The Protestant Hatred of the Law

(Note that the bold in the quotations are mine, not Rushdoony’s.)

After quoting the Great Exhortation, Rushdoony continues:

—<Quote begins>—

Luther brought to the forefront the true doctrine of justification. At the beginning, he spoke very clearly on sanctification. If you examine his small catechism he says that the rule of faith, that is, the way of sanctification, is the law. The first person to break with that was one of his close associates, Agricola{?}, who tried to push the matter of justification by faith to the point where he says that it made no difference what a man did, as long as he acknowledged justification by God he could be any kind of a sinner and it didn’t matter. He virtually denied the doctrine of sanctification, any necessity of righteousness and holiness. Luther opposed him at some disputations they held, but little by little, because it was a good club to use against the Roman Catholic emphasis on works in salvation, that is, in the doctrine of justification, Luther began to attack any kind of works, any kind of law keeping. As a result, in a famous sermon of 1525, Luther denounced the law. The damage he did was tremendous. He did it partly because having before that taught the law, many of the poor peasants began to appeal to the law of God against the injustices they were suffering. And it finally led to the peasant’s rebellion. Luther denounced both the peasants and the Anabaptists, and in a sense they needed denouncing, in part. But in doing so, he denounced also the law of God to which they appealed. And he said that the law only had bound the Jews and the 10 Commandments had nothing to do with us. Quote, “They are dead and gone. Where he, Moses, gives commandments, we are not to follow him, except so far as he agrees with the natural law.” Unquote. The natural law, in other words, the law of the nations, insofar as the nations have any kind of law. Unfortunately, Calvin also made the same statement, while also, like Luther, affirming the law as the rule of faith, the way of sanctification.

Luther went so far as to declare, and I quote, “Sin cannot separate man from God, even if we commit murder and fornication a thousand times a day.” Unquote. It is with extravagant statements like this that he made, that he has given Catholic theologians so ideal a tool to discredit the Reformation.

Now if a man wants a spiritual religion, or a mystical religion, the Bible is his enemy, because the Bible is law oriented. But if he wants a material, a relevant religion, one that tells him how to handle what he has, his life, his property, his money, his entire responsibilities, then biblical law is basic. It is inescapable.

—<Quote ends>—

So you get Calvin and Luther, defending the Law when it was useful to do so… but when the peasants began to appeal to the Law of God, Calvin and Luther sided with the money and the power, and against the Law of God.

I find this kind of behaviour VERY similar to that of the American Church, especially the Southern Churches before and during the Civil War, when the Southern US Christians — both pastors and laymen — sided with the slaver and the oppressor, insisting that God was on the side of the whippers and against the liberator.

In history, God has demonstrated just how wrong those anti-Law (and anti-Christ!) Christians actually were… and are.

For more on

  • the Religion of Power (gleefully enforced by the oppressor),
  • the Religion of Escape (upheld by the mystics, the gnostics, the law-hating (i.e. ‘antinomian’) Christians, and the Eastern Dharma religions1) –
  • and the Religion of Dominion (what Christ expects of us, working with the tools and resources God has placed in our hand to expand His Kingdom and the reign of His Law-Word. And be rewarded for doing so, we and our descendant.)

see North’s The War Between Three Types of Religions. He also touches on the failure of the Southern, pro-slavery church and the rise of humanistic law in the North, stemming directly from the anti-trinitarian (Unitarian, et al) leadership in the God-blessed antislavery cause.

God’s will shall be done. Regardless of any and all Christian opposition to God’s explicit commands.

It would be better for us to take leadership in His cause. Why should pagans who hear God on a given point, and obey Him, get the reward for obedience?

It’s no different than pagan Japanese who refuse to bend the knee to Christ – but live in peace, work hard, refuse to steal and murder – reaping the rewards they have earned in time and on earth

…while Christian Jamaicans bend the knee to Christ, routinely go to church – and then go out to steal and to kill, showing by their actions the lawless hatred and envy in their hearts. And so God leaves them to cower in their homes in fear and poverty, in time and on earth.

Christians – in Japan and Jamaica, the US and in Russia, in Brazil and in India, in South Korea and South Sudan – need to take God’s commandments seriously.

We really do.

Quoting Rushdoony again,

—<Quote begins>—

Our Scripture today is what is known as the great exhortation. And the whole point of the great exhortation is that there can be no successful material life for man, apart from the Law of God. There are three parts to this great exhortation. The first part is verse 3 to 13. In these verses, the material blessings of obedience to the Law of God is declared. The result of obedience to the Law is good harvests, good rain, excellent yield of wine, peace and prosperity, no evil beasts, victory against our enemies, and God’s favor and presence. Indeed it is declared ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight, and your enemy shall fall before you by the sword. Verses 7 and 8. Thus, very definitely, the great exhortation says that any kind of material prospering in life is irrevocably tied to obedience to the Law.

