The Cultural Mandate

—<Quote from Law in the New Testament The Cultural Mandate,
by Dr. R.J. Rushdoony begins>—

Cultural mandate, what does it mean? Let’s examine the words in terms of the dictionary definition.

1.      Culture: it means to educate, to refine, to cultivate, it means the training, the improvement, the refinement of the mind, moral state. Means enlightenment.

2.      Mandate: means an authoritative requirement, a command, an order, or a charge.

Thus, the cultural mandate is the obligation of covenant man to subdue the earth and exercise dominion over it under God. And law is the program for that purpose. All men, in every age must improve, develop and sanctify themselves, their household, the world around them and their calling unto God. This is the cultural mandate.

Now St. Paul summoned believers to this calling. He wrote in II Corinthians 10:4-6,

“4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; )

5 Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”

That last verse is translated for example, by the Berkeley Version, “We are prepared also to administer justice upon all disobedience when your obedience is fully shown.” In other words, the Christian has a calling to subdue the earth, including all disobedience in every area and to punish it. Another translator has brought out the meaning in even more modern English, that verses 5 and 6, to demolish theories, Evolutionary, philosophical, whatever they are, that are in opposition to God, “To demolish theories and any rampart thrown up to resist the knowledge of God. I take every project prisoner to make it obey Christ. I am prepared to court-martial anyone who will remain insubordinate, once your submission is complete.” In other words, St. Paul told the Corinthians, you’re an army! This is why I am disciplining you. You’re being disciplined so that you can go out and bring the world into the saving knowledge of Christ and the discipline of His Law-Word, and in every area, every thought, every project must so be subdued. 

This is the cultural mandate. Now, before the Fall, this was a less complicated task. Now man needs regeneration. This is the first step of the cultural mandate, to bring men to the Word of God and to the regenerating power of God. God the King, Jesus Christ. Where is He that is born king? To Him men must be brought, subjected to Him. Then we must demolish every kind of theory and belief, every kind of opposition to the dominion of God in Christ and bring all things in captivity to Christ and His Law-Word. This means that we must court-martial (that’s the literal meaning of the Greek term) or administer justice upon all disobedience in every area of life where we encounter it.

Now, this is what the kingship of Christ means. This is what Christ came to do. He destroyed the power of sin and death. His coming was the signal that God the King had come and the re-conquest of the earth was underway. […]

—<Quote ends>—

So, to focus on the core idea:

Thus, the cultural mandate is the obligation of covenant man to subdue the earth and exercise dominion over it under God. And law is the program for that purpose. All men, in every age must improve, develop and sanctify themselves, their household, the world around them and their calling unto God. This is the cultural mandate.

It’s a big job.

And note the distinct lack of political leaders to do the job on our (or God’s!) behalf.

Or religious leaders, for that matter.

We all must get to work, each in our own sphere of influence.

—<Quote from Law in the New Testament The Cultural Mandate,
by Dr. R.J. Rushdoony begins>—

The cultural mandate therefore is not to be equated with a natural man’s view of culture and progress. You know, when the ungodly talk about culture, they mean operas and ballets and that sort of thing. This is what the Soviet Union means by it. And to prove that Socialist culture is better than any other, they put up opera houses and theaters in every little city across the Soviet Union. And they show these to visitors, they take them from city to city. Look, we’ve got a ballet and an opera house in Podunk, out here in Siberia. This proves Socialist culture is the superior culture.

This kind of nonsense is in reality, a symptom of degeneracy and decline, to equate culture with such trappings. Rome, in the days of the Early Church, had such idea of culture, too. And the Early Church made fun of it. One of the things that’s most interesting to me as I read through the church fathers, how in the early centuries, how they made fun of the Romans and their ideas of culture, because, they said, culture means that everything is brought into place under Christ the King and made to serve Him. Then indeed things are educated, refined, and cultivated, improved. Then indeed life is brought into the world. And so Clement of Alexandria, for example, as he ridiculed the attempt of the decadent Romans to prove their culture and walk by absurd displays wrote, “It is a farce and a thing to make one laugh outright for men to bring in silver urine bases and chamber pots of crystal as they usher in their counselors and for a silly rich woman to get gold receptacles for excrement made, so that being rich, they cannot even ease themselves except in a superb way.”

The church fathers made much of this sort of thing and they said, is this the way light is going to come into the Roman Empire? Is this the way you’re going to have culture? Are you not instead becoming barbarians? Is it not Christ who is the bringer of light? Is it not Christ who alone can redeem men and therefore truly enlighten, cultivate, refine and educate them?

—<Quote ends>—

If you have had your fill of secularist tyrannical incompetence, then it’s time to build the Kingdom of God to replace it.

From our own hearts & minds, to our churches and neighbourhoods and businesses, to our town and counties. And, after we have spent the decades learning our trade and how to apply the Law-Word of God around us, we can spread the Word of Life across our nations and the world.

Not some Unified Centralized Empire, centred around yet another Mighty Man.

But a vast number of small republics, each tending to the needs of her own people, looking to the Light and Law of God.

As given to Moses, and modified by Christ.

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