Presuppositionalist R. J. Rushdoony: The Early Church was Segregated

Earlier this week I kept asking presuppositionalists where do we go for our interpretation of Scripture. Of course, I got accused of being “emotional” when I was asking a serious question.

R. J. Rushdoony, a renowned Christian dominionist icon (yeah, big time influence on Gary North [who was Rushdoony’s son-in-law] who influences Ron Paul and the Tea Party Movement). I have already showed problems with North’s interpretation of Scripture, which means he has to take it out of its historical, linguistic, and cultural context to arrive at his conclusions. Rushdoony is by no means any less problematic.

In Rushdoony’s The Institutes of Biblical Law, RJR makes a case, defending racial segregation and human enslavement based on ethnic background and race. No objective scholar can deny this polemical approach to the Bible, and call it “biblical” yet some still do. Sure, he would slam Marxism and the Darwinism, but he still believed in eugenics: “Selective breeding in Christian countries has led to … the progressive elimination of defective persons” in Foundations of Social Order. For more, see this post on Unreasonable Faith: :RJ Rushdoony: Reconstructionist and Racist Bigot

I wish I could go back and just slap the people who told me to read Gary North (which meant reading Rushdoony too!).

Oh, and Rushdoony on the Early Church, it’s a dooozy!

See, Presuppositionalism, because the Bible is whatever I say it is!

FYI: R. J. Rushdoony was a disciple of Cornelius Van Til; historical fact. No emotion needed.

Was Van Til afraid of Natural Theology?

Cornelius Van Til

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“Men ought to reason analogically from nature to nature’s God. Men ought, therefore, to use the cosmological argument analogically in order thus to conclude that God is the creator of this universe…. Men ought also to use the ontological argument analogically” (An Introduction to Systematic Theology [1971], 102).

“The argument for the existence of God and for the truth of Christianity is objectively valid. We should not tone down the validity of this argument to the probability level. The argument may be poorly stated, and may never be adequately stated. But in itself the argument is absolutely sound” (The Defense of the Faith, [Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1967, third edition], 197).

Van Til sort of had the same problem as Warfield. He accepted Science so far as it didn’t stand in opposition to his set core of presuppositions. Van Til no doubt will define Creator and Creation according not to the Scriptures, but to the ‘plain sense reading’ of the Scriptures which he has either established for himself or followed others into doing.

Plus, he wasn’t against an old earth…

“Augsburg Publishing House … will not reprint it. … This book was rejected by one publisher because the author held that humanity has been in existence for something like 20,000 years (now Nelson is an anti- evolutionist, at the same time he does not accept Ussher’s chronology) and he was therefore rejected as unsound by someone who thinks that in opposing evolution we must also maintain that humanity not more than 6 or 7 thousand years old (or 10,000 at the outset) . Now, I think this is a debatable point but that if we’re going to fight evolution we will have to hit it where we can hit it hard and not hit it where the issue itself is debatable like this. I’m not sure how long ago man existed on this earth and I’m not sure this makes that much difference.” – Source: Cornelius Van Til, Christian Critique of Evolution, Audio Recording. The Works of Cornelius Van Til, [CDROM]. In the last 10-15% of the recording. Transcribed by Jonathan Barlow.

Oddly enough, his student, John Frame (Rushdoony claims to be a student too), supports this idea of presuppositional apologetics, noting that,

There are some kinds of assumptions we usually consider immune from revision. Among these are the basic laws of logic and mathematics: what factual discovery could possibly persuade us that 2 + 2 is not equal to 4? The same is true of basic ethical principles, especially those governing the inquiry itself: For example, no factual discovery could legitimately persuade a researcher to be less than honest in recording data.

I am not a huge fan of apologetics, and the more I read of this kind, the less like I am ever to be. Frame is suggesting, then, that his acceptance of factual discoveries is dependent upon his own experience. “Presuppositionalism is the reverse of the scientific method. It starts with a conclusion and builds a hypothesis which will always fit the conclusion.” [source: RODOFA] There starting point is the mythical ‘God’s Word’, and not Scripture nor actual actual data. Everything, including accepted facts, must be built upon one’s interpretation of ‘God’s Word,’ meaning that if one was to question their interpretation, then….