On the other hand, in verses 14 [to 33], the curses for disobedience to the Law are spelled out.

It is one of mounting judgment. The more the disobedience, the greater the judgment. Disease, defeat, want, terror, draught, plagues, and conflicts. Ye shall flee when none pursueth you. The judgments will culminate in conquest. Frightful things that they would never have dreamed of as occurring among them will occur. Cannibalism is cited as a specific example. And a scattering, finally, among the nations.

The earth will disappoint a people under judgment, as will the heavens. The heavens will be as iron, we are told, that is, no rain. And the earth as brass, un-watered, hard, sterile, giving no crops to the disobedient.

Then the third section, verse 34 to 45, God declares as he judges the people he will give the land a rest. The land has been abused. The land must have its Sabbaths. So while the people are given over to terror and to slavery and captivity, the earth will have a rest. And if they repent, repentance will lead to restoration.

This in brief is the content of the great exhortation. It is true for all time. Certainly we today are beginning to see the great exhortations warnings fulfilled in our midst.

—<Quote ends>—

I expect more and more mounting judgement myself, as God pressures His people to let go of their Government-God welfare-state healer-feeder idol, “the real source of our food and our health, our safety and protection!”

I take it that the rebellious people of God will never do so willingly. I hope that I am proved wrong, but I doubt it.

Therefore, the idol will be smashed in our hands, and we will be left with a pile of broken rock and shattered, laughable lies to worship. No cheques, no free health care, no safety or security. Just pain and poverty, lies and oppression, fear and dread.

An expanding fear and a childless future where our nations and peoples become impoverished, lawless, irrelevant, forgotten. The destiny of all of God’s enemies.

I suggest that the last hiding place will be online fantasies, in games and porn, online social manias and group inanities. And even that will turn tasteless and bitter, sand in our mouths.

—<Quote begins>—

Now, as we analyze this great exhortation, we must say that it is clearly addressed to Israel. This is the excuse used by most modern theologians to say it has no significance for us.

On the other hand, the Sermon on the Mount is addressed just as clearly to the disciples. Does that mean the Sermon on the Mount has no meaning for us?

Well of course that’s what the dispensationalists say. And this is why the dispensationalists have virtually no part of the Bible that they adhere to. That was said to the Jews, and that was said to the disciples, and that was said to the Corinthians, and that was said to the people in Rome, and therefore there’s really nothing said to us except that there is a God. That’s the alternative.

Either the Word of God is a unity, and it’s God’s Word to all men, or it is not. And to deny any part of Scripture is ultimately to deny all of it.

Then we cannot believe that God has no judgment for men and nations in the Christian era, and this is what they also say.

We’re specifically told over and over again in the New Testament that there is judgment. In fact, Hebrews 12:18 – 29 declares that the same judgment that prevailed in terms of the Law throughout the Old Testament is now going to prevail. That there was a great shaking from the beginning to his coming, and now there will be another great shaking. The things which are shall be shaken. So that the things which cannot be shaken may alone remain.

—<Quote ends>—

It would be pleasing to say that the most intensely wicked men are the theologians, closely followed by their students behind the pulpits…

…but it was the congregation that placed both in their positions, and refused to stop the funding when their evil became apparent. “After all, the mystical ceremonies and rituals and liturgy are just the same as ever!” and most laymen are infinitely more concerned with liturgy than with law, truth, justice, and liberty – the fundamental concerns of God.

And it is the congregation, more than the preacher, whose votes and integrity (…or lack thereof…) shape society.

When we laymen repent, we will become worthy leaders of our families, and choose worthy leaders for our churches. We will be businessmen and workers whose words and promises actually mean something, even if we must suffer loss to uphold our integrity.

When we support our brothers, including those imprisoned for righteousness’ sake, God sees us and God blesses us, materially and spiritually.

When we protect the rights of the poor, give a hand to the orphan and the widow, stand up for the stranger, then God will stand up for us. And nothing will stop His salvation.

And God will bless us for our repentance, in time and on earth.

Yes, even in the world of politics and law and justice!

But first, We Must ADMIT Our Sins, and We Must REPENT, and Walk a New PATH.

This must be done.

Or, there will be nothing in the future of Western Christianity but the graves our action (and refusal to repent) has earned.

—<Quote begins>—

Now here of course the argument is, well, this is all over with, it doesn’t apply to us. Unfortunately, Calvin too, after giving one of the finest statements of the meaning of the Law, made a few unfortunate statements in which he, like Luther, appealed to natural law, rather than biblical law. We’ll come to natural law and what they had to say in a few weeks. But Calvin wrote, and I quote, “The earth does not now cleave asunder to swallow up the rebellious. God does not now thunder from heaven as against Sodom. He does not now send fire upon wicked cities as he did in the Israelitesh camp. Fiery serpents are not sent forth to inflict deadly bites. In a word, such manifest instances of punishment are not daily presented before our eyes to make God terrible to us. And for this reason, because the voice of the Gospel sounds much more clearly in our ears, like the sound of a trumpet, whereby we are summoned to the heavenly tribunal of Christ.” Unquote.

