Episode #1 – The Life and Influence of R.J. Rushdoony and Christian Reconstructionism
Join us for Episode #1 of the “The Easy Chair in Practice.” On this new podcast we will revisit sermons, lectures, and discussions by R.J. Rushdoony and will give examples of how the doctrine and teachings of Rushdoony are to be put into practice. Join us once a month as we discuss the legacy and teachings of R.J. Rushdoony, and the implementation of Christian Reconstructionism today and in the future.
Transcript of Episode:
Speaker 1: The Reconstructionist Radio Podcast Network presents The Easy Chair in Practice. Join us as we revisit sermons, lectures and discussions by R.J. Rushdoony and give examples of how the doctrines and teachings of Rushdoony are to be put into practice and how Christian Reconstruction is to be implemented today and in the future.
Jeremy Walker: The Easy Chair in Practice podcast is brought to you by the GCS apprenticeship program. For more information, visit gcsapprenticeship.com
This is the Easy Chair in Practice. Episode one. April 2017. The Life and Influence of R.J. Rushdoony and Christian Reconstruction. Now, with me today, my name of course is Reverend Jeremy Walker and with me today is Reverend Aaron Slack, and of course, Pastor MacIntyre as well. So, we’re going to go ahead and just go around and give some brief overview of who we are and we’ll start over here with Pastor MacIntyre. Go ahead and give us a basic overview of yourself.
Pastor McIntyre: I’m the old man of the group. 81 years old. Be 82 in May. Married. Eight children and 57 grandchildren and another one on the way. My educational background, University of Pittsburgh. Started there in 1953. Also did some course work at University of Pennsylvania and then work at Bob Jones University and then work at Johns Hopkins and my final place of earning my requirements for a PhD, the University of Southern California and I was awarded that PhD by Faith Theological. The authorship of my book was perhaps one of the more academic pursuits of my life. The title, How to Become a Millionaire in Christian Education. And we have become millionaires in Christian education over and over again. Now, it may seem immodest to mention how wealthy I am but the title, How to Become a Millionaire in Christian Education is more than a hypothetical thing.
The ministry that we have has produced a great deal of income for a great many of people who have gone out and duplicated what we’re doing and was a source of income. One of the major sources of income for publishing R.J. Rushdoony’s books.
Reverend Aaron: I’m Reverend Aaron M. Slack. My wife and I have managed the Fort Myers Grace Community School location here in Florida. My wife and I, we have six children. I’ve been working with Grace Community School full time since the year 2000. I’ve written a book, Full Reward Reformation Through Family Run Christian Schools, which you can get at www.gcsappreniceship.com and in addition to all that, I also run the marketing and social media programs for Grace Community School.
Jeremy Walker: And my name of course is Reverend Jeremy Walker and my wife and I run one of the Grace Community School locations [inaudible 00:03:32] Springs and I’ve been with Grace Community School since around the year 1999, so a little over 17 years now. And we have 10 children, one on the way, so number 11 any day really. About a couple of weeks from now. And I have been with Grace Community School for that amount of time, operating and managing the schools. Through our work and efforts, we have also assisted in writing the operations manual. That’s also available on the GCS apprenticeship website at gcsapprenticeship.com along with also offering the curriculum that our schools run. The preschool curriculum is also tailor made for grace community school and schools like ourselves, which is also available on the website.
And of course the GCS reading program as well, so as you listen to this podcast and as you will hear us talk about our schools, one of the things we’ll talk about is of course the educational aspects of that and one thing we do focus on is reading. So I was also able to help author that as well. So, that kind of wraps up who we are, what we’re all about, and what we’ve done and of course one of the things that is most important to us as far as relevancy to this podcast is that R.J. Rushdoony has been very influential in the lives of each of us and the organization that Dr. McIntyre has founded and that we all assist to run on a daily basis, which is Grace Community School.
So, we’re going to go ahead and get ourselves started here as we discuss the life and influence of R.J. Rushdoony because of course The Easy Chair in Practice is the name of our podcast here and of course it comes from the Easy Chair series that R.J. Rushdoony himself did and he did this well before podcasting like this one was even thought about or invented and he had done it once a month and had sent out tapes of interviews and book reviews and topics he felt was relevant and important. So, we’re going to be doing similar to that. Kind of homage to what he did, and of course mostly focusing on Christianity and Christian reconstruction in practice.
So, we’re going to go ahead and begin by discussing the life and influence of R.J. Rushdoony, and I think we’ll start with Pastor McIntyre who actually was involved in a couple of discussions on the original Easy Chair series. He was actually interviewed two times that I know of on there as well, so he actually was on that series and now with us as well and will be with us on every series we have or every episode we have. So, let’s go ahead and begin here. Pastor McIntyre, if you can go ahead and get us started here and we’ll all kind of discuss this as we go. How and when did you become introduced to R.J. Rushdoony?