Unbelief leads to distortion of the truth, exchanging the truth for a lie

In other words, the moment you begin to really question whether or not your interpretation of Scripture is wrong, you are then thought of as being an unbeliever. Further, it is a world of black and white for them, allowing no middle ground.

Beyond that, I take issue with his statements on ‘Romanism.’

First, the Reformed apologist cannot cooperate with the Romanist in the establishment of the existence of God. The theism of the Roman Catholic theology is not “theism come to its own”; it is a vague, general sort of theism. It is a theism in which the God of Christianity and the God of Greek philosophy, particularly the Unmoved Mover of Aristotle, are ground together into a common mixture. The theism of Romanist theology is a theism heavily freighted with pagan elements of thought. If such a theism were proved to be true, then the Christian theism of the Reformed Christian would be proved to be untrue. If with the Romanist we “prove” the existence of a god, then we have disproved the existence of the God of Christianity. It is only a perverted type of Christianity, such as constitutes Romanism, that fits onto the perverted type of theism which is “proved” by Romanist theologians.

The second major negative conclusion to be drawn from the remarks of Hepp and Warfield is that the Reformed apologist cannot co-operate with the “evangelical” in providing the truth of evangelicalism. By evangelicalism we mean what Warfield meant when he spoke of it as identical with the general non-Reformed Protestantism.

This second negative conclusion follows directly from the first. The evangelical does want to co-operate with the Romanist in proving the truth of theism. He argues that Protestants have many doctrines in common with Romanists, and that the existence of God is the most basic of them. Why then he asks in amazement, cannot Protestants co-operate with Romanists in proving the truth of theism? Why not have the Romanist help us build the first story of the house of Christian theism? After they have helped us build the first story of our house we can dismiss them with thanks for their services and proceed to build the second story, the story of Protestantism, ourselves.

The answer to this is that if Romanists have helped us in building the first story of our house, then the whole house will tumble into ruins. It has already been noted that when they build the first story of their house the Romanists mix a great deal of the clay of paganism with the iron of Christianity. The concrete blocks may be those of Christianity, but the cement is nothing other than the sand of paganism. Woe to the Protestant who seeks to build his Protestantism as a second story upon a supposedly theistic foundation, and a first story built by Romanism or by Protestants in conjunction with Romanists. Only a defective Protestantism can be built upon the perverted theism of the Romanist type. For, as Warfield puts it, the precise characterization of evangelicalism is that which describes it as a defective Protestantism. Warfield’s point is that evangelicalism is inconsistent Protestantism. It has carried into its system certain foreign elements ultimately derived by way of Romanism from paganism.

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Are David Barton and the Wallbuilders Advocating for Slavery?

Scars of a whipped slave (April 2, 1863, Baton...

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So says Bruce Wilson and a few others (warning), based on this article hosted on the Wallbuilders website?

I’m noting to respond to the entire post, but I will highlight some of the silliness of it –

The Bible teaches that slavery, in one form or another (including spiritual, mental, and physical), is always the fruit of disobedience to God and His law/word. (This is not to say that the enslavement of any one person, or group of people, is due to their sin, for many have been enslaved unjustly, like Joseph and numerous Christians throughout history.)

You see the doublespeak there – the bible says that all slavery is a result of sin (no, not really) but you cannot say that slavery is a result of Sin. Sounds to me like the author just doesn’t believe the bible.

He goes on to quote a lot from the Torah – which would exclude him, by the way, from the Kingdom and have us killing unruly children – but only briefly from the New Testament.

Oh, and remember the Michele Bachmann bit where she conflated the Founders and John Q. Adams? Yeah, our author does the same thing. Note that Rushdooney, whom the above author quotes – a lot – would allow the return to ‘biblical law’ which would allow pagans and non-believers to be kept as slaves…

How did he feel about Catholics and Pentecostals?

