The following is taken from “Apologetics and Strategy,” an article written by Dr. Gary North and the late David Chilton that appeared in the third volume of Christianity and Civilization: The Tactics of Christian Resistance nearly 40 years ago (1983). If Christians had listened then, we would be in a much better position today. Too many Christians believed that the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, with the help of Christians, was the turning point. What Christians often fail to understand is that history moves forward and the winners are those who stay with the war. One battle does not make a war.

The win by Reagan showed the humanists that they needed to be awakened by the rise of the religious right. Too many easy victories made them overconfident and complacent, but they were still playing the long game. After Reagan, we got “read my lips no new taxes” George H. W Bush. The senior Bush was always seen as a trump card in case things got out of hand. Reagan was pressured to take Bush 41 by the GOP establishment. The humanists could not stem the tide of an awakened American populist vote spurred on by Christians who were never seen as a voting block threat. It caught them by surprise.

The Complete Christianity and Civilization

The Complete Christianity and Civilization

The Complete Christianity and Civilization collects all four volumes of the series with a bonus book from Gary DeMar, Something Greater is Here. These five resources are a mini-library of a comprehensive Christian worldview. They will leave you amazed and wondering were they have been hiding all these years. The print versions have been long out-of-print, but they have been preserved as electronic files, which also have the added benefit of being searchable.

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They were willing to wait eight years. They had the bureaucracies and the slow grind of political change on their side. As a result, Reagan was not able to stem the tide of the entrenched humanist threat because his base was a mile wide but an inch deep. Consider Reagan’s attempt to “drain the swamp”:

The Private Sector Survey on Cost Control (PSSCC), commonly referred to as The Grace Commission, was an investigation requested by United States President Ronald Reagan, authorized in Executive Order 12369 on June 30, 1982. In doing so President Reagan used the now-famous phrase “Drain the swamp.” The focus was waste and inefficiency in the US Federal government. Its head, businessman J. Peter Grace, asked the members of that commission to “Be bold and work like tireless bloodhounds, don’t leave any stone unturned in your search to root out inefficiency.”

The Grace Commission Report was presented to Congress in January 1984. The report was in-depth and showed that if its recommendations were followed, $424 billion [in 1980 billions] could be saved in three years, rising to $1.9 trillion per year by the year 2000. The Commission estimated that the national debt, without these reforms, would rise to $13 trillion by the year 2000, while with the reforms they projected it would rise to only $2.5 trillion. The report’s recommendations that intruded into policy were ignored by Congress, but many other efficiency recommendations were considered and some were implemented.

The US national debt reached $5.6 trillion in the year 2000 and reached 13 trillion in 2010 after the subprime mortgage-collateralized debt obligation crisis in 2008.

The report said that one-third of all income taxes are consumed by waste and inefficiency in the federal government, and another one-third escapes collection owing to the underground economy. “With two-thirds of everyone’s personal income taxes wasted or not collected, 100 percent of what is collected is absorbed solely by interest on the federal debt and by federal government contributions to transfer payments. In other words, all individual income tax revenues are gone before one nickel is spent on the services that taxpayers expect from their government.” (Source)

The result? Almost nothing except continued deficit spending and a bigger and deeper swamp with more political alligators from both parties

How did the humanists exploit the weakness of the so-called Moral Majority? Dr. Gary North and David Chilton explain some of what happened.


Sun Tzu’s comment on the necessity of overcoming the enemy’s strategy appears in the third chapter, “Offensive Strategy.” A military strategy which does not include offense is doomed. But it must not be a suicidal offense-the kind of wild, foolhardy offensive frontal attacks that characterized Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg and Bonnie Prince Charlie’s attack on the British forces at Culloden.[1] The best kind of offense which leads to victory is one in which the enemy is overcome strategically even before the battle begins. As Sun Tzu said, “those skilled in war subdue the enemy’s army without battle…. They conquer by strategy.”[2] In short, “To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”[3]


There was no bloodshed or threat of bloodshed when Horace Mann and the defenders of State-financed “moral” education — consciously distinguished from Christian education — persuaded the citizens of Massachusetts to agree to the creation of a comprehensive government school system.[4] The most conservative Christian forces, the Calvinists, had already suffered a series of defeats in New England. The anti-Calvinist evangelicals had defeated the Calvinists at Harvard and Yale a century earlier. Then the Unitarians had beaten the evangelicals' leadership for the control of Harvard and Yale in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Finally, Mann and the statist Unitarians completed their victory, and all the other states in the Union followed suit, although it took a military victory over the South to complete public education’s mopping-up operations.

The New England Puritans had opened the door to defeat in education two centuries earlier when Massachusetts had passed a law in 1647 requiring all towns with 50 households or more to establish compulsory Christian schools. This law decreed that town funds were to support the educations of the children of poor people who could not afford to pay.[5] The Puritans established the precedent which Horace Mann and the public school religionists later exploited. The Puritans had misunderstood a fundamental principle of sovereignty, namely, that it is the parents' responsibility to educate children, not the civil government’s. They mistakenly believed that compulsory education would remain Puritan education. By failing to honor a principle of sovereignty, they took the first step backward in a war which we are still fighting. Mann could not have created a modern public school if he had attempted to jam it down the throats of the Christian majority by force. But he was able to use the philosophical and theological errors of the Christians against them. They believed in natural law — a supposed common ground between Christians and non-Christians. They believed in “shared moral principles” among all “rational” men -the intellectual heritage of early church fathers and the medieval scholastics. They believed in compulsory education, even partially tax-supported. Mann and the Unitarians simply took these erroneous first principles and created a rival religious order — a religious order financed by compulsory taxation levied by the majority vote of Christians on each other. “I believe in the existence of a great, immutable principle of natural law, or natural ethics, … a principle of divine origin, clearly legible in the ways of Providence …” Mann wrote.[6] It sounded so religious! It was religious — the religion of humanism. Christians joined in the “great crusade” to create tax-supported “moral” education in America, and then turned the management of the whole system over to the “experts”-people who held the tenets of Mann’s religion of salvation through public education, or at least his non-Christian “natural law” educational methodology.