Pastor McIntyre: I was in ministry. Grace Community School, or the [inaudible 00:06:11] Grace Community School in upper Marlboro, Maryland and I went around the beltway there in Washington, DC to visit [Thoburns 00:06:22] Bookstore and buy quite a few books, reading materials so forth I was going to implement in my school. And like a business man, I tried to negotiate a lower price from Thoburn’s son who was running the bookstore which he offered me a discount because I was offering … I had a big school of 700 and some children and whenever I went for the second dip on the discount, he reached under the counter and brought up a big book, slammed it on the counter. And he says, “Well,” he says, “I could give you a free copy of this book.” He says, “Nobody ever reads it I don’t think,” he says, “But it’s a very nice reference book on God’s law which you might find good at add to your library.”
And so I accepted that as the second [inaudible 00:07:19] on a discount that he had. Contrary to what he thought, whenever I went home I started to read it and couldn’t put it down. His concept of God’s law and the foundation that was missing from Community Schools and missing from all Christian schools I found very persuasive and read it through with great interest. That wet my appetite for many of the other books that R.J. Rushdoony recommended and that started me on the way that whenever I got fired for the third time from Christian schools, went south to Florida where we are now. I was convinced that the God’s law had to be taught. Also from my reading, I was convinced that the situation that we’re in today is nothing new. Martin Luther, for example, in Germany when the reformation started had ministers priests who didn’t know anything about the law. Didn’t know where it was. Couldn’t quote it. Very much like today.
Our ministry today, not only don’t know the law, don’t bother to teach it. As a matter of fact, anybody who go out of the way not to teach God’s law because it doesn’t bring people back every week to put money in the offering plate. So, it’s a consequence whenever I went south I would have to start at the preschool level. That’s exactly what Martin Luther did. Martin Luther formed a catechism. The first thing he did was catechize the priests because they didn’t know the law either and reading Martin Luther’s life, he echoed many of the same things that R.J. Rushdoony said. I remember on one of his visits he made to me, he said today’s conservative Christian, fundamentalist Christian or reformed Christian, whatever title you want to take for their background only has about a half a bible. That’s the way he put it.
I found over the years since then, that’s over 30 some years ago that I met him, that he was exaggerating when he said half a bible. Really, most ministers don’t have it, don’t teach it, and don’t teach it early enough either. For that reason, I started preschool. I have nine of them now and over 1,500 to 2,000 student in a year’s time and the emphasis to the very young God’s law I think is a very foundational place to put in practice what R.J. Rushdoony had to say. And of course, [inaudible 00:10:28] working with me know very well what I’m talking about.
The listener out there needs to consider why it is that they do not teach God’s law and I think it’s practical on their part that the teaching of God’s law is not very welcome by most Christians today. For example, I was listening the other day I think it was to Fox News and they were talking about picketing an abortion clinic and the thought occurred to me, yes, [inaudible 00:11:05] picketing a abortion clinic is a worthwhile activity but teaching against fornication and teaching against adultery would perhaps be a better place to start than at the end whenever we’re talking about to kill or not to kill a baby in the womb.
Also, I can remember another time I was a guest speaker at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and the questioning got around to the point about what was the matter with the American family and the professor offered that he thought it was financial difficulties that was responsible for most divorce. And I offered to … Yes, that may have something to do with it, but I think it really has much to do with premarital and extramarital sex. But that isn’t the thing that they like to confess to their pastor or to general public as such.
So, that’s the unspoken cause of much of the immorality and much of the divorces in our society. So, putting into practice R.J. Rushdoony I think begins with teaching against fornication and adultery and this is not easily don’t with adults if you’re doing it to a church because I guarantee you that if you emphasize that too much, you’re not going to build a mega church teaching God’s law as such. But the open door is the preschool where you can teach this to preschool children. You can’t teach it to the adults very well, but you can teach preschool children the way to have a successful life is to begin to keep your wedding vows now and that is an emphasis which can bring in children every week. The parents won’t keep you from teaching their children if you teach them the 10 commandments, but woe unto you if you attempt to teach it to them. That’s quite a different item.
So, that’s how I got interested in R.J. Rushdoony and how I got interested in founding Christian schools.
Jeremy Walker: Wonderful. And Aaron, can you give us a little bit of how you were introduced to R.J. Rushdoony and maybe also how he influenced you as well?
Reverend Aaron: Well, my father was a past, reformed pastor. PCA originally, and then moved on to more reformed denominations. But he was always a voracious reader, my father, and I remember, I had to be about … This was in the early … Around 1990, I suppose. I was around eight years old. And when my dad would be getting ready for work in the morning or when he’d get home from the church office, church where he pastored. He would almost always while he was doing something else, he would always have a book on tape playing or a … Something of this … Lectures or something. Of course this was before CDs and MP3s and all that we have now, so it was cassette tapes and two of the ones he would frequently listen to that I picked up, even though I was about eight years old, would be the Otto Scott’s Points of the Compass and R.J. Rushdoony’s Easy Chair tapes.
So, I would often listen in to what my dad was listening to and so that would be my first exposure to Rushdoony was my father listening to the Easy Chair tapes. It was always interesting, all the people that he would have on there. My dad was had a very large library. R.J. Rushdoony was one of the authors in his library among many others and I would often flip through my father’s books and see what he was reading at the time and it was very frequently a Rushdoony book. And then as an adult working for Grace Community School, I became much more acquainted on a first hand basis with the teachings of Rushdoony. As Pastor McIntyre explained, this is pretty foundational and inspirational to the work that we do daily here at Grace Community School. Just very interesting. I can’t think of anything I’ve read from Rushdoony that was not very interesting and also very practical.