Reconstructionists may have time, Thomas, and God on their side, but they are short on friends. The problem is that interpreting life through a theonomic lens leads to chronic demonizing of a most pernicious sort. Scientists, for example, are guilty of neglecting morality and “reviv[ing] ancient tyrannies of magic and occultism.” Roman Catholics are preachers of a “polluted gospel.”2 Premillenialists are “retreators.” Environmentalists are “opposed to human life.” And Pentecostal preachers are “narcissistic ringmasters.” (here)

“Minority groups, by means of the general ticket, hold balance of power in many states:  the labor vote, Negroes, Catholics, Zionist Jews, pensioners, and the like… Only by restoring localism, by amending the Constitution to require the coincidence of the electoral college  and its vote with the structure of Congress, can minority rule, with its attendant evils, hatred and injustice, be checked.” -Rushdoony, The Nature of the American System, p. 19 (here)

He wouldn’t be too happy with Lutherans or Calvinists either.

But, I digress – read the articles linked in this post. The fact is, is that under what many assume is Biblical Law, slavery would be allowed to exist. Now, who do you think would be the slaves?

What you have is a very bad understanding of history which is being perpetuated by people like Barton, Beck, Bachmann and Palin (at least I think Sarah still has a camera or two near her). Focus on Christian Reconstructionism and think about how close it is to what many are advocating today.

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Christian Reconstructionism: Rushdooney in his own words

Christian Reconstructionism in a Nutshell from Bruce Prescott on Vimeo.

See the essay, here. (HT – PJ)

Rand Paul and Rousas John Rushdoony

I’ve covered Rushdoony before, knowing that his Dominionist garbage would come up again…

The article below does a fair job at connecting Rand Paul back to the father of Dominionism, although the connections should be closer for my tastes. While many Americans only seem to vote their emotions at the moment – Left and wrong – the voter should take his or her time to educate themselves on the candidate and the candidate’s issues. If Paul is influenced heavily by Rushdoony, while he may be marginalized if elected – I get the feeling that the Kentucky GOP doesn’t care for him, and he is would be just as unwieldy in the Senate – could this empower other dominionists to run?

I know that those like Patricia King and Rick Joyner tend to favor Sarah Palin, but I wonder if they’ve said anything about old Rand Paul?

Check out the article:

Rand Paul and the Influence of Christian Reconstructionism | Religion Dispatches.

Frank Schaeffer on Uganda and the Domionists @rickwarren

Frank Schaeffer is the son of Francis Schaeffer, a big name in the Religious Right – before Dobson, Falwell, and others. We are on the precipice of watching Uganda, which is currently governed by a man well-connected to the Religious Right in this country, pass a bill which would make homosexuality a crime, and a possible capital offense. They are going to kill homosexuals and those who know of homosexuals will end up in prison, for now.

Read more

Seven Mountains – Dr. Lance Wallnau

What are the Seven Mountains?

The seven mountains are seven spheres of influence that make up the mind molders that control Nations. He who occupies these mountains controls the harvest. As Satan gains power over these mountains he increases his capacity for “Mind Control.” That’s the spiritual force that inclines whole people groups to think along the same pathway. It is the phenomenon that explains sudden trends in fashion or music. It works to turn whole continents against each other and will be used to facilitate global wars. Mind Control will increase as the Last Days speeds toward a conclusion.

Here are the Seven Mountains or Mind Molders:

  1. Spirituality and Church
  2. Family
  3. Education
  4. Government and Law
  5. Media and Communication
  6. Arts and Entertainment
  7. Business and Finance

World Rulers of Darkness operate through people. Their goal is to penetrate key strategic positions at the tops of the mountains, and to populate these positions with people who will become gatekeepers to their foul agendas. A small group in control of Media with a homosexual bias can put on programs that make the Gay lifestyle appealing and entertaining. This media pummeling has the effect of softening minds to the issues of morality and creates intolerance for moral absolutes regarding sexual purity and a false tolerance for perversion.

Mind Molders work together in order to accomplish the strategies of the devil. This year alone, the family (Family Mountain) has come under assault by government legislatures (Government Mountain) in the State of Massachusetts to recognize that the union of a man and a woman is a thing of the past. Men now marry men and woman marry woman. Simultaneous with this, education (another mountain) chartered a school in New York to honor those students with a homosexual preference.

Abortion and Pornography are coming through this same gate at a rate that is barely keeping up with the number of marriages falling apart and the number of men and youth who are becoming addicted to sex on the internet.

