Rushdoony’s Sermons in First and Second Corinthians are the last of his Biblical commentaries—delivered shortly before his passing—but it represents a fitting close to his teaching ministry. He said Paul’s letters are difficult to preach on because they speak to the sins of Christians, and with the church at Corinth, the long list of sins included division, strife, injustice, immorality, doctrinal error, and the abuse of the sacraments.
Despite their many transgressions, the apostle Paul still addresses the believers at Corinth as saints and referred to their gathered community as the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. They were still Christ’s embassy on earth. They could still develop into a greater training center for Christian action.
This is why Paul’s letters to the Corinthians are relevant to the church today, and it’s also why Rushdoony’s sermons on these two epistles are invaluable to us now. Rushdoony was criticized for his ecclesiology, but only because he always saw the greater fact of God’s advancing Kingdom, and the church as the equipping center for the saints. Rushdoony’s fresh application of Paul’s warnings and admonitions will help Christians, pastors, and churches to free themselves of the same sins and return to the church as an embassy of the Kingdom.
THE NEED FOR A GODLY SOCIAL ORDER
“The church could not hope in time to rule the world if it could not rule itself. It was thus very important for Paul to bring the Corinthians back into obedience to God’s law, among other things.”
The apostle Paul was an envoy to the ekklesia of Jesus Christ—those who are called to establish God’s Kingdom on earth. Therefore, the importance
of his patience, correction, and instruction could not be diminished if he were to be faithful to the One who sent him. The church is Christ’s embassy to earth to reclaim what belongs to Him. Against the backdrop of a history filled with hatred for God and hatred of all that is holy, our greater calling is the establishing of a godly social order, and this commentary by Rushdoony is a welcomed text to help equip us for that great responsibility.
- 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.
- Nathan Conkey