It’s amazing how, when you’re listening to him or reading one of his books, simultaneously he’s incredibly intellectual but also very, very down to earth as well. Of course, systematic theology was one of the ones we’d been through multiple times here. As an adult I’ve been through that. That’s one of the main ones. One of the more interesting ones in recent years I think have been the Word and Season series as well.
Jeremy Walker: The devotions [crosstalk 00:16:19] good, yeah.
Reverend Aaron: Yes. Very much written for the lay person, and again, simultaneously extremely intellectual and as we remarked upon, just incredibly practical all the time. No matter what he’s teaching, no matter how abstract the subject matter, he had a way of bringing it down and making applications to the day to day life of Christians and people in general. I can’t think of anyone so practical in his outlook as far as everything that he did.
Jeremy Walker: My first interactions with Rushdoony, although I didn’t know it at the time, was at the hand of actually some people who were reconstructionists as well but I had grown up in the Southern Baptist Church and growing up there, of course Christian reconstruction is not something that’s taught in the Southern Baptist Church. It’s more of a rapture oriented type thing as well or spiritual. You’re just waiting to get off the planet, for a lack of a better term. And I remember our church started a Christian school and it was the last two years of my high school, so 11th and 12th grade year and we started a small little church school. It was run by the principal and his wife and they, and now that I am older and now that I understand more, they were Christian reconstructionists putting into practice the things that Rushdoony was teaching, one of those being to attempt to open Christian schools because Rushdoony had focused on this quite a bit and the importance of doing this and how this played out in reconstructing things, from bringing things back to God.
And so this is where I got introduced to it. And as I was converted at the age of 17, the principal and his wife then said, “Oh, have you read this book?” I remember them handing me a book and taking a look at it and at the time of course I had never heard the name R.J. Rushdoony. I had never heard of the Institutes of Biblical Law. Very foreign to me, a Southern Baptist background, so anything Rushdoony was very practical, very relevant things that had practical applications to your life, how you’re actually supposed to live and the majority of my experiences in the church were all about saving the soul. That was it. Saving the soul, praying the prayer, and that was pretty much it. There’s really no information, no knowledge given towards every day life.
So, whenever Rushdoony was introduced to me, at the time I still didn’t know who he was, but then of course I felt the call for Christian education when I was about 18 years old, 18, 19 and I ended up coming to Grace Community School in southwest Florida. I was an apprentice to do just that, to learn how to teach. Of course I’ve been here ever since for 17 years and in that time, as Aaron’s mentioned here already, I’ve extensively studied R.J. Rushdoony and read his works again and again. Institutes of Biblical Law probably being my favorite book of all because of all the practical applications to real life.
But those are my experiences with Rushdoony. Somebody coming in and saying, “Well, maybe you should read this as well,” and showing me this institute’s book and of course the place I was going to work, Grace Community School, was also heavily invested. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, Pastor McIntyre, we’ve actually … The [inaudible 00:19:42] Covenant Church, our church and organization, has actually assisted in printing quite a few of those books. Right?
Pastor McIntyre: Yes, we financed the … Both volumes of the systematic theology. We also financed the Word and Season, as you mentioned about, which is an important thing to know about Grace Community Schools. We operate at substantial profit. It’s possible to run a Christian school out of substantial profit and as a result we’d been able to finance many of R.J. Rushdoony’s books and you also refreshed my memory. You said [inaudible 00:20:23] first time I ran across R.J. Rushdoony, I was still a student at Bob Jones University in 1969. I graduate in 71. And I was in the Christian book store at Bob Jones and I already had five children while I was going there.
I didn’t get converted until I was 30. And the clerk behind the counter came up to me and asked me what I was interested in and so forth and I said that I was conducting bible studies for my children and I knew that the presbyterian church [inaudible 00:21:06] had a catechism and I says, “Now I’m going to South Side Baptist Church.” I said, “Does the Baptist have a catechism like that?” And his face kind of paled and he looked one way and another and he says, “Yes.” What he gave me was the London Confession of Faith, and he said, “Did you say you had five children?” I says, “Well, yes. The sixth one’s on the way.” And he kind of looked around again, like anybody looking, and he reached under the counter and he brought out a small little booklet by R.J. Rushdoony, The Myth of Over-Population.”
Jeremy Walker: That’s a good book.
Pastor McIntyre: And he says, “I won’t charge you for this one. We don’t sell it here,” he says, “But I keep it under here to pass out.” And so he gave me The Myth of Over-Population, and this is 1969. That was the time when everybody at the graduate level, undergraduate level in secular schools … I began my education University of Pittsburgh and took a couple courses at the University of Pennsylvania also and it was universally taught that if birth control was not taught we were going to … It’s a little bit like Al Gore and global warming today. It was if we don’t stop having children, we’re going to over-populate the planet and it’s going to be our doom.
Jeremy Walker: I’d say they did a pretty good job of scaring people because now we have an under-population problem.
