Review Of Rushdoony’s “The American Indian” — Medicine Men

“True medicine men, it was said, had given way to the white man’s doctor because he knew more than the Indian practitioner…. [The older Indian men] had no loyalty to the old ways per se. The white man’s gun was far superior to the bow and arrow. Why not his medicine also?”

R. J. Rushdoony
The American Indian

In this brief chapter RJR gives a few anecdotes about his experience with Indian Medicine men as well as what he learned from Indian elders.

“From their (older Indian men) perspective, there were no medicine men on the reservation — only fakers.”

However, according to Rush’s account there were Indians who were what we would call Natural-paths and homeopaths. Rush mentions one particular gentleman who could identify every plant in the area as well as the medicinal purposes that those plants might have had. This reminds us that allopathic medicine does not have all the answers that it pretends to have. Indeed, there are times I wonder if allopathic medicine shouldn’t be viewed as alternative medicine in favor of a more homeopathic path.

Still, despite this natural-pathic skill RJR reports that the Indian,

“liked modern conveniences and advances, including modern medicine.”

Rush reports this because the Federal Government, during the New Deal, sought to re-Indianize the Indians and as such encouraged the Indians to go back to their ancient ways. Rush writes,

“They [the Indian] had no loyalty to the old ways per se…. they did not identify their Indian-ness in terms of artifacts, and it annoyed them when others did…. They saw nothing exclusive about the benefits of the white man’s civilization …. In brief, these old men liked modern conveniences and advances, including modern medicine…. they recognized and appreciated the advantages of modern medical practice, of nurses and hospitals.”

Rush does not again the failure of the State in terms of medicine,

“They [the Indians] knew that the agency doctors were often inferior to the doctors outside of the reservation….”

The immediately above quote is important because it reminds us again that whenever the State involves itself so that people are required and forced to go to them for any service the consequence is a lowering standard of quality of whatever service the State has seized. The Indians that RJR came in contact with in his Reservation ministry were forced into a governmental health care system and as such the Doctors that they had to deal with were inferior to Doctors operating in the supply and demand market. This is an observation pregnant with meaning as the citizenry today in our country are inching towards the kind of Socialized medicine the Indians had forced upon them. Our quality of medical care will be inferior just as the Reservation’s medical care was of lower quality.

Rushdoony returns to the medicine man issue by noting that what passed as the medicine men, in his observation, were, for the most part, dabblers in peyote.

“What then of the so-called medicine men practicing at that time? Most were peyote leaders. Peyote was administered as a holy, healing medicine. It tended to paralyze the digestive tract, or at least deaden it to pain, I was told. The patient felts no pain and assumed that he was being healed.”

Rush notes that such patients of the peyote practitioners would often finally fail and at the last second would give up on the medicine man and go to the hospital, despite the warnings of the medicine man against the hospital. Often when such people finally went to the hospital they quickly died because of the previous neglect. Upon their death, the peyote medicine men would then claim that the death was the result of giving up on the medicine man and going to the hospital.

RJR ends this chapter by admitting that there were a few other types of medicine men who were not peyote playboys. Rushdoony suggests that these “healers” were in fact, demonically enabled.

“There was another kind of practitioner. How deep his roots were in Indian history, I do not know…. These medicine men, if they could be called such … I would call occultist. They had strange powers I cannot explain. One of them … could pick up a rattlesnake, chant to it, hang it around his neck and not be bitten…. [Medicine] men such as A.C. were Indian in a fanatical way: they sought to blot out the world of the white man.”

RJR notes that as Christianity waned after WWII occultism increased. He notes that only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can counter such occultist practices and muses that,

“When men turn their backs on Christian civilization, see only evil in it, and try to abstract Biblical faith and morals from themselves and the world, are they not courting the demonic.”

This is an important word for our church and culture today. In many many places in the Church today churchmen are turning their back on Christian civilization, and indeed see only evil in the idea of Christian civilization. Indeed we are everywhere seeing the attempt to abstract Biblical faith and moral from silly conceptual paradigms like Natural law. One can only wonder if such churchmen are courting the demonic by turning their backs on Christian civilization.

Review of Rushdoony’s “The American Indian” — Education

“One reason for the catastrophe which struck Indian tribes was that now, with the coming of the White man, there were alternative forms of education.”

R. J. Rushdoony
The American Indian — pg. 29

In the chapter on “Education” in RJR’s book we find Rush time and again writing about how damaging the White man’s arrival was to the American Indian and that culture.

“The White man’s arrival complicated education. It introduced an alternate lifestyle with many material advantages, including liquor…. One of the most devastating effects of the white man’s influence was that Indian children no longer grew into a set mold…. At an early age they (children) could work for the white men and be free of their people”

The constant returning to this theme by Rush reminds us that no civilization in history has been able to manage, for a sustained period of time, the presence of numerous different people groups, religions, and worldviews seeking to form one unified culture. A Diversity that has vast differentiation between people groups, religions, and worldvies is not a strength to social orders. Rushdoony reminds us repeatedly that the Indian was better served by remaining Indian. Of course Rushdoony insisted that the regenerated Indian builds a stronger social order and culture then the non-regenerated Indian but even then the Redeemed Indian culture will remain uniquely “Indian.”

