Rushdoony on “The Source of Law”


R. J. Rushdoony’s book Sovereignty is a major work that addresses the theology proper enunciated by the title, the sovereignty of God. The work comprises 80 chapters, so rather than trying to do a short review of the book, which wouldn’t do it justice at all, in future blog articles I will time and again address independent chapters within the book. Each chapter, for the most part, can stand alone for extensive study. For this blog article, I will tackle Chapter 11 of Sovereignty, titled “The Source of Law”. If God is sovereign, and He is, then He is sovereign over every area of our lives for which He has given us His law.

I’ve stated on this blog before that we live in a politicized world today. One only has to observe the reaction to the overturning of Roe V. Wade to confront the politicization of the culture. Although recently coming to its apex, the roots of progressivism and radical liberalism reach back to Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, and Lyndon Johnson, all of whom believed in taking the country in a different direction than the founders established. With the rise of progressivism and radical liberalism, we see the growth of centralized government, the bureaucratization of government, and the idea that government institutions should be run by experts who know what is good for the people. As such, the idea of the consent of the governed is jettisoned along with the separation of powers. The basic principles of government as seen in the founders is antithetical to those embraced by the progressives and the later radical liberals. Particularly at stake for the progressives was their stance against Christianity and the idea of eternal verities.

R. J. Rushdoony looks at the rise of the State as an attack on the sovereignty of God and he poses the question in chapter 11 of his book, what is the source of law? If the source of law is not founded on the truths of God, then we are left open to the historical relativism of the progressives, proffered in the name of reason. Rushdoony traces the development of these Enlightenment ideas that eventually spawned the progressive era in America.

Enlightenment & Scientism

With the Enlightenment, scientism began to govern men’s minds and reorder society (Rushdoony, p. 65). What does this mean in terms of the question, what is the source of law? First, one of the basic premises of the Enlightenment entailed the faith that Reason inheres all the natural universe. Hence, according to Enlightenment thinkers, the laws of reason could be applied to the goal of an orderly society. In the 18th century, mathematics became viewed as the triumphant science. The ideology then was that society could be viewed analogous to physics so that the axioms of Euclidian geometry could be applied to the affairs of government with mathematical precision. Thus according to Enlightenment thinkers, social problems were facing the dawn of a new era that would bring about their resolution. According to Geoffrey Bruun (1929), this ideology represented a confusion between scientific and juristic law.

Consequences for the Social Sciences

If society was to take on the laws of physics for its study and understanding, a rational Newtonian order was seen to imbue all being. (Interestingly, Woodrow Wilson in his ideology of progressivism would abandon Newton for Darwin). The first consequence of this rationalistic worldview was that philosophy divided into rational and empiricist camps. However, both camps, according to Rushdoony, stood on a Cartesian premise that man’s self-consciousness became the ultimate point of reference. The second consequence came with the Enlightenment view of anthropology. Human beings are reduced to being no different than the impersonal movements of atoms. As such they need ordering by those who are scientific experts. Human beings were no longer to be viewed as bearers of God’s image, but imbued with the laws of human nature. This especially became pronounced after Hegel and Darwin. As I stated above, the progressives after Woodrow Wilson would view government in Darwinian terms, in terms of historical relativity rather than foundational principles set by the framers of the Constitution. Cornelius Van Til, Christian theologian and apologist, see the root of the dehumanization of man in these Enlightenment premises (Van Til, 1935). The third consequence of scientism for social human beings is that Christianity and the church become irrational, i.e. they have no place in society. We see the full fruit of this thinking in today’s politics where First Amendment rights of freedom of religion are under attack. Nature has replaced God. The basic necessity is adaptation to the environment (Rushdoony quoting Quain Professor of Comparative Law, p. 67).

The Source of Law

Rushdoony states: Where man and nature become the source of law . . . instead of obeying God’s law, seeing the law as above and over us, law becomes something we express and determine in terms of adaptation to our natural being. This then is alone true law. Christianity and the Bible become then alien to the true and natural order (p. 67). We see today that humanistic ideology can attack the church, seeking to prevent Christians and the church from becoming politically involved. When Christians voice their views against abortion, they are charged with the violation of the separation of church and state (Rushdoony, p. 68-69). Rushdoony concludes: If man and the state are the source of law, it then follows logically that no law from God has any standing in society and will be seen as alien to “liberty”. . . the source of law in any society is the god of that social order. The new god is the state, the modern Molech, and he demands human sacrifices. (p. 69). The question that will be catapulted toward the church is, if Christians believe God is the source of law, then what does that mean for the individual rights of non-Christians? That question is packed with several layers of premises, but it is an important question with which Christians should deal. Rushdoony has said many times, regeneration, not revolution and violence, is the path forward to an awakened society.


Both believer and unbeliever must wrestle with the question of what is the source of law. Rushdoony in this chapter does not mention the rise of progressivism under Woodrow Wilson, then FDR, and finally Lyndon Johnson. Post 1965 witnessed a rejection of some of the progressive principles, bringing forth what has been called a radical liberalism, embracing multiculturalism, the sexual revolution, and the challenge to the structure of the family (Hillsdale College, Constitution 201, The Progressive Rejection of the Founding and The Rise of Bureaucratic Despotism). Wilson ushered in the bureaucratic state, which is alive and thriving today. Its existence undermined the founders idea of separation of powers and consent of the governed. The bureaucratic state, operated by experts who have not been elected know what is better for society and its people. Thus the source of law is the humanistic ideology of man, thrust upon people by the state. This is a battle that Christians must fight, but fight in a way that is Biblical and spiritual, not merely, and for sure not solely, political. God’s sovereignty calls on us to exercise the dominion mandate, taking captive every sphere of life to the reign of Jesus, the Christ. The dominion mandate, spiritually and prayerfully considered, is our path toward a Christian awakening in this country.


Bruun, G. (1929). The Enlightenment Despot. New York: Henry Holt.

Rushdoony, R. J. (2007). Sovereignty. [Chapter 11, “The Source of Law”, pp. 65-69]. Vallecito, CA: Chalcedon/Ross House Books.

Van Til, C. (1935). Psychology of Religion. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Theological Seminary.

Online Reference

Hillsdale College Online Courses. Constitution 201: The Progressive Rejection of the Founding and The Rise of Bureaucratic Despotism. Hillsdale, MI:

John V. Jones, Jr, Ph.D/April 14, 2023


The Christian Worldview


In last month’s blog article, I reiterated what I want this blog to be about (you can access that article here). I’ve also written about the dominion mandate as put forth by R. J. Rushdoony and those who work with the Chalcedon Foundation. I do not believe we can sufficiently exercise the dominion mandate without a fuller grasp of what a Christian worldview entails (see my blog article The Need for a Christian Manifesto here).

The P & R Publishing Company has provided a wonderful service, providing Christians with the Basics of Faith Series, written from a Reformed Christian perspective. The series comprises booklets that, although short, provide a well-grounded discussion of Biblical doctrine with such titles as: What Is Faith? What is Grace? What Is a Reformed Church? And there are many others in addition to these titles. Periodically I will review these booklets here on this Contemplation blog. This month’s blog article will focus on the booklet authored by Philip Graham Ryken, What Is the Christian Worldview? To fulfill the dominion mandate, as believers we must understand that our belief in Christ impacts the way we live fully in all spheres of life. Being in Christ means we hold to the Christian worldview. When we as Christians engage the world, our worldview comes with us. As it does, it bumps up against other worldviews. Specifically our Christian worldview is antithetical to non-Christian worldviews. We then are called to cultural engagement on various levels. A consistently held Christian worldview shapes our thoughts, guides our words, and motivates our actions (Ryken, p. 7).