Now for a very great man who was a tremendous logician, this is a rather silly statement for Calvin to make. Because he states that, well, there were daily miracles in the Old Testament, and that’s nonsense. Go through the Old Testament and add up the miracles, and there are very few. In fact, there’re more in the New Testament in the gospel age than in the whole of the Old Testament. Moreover, all kinds of miraculous deliverances and judgments have existed in the Christian era. Remember when we went through the creeds and counsels, how I cited some, specifically the death of Arius on the way to the cathedral? There’ve been many, many miraculous judgments in the Christian era. The New Testament is full of them, as I said. The judgment of Judas, of Jerusalem, of Judea, of Ananias, of Sapphira, of Herod, the angelic deliverance of Peter, of Paul and Silas, the many miracles, the deliverance from shipwreck, and so on. So we cannot say, well, the miraculous judgments and deliverance belong to the Old Testament era. They’re in the new. And church history is full of the providential dealings of God. Moreover, Calvin confused the miraculous at this point with the Law. The blessings and judgments are as apparent in the New Testament era, to this day, as in the Old Testament era. By his statement, Calvin lapsed, for the moment, into dispensationalism. What the Law gives us is valid for all time. What the Law gives us is, as it were, a set of manufacturer’s instructions. When you buy something, you have either a little pamphlet or a sheet giving you the manufacturer’s instructions and telling you, this is the way to operate it. Now God, as the manufacturer, the creator of all things, has given us, in the Bible, His manufacturer’s instructions as to how to run our lives. How do deal with the world around us, how to deal with the ground beneath our feet. And you disregard the manufacturer’s instructions at your peril.

You may be smarter than the manufacturer in Detroit, but you’re not smarter than the maker of heaven and earth. And you either govern your life by His law word, or you pay the consequences. Because man’s life is a material life, he must be governed by a material law. It’s the only kind of law that can be relevant to his life. The materialism of the law is basic and necessary. And the great exhortation is as valid today as in Moses’ day. Those who seek to deliver man from the biblical law, violate a law which is stated in the Old and New Testaments. In Deuteronomy 25:4, 1st Corinthians 9:9, 1st Timothy 5:18 and elsewhere, thou shalt not muzzle the ox which treadeth out the corn, for the laborer is worthy of his hire.

—<Quote ends>—

It is time for us to do better than Luther and Calvin did.

It is time for us to uphold the Law, and obey it ourselves.

Even when it protects the weak against the powerful, and the poor against the rich, we must still proclaim and uphold it.

(I can’t believe that the above even needed to be said: but, observing the actions of Calvin and Luther and the American church, it obviously does!)

—<Quote begins>—

Now what is the great exhortation telling us? It says that we, as the laborers of God, as God’s servants, as God’s people called to obey Him, have a system of rewards and punishments spelled out in the Law. If we work for the Lord faithfully, the rewards are spelled out. If we don’t, the penalties are spelled out. It’s that simple. In every age, from the beginning of the world to the end of time, the great exhortation and the whole of the Law is valid. We have the manufacturer’s instructions, plus the penalties. So that, just as we are told when we get a TV set, there’s a plaque in the back and it tells you to disconnect it before you try to do this or that, and what not do and if you don’t, you’re likely to get shocked. So God gives His manufacturer’s instructions and he says, here are the penalties, if you disobey. And here are the happy results, if you obey. And God’s rewards and punishments are far to be preferred to the promises of men and nations, or any mythical natural law. The Word of God is the only true word. The only word that stands.

—<Quote ends>—

That’s the truth.

Amen, and Amen.


1Oddly enough, the Eastern Religions – Buddhism and Hinduism, and the non-Dhamic religion of Confucianism – have a greater respect for Law as a concept than most Christians do. They just do not believe in forgiveness, nor a Saviour, and often no personal Lawgiver either. (Karma is a very impersonal concept.) The Dharmaic religions only believe in Law alone… which leads to death, which is what we lawfully deserve. At best, they claim to provide an escape from the pain of life.

They cannot provide salvation, not forgiveness, not eternal life, not cleansing and sanctification, not redemption, not love, not meaning. And certainly not the defeat of Satan, or the triumph of a life-giving justice, or any sort of resurrection from the dead! No new heaven or new earth can ever come from their feeble hands.

But then again, there is obviously no power in the law-hating hands of antinomian Christians, either.

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