The same strategy to leverage the power of mind molders is now being worked out by the spirit of Anti Christ in Europe. “Anti” means against or “instead of” – and “Christ” means “anointing”. Therefore it is the name of a spirit that opposes Christians and seeks an alternative anointing. The World Ruler of Islam has so successfully joined with the spirit of Anti Christ in Europe that America is now the most hated country and George Bush in particular is now the number one most hated leader in Europe.

This, less than one generation after young Americans spilled blood to liberate our friends from the tyranny of Hitler’s war machine. How can this happen? Again, it’s called end time mind control. The manipulation and infection of the hearts and minds of people in mass through the mind molders. By the way, what is the number one thing Europeans most dislike about the President? His piety, they don’t like the fact that he is a praying Christian!

Remember, Anti Christ is anti anointing. Europeans aren’t against all prayer. They don’t mind Muslims praying three times a day toward Mecca. This explains why a land where churches once dominated the landscape is now laced with golden domed Mosques dotting the horizon. This and the sudden rise of the European economy as their currency surpasses the U.S. dollar make all those who are afraid of being “Left Behind” nervous. But God has a plan- “Go into the entire world, all its systems, its mind molders and its Nations and infiltrate the world with My power and teaching. Don’t run and don’t hide.

Go through the door of globalization- world economics- and while it is yet day, while opportunity exists, penetrate these nations and systems with a demonstration of a belief system that has superior power and results. This is what Daniel did in Babylon and what Joseph did in Egypt. This is a large part of the reason why God is blowing on the marketplace message in this hour. This is a day where third world nations are asking for help, and developing nations are seeking to trade. The window is wide open to the church to impact the world. Opportunity is everywhere.

The anointing and the spirit of wisdom will give you access to people and places that will be altered by the covert and overt application of these commands. That’s right- you can be covert! One friend of mine is transforming entire schools and businesses by applying certain key commandments to his client’s lives and systems. They are not even aware of the degree to which their organizations are being aligned with the teachings of Christ. All they know is that it’s working. In schools the students are getting better grades and discipline problems are on the decline. In business the people are starting to work like real teams and treating each other with respect. Companies are prospering. It works!

The 50 Commandments of Christ are the key to transforming your home, community and business. Memorize them. Meditate upon them. Ask the Holy Spirit for illumination on how to apply them to your life. Expect God to put His divine favor upon you. Favor takes you to the top of the mountains. Be full of the Holy Spirit and you will break the power of Mind Control off of every system you invade.

The above was from here.

This is one of those rare areas you do get to see the real intention of Joel’s Army and Dominionism the demonization of all things liberal, such as Europe. Try to remember the old days of the Left Behind garbage – the Europe was to given rise the Antichrist. Joel’s Army takes it a bit further by having Europe serve as a vassal to Russia which suddenly becomes the antichrist. (Ever wondered why everyone jumped on Georgia’s side over the summer?)Of course, it does not end there – Muslims, Buddhists, Homosexuals, and all sorts of sinners – perhaps even me – are not servants in the vast army of the antichrist. They are all involved in the conspiracy to undermine the United States, from the attacks on traditional values to out right attacks on us. This is the move of the antichrist against the Church. Scott Lively founded a tributary to Joel’s Army, Watchmen At The Walls, seeking a particularly nasty form of Holocaust revisionism in which some of the persons who were in fact victims of the Holocaust are portrayed as its instigators, only with the word “Jew” replaced with “Homosexual”.

Wallnau didn’t begin the idea of ‘Seven Mountains’ but ‘gained’ it from another source.  He does have his critics (one site critical of Joel’s Army notes a possible derivation from a Coalition on Revival document)–but the linkages are especially clear in regards to Joel’s Army circles.  Wallnau’s primary partner in promoting the “seven mountains” meme is none other than C. Peter Wagner – regarded, along with Rick Joyner and Rodney Howard-Browne, as one of the literal “founding fathers” of Joel’s Army:

Lance Wallnau, who is now working with  C. Peter Wagner on a global dominionism project using the motif of 7 mountains (or “spheres”), has proposed a strategy whereby-

“a very small minority of people. . . as small as 3-5% . . . can control how the agenda works in a nation and thus create or dominate the culture.

“He also makes a rather shocking statement….