What Is A Worldview

A worldview, also designated as a world-and-life view, is a structure of understanding that we use to make sense of the world (Ryken, p. 7). The worldview we hold is grounded in our presuppositions, regardless of how aware we are of the presuppositions by which we engage the world. Our worldview undergirds how we look at life, interpret the universe in which we live, and how we orient our soul. Heart, mind, and soul are important Biblical concepts (Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Matthew 22:37-40). Ryken states that a worldview is a well-reasoned framework of beliefs and convictions that gives a true and unified perspective on the meaning of human experience (Ryken, p. 7). Hence our worldviews address how we make meaning of life. Why are we here? Where are we going? What are the values we hold and why? Is life meaningful or just a happenstance conglomeration of events and experiences? Ryken sets forth the purpose of his booklet in that he wants to help people think from a Christian perspective, delineating some of the practical implications of holding a Christian worldview. In particular, how does a Christian worldview help believers understand: 1) God as the creator (creation); 2) the ugly truth that we turned away from God (the Fall); 3) God’s plan of salvation for His people (Grace); and 4) the future preeminence of Jesus, the Christ (Glory). These four areas of exploration form the outline of Ryken’s booklet.

The God Who Is There And Is Not Silent

As an immature believer, I attended a Francis Schaeffer seminar in Fort Worth, Texas in 1979. It truly solidified for me the place of and the important use of the mind in Christian life. I had heard and experienced that among conservative Christianity, there was little room for the mind and deep thinking. Schaffer’s seminar directly opposed the caricature of the shallow-thinking Christian. When I read Ryken’s title for this section of his booklet, it brought back good memories of that seminar. Our Christian worldview is not merely a collection of disconnected concepts that we loosely call Christian. It is grounded in the being and character of God. One’s understanding of who God is from a truly Biblical perspective is foundational to all we otherwise believe. The existence of God is the basic premise to which everything else holds together. God is the creator and sustainer of the universe. He is also our creator, with an important difference between us and the rest of creation. We are created in God’s image, Imago Dei. This puts our worldview at odds with other religious and secular worldviews, be they Hindu, atheism, or secular-humanism. As such our worldview calls us to pursue and learn as much as our finite minds will allow us guided by the Holy Spirit about the numerous attributes of God. A discussion of those would require countless blog articles just to tap the surface of the Biblically-based attributes of God. Suffice it here to say that it is important to our worldview to know that God is totally sovereign, He is triune (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), and He has designed everything to manifest His own glory. God has revealed Himself in His Word, which is Scripture. It is only by this revelation that we come to know Him. John 1 tells us that Jesus Christ is the Word, logos. Hence a Christian worldview is a Christ-centered worldview (Ryken, p. 15). As our Creator, God gave mankind a mandate over the creation.

Creation – The Way We Were

Ryken (p. 16) points out that theologians have commonly organized the Christian view of the world into four stages of redemptive history: Creation, Fall, Grace, and Glory. Having already spoken of God as the Creator, His act of creation answers the question why is there something rather than nothing? Such a view of a Creator distinct from His creation is diametrically opposed to New Age paganism, pantheism, panentheism, and materialistic naturalism. John 1 speaks of Jesus, the Christ as the creator of all things. Hence, as stated the Christian worldview is a Christ-centered worldview. The relationship of the Creator to His creation is of bedrock importance to the Christian worldview. Stamped with the Imago Dei, we are rational, creative, moral, and spiritual beings. We do not exist for ourselves. We are made so as to manifest the glory of God. We were created to fulfill the dominion mandate and to glorify God in all that we are and all that we do. We glorify God with our praise and worshipping. We glorify God with our bodies. (This foundational belief opposes many of the man-made philosophies that view the material as bad or evil, while the spiritual or ethereal is good or moral). We glorify God through marriage and the family. The mandate to populate the world goes back to Genesis and the  creation event. Likewise, we are called to glorify God in our work and our rest. The dominion mandate, or what Ryken calls the Creation Mandate, is a major way of living by which we glorify God. Everything we do represents God’s rule on earth. Hence Christians should vigorously embrace the sciences, the arts, and the areas of trade and business. Along with the Creation Mandate, Ryken proffers the Cultural Mandate (p.24), revealing God’s glory through the creative works we do in all spheres of endeavor. This mandate was given to Adam and Eve in the Garden. 

The Fall: Paradise Lost

Whether or not we like it, we are fallen creatures. We are tainted by the corruption of sin. All we have to do is look through the pages of our lives, recognizing those areas of which we are not proud, whether it has to do with individual actions or how we interacted with others. Evil entered the world through an historical event. Yet we are in Adam’s loins, and we are tainted and thereby at enmity with God. Sin brings guilt, alienation, estrangement, corrupted minds, corrupted bodies, family problems, and carelessness with our environment. We live in a time of great evils, from the slaughter of the innocent through abortion and euthanasia, to the snuffing out of innocent life through an immoral and there by failed foreign policy. Is it no wonder that many people view life as miserable and meaningless? Ryken states, the best explanation for the tragedy of humanity is the biblical doctrine of sin (p. 31). Although Paradise was lost, all is not lost. 

Grace: A Work in Progress

Our fallen nature pulls us to live in a self-serving sense rather than living in the manner whereby all our life pursuits bring glory to God. In other words, unless we submit to the Holy Spirit to guide our sanctification, we will circumvent the Creation and Cultural mandates. These mandates, while calling us to live according to the gifts and talents with which God has gifted us in the providential circumstances we now find ourselves, calls on us not to live to ourselves, but to God. Such a life can only come about through the grace of God. First, there is our salvation, accomplished totally by His calling. Second, there is our sanctification, accomplished by the Holy Spirit who indwells us. We possess a natural tendency not to live in the way God wants us to live. As God is the author of creation, He is also the author of our redemption. The Christian worldview calls for a faith-based view of salvation (sola fide). This is the grand theme of the Scriptures: salvation in Jesus Christ (Ryken, p. 32). In addition, the Christian worldview puts forth the Incarnation of Jesus, the Christ. Because Jesus is fully man, as well as fully God, He can sympathize with the difficulties and temptations that come our way. The covenant of redemption asks one thing of us: to believe and trust what Jesus, the Anointed, has done. The Christian worldview calls on us to add no works to the cross of Christ for our salvation – sola fide, solus Christus, soli Deo Gloria. God’s solution for the Fall of humanity is in the person and work of Christ (Ryken, p. 33). Through the grace of God, both for our salvation and sanctification, we are learning to think Christianly in every sphere of life. The Holy Spirit is gradually working in me to restore the knowledge of God, myself, and the world I lost through the fall. . . The formation of a Christian worldview itself is a gift of God’s saving grace – a gift that is given only to those who trust the written and incarnate Word of God (Ryken, p. 34). 


Philip Graham Ryken provides so much more in this forty-five page booklet. In the last few remaining pages, Ryken speaks to the Great Commission as part of the Christian worldview. Evangelism and the Cultural Mandate are not an either-or option; they are a both-and calling from God (p.37). As I stated above, the booklets in the Basics of the Faith Series, are short and to the point, yet are full of profound truths for Christians who believe in the person and work of Jesus Christ. In this booklet, Ryken has taken us through the history of redemption, from our Creation to our need of Grace. Only if we embrace the Christian Worldview can we fulfill the dominion mandate that God has called us to fulfill. The booklets in this Series are written from the perspective of Reformed theology, based on Biblical evidence. For future blog articles, I will be writing other reviews of booklets in this Series. I hope this short review will whet the appetite of believers in Christ to delve into the Basics of the Faith Series.

Ryken, P. G. (2006). What Is The Christian Worldview? [Basics of the Faith Series]. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[Philip Graham Ryken (b. 1966), is an American theologian, Presbyterian minister (PCA), and academic administrator (Wheaton College). He obtained his BA from Wheaton College in 1988, Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1992, and his Ph.D. in historical theology from the University of Oxford in 1995. He is currently the eight president of Wheaton College, and a member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals]. 

John V. Jones, Jr. Ph.D./March 14th, 2023


Christian Reconstruction


What is Christian Reconstruction? The best way to answer this question is to go straight to source, R. J. Rushdoony and others who are associated with or write for the Chalcedon Foundation. I have taken much of what I’ve written here from the Journal of Christian Reconstruction, 1996 publication. Because Christian Reconstruction has been so maligned and others mimic the caricaturing without having read Rushdoony and others, or if they have, they nick pick or cherry pick rather than present a fair representation of what various authors have said who have written about Christian Reconstruction, it is most important to go straight to the sources regarding this topic.