Pastor McIntyre: That’s exactly what happened. The scare about over-population was like Al Gore’s scare today. Well, R.J. Rushdoony’s favorite scripture was all they that hate me love death and death of course follows not having children and the commandment of the scriptures is to be fruitful and multiply. So, we would expect those who hate God to be in favor of death and that’s exactly what was going on, and exactly why the clerk had to look both ways with fright before he gave me the book because it was just so popular to not teach that everybody should have kids and that’s why he asked me, “You have five and one more on the way? You may find this interesting.” Otto Scott, by the way, was introduced to R.J. Rushdoony through the same book, The Myth of Over-Population.
Jeremy Walker: Interesting.
Pastor McIntyre: And he and I in his business down here to Naples, Florida, had many a good laugh talking about The Myth of Over-Population and how both of us were introduced to R.J. Rushdoony through that book.
Reverend Aaron: Not nearly as many people talk about the Malthusian theory.
Pastor McIntyre: Yes.
Reverend Aaron: Malthus I guess was a guy pretty much formalized the over-population thing. You don’t hear nearly as much about that. If anything, there’s a lot more news articles about the demographics crisis in different countries. Was in Japan? The median age is moving so far up because they’re not having children at all just as we are in the west, have the same issue. But yeah, we used to hear all … Over-population was all anybody talked about and not so much anymore.
Pastor McIntyre: Yes, and China of course is going through the same thing. Europe is below replacement value. In other words, if a husband and wife has two children, that makes a population remain static, however, I read recently that the population rate’s more about one child or 1.2 so I think it’s Pat Buchanan wrote not too many years ago that under-population was a greater problem and of course that’s today, 2017, it’s a very, very serious problem in indeed. Probably one of the reasons that Germany welcomed in all of the refugees is because of their population problem and of course they’re having problems with the Muslim faith as a consequence. But, I guess they were hoping to convert the Muslim to German humanism. [inaudible 00:25:43] that they converted them to R.J. Rushdoony they’d be much, much better off.
Jeremy Walker: I agree. Well, I think this is a good place for us to continue in shifting gears because I think Rushdoony, if anybody has been acquainted with Rushdoony at any point at time then they have their own story similar to what we have and certainly I hope the listeners, if they had been not introduced to him or what not, they should go ahead and check him out. You can go to the website for the main Chalcedon website, which is www.chalcedon.edu. Chalcedon is spelled C-H-A-L-C-E-D-O-N.edu. I definitely anyone to go there. You can find all the resources for R.J. Rushdoony’s books their website. So, if you have not yet been, if this is the first time you’re hearing about him, then I definitely encourage you to go to the website and learn more or you could pick up some books that are there as well.
One of the things I want to discuss as we’re on this first episode of ours is the concept of Christian Reconstructionism, because I think if I’m not mistaken, it seems to me from all I know of Rushdoony, the linchpin of what he taught was Christian Reconstructionism. I think there’s a lot of misunderstandings about what that was and what it meant and what he taught. A lot of people would mis-portray what he thought. A lot of people thought it was a political movement of sorts where-
Reverend Aaron: They call it Dominionism now.
Jeremy Walker: Right. They have changed the name, haven’t they, to Dominionism.
Reverend Aaron: Well, that’s the scare word that they use-
Jeremy Walker: Right.
Reverend Aaron: To denigrate it now. To call someone a Dominionist is bad.
Jeremy Walker: Yeah, they like to mischaracterize things but all you have to do is sit and listen. In the preparation of this, this new podcast here, The Easy Chair in Practice, I did sit back and I’ve listened to quite a few of The Easy Chair tapes, if not majority of them, in the past. But it’s been a while since I’ve sat down and listened to them again, and it’s rather refreshing to sit down and listen to the things that Rushdoony said. But all you have to do, like we’re talking about here, is listen to what he’s talking about, as far as what he was actually saying Christian Reconstructionism was. And it really wasn’t something I would say revolutionary to a large degree. In fact I would almost venture to say that it’s just basic Christianity. Meaning, that when a person is converted that they’re going to have a changed life and that everything that they do is also going to change as well.
If I’m not mistaken, I can’t really understand a difference between basic Christianity as taught in the bible and what Rushdoony was saying was considered to be Christian Reconstructionism if I’m not mistaken.
Reverend Aaron: And yet common sense is also revolutionary to many people.
Jeremy Walker: That’s so true. Common sense is definitely revolutionary. But with Christian Reconstructionism as well, I think that some of the things that we can go through here about it was one of the things that he taught and I’d like us to go ahead and continue to discuss maybe what this means because once again, we don’t want to talk about just intellectual concepts because in one of the episodes I was listening to in preparation for this first one, Rushdoony had a quote which I thought was really fantastic and it was dealing with people who were obsessed with learning. They’re obsessed with learning but not actually with the doing. So, this was something that he was against. He actually considered it to be a form of humanism, people that just wanted to learn, they just wanted to read, but they weren’t actually wanting to put into practice what they read.
So, I thought that was a great quote and especially something we should bring up here because that is the title of our podcast here, The Easy Chair in Practice, because we want to take the things and have the discussions about what Rushdoony was actually teaching, the books that he wrote, the lectures that he gave, the sermons that he had, all the different teachings and we want to go ahead and I explain how these things should actually be put into practice and spur people on to actually do something, not just to learn. In other words, Rushdoony, as you were saying, Aaron, was a high intellect. I don’t think anybody can question his ability to be intellectual or to be a scholar or a theologian, but I do think people misunderstand the fact that they’re trying to be Rushdoony instead of to listen to Rushdoony, if I’m not mistaken. Do you guys get that impression sometimes?
