saving purpose. We are told today that the church must “serve men.” This is not its purpose: it was called into existence by Jesus Christ to be the community of the redeemed, the light of the world, and the salt of the earth. And this it can be only by faithfulness to Jesus Christ.


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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