What Is Christian Reconstruction?

In a vary recent article (October 2022), which can be found on, Mark Rushdoony shares that his father coined the term Christian Reconstruction in 1965. He then provides his own definition of Christian Reconstruction by analogy describing the Christian’s work responsibilities in the Kingdom of God (1). Both Christian Reconstruction and the postmillennial position associated with Christian Reconstruction assume the Holy Spirit is remaking all things in terms of the victory of Jesus Christ and the corresponding defeat of Satan (2). Hence Christian Reconstruction is about Christians’ faithfulness to the duties to which God has called us in whatever sphere we happen to reside, work wise and otherwise. As believers who have set in evangelical and Bible churches, we have all probably heard and have been exhorted to deny ourselves and take up our Cross. But what do these exhortations mean for the believer in Christ? To deny ourselves is to take up the work that God has put before us. And this work, whatever it may be for each Christian, is our cross. To follow Christ is to fulfill our responsibilities in the Kingdom (3). Mark Rushdoony provides a good historical example of someone fulfilling his responsibilities in the person of Johannes Kepler, a 17th century astronomer. When Kepler described his methodology as a scientific astronomer, he proclaimed he approached his work as one thinking God’s thoughts after Him (4). Each Christian has a calling that he must fulfill. Each calling may involve a heavier cross than others. If we follow Christ, we will suffer, but to what extent is in the hands of God’s providence. Whatever work we’re doing in this life, however, we can approach it as Kepler approached his work, thinking God’s thoughts after Him.

What Is Theonomy?

Another idea that has been greatly maligned in the thought of Christian Reconstruction is that of theonomy. What is theonomy? Mark Rushdoony talks about his father’s proposed goal in writing the 3-volume work, The Institutes of Biblical Law. Basically this massive work was proffered by R. J. Rushdoony as God’s way of sanctification of obedience. The process of our sanctification and growth as Christians should lead us to obey the Law of God. Yes, we will fall short, but the power of the Holy Spirit will enable us to become more and more like Christ, which is why we look forward to that day when we see Him face-to-face. Although the church has noticed the moral degeneracy of the culture, in many ways we have refused to see the purpose of God’s Law for our lives today. Mark Rushdoony points to the reaction of the church to the early days of homeschooling as an example of how the church compromised with the culture and the State (5). There is still much misunderstanding about theonomy, mostly by those who have not read R. J. Rushdoony, or those who nick pick over eschatological positions. Theonomy is not about our obeying the Law by our own power or about our meriting something before God by keeping the Law. We are to be obedient to God, and that can come only through the power of the Holy Spirit who strengthens our inner being toward our sanctification.

How Is Christian Reconstruction Misunderstood?

As Mark Rushdoony points out in his Chalcedon Report for October 2022, contrary to critics’ claims, it must be pointed out that neither Christian Reconstruction, the dominion mandate, nor the postmillennial eschatology suggest that man is in charge of ushering in the kingdom (6). As stated above, nowhere in Christian Reconstruction literature will one read that Christians are to meritoriously obey the Law of God so as to earn salvation. As believers grow in sanctification, they will by the power of the Spirit become more obedient to God throughout their lives. Regardless of eschatological differences with their different views of the Kingdom of God, we should all be honest in reporting what other believers say about their understanding of how God would have us live in the world while not being of the world.

Conclusion: Some Qualifiers

Qualifiers is probably not a good word for this conclusion. I just want to add here that for most of my Christian life, there were many years when I didn’t know about R. J. Rusdoony’s work whatsoever. I wish I had discovered it earlier. At this point, I would not claim to be a postmillennialist nor a theonomist, but I sure want to know more about those positions. I have obtained my understanding of Scripture in Bible churches that were premillennial in their eschatology. I have not settled on a position as yet, and I’m seventy-five years old. We should hold firmly to what I call the Five Fundamentals of the Faith, and in a highly divisive age, we as Christians need to witness to the world where we draw the line in the sand. Simultaneously, we need to witness to the world how we can agree to disagree with other Christians who hold to the fundamental truths of Scripture without becoming divisive where no such division is required. What I do believe and want to contribute by any work I do is that as Christians in every sphere of life, we do our work as unto the Lord, taking all things captive to the name of Christ. I look forward to learning more about Christian Reconstruction and the dominion mandate.


Rushdoony, M.R. (2022). Chalcedon Report October 22: Leaning into the Hard Work of the Kingdom. Chalcedon Foundation: Vallecito, CA. (All references in this Blog come from this source).

John V. Jones, Jr., Ph.D./February 14th, 2023


Faith and Analysis: The Goals of This Blog


When I had the official kickoff back in September 2022, what I’m writing now about this blog is what I should have written then. But like I do a lot of things, I shoot from the hip without having a clear vision of what my goals for a project might be, and thereby I don’t have a good sense of what I’m trying to do or where I want to take a project on which I happen to be working. I do know that I sought the name change to Faith and Analysis because I want to analyze our culture from the perspective of my faith, a born-again Christian, dare I say a fundamentalist Christian since that word has taken on a derogatory and even evil connotation in our time. Long-range goals are approached by short-range goals a step at a time. What I want to do with this month’s blog is lay out what I see as the over-arching plan for Contemplations to involve.

Order and Dominion

Over the past few months since I changed the perspective of this blog to Faith and Analysis I recognized that I had a sense of my thoughts being scattered, and that I was all over the place in terms of what I wanted as a focus for this blog. On the one hand, I didn’t want the focus of the blog to be too narrow, nor did I want it to be so broad as to have no focus at all. The blog needed tightened up and organized. God is about dominion and order. What I was trying to accomplish with Contemplations needed some order brought to it. My goal is to organize this blog around eight different themes or foci.

An Organizing Structure

The eight themes or foci around which this blog will be built and organized are the following: 1) the blog with its Christian perspective will proffer Reformed Theology, thereby drawing on Calvinism as a framework for discussing theological concerns and the pulse of our culture; 2) as one who holds to Reformed Theology, the sovereignty of God over our lives and His bringing about His Kingdom will be a major theme of exploration for this blog; 3) with that major theme, its corollary, God’s providence in our lives will be a reoccurring discussion within these pages; 4) as Faith and Analysis I will seek to apply a Reformed Christian perspective to current, historical, societal, and cultural events that we face as Christians, particularly those of us who hold to the fundamentals of the faith; 5) as one who promotes Reformed Theology, I will uphold the necessity of Biblical and theological knowledge and sound doctrine, providing discussions of theology and Biblical studies written across history of the church from the early Church Fathers to the present (book reviews, discussions of theological doctrine, highlighting Christian literature and writers; 6) As one who promotes Faith and Analysis, I will not shy away from discussing from a Christian perspective political, economic, and moral concerns; 7) given the emphasis on sound doctrine, I prayerfully hope to emphasize the importance of sound logical thinking in a postmodern age where accurate thought and truth are consistently under attack; 8) the blog will highlight the dominion mandate, Christian Reconstruction, and theonomy as discussed in the writings by R. J. Rushdoony and others (the Chalcedon Organization).


As any casual reader can tell from reading this particular blog, my goals are certainly not too narrow, nor are they too broad given the Christian perspective from which I write. Above all, Jesus Christ will be the center of thought for this blog. My own personal stance aligns for the most part with Reformed Theology. I embrace the dominion mandate that R. J. Rushdoony discusses in his writings. At this point I’m not ready to proclaim that I’m a theonomist or postmillennialist. There’s a lot to organize around this blog as I’ve delineated it here. Perhaps that’s what leads me to a sense of disorganization at times. The dominion mandate calls on us to bring order, not only to our thought lives, but in everything we pursue, taking captive all spheres of endeavor to the name and reign of Jesus Christ.

John V. Jones, Jr./Ph.D./January 14th, 2023


Book Review: The Sovereignty of God [A. W. Pink]


Throughout the introductory chapter of Pink’s Book, The Sovereignty of God, this question rings loud and clear: Who is regulating the affairs on this earth today? Pink offers us two options, God or the Devil. Written in the early part of the twentieth century, Pink points to the many troubles and crises happening at that time that led people to question whether or not God is in charge. Particularly germane to Pink’s time was World War I, and he would see World War II before he died. 