Pastor McIntyre: Yes. To supplant R.J. Rushdoony seems to be the ego trip that most ministers take. A minister usually starts off as a staff minister, youth pastor, what have you of an already established church or an already established Christian school. And just as having children, as many children as the lord would give you, be fruitful and multiply, is not taught in the ordinary church. Just so, starting a Christian school from scratch is something which is quite beyond the realm of thinking of most men getting out of seminary. But, the easiest way to start any Christian school is to start a day care. That’s where the market is, and that’s the easiest way to get started and it’s also the easiest way to make money.
The preschool is a going business and anybody who reads business publications and so forth, the preschools are the thing that makes good sense from business standpoint but I’m afraid business and practical business training is something that most pastors or graduates from seminary haven’t even thought about. Starting a preschool and working their way up from that to upper grades or to recruiting the parents of the children that they brought into the preschool into their church. So, as a consequence, most of them go broke as churches, or get very small churches that never grow or have youth that practice fornication and all of the other things that youth do because it’s years too late too many times to make a change in the life of the parents or the children. But if they children are got young, train them up in the way they should go or forbid not the little ones to come or basic scriptures urging us to teach the young.
But the teaching of the young children in the preschool is not well thought of by intellectuals to pick up on the line that you were talking about, Reverend Walker, it’s not a prestigious thing to start a preschool, but it is prestigious thing to lecture and write books and do all kind of things for adults. But that kind of a ministry is relatively ineffectual. It’s much more effectual to teach the children and it’s also much practical because you can make a living doing that and you can make a living teaching the entire bible, particularly God’s law, but you cannot do very well and very long to adults. It’s something that the adults do not welcome, and you’re relying on voluntary donations, you are going to have to preach what the adults want to hear. What the adults want to hear is salvation, love, easy believism, all of the things which leave out the thing that obedience is required and obedience is love as First John Five teaches, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments and His commandments are not grievous.”
The bible forever teaches from beginning to end that without a changed life, as you mentioned also, you really don’t know what love is and you have not put love into practice. The only thing you’ve done is salve your ego a little bit thinking you’re going to go to heaven just on the basis of self-proclamation. I claim to be a Christian just because I said so, and very often from the pulpit, I’m afraid, that’s what’s taught. Proclaim yourself Christian, but obedience is left out of the formula because obedience doesn’t bring them back next week to put their money in the plate.
Reverend Aaron: I think it’s worth mentioning as well that R.J. Rushdoony wholeheartedly approved of our ministry, specifically in our approach in teaching the very young.
Pastor McIntyre: Yes, he did. He visited the school several times and was very, very moved. I can remember he, as I was taking him around the school, I was at the Golden Gate school that we have, and he was standing at the end of the class and the minister was teaching the class and all the sudden, he motioned to me to step outside and I stepped outside and he said to me with a big smile, “Did you hear what he said? Good things happen if you keep the covenant, and bad things happen when you don’t.” He says, “Oh, that’s so good to hear.” And he had many comments like that and he really loved our ministry because we had found a way to teach God’s law practically. We put it into practice and it was very, very gratifying to him and of course, it was very gratifying to me to have his praise because I had great, great respect for him.
Jeremy Walker: Well, and I think that’s important to point out as well. That’s one of the reasons why I was very excited to kind of take on this opportunity to kind of continue at least somewhat continue the easy chair series that he was doing and to discuss and talk about it because he has been so influential to us and to our ministry here and once again, like I said, so many years ago, I had been the benefit of other people who had attempted to start Christian schools as well. They had been influenced by Rushdoony to do that, so we of course have been also influenced by R.J. Rushdoony to also do the same. To take his theology, to take his doctrine, to take his teachings, and to actually put that into practice.
And I’d like to point, as we’re discussing here is, you did, Pastor McIntyre, point out how we’re able to teach the bible and we’re actually able to teach the law of God to the children. We don’t have to water down our doctrine because we’re not relying on donations we were talking about earlier. The majority of people or missionary groups or what not do rely on donations and so they do have to make people happy. If they person’s not happy, they’re not going to voluntarily give you their funds or their money, and so our organization is not built on the donations type model. But when we’re actually providing the service that somebody’s willing to pay for. Me and Reverend Aaron have been talking about this quite a bit on some other things. We were discussing advertising and so forth.
But I think that as we’re discussing Christian Reconstructionism, as we’re talking about teaching the very young and all the rest, it comes back to what it means to be Christian reconstructionist and [inaudible 00:37:14] once again made some notes here, what Rushdoony had said himself about what it meant just so we can point these out in this introduction. One of the things he said, which is kind of foundational for this, and Christianity in general, is reorganization of life from the bottom up and for me I thought that was very profound. He also said that another term for Christian Reconstructionism would be new reformation or coming back to the law of God and the teaching of the law of God as well. He also said that the key to change, the key to Christianity, the key to Reconstructionism, was in the redeemed man. The individual. Not in the state.