“He says leaders of countries are not looking for Christian solutions to their cultural problems. But what they ARE looking for represents a massive time-sensitive opportunity for Christians to have a platform to impact and disciple entire countries of our world today.” [Os Hillman, “Weekly Resource Offer,” June 18]

YWAM founder Loren Cunningham who along with Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright  plagiarized it from TV preacher Dr. Francis Schaeffer back in 1975:

It was August, 1975.  My family and I were up in a little cabin in Colorado.  And the Lord had given me that day a list of things I had never thought about before.  He said “This is the way to reach America and nations for God.  And {He said}, “You have to see them like classrooms or like places that were already there, and go into them with those who are already working in those areas.”  And I call them “mind-molders” or “spheres”.  I got the word “spheres” from II Corinthians 10 where Paul speaks in the New American Standard about the “spheres” he had been called into.  And with these spheres there were seven of them, and I’ll get to those in a moment.  But it was a little later that day, the ranger came up, and he said, “There is a phone call for you back at the ranger’s station.”    So I went back down, about 7 miles, and took the call.  It was a mutual friend who said, “Bill Bright and Vonnette are in Colorado at the same time as you are.  Would you and Darlene come over and meet with them? They would love to meet with you.”  So we flew over to Boulder on a private plane of a friend of ours.  And as we came in and greeted each other, {we were friends for quite a while}, and I was reaching for my yellow paper that I had written on the day before.  And he said, “Loren, I want to show you what God has shown me!” And it was virtually the same list that God had given me the day before.  Three weeks later, my wife Darlene had seen Dr. Francis Shaffer on TV and he had the same list!  And so I realized that this was for the body of Christ.

I gave it for the first time in Hamburg, Germany at the big cathedral there to a group of hundreds of young people that had gathered at that time. And I said, “These are the areas that you can go into as missionaries.  Here they are:  First, it’s the institution set up by God first, the family.  After the family was church, or the people of God.  The third was the area of school, or education.  The fourth was media, public communication, in all forms, printed and electronic.  The fifth was what I call “celebration”, the arts, entertainment, and sports, where you celebrate within a culture.  The sixth would be the whole area of the economy, which starts with innovations in science and technology, productivity, sales, and service.  The whole area we often call it business but we leave out sometimes the scientific part, which actually raises the wealth of the world.  Anything new, like making sand into chips for a microchip, that increases wealth in the world.  And then of course prediction sales and service helps to spread the wealth.  And so the last was the area of government.  Now government, the Bible shows in Isaiah 33 verse 22 that there are three branches of government, so it’s all of the three branches:  judicial, legislative, and executive.  And then there are subgroups under all of those seven groups.  And there are literally thousands upon thousands of sub-groups.  But those seven can be considered like Caleb:  “Give me this mountain,” and they can be a “mountain” to achieve for God.

There’s some evidence Bright also plagiarized from a secondary source–a neo-Calvinist Abraham Kuyper and of course Rousas John Rushdoony – indicating some of the more interesting influences in the Joel’s Army movement outside of pentecostalism.

Rousas John Rushdoony – Father of Dominionism

So Calvinism is to blame for another evil in this world? This gentlemen is responsible for the line of thinking that permeates Joel’s Army, the Call, and the rest of the Dominionist movement. This is just a starting post – more will follow. It is worrisome because it presents Dominionism as more than a recent heresy, but shows that it was codified and has a base for thought.

Biography

Rushdoony was born in New York City, the son of recently arrived Armenian immigrants. Before his parents fled the Armenian Genocide of 1915, his ancestors had lived in a remote area near Mount Ararat for about 2000 years.[4] There are claims that since the year 320, every generation of the Rushdoony family has produced a Christian priest or minister.[5] Within weeks of arriving in America, his parents moved to Kingsburg, California, where his father founded an Armenian-speaking Presbyterian church. Except for a time when his father pastored a church in Detroit, Rushdoony grew up on the family farm in Kingsburg.[6]

Rushdoony attended public schools where he learned English.[3] He continued his education at the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a B.A. in English in 1938, a teaching credential in 1939 and a M.A. in Education in 1940. He also attended the Pacific School of Religion, a Congregational and Methodist seminary in Berkeley, California, from which he graduated in 1944, the same year he was ordained by the Presbyterian Church (USA). Rushdoony then served for eight and a half years as a missionary to the Shoshone and Paiute Indians on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation in a remote area of Nevada.[6][2] In 1953 Rushdoony became pastor of a church in Santa Cruz, California, a small retirement town on the coast.[6]