Pink’s Context and Ours

Arthur Walkington Pink (1886-1952) was educated at Moody Bible Institute. He is known for his stand as a Calvinist, hence he is by God’s providence, the man to pen this book about the sovereignty of God. The introductory chapter, along with the solemn question Pink poses, lays the foundation for what is to unfold in the following chapters. Times are still challenging today as they were in Pink’s day. There are events going on in the world that no doubt lead people to question whether or not God is in control. Many raise the question as to God’s very existence. Is our time any less troublesome than Pink’s? At the moment we are watching an invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military. Christians in many parts of the world are being put to death for their faith. Due to our foreign policy, we have been engaged in one military conflict after another since Vietnam. Woodrow Wilson wanted to bring democracy to the world via military intervention. Today the so-called War on Terror has proved as fruitful as democratizing the world. Free speech is under attack at every turn. The Constitution has been shredded in the name of compassion. Today in the U.S. we face a thirty-one trillion dollar debt, leading people to wander just how long the dollar will hold up before it collapses totally. And there is no end in sight of the road to entitlements coming out of DC, but primarily coming out of the taxpayer’s pocket. We are a country that sacrifices the unborn to the whims of people who want their freedom without any responsibility. It would be easy for someone to look in on these events and cultural mores and question: who regulates the affairs of the earth today? Pink, however, takes us to scripture to read and hear what it says about the character and attributes of God. In Pink’s presentation, either we live by sight or we live by faith. What does Scripture tell us about the one true sovereign God?

Sight or Faith

Pink tells us that walking by faith signifies certain ways of living. It means our thoughts are formed, our actions regulated, our lives molded by the Holy Scriptures . . . It is from the Word of Truth, and that alone – that we can learn what is God’s relation to this world. Pink stated that the troublesome times of his day were coming to fruition just as the Scriptures predicted. As believers in Christ, we should not be surprised that the world is turning away from God. Believers in Christ are in the world but are not of the world. The world system will continue to grow more and more antagonistic toward the Christian faith. . . . let it be said that the scriptures predicted just what we now see and hear . . . What is needed now as ever before, is a full, positive, constructive setting forth of the Godhood of God.

The Structure of the Book

As stated the introductory chapter lays the ground work for what is to follow in the next twelve chapters. This opening chapter states the major postulate on which the entire book is built. Because God is God – He does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases; that His great concern is the accomplishment of His own pleasure and the promotion of His own glory; that He is the Supreme Being, therefore, Sovereign of the universe. Based on this postulate, Pink contemplates the exercise of God’s sovereignty, first in Creation (Chap. 2). Then he explores how God’s sovereignty relates to God’s Governmental Administration over the works of His hands (Chap. 3). In the next two chapters, Pink explores the difficult and controversial areas of God’s election for salvation (Chap. 4), and the reprobation of the wicked (Chap. 5). Pink then explores what he calls God’s sovereignty in His operation on and within men (Chap. 6). Pink then explores two more difficult areas as he looks to understand God’s sovereignty as it relates to the human will (Chap. 7) and human responsibility (Chap. 8). This is an area where even Calvinists find disagreement. Given God’s sovereign control of all that occurs, what is the relationship of God’s sovereignty to prayer (Chap. 9)? Given the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, what should be the Christian’s attitude toward such teaching (Chap. 10)? The Sovereignty of God is a truth revealed to us in Scripture for the comforting of our hearts, the strengthening of our souls, and the blessing of our lives. The next two chapters deal with difficulties and objections to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty (Chap. 11) and then the practical value of the doctrine of God’s sovereignty (Chap. 12). The book closes with a conclusion that summarizes all that went before along with an exhortation for believers in Christ to seek and attend to sound doctrine (Chap. 13). 

Conclusion: Practical Value of the Doctrine of God’s Sovereignty

Although not a pragmatist, Pink believes that sound doctrine has practical value. The penultimate chapter explores what he considers to be the practical value derived from the doctrine of God’s sovereignty. Pink delineates ten areas for the believer that will be strengthened by a proper and deeper understanding of God’s sovereignty. For purposes of bringing this blog article to a finale, I’ll simply list those ten areas. God’s Sovereignty 1) deepens our veneration of the Divine character; 2) is the solid foundation of all true religion; 3) repudiates the heresy of salvation by works; 4) is deeply humbling to the creature; 5) affords a sense of absolute security; 6) supplies comfort in sorrow; 7) begets a spirit of sweet resignation; 8) evokes a song of praise: 9) guarantees the final triumph of good over evil; 10) provides a resting place for the heart. As stated in the opening of this article, A. W. Pink penned The Sovereignty of God for those who have placed their faith in Christ for their salvation, those who hold to the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. For many Christians today, this will not be considered light reading, nor did Pink intend it to be so written. I urge all believers who look with hope toward the dominion mandate as put forth by R. J. Rushdoony, to not only read this book, but to read and reread it, bringing good and solid study to it. We are called to love God with all our mind. Sound doctrine is not valued that much today in many pulpits. But if we are to love God with all we are, we cannot remain ignorant of good, sound teaching. 

[Pink, A. W., (2018). The Sovereignty of God. (Originally published in 1918). 2018 edition published by All material and quotes in this blog article are taken from the 2018 Kindle edition.]

John V. Jones, Jr., Ph.D./December 14th, 2022


Book Review: The Biblical Philosophy of History [R. J. Rushdoony]


Because of modern approaches to historical research, we are accustomed to thinking of history as simply the reporting of chronological events whereby the historian holds neutral his underlying presuppositions that form the basis of any interpretation of historical events. History then is more or less a journalistic reporting of events without bias. Indeed, according to some historians, history should not entail an interpretive process that looks to understand the meaning of events. But can historians simply report events without any underlying presuppositions? The very facts they choose to chronicle involves a choice on their part of some material while bypassing other material. In his book, The Biblical Philosophy of History, R. J. Rushdoony provides a different picture of history. He challenges us with questions like, What is history? What are the underlying presuppositions of various historiographies (historical method)? Can there really be a neutral approach to history? On the basis of these questions Rushdoony then proceeds to proffer a Biblical philosophy of history. In his various writings, Rushdoony posits the contrast of a Christian worldview with other worldviews that he designates as humanism. Whether those worldviews entail Greek philosophy,  medieval scholasticism, Enlightenment rationalism, positivism, or existentialism, they have in common their antagonism toward a Christian worldview because at their core they are all humanistic in that they view man as the determiner of all things. A Biblical Philosophy of History is a work meant for those who believe in a historical Jesus, who offers salvation to those who place faith in Him as called by God. 

History and Meaning

A popular movement emerged in the 1960’s that had its roots in the 19th century and the writings of Frederich Nietzsche. The movement was a philosophical one and anti-theological one known as the God is dead philosophy. Following Nietzsche, theologians such as Thomas J. Altizer held that the era of Christian civilization had come to an end, and all morals and values generated by a Christian worldview had collapsed. Historically, then Christianity became nothing more than a myth to be reported in the annals of historical research. What this meant for human beings was that they were then immersed in the process of historicity, thereby the search for a transcendental meaning in history is a meaningless pursuit. In contrast to this philosophy, Rushdoony brings forth a Biblical Philosophy of History. Throughout this work, Rushdoony pits a view of history as grounded in Biblical truth against various humanistic philosophies of history, including the Greek view of history, medieval scholasticism, Enlightenment rationalism, the positivism of Comte, pragmatism, Marxism, Fabian socialism, scientism, and relativism. Rushdoony’s first chapter, with the same title as the book, lays the groundwork for the entire work. 