I think all these things wrap up into a big ball because everybody’s always looking for a silver bullet. They all want something that’s immediate. They all want to see change right now. And as I was listening to Rushdoony, one of the episodes I listened to was with Otto Scott, and another was with a couple other gentleman which I was not overly familiar with. I was much more familiar with Otto Scott. One of the things he said about Christian reconstruction, he says that you have to have a belief in expectancy and the fact that we are going to win in Christ and that Christian reconstruction was about belief in a long term triumph and victory of Jesus Christ, but not an immediate victory. As in you can do something today and automatically, we win. I think that’s important because I think that people have missed that whenever they think that they’ve studied Rushdoony.
You guys can correct me if I’m wrong on this, but I’ve seen many people who say they’ve read Rushdoony or think they’ve read Rushdoony but they don’t get that point. They seem to want to to go towards the political realm because he says it’s faith for all of life. That’s true. He mentions that tons and tons of times, but they somehow grasp onto it instead of going like he said from the bottom up, and yes, Christianity has something to do with politics. Of course it does, in economics and everything else. But they take it as an opportunity to start at the top and try to work their way down and as we’re talking here, starting from the bottom is a long term goal and I think for me, that’s what I would say is Christian Reconstructionism. Just like Rushdoony says, start at the bottom, as a man has changed and converted, his own personal actions change. He’s becoming sanctified.
And then as we were saying here, his family becomes sanctified. That would also include, as we’re talking about, birth rate and all the rest of the stuff. Allowing God to give you the children he would want you to have. I mean, we talk about re-ordering society and a family comes first, but do you guys think that that is also seeming to be what most people are looking for, is a silver bullet?
Reverend Aaron: If you’re re-building a building, you have to start with the foundation. You can’t start with the upper stories. You have to start at the beginning. At the base with the foundation. I also think that any kind of strategy that is focused on politics without a grass roots change in the people is not going to work.
Pastor McIntyre: Well, for example, the constitution of our country says that private property is not to be owned by the federal government. Postal roads and military was the only thing that was allowed by the federal government. But very soon, Thomas Jefferson, for example, with a deal with Napoleon, bought up more property than the 13 colonies had all put together. As a consequence, the largest property owner in America now is the federal government, and the tax rate on private property runs on and on and on, but I find the freedom amendment, and some other people talk about taxes and the current administration’s talking about reducing taxes as a boost to income and that’s all very true, but we need to teach children from very young that private property is to be owned by the family.
Rushdoony mentioned very often that the family was supposed to be the owner of the property, not the government. Just as soon as the government owns the property, then we have socialism, fascism, communism, every other kind of -ism around, all anti-biblical, but if you went into the pulpit today in this town or any town in the United States and began to preach that it’s wrong for the federal government to tax as they do to own property as they do and on and on, you would find yourself … Well, you wouldn’t have a big congregation very long.
Jeremy Walker: No, I don’t think you would whatsoever. Well, I think one thing that was interesting when we were talking about the subject is that whenever … People like the concept of deconstruction. In other words, they look at the world, they look at TV, they watch the news, they pay attention to politics, they pay attention to education, and people … You can go onto social media and they have tons and tons of things to talk about. What is wrong with the world and what we need to get rid of. We need to get rid of this and get rid of that and so people were very much, I think, focused on the concept of deconstruction. Things that they don’t like. Things that they think are wrong.
But I don’t see very much focus on the concept of reconstruction, and I think that’s where Rushdoony and his teachings come in because he actually laid that foundational groundwork as we’re talking here because he says if we’re going to do something, if we’re supposed to be suppressing sin and we’re supposed to be living righteous lives, then that means we have a goal. We have a standard. And what is the standard? What is that we’re supposed to build with? How is it we’re supposed to reorder the family? How is it we’re supposed to reorder our businesses or our schools or our financial situations or our economics and the entire world or of course our entire political realms? What is the law? What is justice? What is right? And I think that … That’s why I think Institutes of Biblical Law for me was the foundational book that he wrote because it said, “Here is pointing you in the right direction. This is what you need to do if you’re going to reorder things properly under God, then you have to have law.”
I think that’s the main problem as were discussing in churches today is that they are people without law.
Reverend Aaron: You can’t beat something with nothing.
Pastor McIntyre: Well, morality, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not covet. Two of the 10 commandments condemn modern day politics totally because covetousness is taught under the name equality. Misunderstanding that all men are equal instead of meaning all men are equally entitled to life, liberty and property or life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What they’re claiming is that all people should be equal in property. Well, that’s not what’s taught in the scripture, certainly. Oldest book of the bible is Job and Job was the wealthiest man in the world. And the patriarchs all were very wealthy people. The normal Christian life should be a full cup running over, owning private property is not a sin. Yet you find just as soon as you mention that our schools for example make a profit, people begin to wrinkle up their nose because they have that idea somehow that Christianity means poverty and Christianity also means equality for everyone.
Well, you can’t teach equality with a straight face if you’re teaching that some are going to burn in hell and others are going to be very well off and have rulership over 10 cities in heaven. That’s not equal. The outcomes of Christianity is not equality. The outcome is great things happen to those who obey the covenant, just as Rushdoony said, and bad things happen to those who do not obey the covenant, and that translates into ownership of property. So, if you follow the 10 commandments, it’s not Hillary Clinton teaching about equality. It’s God’s law in teaching that the obedient, the believers, will prosper and go to heaven, and the disobedient will not prosper and go to hell.
