Box Theology


R. J. Rushdoony, published an essay in April of 1983, titled, “Box Theology.” I remember liking it when I first read it in 1983, and I still like it. The myth of neutrality was a concept I first learned from him, along with many other things like the “inescapable concept.” Rushdoony taught me many things in my twenties and I’m still grateful for the lessons, the intellectual stimulation, the vision, and much more that I gleaned from his writings.

Excerpt from “Box Theology”

If a religion is not catholic, universal in its faith, jurisdiction, and scope, it will quickly fail. Religion by its very nature either speaks to all of life, or it in time speaks to none. Man by his nature has boundaries to his life and activities; they are inescapable for man. There are boundaries to my property, my abilities, and my authority. By definition, no god nor religion can have boundaries and limitations to its sway without self-destruction. A god is either sovereign and total in his jurisdiction, or else he is soon no god at all; something else bests him and replaces him. All the false gods of history until recently were false gods because the men who made them also placed limits upon them. This was especially clear with the gods of Rome; they were created by men, the Roman Senate specifically, and hence men always had priority over the gods. The gods in time became more and more obviously tools and a department of state for the Roman Empire, which claimed catholic or universal sway and sovereignty for itself.

In the modern world, the humanistic state claims this sovereignty: it is the modern god walking upon earth. The modern state claims sovereignty and catholicity; the United Nations is the attempt of humanistic statism to attain true and full universality and catholicity.

Meanwhile, the Christian Church is busily departing from the doctrine of God’s sovereignty and His necessary catholic jurisdiction. Christianity is increasingly limited to a “spiritual” realm (of which it now concedes vast areas to psychology and psychiatry), and the rest of the world is granted to the state.

―R. J. Rushdoony

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