The Biblical Philosophy of History

In his opening chapter, Rushdoony goes straight to Genesis and the Biblical perspective of creation as the foundation to the Biblical philosophy of history. He delineates nine implications for historical understanding if we accept the Biblical claim of God as Creator. 1) The doctrine of creation asserts that the universe, time, history, man, and all things are the handiwork of a sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, and triune God (p. 7). 2) This means that the meaning of history is to be understood primarily and essentially in terms of that God (p. 7). If God created time and history, then they are determined by Him. Hence, as human beings we are not immersed in time without recourse to any transcendental meaning. History is not caught in time but proceeds from eternity. 3) Creation is described by all of Scripture as a creative act of God, in six days, and thus it must be understood as an act, not of process (p. 7). 4) The Biblical doctrine of creation not only asserts that creation is the creative act of God, but also, because it is totally His creative act, creation is totally under His government (p. 10). 5) The source of energy and power is radically different in the Biblical faith from that in the humanistic creed. For the orthodox Christian, who grounds his philosophy of history on the doctrine of creation, the mainspring of history is God (p.12).God’s sovereignty and providential control give history meaning because history unfolds on the basis of His eternal decrees. 6) The Biblical philosophy of history is grounded not only on the doctrine of creation, but also on the doctrine of the infallible Scripture (p. 13). 7) The Biblical philosophy of history means that time does not come out of a primeval past, but from eternity (p. 15) 8) The doctrine of creation has reference to the nature of man (p. 16). Human beings are not caught up in the process of time and historicity; they are passive in their relationship to God, but active agents in relation to time and creation. 9) All factuality is . . . made personal, because it is the handiwork of the personal triune God, and it derives its meaning from His personal, creative act and eternal decree (p. 18). Rushdoony builds the theme of his book, The Biblical Philosophy of History, as he expounds on these nine principles while also contrasting the Biblical philosophy with humanistic philosophies throughout history from ancient Greece to the modern era. 

The Structure of the Book

Given the nine implications for the Biblical Philosophy of History from the premise that God is creator, Rushdoony takes Christian readers on a journey of how these implications relate to what Orthodox Christians hold as basic truths of Scripture. Hence readers will delve into what it means for history if we accept what Romans 9 says about inescapable truths seen in creation. What does the Incarnation and the Virgin Birth mean for our understanding of history? What does regeneration of the believer mean for our understanding of history and our place in history? Rushdoony takes Orthodox believers into these discussions and others. Two appendices to the book delve further into historiography and Rushdoony’s plea for the need of Christian scholarship in this area, as one means of Christian Reconstruction where all spheres of life are taken captive for the name of Christ.


As stated, The Biblical Philosophy of History is written straightforwardly for the Reformed Orthodox Christian. It provides the believer with a firm foundation for why we should study history, whether we pursue it as a professional, a student, or a layperson. History has meaning and purpose. The Christian interpretation of history is at odds with all humanistic approaches to understanding history, if indeed there is any understanding to be had from humanistic presuppositions. 

[Rushdoony, R. J. (2000). The Biblical Philosophy of History (originally published in 1969; reprinted in 2000). Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books.] [All page numbers refer to the Kindle edition.]

John V. Jones, Jr., Ph.D./November 14th, 2022


Waiting on God


As we pray, study God’s Word, and face the vicissitudes of life that come at us, Scripture tells us over and over again about the comforts that come with waiting on God. What exactly does it mean to wait on God? What are the comforts and blessings that come when we do wait on God? Is the Fruit of the Spirit, patience, implicated in our waiting on God? If we learn what it truly means Biblically to wait on God, what is God trying to teach us through our waiting on His timing?

The Sovereignty of God

There are many attributes we could study concerning God’s character. God’s sovereignty, however, speaks to who God is in contrast to who man is. God’s sovereignty simply means that God is God. He does what He pleases, when He pleases, how He pleases. It is tempting to qualify this statement with God’s other attributes, so as to not make it sound as if God is whimsical and arbitrary. Nothing God does is antithetical to His holiness and justice. However, let’s stay focused on God’s sovereignty for the moment without moving too quickly to qualify the power and glory that is His being as seen in the simple fact that God is the great I AM. There is nothing that is outside of God’s control. All that happens in the world and to us individually is under His control. Two years ago I experienced a cerebellum stroke that still effects my ability to walk to this day. (I wrote about this experience, beginning here). Obviously, the why question emerged for me, but I’ll probably never have a specific answer to that question, other than it was God’s will that I had the stroke. The important thing for created beings to realize is that no one gives God counsel or advice for what and how He does things. He is sovereign, and He is His own counsel. Two important Books in Scripture can highlight this truth for us: The Book of Job, and Genesis in detailing the life of Joseph. God is God, and He is sovereign over His Kingdom, and rules as He knows best. Waiting of God calls on us to rest in His sovereignty and let things play out as they will. Many times we pray for something, and we want an answer to our prayer to come about immediately, as quickly as possible. Waiting on God requires the Fruit of the Spirit, patience, as well as trusting all the other magnificent and magnanimous attributes of God.

The Providence of God

God’s sovereignty speaks to His absolute control over all that occurs in life. God’s sovereignty is worked out through His providential hand. The stroke I experienced entails God’s providential hand in my life. God teaches us things through the sufferings and difficulties we face in life. God blessed me in displaying His providence at every turn as I worked through the difficulties of that stroke for a full year. Although I believed in God’s sovereignty and providence prior to my stroke, the twists and turns I went through during that time solidified for me God’s providential hand in my life. There was a lot of waiting I had to do, particularly waiting to regain strength, to walk again with the use of a roller and cain, to restore my voice so as to talk again, and to develop my ability to swallow and eat again. I would have preferred all that to have happened overnight, but that’s not the way strokes work. And in many cases it’s not the way God works. I learned a lot during that time about prayer, working hard in rehab, and waiting on God’s good timing. Waiting on God requires us to trust in His providential timing. God hears our prayers. He may not answer them all in the way we would prefer, and some prayers He may answer with a no. But His providential care is for certain.

Patience: A Fruit of the Spirit

I would like to wax eloquently on how I’ve developed patience over the past two years in dealing with this stroke, but if I did, I would certainly be falling into sin. I am one impatient dude. Patience is one of the nine Fruit of the Spirit, delineated in Galatians 5:22-23. Notice, Scripture does not designate them as fruits, but as Fruit. They are one and indivisible. Waiting on God requires us to wait on God’s timing, not ours. There are still things with which I struggle as a result of my stroke. My balance is still not the best, and eating some things can be difficult due to my inability to swallow certain types of food. My left side was affected by the stroke, so I tend to drop a lot of things, which can really test my patience. I have prayed quite often for this Fruit of the Spirit to become manifested in my life. So it too is something for which I have to wait on God to develop within me through His Holy Spirit. There are some truths we can know. God wants for us the blessing that comes with the Fruit of the Spirit. So I know He will answer my prayer for patience in His own way and in His own timing. Waiting on God requires patience because patience requires trust in who God is and what He is all about.

Conclusion: What the Future Holds

Waiting on God to work things out in our lives is no easy task. Patience and trust require faith in who God is. We are promised in Scripture that God works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). We are still fallen creatures on this side of life, and it is easy for us to give up on God’s promises. David faced this struggle, stating that he said in haste, I am cut off from before your eyes/Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications/When I cried out to You (Psalm 31:22). I have mentioned on this blog before the idea of Christian Reconstruction as put forth by R. J. Rushdoony who established the Chalcedon Foundation. If we as Christians are to bring every sphere of life captive to Christ, we have to be a patient people, not just because that is a decent character trait to possess, but because patience shows that we believe in the sovereignty and providence of God, that we trust by faith that He will bring about all things in His good timing. And what he will bring about will be Holy, Righteous, and Just, according to all His magnificent attributes.

This nation is going through some difficult times right now. And God judges the nations (Joel 3:1-23). I am not sure what the future holds for us. We face a 31-trillion-dollar debt, which just to say that, is unfathomable as to what it means. We are a nation, grounded in humanism whereby people look to the State for salvation. As believers, we need to pray diligently for this nation. And those prayers will require us to trust by faith in God’s sovereign plan, meaning we must wait on the Lord our God to do what He will do. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage. And He will strengthen your heart; wait, I say wait on the Lord (Psalm 27:14).