It was during his mission to the Native Americans that Rushdoony began writing. His first book, By What Standard? was published in 1959. In the early 1960s he was active in the homeschooling movement, appearing as an expert witness to defend the rights of homeschoolers.[2] He moved to Los Angeles in 1965. That year he founded the Chalcedon Foundation; the monthly Chalcedon Report, which Rushdoony edited, began appearing that October.[3]

Rushdoony also had ties to the John Birch Society,[5] an anti-communist group whose organization he compared to the early church. Many others in the Reconstructionist movement have been members of the society.[7] Rushdoony was a lifelong opponent of socialism.[2]

Rushdoony had five children with his first wife, Arda June Gent Rushdoony, who died in 1977. He married his second wife, Dorothy Barbara Ross Rushdoony, who became the step mother of his children, in 1962. She died in 2003. His daughter Sharon is married to Gary North, a Christian Reconstructionist writer and economist. Rushdoony’s only son, the Rev. Mark R. Rushdoony, is the current president of the Chalcedon Foundation and editor of the Chalcedon Report. R. J. Rushdoony died in 2001 with his student and financial supporter Howard Ahmanson, Jr. at his bedside.[8]

Christian Reconstruction

See also: Dominionism and Christian Reconstructionism

Rushdoony’s most important area of writing, however, was law and politics, as expressed in his small book of popular essays Law & Liberty and discussed in much greater detail in his three volume, 1894-page magnum opus, The Institutes of Biblical Law. With a title modeled after Calvin‘s Institutes of the Christian Religion, Rushdoony’s Institutes was arguably his most influential work. In the book, he proposed that Old Testament law should be applied to modern society and that there should be a Christian theonomy, a concept developed in his colleague Greg Bahnsen‘s controversial tome Theonomy and Christian Ethics, which Rushdoony heartily endorsed. In the Institutes, Rushdoony supported the reinstatement of the Mosaic law’s penal sanctions. Under such a system, the list of civil crimes which carried a death sentence would include homosexuality, adultery, incest, lying about one’s virginity, bestiality, witchcraft, idolatry or apostasy, public blasphemy, false prophesying, kidnapping, rape, and bearing false witness in a capital case.[9] Although supporting the separation of church and state at the national level, Rushdoony understood both institutions as under the rule of God,[10] and thus he conceived secularism as posing endless false antitheses, which his massive work addresses in considerable detail. In short, he sought to cast a vision for the reconstruction of society based on Christian principles.

The book was also critical of democracy. He wrote that “the heresy of democracy has since then worked havoc in church and state … Christianity and democracy are inevitably enemies.” He elsewhere said that “Christianity is completely and radically anti-democratic; it is committed to spiritual aristocracy,” and characterized democracy as “the great love of the failures and cowards of life.”[5]

Due to the work’s perceived denial of the Holocaust and defense of segregation[11] and slavery,[12] it did not gain an immediate following. In the work, Rushdoony argued against “inter-religious, inter-racial, and inter-cultural marriages, in that they normally go against the very community which marriage is designed to establish.”[13] But his condemnation of inter-racial marriage appears to have been his personal view and not related to the biblical text; it was not shared by other Reconstructionists.[14] The book garnered more attention starting in the 1980s when Francis Schaeffer began espousing many similar ideas .[15]

Rushdoony’s work has been used by Dominion Theology advocates who attempt to implement a Christian theocracy, a government subject to Biblical law, especially the Torah, in the United States. Authority, behavioural boundaries, economics, penology and the like would all be governed by biblical principles in Rushdoony’s vision, but he also proposed a wide system of freedom, especially in the economic sphere, and claimed Ludwig von Mises as an intellectual mentor; he called himself a Christian libertarian.[16]

Rushdoony was the founder in 1965 of the Chalcedon Foundation and the editor of its monthly magazine, the Chalcedon Report. He also published the Journal of Christian Reconstruction and was an early board member of the Rutherford Institute, founded in 1982 by John Whitehead. He later received an honorary Doctorate from Valley Christian University for his book, The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum.