Give Rushdoony A Break

R. J. Rushdoony made a great, blessed contribution to the Church in writing his two-volume work, The Institutes of Biblical Law (Vol I) and  Law and Society (Vol II).

I love it.

Did you just raise your eyebrows? I hope not.

It seems that many times when I bring up Rushdoony’s name in conversation, some folks do that – raise their eyebrows, and more often than not, begin to offer reasons why I should neither read nor heed him.

Usually, but not always, the first objection I hear is something along the lines of “You know, Joel, Rushdoony divorced his wife…”

Well, no, he didn’t. And that’s not fair. When anyone says that, they’ve swallowed the proverbial kool-aid flavored with hearsay, not facts.

Let’s hear from his son, Mark Rushdoony:

My biological mother divorced my father. Two bodies of church elders subsequently examined the matter. One was the Presbyterian Church, USA . They cleared him of wrongdoing and he continued in the pastorate. Later the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Northern California synod examined the matter when he joined that denomination after the divorce. In fact, the OPC synod later appointed him to a committee to write a paper on the Bible and divorce. Much of that was included in Institutes of Biblical Law in the section on divorce. – Mark Rushdoony

Mark graciously gave this information in the comment section of a post I presented here on 5ptsalt, entitled The ‘Sins’ of Rushdoony.

We need to be careful, brethren, of perpetuating gossip, and that is precisely what is being done when first objections regarding Rushdoony is to state that he divorced his wife. Come on, you know better.

As I said, I love Rushdoony’s Institutes. The day I began reading it, I started a notebook, which I’ve begun to do with many works, so that I could outline what I had read. It’s a helpful and very beneficial practice.

Does that mean I am a reconstructionist? No. Does it mean that I am a purveyor of dominion theology? No, it doesn’t.

It does mean that I have greater appreciation for the Law of God than I had before I began reading and outlining The Institutes, and for that, I am thankful. I am also grateful to God for giving the Church R.J. Rushdoony.

And whenever I hear someone warn me about the man, and in the process, perpetuate a falsehood about the man ad-hominem, then I’m the one raising the eyebrow, not at the warning, but the ignorance – and the loss of blessing which comes from a greater appreciation, and yes, a love, for the law of God.