John V. Jones, Jr., Ph.D./October 14th, 2022


Contemplations: Faith & Analysis Kickoff


One might say that the notion of truth has fallen on hard times, but actually it has been a long-time coming. We see today the fruits of what was sown beginning in the Enlightenment, working its way into the modernist age. Although rationalism born out the Enlightenment is at odds in many ways with the postmodern age in which we now live, both are the result of humanism. If man is the ultimate measure of all things, then the radical relativism of postmodernism is the result of that presupposition. Spinoza opened the door to postmodernism, whether or not one wants to admit it, in his attack on Biblical truth and the existence of a personal God. Because of at least a Christian consensus, our culture did not feel the full force of the undermining of absolute truth for a couple of centuries. Now we see it in full force in every sphere of life from education to economics, and for sure in the political realm. One only had to listen to Biden’s speech the other night to know that we live in a time of full-blown rhetoric. Lest people think I’m picking on one political party, the same is true about the statements spewed by Trump. Unfortunately, much of the church under the guise of Christianity embraced the modernist form of thought as witnessed by the rise of Neo-Orthodoxy, modernist theology (Barth, etc.), liberation theology, and a segment of the emergent church that denounces the place of doctrine in Christianity. Without truth grounded in a solid foundation, the human creature is rudderless, directionless, and embraces the notion of a meaningless and purposeless universe.

Faith & Analysis Kick Off Time

Over the summer I previewed what was coming in the blog with the name change to Contemplations: Faith and Analysis. The September publication is the beginning of what I pray is a bright future for this blog. I have come to believe that the basic foundation for anything designated as the truth is the Christian faith. In the months ahead, and hopefully longer, I will provide analysis of what is transpiring in our culture and nation from a Christian point of view. Presently, we face a time when just about anything is acceptable other than an Orthodox Christian worldview. Contemplations, moving forward, will draw on a Reformed Christian framework to critique what is occurring in the realm of culture, politics, economics, education, business, the arts, etc. Although I will draw on the works of many Christians, I primarily will base what I write here on R. J. Rushdoony and his thoughts on Christian Reconstruction. Unfortunately, there is a much caricaturing of his position and, thereby, misunderstanding of what Christian Reconstruction is all about. Basically, it comes down to taking captive to Christ all areas of life. Due to Neo-Orthodoxy, and the modernist movements in the church, the concept of Christianity itself unfortunately means a variety of things to people. I will delineate where I’m coming from in this blog article

Reformed Theology

I embrace my faith from the perspective of an Orthodox Reformed theology. What exactly does that entail? There are several elements to my faith that I want to delineate here, but how they apply to an analysis of our culture via faith will come to light only in time across the months through my published blog articles.

Five Fundamentals of the Faith

First, I am Orthodox in that I hold to basic Biblical Christianity. The foundation of my beliefs lies on what I consider the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. These are 1) the eternal existence of the Creator Triune God and His creation ex-nihilo of the universe and all there within, and the Fall of man; 2) the Incarnation of Jesus Christ and the Works of the Holy Spirit; 3) the necessity of the Substitutionary Atonement of Jesus Christ and its apprehension by faith alone; 4) the death, resurrection, ascension, and second coming of Jesus Christ; 5) the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture. The way in which I draw on my faith to critique the present climate of our culture will unfold in the months ahead.

The Five Solas

The Five Fundamentals of the faith delineated above can be somewhat correlated to what are called the Five Solas that emerged out of the Reformation. These are 1) sola fide – faith alone; 2) sola Scriptura – Scripture alone; 3) sola gratia – grace alone; 4) solus Christus – Christ alone; 5) Soli Deo Gloria – to God the glory alone. These Five Solas help sum up the Five Fundamentals of the faith described above.

T.U.L.I.P. Calvinism

As one whose faith is grounded on Orthodox Reformed theology, God’s sovereignty and His providential hand over our lives is at the core of what I believe. Unfortunately, Calvinism is another one of those terms that carries with it much caricaturing and misunderstanding. Hopefully, over the course of time I will make clear how this Reformed view of theology provides a foundation for analysis via faith of our culture and nation. The Five Points (T.U.L.I.P.) of Calvinism are: 1) Total Depravity; 2) Unconditional Election: 3) Limited Atonement: 4) Irresistible Grace; 5) Perseverance or Preservation of the Saints.


The discussion above is only a thin layer of what Reformed theology entails. But it provides a basic starting and kickoff point for establishing a foundation for the analyses that will be forthcoming in the months ahead. Contemplations: Faith & Analysis will provide analyses through various formats – essays, ideas regarding Christian counseling, book reviews, political analyses, discussions of economics, and other formats. We are entering an election season, and this heyday of rhetoric unfortunately fits a postmodern mindset. The goal of Contemplations is to provide a thoughtful analysis of the culture from the perspective of Christian thought, particularly in terms of Christian Reconstruction as described by R. J. Rushdoony and the Chalcedon organization. .

John V. Jones, Jr., Ph.D./September 14th, 2022


Foundations for Christian Counseling: Van Til on Self-Realization


Most of what we know from the world of psychotherapy and counseling is grounded in humanistic presuppositions. Having studied and worked as a professional counselor, I used to believe that it was possible to integrate various counseling theories with Christian beliefs and a position that holds to the inerrancy of Scripture. I’ve gravitated from that belief, finding that it is more and more difficult to integrate my Christian beliefs with the philosophy and theoretical foundations of counseling and psychotherapeutic theories. Somewhere along the line a Christian has to conclude that the presuppositions of Christianity are diametrically opposed to humanistic philosophies. Various counseling theories were developed purposely in opposition to the Judeo-Christian worldview. Indeed although one may draw from certain theories to work with his or her clients, at rock bottom, Christianity and the humanism that undergirds theories of psychotherapy are irreconcilable in terms of worldview. What does this mean for the practitioner who wants his or her practice to stand solidly on Christian foundations? One response to such a question is obviously to make sure the theories one holds and the work he or she undertakes is Biblically sound. I believe the presuppositional approach of Reformed theologians can provide a solid basis, not only for counseling practice, but for all spheres of endeavor that Christians hope to take captive to Christ. Along those lines, I want to discuss Cornelius Van Til’s ideal for self-realization.

Cornelius Van Til & Presuppositional Apologetics

Cornelius Van Til (1895-1987) was a Dutch-American Reformed theologian, known primarily for his presuppositional approach to apologetics. His family moved from the Netherlands to Midwest America, Indiana, when he was about ten. He studied under the systematic theologian, Louis Berkhof at Calvin College before transferring to Princeton Theological Seminary. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and began teaching at Princeton Seminary. Not long after he began working at the Seminary, it underwent a split, so Van Til shifted with the conservative group and taught for forty-three years at Westminster Theological Seminary. Van Til developed his presuppositional approach to apologetics, not only as a method to apologetics, but also as an undergirding epistemology to all of Christianity. He rejected traditional methods of apologetics and systematic theology that held that there is a common ground between believers and non-believers regarding the Christian faith. Hence, he was opposed to what he viewed as an Enlightenment rationalistic approach to apologetics and systematic theology. Unfortunately, his approach is labeled, even by some evangelical Christians, as irrational. Although he is not opposed to the use of reason – after all, we are to worship God with all our mind – he did not believe that apologetics could be used to rationally prove the truth of Scripture. All individuals believe and act on a set of presuppositions, whether or not they are aware of the presuppositions they hold. Likewise, Van Til’s position has been labeled fideistic. However he believed that believers could offer a rational defense of the faith, but that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to use arguments for the faith to convict the unbeliever of the truth of Scripture and the Person and Work of Christ. [Obviously, this paragraph is a short and truncated presentation of Van Til’s approach. Such a discussion would entail one or several blog articles, not to mention many books and articles that have been written regarding Van Til’s systematic theology. The best advice is to read Van Til for one’s own education].

Self-Realization, Self-Actualization, Etc.