What is scarcely recognized by Christians today is that Christians financed the construction of the humanist social order which now oppresses them, all in the name of shared moral principles and compulsory “charity” by the State. Who else could have financed it?

There were only a handful of Unitarians in the United States in 1830, and most of them were concentrated in and around Boston. The humanists planned the conquest of a culture already controlled by a vast majority of Christians. In many respects, this planned conquest was a conspiracy. [7] Not only did the Christians not fire a shot in reply, they surrendered enthusiastically. Even today, Christian headmasters and university presidents do everything possible to gain academic accreditation for Christian schools from the humanist-controlled accrediting agencies. The capitulation goes on, all in the name of “shared moral principles” or “common standards of academic excellence.”[8] In other words, all in the name of the myth of neutrality.


The humanists avoided a frontal assault against Christians in the United States until our own day. They operated from a minority position before this. They were content to capture the seats of influence: the judges, the teachers, and the pulpits of the mainline denominations.[9] They worked for two hundred years to “capture the Robes.”[10] Now they are taking action through the State’s apparatus to shut off the competition of Christians- precisely what Lester Frank Ward, a prominent late-nineteenth-century humanist evolutionist educator, said evolutionists would have to do.[11] The humanists have implicitly followed the teachings of Sun Tzu:

When ten times the enemy’s strength, surround him.

When five times his strength, attack him.

If double his strength, divide him.

If equally matched you may engage him.

If weaker numerically, be capable of withdrawing.

And if in all respects weaker, be capable of eluding him, for a small force is but booty for one more powerful.[12]

What is our point? Simple: the humanists recognized the weaknesses of the “common ground” philosophy of the Christians. They used this intellectual weak point to take away sovereignty from Christians, step by step, institution by institution. Because Christians gave up the idea of the sovereignty of God, and therefore the sovereignty of God’s word over the very concept of cause and effect, they eventually gave up the idea of the sovereignty of Christianity over anything outside the home, the sanctuary, and (maybe) the Christian school.

It is not always possible to win without fighting, especially if you are outnumbered. Martyrs have played an important part in the success of the church, and also in the success of other important historical resistance and revolutionary movements. Tertullian wrote in the early third century, A.D. that “The oftener we are mown down by you [the Roman State] the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed.”[13] (This has come down through history as “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church.”[14]) There are always risks life-and-death risks — in any attempt to reshape a society’s thinking, and therefore its way of life. But the quest of martyrdom is suicidal; it is not a goal, but a means, and a rare and last-resort means at that. The “suicide mission” is to be used sparingly, if at all, only as a tactic that is part of an overall strategy of victory. When it is used as a last-ditch effort, as it was used by Germany[15] and Japan (kamikaze attacks) in the spring of 1945, it is lawless — a “romantic” assertion of heroism in the face of sure defeat.

Pushing the Antithesis

Pushing the Antithesis

Pushing the Antithesis consists of twelve chapters that include study questions, an answer key, a glossary of terms, and a comprehensive bibliography. If you want to be equipped to present the truth of the gospel in a compelling way, then Pushing the Antithesis is required reading.

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[1] Grady McWhinney and Perry Jameson, Attack and Die (Montgomery: University of Alabama Press, 1982).

[2] Sun Tzu, The Art of War, trans. Gen. Samuel B. Griffith (New York: Oxford University Press, 1963), III:10, 79

[3] Sun Tzu, The Art of War, III:3, 77

[4] R. J. Rushdoony, The Messianic Character of American Education (Nutley, NJ: Craig Press, 1963), ch. 3.

[5] Lawrence Cremin, American Education: The Colonial Experience, 1607– 1783 (New York: Harper Torchbook, 1970), 181f.

[6] Cited in Rushdoony, Messianic Character, 21.

[7] R. J. Rushdoony, The Nature of the American System (Fairfax, VA: Thoburn Press, [1965] 1978), ch. VI: “The Religion of Humanity”; Otto Scott, The Secret Six: John Brown and the Abolitionist Movement (New York: Times Books, 1979).

[8] Gary North, “Academic Compromise,” Christian Reconstruction, I (Nov./Dec. 1978): “Who Should Certify Competence?” Biblical Economics Today, IV (Feb./March 1981); “The Impossible Dream,” Christian Reconstruction, VI (May/June, 1982).

[9] Gary North, “Humanism’s Accomplices,” Christian Reconstruction, III (March/April 1979); “Humanism’s Chaplains,” Biblical Economics Today, III (April/May 1980).

[10] Gary North, “Capturing the Robes,” Chrisitian Reconstruction, VI (Sept./Oct. 1982).

[11] For a detailed analysis of Ward, see Gary North, Dominion Covenant: Genesis, 297–317.

[12] Sun Tzu, The Art of War, III:12–17, pp. 79f.

[13] Tertullian, Apology, Chapter L in The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1973), 55.

[14] H. L. Mencken, ed., A New Dictionary of Quotations on Historical Principlesfrom Ancient and Modern Sources (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1942), 111

[15] A powerful movie about this phase of the German defense effort was the German film, “The Bridge” (1959).