By R. J. Rushdoony – Pietistic, amillennial and premillennial efforts lead invariably to a retreat from the world into a convent-type church which is made into a place of refuge from the world rather than a place of preparation for battle. Such churches emphasize songs of escapism, hymns that celebrate Christ as one who supposedly rescues them from the world and the problems of the world, they stress life on a “higher plane,” i.e., one of removal from the world’s battles.
Secular millenarianism has its place of refuge also, the state. All man’s problems are to find solution, not in work towards reconstruction, but in a revolutionary state whose fiat will effect the required changes. The revolution functions as the secular substitute for the rapture: the revolution will transport the true believers from the old and fallen world to the new world of the glorious revolution.
For the orthodox Christian, these alternatives are unbiblical and immoral. He has been regenerated by God through Christ to re-assume the task abandoned by Adam, namely, to exercise dominion and to subdue the earth under God and His law-word. It is important to cite a few of the necessary areas of action, but not in any order of priority.
First of all, we must begin with ourselves and our families. The family must be strengthened in its religious and economic life, and in its responsibilities towards every member. Children have a duty to support and care for their parents, and to maintain a strong religious and economic tie with them.
Second, the church, before it is an institution and a legal corporation, is the family of God. This means the necessity of caring for one another. The diaconate, and the office of widows, needs to be revived in order to minister to the needs of Christ’s people, materially and spiritually. There is not a congregation without elderly members who need someone to do their shopping, clean their home, look after various duties, and much more. It is phariseeism to send money abroad to care for the needy, an impersonal act, and to neglect the personal and responsible act at home. To help someone close by means a continual involvement, back-aches and heart-aches, but this is what any work involves. The church should minister to the spiritual and material hunger and thirst of its members.
Third, Christian schools, colleges, institutes, and training centers are an urgent necessity. For a church or the parents, to have no regard for the fact that their children are receiving a godless education is a mark of apostasy.
Fourth, Christian political action is necessary, towards making the state again a Christian state, and its actions conform with the law of God.
Fifth, Christian professional organizations are urgently needed. Christian doctors, lawyers, and others must create their own professional agencies to further, not a pietistic, but a theologically sound view of their professions. This will also mean Christian hospitals, rest homes, old folks’ homes for those without families, and much, much more. It means, sixth, studying every kind of calling from the perspective of Biblical faith and law. What constitutes a Christian farmer? How are salesmen, shopkeepers, men involved in real estate, manufacturing, or anything else, important for godly reconstruction?
It means, seventh, that the sciences are to be seen, as everything else, as an area of calling in which knowledge and dominion under God must be furthered.
Much more can be said. Suffice it to say that basic to all these activities, health, education, welfare, politics, economics, the family, the church, our vocations, and so on, is the necessity to tithe, so that the work of reconstruction may be expedited. The tithe is to the Lord, not to the church as such, and can go to whatever agency is working to further the Lord’s dominion and to bring every area of thought and life into captivity to Jesus Christ.
Finally, another area must be mentioned: prayer. The first petition of the Lord’s Prayer asks, “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, On Earth As It Is In Heaven.” This must be our prayer and also our calling.