Now, that’s very difficult to teach to a ordinary church that has misappropriation completely of the American way of life, supposedly teaching equality. That’s a communistic socialistic idea. That’s not a capitalistic idea. That’s not a Christian idea. That’s not an American idea in its foundation anyway.
Jeremy Walker: Well, exactly, and as we continue to discuss this concept, you can’t beat something with nothing. I really like that idea, because Pastor McIntyre, you put me onto a book some years ago. I don’t remember if you remember the book or not. I believe it is by, you have to forgive me if I give the wrong name, I think Allan Bloom. The Closing of the American Mind. Do you remember that?
Pastor McIntyre: Yes, Allan Bloom.
Reverend Aaron: Allan Bloom.
Jeremy Walker: Allan Bloom. And I remember that book because … Now, this was a guy who was not a Christian. This guy was a homosexual if I’m not mistaken.
Pastor McIntyre: And Jewish.
Jeremy Walker: And a Jewish homosexual. So, this is a weird combination for a guy to bring up this book because he recognized something at the university level and he noticed that in the universities in America, they love to bring people in, the students, they love to bring them in and then to tear them apart. As we were talking about, this obsession with deconstruction. Now, they were doing it from a humanistic point of view of just trying to rip out any semblance of Christianity or religion from their students and they were doing this on purpose. Even him as a non-Christian homosexual recognized this. But what he said I think was the most interesting aspect of it, was that they would deconstruct the students morally and religiously, but then would fill them with nothing. This left a vacuum. So, he was horrified by this concept. We were discussing the concept of sexual immorality earlier as well.
If I’m not mistaken, it was also in his book where he said he was standing on the corner and it was the end of the college semester and these college graduates was a young man and a young woman and they had been living as if they were married, in other words, cohabitating on campus, for the last four years plus and the end of the school year was coming upon them and now they were going to be going out into the work force, leaving school, and he saw them part ways as if they were strangers. People who were just devoid of nothing. No feeling, no emotion, no morality, no religion.
Pastor McIntyre: Yes, if I remember it right, he says they parted hands … Shook hands like a business deal or like you might with a banker and turned and went opposite ways. In other words, they had no emotion left. No soul left. No common affection left, because it had all been drained out of them and now were [inaudible 00:48:16] if they ever were Christians to begin with and that’s part of the problem with not teaching the young God’s law. You have to teach them young. For example, we’ve been over 30 years here at Grace Community Schools and recently I was reading [inaudible 00:48:37] and one of the teachers said that a woman come in and she said that she had graduated from our school years ago. She was now married and her husband also had graduated from the school and she wanted to make sure that her children went to Grace Community School also. Of course, that testimony warmed my heart because he talks about this. You were talking about a long term goal. Well, we’re already beginning to reap the long term goal and it’s a wonderful thing to see.
Jeremy Walker: I agree, and I think that the concept is what Rushdoony said, the long term goal, the long term idea, not this instantaneous gratification as if it were immediate victory. Because I have had people ask us the question because we work with young children, “What is your success rate?” In other words, somehow when you’re bringing students in, you’re supposed to be giving a number of how many children accepted Jesus or tried to be able to tally up and see if you’re being actually relevant, if you’re being successful in doing this.
Reverend Aaron: I think that’s the only thing they were asking.
Jeremy Walker: Yes. I think they miss the concept of what it means to be a Christian reconstructionist, like Rushdoony was saying, is that you won’t necessarily always see the fruit of your labors. You don’t always see that, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t get to work. So, I love the concept that Rushdoony was saying, how people were obsessed with learning, but they were not actively involved in anything.
Reverend Aaron: And yet how many people are still trying … How many ministries, how many well-meaning Christians are still trying to focus on these college students in the adult level in their ministry?
Pastor McIntyre: Well, it’s not only that. Preschools are not evaluated on the basis of teaching children to read. As a matter of fact, they believe that preschool children should not even be taught to read. When I first started this school over 30 years ago, I used to get nasty letters from so-called Christian teachers in public school saying that they were too immature and too young to be drilled and to recite and to do all the things and we were making their childhood and spoiling their childhood and taking it from them by making it academic. You gentlemen obviously know that we have designed a school which is a great deal of fun for the youngsters. It’s possible to have a great deal of fun and learn at the same time.
Jeremy Walker: Exactly.
Pastor McIntyre: For example, my attorney, I mentioned Grace Community School and the attorney said, “Oh, my sister sent her child there.” Then she looked at me with a twinkle in her eye, she says, “Boy did she love that school.” Yes. It is possible to do what we’ve done and do it very well and the idea somehow that teaching them to read is going to rob them of their childhood, that can only be a humanistic piece of mindset, and it was so-called Christian teacher who wrote me that letter. That wasn’t the only letter of that kind I got. I don’t get them too often anymore. They’ve had too much experience with our gradates coming in reading fluently at the age of four and that does an awful lot to put an end to that type of thing.
