Chalcedon Report No. 358, May 1995
One of the prevailing beliefs on the right and on the left is in conspiracies. People like to believe, “They did it to us.” Now, a conspiracy is a plan by a group of men to accomplish a particular goal, and the goal may be good or bad. There have been no lack of conspiracies in history, and they are surely with us today. The important question is a moral and religious one: who determines history? Conspiracies, or men under God empowered by the sovereign and determining God?
Christianity has said, over the centuries, that man is in sin; Christ is man’s Savior, giving man salvation; and the purpose of our salvation is service, doing the King’s work in terms of the King’s law-word.
If we do not see this, the power of God working through us as determinative of history, we will see another and a dangerous answer. We will then see history as determined by evil conspiracies which exercise a radical control and power over us. Men are then puppets and tools, not God’s vicegerents called to make all things new in Him. To regard conspiracies as determinative of history is to deny God’s sovereignty.
Not too many years ago, a man became very angry with me for saying that the Soviet Union could not endure because it was anti-God. The Soviet Union, moreover, was so derelict in its economy that it was ensuring its own collapse. This man insisted that the laws of economy did not apply to the Soviet Union because it had replaced economics with slavery. He saw no hope of its collapse.
In a world without God and His law, tyrannies can rewrite reality and ensure their indefinite continuance, but in God’s world the wages of sin are always death. We are commanded, “Trust in him at all times” (Ps. 62:8). Because God is God, no power can or does exist except by His permission.
To see history as determined by conspiracies, or by demonic forces, or by evil men means, first, to deny that God is the Lord, that He is Sovereign. Second, it also is a denial of our responsibility. Our Lord did not give us an impossible commission (Matt. 28:18–20) but a totally possible, necessary, and required one. We need to read and reread the commission to Joshua (Josh. 1:1–9), of which the Great Commission of our Lord is an expansion (from Canaan to the world and all nations) while a summary thereof. The promises are remarkable: “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that I have given unto you” (Josh. 1:3). “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Josh. 1:9).
One of our problems today is that we forget that we are a commanded people. One of the greatest evils in the church today is the heretical belief that we choose Christ. Our Lord in John 15:16 is emphatic that we do not choose Him but He chooses us and commands us to bear fruit to Him. People who deny God’s predestination scare me; some actually say, “I know what the Bible says here, but it can’t mean what it says.” God is not our servant, although some will say, “He gives me what I ask for”; but He is our Lord and Commander who says, “You will give me all of yourself and your substances as I require it.” Between the two attitudes, there is a world of difference, and they are different faiths. Arminianism and conspiracy theories have much in common.
Ours is a command faith because our God is the Lord, and He does whatsoever He pleases (Ps. 115:3). What He ordains cannot be undone. The nations or heathens do indeed rage, and the rulers conspire together against God the Lord and His Messiah, but God laughs, and He holds them in derision (Ps. 2:4). We need to share in that heavenly laughter. Instead of trembling at the vain imaginations of man, we need to stand fast in our faith.
Paul has a magnificent answer to all the evils the ungodly perpetrate on God’s people. Whatever happens to us, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Rom. 8:37). This is an audacious statement. Paul had in mind Roman conquerors, their triumphal entries with many slaves, the gold and other treasures of the conquered people, and their leaders in chains. As against this fact of mighty conquerors, Paul simply states that we are more than these conquerors in our victories when we faithfully serve our King. Our King shall reign when Marx, all his followers, and all other tyrants and conspirators are only dim memories and fading lines in history. Our Lord is the great King over all kings.
- 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.