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.
“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 , 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.
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.
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)
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.
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?