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Rousas John Rushdoony

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Rousas John Rushdoony (19162001) was the major intellectual figure of the Christian Reconstructionist theology in the United States. He was the founder, in 1965, of the Chalcedon Foundation, and the editor of its monthly magazine, the Chalcedon Report.

Rushdoony was born the son of recently arrived Armenian immigrants in New York. He was educated at the University of California, Berkeley and the Pacific School of Religion.

Intellectual Career

Rushdoony's first focus was on behalf of homeschooling, which he saw as a way to combat the secular nature of the U.S. public school system, and he vigorously attacked the liberal philosophers who had influenced the development of said education system, such as Horace Mann and John Dewey. He also stressed that Christianity had always been present in U.S. history; and while he supported separation of church and state at the national level, he claimed that the First Amendment was designed to protect the already existing "state churches" in each of the colonies—thus, the amendment had not been designed to wholly secularise society, as it had been used to do.

His first book, in 1959, was an analysis of the philosophy of Christian Apologist, Cornelius Van Til entitled, By What Standard? He also wrote several book reviews that were published in the Westminster Theological Journal, and many other books applying the Van Tillian Presuppositional philosophy to critiquing various aspects of secular humanism.

Perhaps his most famous work, however, was The Institutes of Biblical Law. With a title modelled after Calvin's The Institutes of the Christian Religion, Rushdoony's Institutes were arguably his most influential work. In it he proposed that biblical law should be applied to modern society—to wit, that there should be a theocracy; and discussed how to go about doing this. He also proposed great freedom in the economic realm of public life, following in this the ideas of Ludwig von Mises and calling himself a Christian libertarian.

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