The first thing to realize is that with such concepts as self-realization, self-actualization, self-awareness, self-consciousness, self-efficacy, and more, within the field of psychotherapy and counseling, these terms are replete with humanistic underpinnings. Take for example, self-realization. Self-realization as a concept has its origins in Western thought taken from psychoanalysis. Freud purposely developed his approach to psychoanalysis as antithetical to religion as a whole, and the Judeo-Christian worldview in particular. Self-realization was also incorporated in Western esotericism, where self-realization is held to be the ultimate goal of life, e.g. New Age approaches. Additionally, self-realization was incorporated in Eastern thought, e.g. Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism among others. All of these approaches are humanistic at base, regardless of their particular differences and disagreements. Other approaches to counseling are based on rationalistic premises, stemming from the Enlightenment, such as Rational-Emotive-Behavior-Therapy or Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Hence, one will come across the concept self-efficacy. Although I find these approaches to be more easily integrative with my beliefs, the caution is that a concept like self-efficacy emerging from these counseling approaches is grounded in the humanistic presupposition of autonomous reason. The question that continues to emerge, as posed by R. J. Rushdoony and Greg Bahnsen, is by what standard do we understand these approaches to be true or even pragmatically helpful? Cornelius Van Til, as a Reformed theologian who takes a presuppositional approach to theology and apologetics proffers an ideal viewpoint of self-realization. Although ideal, I believe it can be helpful to Christian counselors who want to remain true to Biblical inerrancy and the fundamental truths of Christianity.

Van Til on Self-Realization

Self-realization, as pointed out, is a concept loaded with various presuppositions, depending on to whom one talks or whom one reads. Van Til’s explication of this concept, I believe, can provide a good solid Biblical viewpoint for those counselors who seek to shape their practice from a Reformed and evangelical position. He delineates his approach to self-realization in his work, Christian Theistic Ethics. In chapter five of this work, he poses the questions: what then, in more detail, is involved in the goal of self-realization that man must set for himself (p. 45). First, it is important to realize that Van Til is discussing theology, not counseling, and he builds his discussion on an ideal type that would have existed prior to the Fall. He opens chapter five with his presupposition that he sees as in alignment with Reformed theology. The chapter, more than a discussion of self-realization, seeks to explore what forms man’s ultimate good, summum bonum. He states, The ethical ideal that man, as originally created, naturally had to set for himself was the ideal that God wanted him to set for himself. This is involved in the fact that man is a creature made in the image of God. God himself is naturally the end of all of man’s activity. Man’s whole personality was to be a manifestation and revelation on a finite scale of the personality of God . . . man especially was created to glorify God . . . God is man’s summum bonum (p. 41). Ideally then, all of man’s activity is directed toward God. However, the space-time Fall occurred, and to approach the ideal summum bonum set for man, requires grace from God, which comes only by being in Christ. What does this mean for one’s self-realization?

There are three core elements that Van Til delineates if the Christian is to engage self-realization. First, man must learn to will the will of God. Man must work out his own will, that is, he must develop his own will first of all. Man’s will must become increasingly spontaneous in its reactivity. Man was created so that he spontaneously served God. For this reason he must grow in spontaneity. Whatever God has placed within man by way of activity must also be regarded by him as a capacity to be developed . . . In his heart there was the inmost desire to serve God . . . God wants men to develop this will (p. 45). Obviously, from a Reformed Christian perspective, man cannot do this on his own. Following the Fall, every human creature requires grace to live as God wants him or her to live.

The second core principle is that man’s will needs to become increasingly fixed in its self-determination . . . man must needs develop the backbone of his will . . . Man was created as a self . . the creature of an absolute self . . . for this very reason again man has to develop his self-determination . . . God is absolutely self-determinate; [man can only be] self-determinate under God (pp. 45-46). As a Reformed theologian with a postmillennial outlook, Van Til believes that as Christians develop their self-determination under God, they are by God’s grace accomplishing His plans for His Kingdom on earth. God accomplishes his plans through self-determined creatures (p. 46).

The third core principle is that man’s will must increase in momentum. . . As man approaches his ideal, the realization of the kingdom of God, the area of his activity naturally enlarges itself (p. 46). This principle addresses Van Til’s postmillennial position regarding the Kingdom of God. Like any Reformed theologian, Van Til does not see the Kingdom as coming through man’s effort apart from God. It comes as the result of man’s sanctification by grace. Christians are to take captive every sphere of life to the obedience of Christ.

Self-Realization in Counseling Practice

Whether one agrees or disagrees with Van Til’s presuppositional approach to theology and apologetics, or his postmillennial view on the Kingdom, I believe Van Til, as a Reformed theologian, offers an important contribution to Christian counselors and those pastors who take on the counseling role in the church through his discussion of the ideal type of self-realization. As to the first core principle, Christian counselors can work with other believers to help them develop their spontaneity through their development of the capacities God has placed in them. In general, this means encouraging other believers to understand that they were created to serve God in some fashion. More specifically, this means working with believers to support them in discovering and developing their Spiritual gifts. I’ve talked with believers over the years who question what their Spiritual gifts might be, and they seemed at a loss as to how to be certain about what God is leading them to do. While searching out such areas for our Christian lives entails diligence, this should not be an area that leaves Christians open to constant doubt.

The second core principle regards one of those concepts that is so easily misunderstood, reading into it all sorts of humanistic underpinnings. No doubt, self-determination is a loaded concept right along with self-realization. Again, let’s look at the basic premise off which Van Til works here. As creatures, we are imbued with the Imago Dei, the image of God. Whatever capacities God has instilled in us, we develop them in terms of who we are as God created us. From a counseling perspective this can mean we support believers to discover all their capacities with which they have been created, to develop those capacities, and in doing so develop their self-determination, pursuing the life God has called them to pursue. In developing his self-determination, man is fulfilling not only God’s plan for himself, but who he is in relation to all other Christians so as to fulfill God’s plan for the church, and according to Van Til, God’s plan for His Kingdom on earth. I believe as a Christian counselor who works with other believers, we can help our brothers and sisters in Christ fill out who they are in Christ, whether or not we hold to a postmillennial position. Such work enables believers to fill out what God’s plan is for the church because we are all members of one Body.

The third core principle that Van Til discusses regarding self-realization is momentum. An an individual develops in spontaneity and self-determination, he will naturally develop his momentum. For one thing, this means, everything we do and pursue in life, we do it in pursuit of God and in the desire to be in His will in everything. As an individual grows in momentum, his activity will enlarge itself. This pertains, most importantly I believe, in the goal of taking every sphere of life captive to the name of Christ. Too many Christians believe that their specific Spiritual gift should be used in one way or in one field of endeavor. I’ve seen this work itself out among Christians who unfortunately believe that if they are not pursuing full time Christian work, e.g. pastoral work or some other full-time Christian work situation, they see themselves as secondary citizens in the church. We are supposed to be in full-time Christian pursuit, but that has nothing to do with the specific job title we work under. Taking captive all spheres of life in the name of Christ IS a full-time endeavor. And while that can be accomplished as a pastor, Seminary professor, or Christian counselor, it can be done as a businessman, a scientist, or an artist as well – and all the other pursuits that human beings engage. Even more importantly, it can be engaged beyond just our field of endeavor in which we work. Taking all spheres of life captive to Christ is accomplished by the way families work, how we engage friendships, and how we act in all our day-to-day interactions with others.


As Christians, how are we to engage the world? We are to engage every sphere of life in the name of Christ. As a counselor who is a Christian, I firmly believe that Christians can help, support, and encourage other believers to fill out who they are in Christ. Only via grace can the counselor and the individuals with whom he or she works come close to accomplishing that task. I believe Van Til’s explication of self-realization gives us a blueprint by which to accomplish that task. Importantly, Van Til has placed the concept of self-realization upon a solid Reformed theological foundation, stripping it of any humanistic underpinnings. David in Psalm 16, speaking to God said, Apart from you, my goodness is nothing. Apart from God and His grace, we cannot even begin the work that Van Til challenges us to do, and as Reformed theologian, he knew that.

