Five Solas


Rousas John Rushdoony Systematic Theology I. 2

Rousas John Rushdoony Systematic Theology I. 2


Rousas John Rushdoony

Systematic Theology, Volume I, Vallecito, California: Ross House Books, 1994, pp.1-57

1. Infallibility: An Inescapable Concept
2. Infallibility and Immanence
3. The Dependent Word of Man
4. Infallibility and Meaning
5. The Canon of Covenant Law
6. The Command Word
7. Infallible Man
8. The Infallible Act and Word
9. The Infallible Movement
10. Who Speaks the Word?
11. The Word of Dominion
12. The Word of Flux
13. The Word and History
14. The Infallible Word
15. Moloch Man and the Word of God
16. Infallibility and the World of Faith


 Talmon has cited the opinions of Mazzini and others to illustrate the belief in the infallibility of the people: (p.12)

“The spirit of God can only descend upon the gathered multitudes. It is for them to say what they believe or do not believe.” “We believe in the infallibility of the people,” but “we put no trust in men.” Only the totality of the individual people is God’s Church. Rulers, party leaders, parties themselves may err. “The mass can never err.” Individuals may often seduce and exercise an evil influence on the masses, but they can never in the last resort completely deprave or stifle man’s conscience. Sooner or later the real good nature of the people re-asserts itself. And the men of conscience “are in the majority, and that majority has always the superiority of a purer sentiment, of better sense, of a calmer conscience,” over those who separate themselves “from the people.”22 (p.12)

 After Rousseau, the belief in the infallibility of the people also meant the infallibility of an elite who can incarnate the general will of democratic society. This elite can know the democratic consensus better than the ballot box and thus are the supposed expression of the infallibility of the social order. This was the belief of the leaders of the French Revolution: (p.12)

 It was to be a Committee of the most faithful and most ruthless. This was the conception underlying the regime of the Committee of Public Safety and Jacobin dictatorship, a regime designed to make the Revolutionary purpose triumph at all costs, and not to realize liberty in the sense of free self-expression; a system which replaced the principle of popular choice by the principle of the infallibility of the enlightened few in the central body acting in a dictatorial manner through special agents appointed by themselves.23 (p.12)

 It should be noted that such non-Christian scholars do not hesitate to use the word infallibility in describing the authority of the modern state and its ruling elite. A prerogative of God has been appropriated by the state. Moreover, the state, like God, increasingly claims total jurisdiction over every area of life and an omnicompetence in every sphere. The state has become the new agency in whom man lives and moves and has his being (cf. Acts 17:28). Man now addresses his prayers and petitions to the state, which he believes to be his hope of salvation. (p.12)

22 J. L. Talmon: Political Messianism, The Romantic Phase. (New York, N.Y.: Praeger, 1960). p. 258.
23 J. L. Talmon: The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy. (New York, N.Y.: Praeger, 1960). p.119. (p.12)