I’ve also had a Roman Catholic mother say to me, she says that her child went for confirmation and she says that the confirmation said with a gasp, “Oh, Grace Community. The students come in there, where do they get all that stuff?” Meaning they already know the bible stories, they already know … They know more than the person who’s trying to confirm them to the faith and that’s a wonderful goal that we have, and we benefit all the churches. Even the Catholic churches, even the Protestant churches, because we’re sending them students. Most of them don’t stay in the Christian education after they get through our school, but they go everywhere influencing every school in this area.
Jeremy Walker: Well, I’d like to continue on as we’re coming to a close here. We’re getting close to the end here of our first episode, and I’d like to close with a couple more things that I thought were really good as I was listening to Rushdoony himself describing for himself in his own words about what he was teaching and what he considered to be Christian Reconstructionism as a whole and I thought these were good. These weren’t necessarily quotes specifically from him, but he had gotten these quotes from a couple other people which he agreed with entirely and I thought I’d share those here as well which I thought was a good idea and it shows the difference between the Christianity I grew up in and the Christianity that I now hold to, which I think is a very different view points on things.
One is a very pessimistic type of Christianity where the world is going to hell in a hand basket and basically you’re supposed to just hold on because the world is ruled by evil people and we’re just going to be out of here soon in some form of rapture of some sort. And then of course, where I’m at now, where no, the world does not belong to the evil people but it belongs to Christ. So, let’s go ahead. Here’s some interesting quotes that he had and we’ll close ourselves up here a little bit with a few more discussions, but one of the things he had here is that the church’s job is not to hide behind the gates of heaven from the evil in the world. But the church’s job is to build a congregation that would go out and kick in the gates of hell. I thought that was a very good quote from him because as we’re talking about here, it’s about going out and not just deconstructing, not just tearing things down, but actually rebuilding. Rebuilding things up. And so going in and taking back what it means to be a family.
We can just look around in the political world and we see how much the family is under attack. They’re trying to actually redefine marriage not as one man and one woman, but all kinds of other things which we’ve seen in the common world. Two men, two women, polyamory, you name it. They try to redefine it all over the place and so reconstruction of the family is redefining according to what God has said. That goes into schools as well and everything else and taking these things back and with the law of God, reestablishing once again justice and righteousness in our world.
I think another one here he had was the purpose of God in salvation of men is not to send them to a bus stop where they sit and wait to be taken out of the world. This is what he was equating the churches to be similar to, just a bus stop, where they were just waiting to leave. But they are redeemed and [equipted 00:55:26], the people are, and they are sent back out into the world to be salt and light to clean the world. This is what Rushdoony saw as the purpose of Christian Reconstruction. Another thing that is also very interesting to me because people with a silver bullet idea, they want to go out and they want to make big, valiant speeches that are very heated, threatening maybe, or you see the non-Christians, they’ll go out and riot or they’ll picket or they’ll have marches or nasty slogans and Rushdoony says in one of his tapes. They might riot or throw rocks and might burn things down, but that’s not what Reconstructionism is about.
Reconstructionism is about coming in and reordering things, utilizing the law of God. Like in the schools, you start a school. Like the people that influenced me. You go in, you start a school and you start at the bottom and work your way up and so I think that is a good definition of Christian Reconstructionism and what we’re hoping to convey, and as we have more episodes of The Easy Chair in Practice, we’ll go into more details. Was there anything else anybody would like to share before we’re done about Rushdoony himself or about the concept of Reconstructionism in practice?
Pastor McIntyre: Well, in practice, I think the theme or the saying that was have on the walls of all of our school coming in is we’re more than a school. We’re a family. So it is, the child comes into our school and will spend more hours times in our school than they will with their parents. So, as a result, we’re a family and the family is the first school. Is the first bedrock place in which they learn right and wrong, they learn manners, they learn all of the things that Christianity puts into place. One of the reasons that we have men and women in our school is because they’d rather have a father figure and a mother figure. Even secular psychologists will tell you it’s impossible for a teacher to stand before a class and not be seen by the child as a parental figure, and if the parental figure is praying, parental figure is teaching the bible, parental teacher is teaching language, reading language and so forth, always with biblical values. That is family and as family should be.
However, when they go home, family’s going to be a completely different thing. What they see on television’s going to be a completely different thing. So, as a consequence, our influence is extremely important. It brings into focus what it is God’s law in practice or R.J. Rushdoony’s Easy Chair put into practice and there’s no more perfect way to do it than in a Christian school with R.J. Rushdoony’s theology as the center of it.
Jeremy Walker: So, I’d like to give some resources to people who once again might be new to R.J. Rushdoony, never heard of him before and so just a few ways you can connect with social media or websites. The first was of course mentioned before, chalcedon.edu. Another one which has some great resources on it is pocketcollege.com. The of course there’s a Facebook page. It’s facebook.com/chalcedonfoundation. C-H-A-L-C-E-D-O-N F-O-U-N-D-A-T-I-O-N for Chalcedon Foundation. And of course they also have a Twitter page as well, twitter.com/rjrushroony, and Rushdoony is spelled R-U-S-H-D-O-O-N-Y. So, I think that’s going to be a wrap for us here and we wanted to thank everybody for being with us and for listening to us, so God bless you and we’ll talk to you again next time.
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