Mar 25

Rushdoony on Government

By: Roger Oliver 3/24/2014

Random quotes from Rushdoony, Systematic Theology Vol II, the church. Pertinent passages strung together that I posted in Spanish in an article on vision-mexico.com and on Facebook to provoke thoughtful questioning of the new educational reform in Visión México. Expands on another Rushdoony quote, “We must abandon the renewed paganism of statism. We must become a truly Biblically governed people.”

If we abandon the paganism of statism, what kind of government should replace it? What does it mean to be a truly Biblically governed people? Elder based government based on the family from the bottom up rather than a top down bureaucracy.

God thus ordained that the family be the nucleus of government. Various references to elders in the Bible make clear that eldership is a pattern for government in a variety of spheres. There are elders of the people or of the country, who made up the civil government.

This Biblical form of government requires that men and the families be trained to govern. The basic government is on the family level, and all other forms of government rest thereon. This means that a society is as secure as its family structure. This is a fact often confirmed by sociology and psychology, and with reason, because God has so ordered life. This structure ensures a strength in government. Whether in church or state, it is a stabilizing force.

What this pattern of eldership does is to create a network of responsible and governing men on the local level. Government is not primarily a function of remote state officials, or high-ranking church officers, but of every man in his place. Instead of a concentration of government at higher levels, government under God is diffused throughout society, and responsibility is made a mandate for every man.

It must be said that modern men are largely slaves. They leave the government of their children to their wives, the schools, or the church. The free man is thus a governing man. The slave, one who seeks security above freedom, cannot be an elder.

Without the law of God, and the examples of God’s judgment on lawbreakers in Scripture, history will be the continuing and weary round of judgment on unconfronted covenant-breakers. Even more, it is not merely knowledge of the law, but a life of faithfulness which is required. The goal is “that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:7).

The training for government in church, state, and other areas is in Scripture essentially within the family. Men must early be prepared for responsibility and eldership by being taught that their sins are more serious in the sight of God because they are men. It is not enough for boys to be trained to be good; they must also be trained to be able rulers of themselves and of their domain under God. An elementary qualification of any covenant man is cited by Paul as he discusses the church: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (I Tim. 5:8.)

The attitude of modern man is that status is a license for irresponsibility. Women have imitated men, and the feminist “liberation” movement is a demand for irresponsibility, and hence its close ties to the sexual revolution and to the homosexual and lesbian causes. The covenant child must be taught that he must be the most responsible person in his society if he is a boy, because he must function as an elder in his home and calling.

We dare not share in the evolutionary doctrine that the family represents an early and primitive stage in the history of man, and the state a higher one. Neither church (i.e., the Christian synagogue) nor state can be given apriority over the family.

The family is central to the covenant and therefore to every Christian institution, church, state, school, and all things else. Some churches still number their membership by families instead of individuals, a sound covenantal practice (In terms of I Corinthians 7:14, if one member of a family is redeemed, the family is numbered in terms of that one person.)

God’s Kingdom is much more than the Christian Church, state, school, and family and it is more than time and history. The necessity for salvation, God’s Kingdom, and God’s church refers to more than man’s institutions, although it can be inclusive of them. However, on the premise of the necessity of the institution of the church, men required membership of all men (It can be added that the state also sees itself as a necessary institution and as something more than man and transcending man.)

The eldership is a means of recapturing government for God; it is the starting-point of dominion, and it is the essence of godly government. In this calling, the wife is a help-meet in the exercise of man’s calling and dominion.

The alternative to God’s government is centralization, totalitarianism, and tyranny.

Accountability is a popular subject these days in the church. I always ask, “To whom and by what standard.” Provokes more quizzical looks than answers. Accountability would be dealt with appropriately in a family based elder leadership system.

The overseers’ job is primarily justice, judgment according to the Law/Word of God. The Biblical model found in Exodus 18 and Deuteronomy 1 is a natural organization of families, tens, fifties, hundreds and thousands. If the leader of a group of 10 families cannot solve the problem he was to appeal to the overseer of the group of 5 of these groups of 10, i.e. 50. Two 50’s make a group of 100 with an overseer for the same purpose. 10 groups of 100 make a group of 1000 with an overseer at that level for the same purpose. The focus is on justice, not control. (Exodus 18:13-26, Deuteronomy 1:9-17.)

“Without the law of God, and the examples of God’s judgment on lawbreakers in Scripture, history will be the continuing and weary round of judgment on unconfronted covenant-breakers.”

How should this affect the way we present the Gospel? What to do when you discover a new convert still sleeps around, at least with his girlfriend. It needs to be confronted in discipleship of course, but again, by what standard if not the Law? Should not something about this have been part of the gospel presented to this guy from the get go. Should we not be presenting Christ as Savior AND King?

I find myself using more and more the armament of apologetics as part of sharing the Gospel. But I’m still stuck in second gear because of a lifetime of formation using a Gospel tract and an perhaps oversimplified “presentation” of the Gospel. If you have any thoughts on this matter I’d love to hear them.

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