What I have written here pertains to Christian counselors working with other believers. As a Christian, I believe that is the optimal way to work as a counselor. Although I have worked with unbelievers, there is a strong absence of common ground on which to work. As a retired counselor, the one thing I would change, looking back on my life, is my clientele. Moving forward, I hope this short exploration of Van Til’s discussion of self-realization can help and support counselors work from a solid Biblical and Reformed theological base. The field of counseling is otherwise seeking to stay afloat over the abyss of humanistic philosophies, all of which ultimately default to man’s autonomous reasoning or nihilism. For those evangelical and Reformed Christians who have not read Van Til, I highly encourage you to read and study his work.

Reference: Van Til, C. (1980). In Defense of the Faith, Volume 3: Christian Theistic Ethics. [Originally published in 1970]. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co.

John V Jones, Jr, Ph.D./August 14th, 2022


The Need for a Christian Manifesto


In this postmodern age, the idea of a Christian Manifesto may sound like a throwback to a time when the Church prevailed as a political entity, or a time when more people claimed the name of Christian. However, the need is not to return to some idealized past, but to surge forward into the future, thinking in terms of what R. J. Rushdoony calls Christian Reconstruction. For this discussion I will draw on four Chalcedon Reports written by Rushdoony over the years. This blog article is not merely a summary of what Rushdoony has already stated, but a charge to move forward into the future with his ideas of Christian Reconstruction and all that can mean for Christians in this age and the years ahead, whether or not one totally agrees with Rushdoony on every point. The one thing on which we as Christians can all agree is that Jesus Christ is our King, the victory over all of life is ultimately His.

Salvation by Politics

As I stated in last month’s blog article, we live in a political age. We look to the State to meet all our needs and to rescue us from the difficulties that we confront as a part of living. I too harbor guilt for this way of thinking that crept into my life for a number of years. Rushdoony a number of years ago wrote about The Fallacy of Politics (Chalcedon Report 357, April 1995). He stated that one of the truly great evil ideas of the Twentieth Century is that the American people came to see themselves as some kind of victim at the hands of others. Victims tend to be helpless, and so by default they look to others to help them. In a political age, the American people called on the State to save them from their victimhood – whatever they surmised that to be. Consequently, people sought political answers to their dilemmas. Rushdoony pointed out that politics means that a small minority exerts control over the majority. Once the State intrudes into our lives, it will seek to maintain its existence in whatever way it can, including our pocketbooks. Note our present Thirty-trillion dollar debt. Handing over power to the State means topdown control and an ultimate pragmatism on the part of politicians who will sacrifice principles to stay in office. Rushdoony claims that God has made men the primary agent of government (Chalcedon Report 357). If we sacrifice self-government by handing over our lives to the State, then ultimately we destroy ourselves.


This raises the question of what Rushdoony means by self-government. He delineates seven points of self-government in Self-Government Under God, (Chalcedon Report 364, November 1995). First of all, government is the self-government of the Christian man. Second, the basic government institution is the family. Third, for the Christian, the church plays a part in an individual’s government. Fourth, education and the school make up a component of the Christian’s government. Hence, we see the conflict between homeschools/private schools and state schools. Fifth, our vocations govern us. We are to do our work as unto the Lord. Sixth, as members of society, we should meet social expectations where they do not contradict God’s law. And finally, civil government makes up only one part of what is considered government from a Christian perspective. These are the areas that as Christians we must take captive to Christ. When we give our lives over to the State, government becomes and external power that rules over us. Rushdoony states, if self-government is lacking, then no good government can prevail in any sphere (Chalcedon Report 364). We see today a persistent intrusion into the first six components of self-government from the seventh component, civil government or the State. Although now there appears to be more freedom for homeschooling and private schools, these entities had to fight the State for some time to exist. Even today many Christians still send their children to State schools while deploring the content their children receive there. Additionally, those people who homeschool or send their children to private schools are coerced by the State to support State schools via taxation.

The Fundamentals of Statism

In April, 1985, Rusdoony penned Chalcedon Report 237 titled The Ten Fundamentals of Statism. I will summarize what he claimed. First, as citizens we have to realize that the State will seek to maintain its own existence at the expense of the people. This is why it is naive to look to the State for any kind of security, and above all to depend on the State for salvation from life’s daily struggles. Second, although other States are occasional enemies of the State, the people are always enemies of the State. A truly liberated people is not to the State’s benefit. Third, the purpose of taxation is confiscation and control. Note the rise of Executive Privilege over the past decades at the hands of both major political parties. Likewise taxation is about the redistribution of wealth. Fourth, steps to increase State power is always said to be done for the people; however, State power can only increase at the expense of personal liberty. Therefore fifth, the mindset of the State is that freedom is dangerous, but controls are good. Statists always view social problems as due to too much liberty in certain areas. Sixth, freedom must be redefined, especially to counter Christian morality. Seventh, children are the property of the State. Many Statist educators will tell you that children are wards of the State. Note the antagonism toward private education, especially private Christian schools and Christian homeschoolers. Eighth, the State sees church and family as its two primary enemies. Ninth, humanistic education for the most part denies the existence of God and salvation in Christ. Tenth, the State operates in the name of the public. Privacy is a problem to Statist actions and controls. Given these ten fundamentals of the State, Rushdoony delineates what a Christian Manifesto involves.

A Christian Manifesto

Almost exactly a year earlier, Rushdoony authored Chalcedon Report # 225, April 1984, A Christian Manifesto. The manifesto delineates ten points for Christians to act on so as to take captive all spheres of their lives to Jesus Christ. It is also important to realize that the manifesto is not a call for revolution against the State. It is a call to live according to God’s law for those who are in Christ. As such, it represents no coercion or harm to unbelievers who want to live otherwise. But the manifesto does call for Christians to establish their communities in ways that will not be viewed in a friendly manner by the world. As with the Ten Fundamentals of the State, there are ten points to the Christian Manifesto. First, sovereignty is an attribute of God, not of man or the State. God alone is sovereign over all spheres of life. Second, the Bible is given as the common law. The foundation for justice rests on God’s truth. Third, salvation is not by politics, education, or the church. Salvation is by Jesus Christ alone. Fourth, the Machiavellian premise that men at the top can make a good society is a myth, if not an outright lie. Fifth, civil rulers who deny God are in places of power, and thereby make them dangerous. This is also true of Christians who do not live according to God’s law. Sixth, the State is not the government, but only one form of government. (See the paragraph on self-government above). Seventh, if the State equates itself with government, the results is tyranny and evil. Liberty is primarily about freedom from the State. Eighth, the Christian is called to exercise dominion in all spheres of life. Ninth, humanism, man seeking to be his own God, is the way of death. Tenth, all institutions will either serve God or be judged by Him. There is no doubt that the Christian Manifesto as delineated by Rushdoony calls for Christians to be active in all areas of life. Although this may sound threatening to the unbeliever, again, such a manifesto does not call for a violent revolution. The basis for society becoming the good society is regeneration, not rebellion or coercion.


Although the Christian Manifesto is not based on coercion toward those who do not believe in God and Jesus Christ as their savior, Christian morality and God’s Law definitely represent concerns for the unbeliever. It means that Christians may indeed begin a mass exodus from State schools. Given that fact, those who depart from State education will not want to support State schools with their tax dollars anymore than unbelievers would want to financially support Christian schools or private schools. It means that Christians will look to God’s word as foundation for civil law. Note the present response to the SCOTUS overturning of Roe v. Wade. We live in a world where people hold diametrically opposing values. Such opposing values will lead to open confrontation, particularly regarding government and the State. According to the Manifesto, Christians will seek to live out their beliefs in ways that counter many values held by a humanistic society. As stated above, the definition of freedom represents one of the core conflicts between believers and a humanistic society. Christians will not look to the State for their idea of a free society. Indeed, freedom is freedom from the State. More importantly, at the moment, Christians need to think about the Christian Manifesto as a way of taking back their family, economic decisions, and education from the State, looking to self-government and all that entails. Many Christians still send their children to State schools although they deplore what the schools teach their children in terms of moral principles. Whether or not we agree with every theological point of R. J. Rushdoony and his notion of theonomy, there is much he says with which Bible-believing Christians can agree.

[All content is based on the Kendal Edition of Faith and Action by R. J. Rushdoony.]

John V. Jones, Jr, Ph.D., July 14th, 2022