As Rush continues to tell the story of the Indian and his Education, Rushdoony brings to the fore that the Indian idea of education was a education where the Grandparents instructed the children in the ways of the past.

“… that was education. It meant passing on the wisdom of the past and present to the future. These men saw the white man’s world as full of marvels. The radios were of interest to them and the white man’s guns and knives were wonderful. But for them the life link was gone. Their grandchildren were not linked to them but to the White man, and foolishly so.”

Clearly the American Indian, at least as represented by Rushdoony, had no interest in becoming white. Just as, doubtlessly, the white man had no interest in becoming American Indian. The Gospel of Jesus Christ can ameliorate the hostility that can arise from these people group distinctions as those distinctions are marked by the sinful dispositions of each. Further the Gospel will work so that differing Redeemed people groups work in harmony, but the Gospel can no more undo ethnicity any more than it can undo gender. Christ has come to save all the Nations and create a Spiritual Unity among them, but Christ did not come to erase the nations in favor of some New World Order amalgamation. Rushdoony’s book, by repeatedly noting and honoring these ethnic distinctions underscores this truth.

Rushdoony also criticized the American Indians for their faults. In this chapter he writes how the American Indian turned to his “whiskey religion.”

“The older men, who themselves often had problems with alcoholism, called drunkenness and alcoholism ‘the whiskey religion.’ I had never heard the term before. It was used by these older Indians very seriously, but some of the younger men used it as a joke. What the older men meant by it, they explained, was that what Christians looked for in Christ, Indians often found in a bottle. For them it was peace, and answer to problems, empowerment, escape, and more. There was another factor, too, as they saw it. Whiskey changed a man, like Jesus did, but in another direction. A bottle of whiskey was for them a religious solution.”

Further RJR notes the weakness of the American Indians in their refusal to frustrate their children through child rearing discipline.

“The saddest fact of my own experience with the Indians was the indifference of the children to the parents. The children were never chastised….frustrating the child seemed to them a white man’s cruelty…. Never to face frustration is no preparation for life. Not surprisingly, by the age of ten, alcoholism was common place; by thirteen or fourteen, fornication too. Self denial was an alien idea, and an inability to accept frustration was commonplace in recent years this had the highest suicide rate in the United States, a fact closely related to the nurture of children there.”

Rushdoony in this chapter is even handed in articulating the faults of both Whites and Indians as distinct people groups and in the doing so Rush demonstrates that while all men in all people groups are sinners not all people groups have the same predilections in terms of how that sinful peccadilloes manifest themselves. Different people groups have different besetting sins to which they are going to be more inclined. Similarly, upon Redemption, we can expect different people groups to have different strengths in terms of sanctification.

In the end though Rushdoony’s passion was for the American Indian to come to know Christ. In this Chapter he mentions pagan Anthropologists who came to study the Indian and whose only concern was to confirm a preconceived agenda.

“From my perspective, there was another problem with the anthropologists. Their framework of reference was evolution. They viewed Indian culture in terms of myth, not in terms of taking an interest in a people whom God created and who needed Jesus Christ to attain their true potential. The anthropologist’s impersonal approach bred an instinctive hostility. The Indian is a person, not a scientific specimen. The anthropologist’s laboratory approach irritated the Indians. As a result, even when they gave correct answers to the scientist’s questions, the meaning and flavor of their lives was missed. To the Indians those questions sounded artifact oriented, not concerned with people.”

Note here how Rushdoony sees the Indian as a distinct “people whom God created,” and who, as a distinct people, could only find their true potential by being attached to the Lord Jesus Christ. For Rush, all people groups, as people groups, became more genuine as to their ethnicity and culture only upon being united to Christ. Christ does not strip men of their ethnic identity upon Redemption. Christ, in Redemption, makes our ethnic identity more genuine even as only in Christ do humans find their genuine humanity, even as only in Christ both Men and Women find their genuine Femininity and Masculinity. Being united to Christ doesn’t erase our corporeal markers. Being united to Christ brings those God given corporeal markers into subjection to Christ that they may be increasingly what God intended them to be.

Required Course in Seminary Education — Justification

Reformed Weltanschauung; The Biblical Doctrine Of Justification

The purpose of this course is to teach the student the Reformed doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone. In the course of the study the student will be able to distinguish the difference between the Roman Catholic analytic view of Justification and the Reformed view of Justification. The student will also be able to identify how all non Reformed Protestant versions of Justification either partake of Roman Catholic understandings of Justification or, failing that, become littered with contradictions reflecting the confusion that arises when one tries to combine Roman Catholic understandings with Reformed understandings. The student will be able to explain why Luther said that Justification was the “Article by which the Church stands or falls.”

This course will not negate the necessity for the larger category of Systematic Theology. Such a course will be developed later.

Main Text: The Doctrine of Justification by James Buchanan

Required Reading:

1.) Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification by R. C. Sproul
2.) The Doctrine of Justification by Faith by John Owen
3.) Justification by Francis Turretin
4.) Justification by Faith Alone Jonathan Edwards
5.) Not What My Hands Have Done Paperback by Horatius Bonar / Charles Hodge
6.) By Faith Alone: Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification by Gary L. W. Johnson
7.) The Work of the Holy Spirit (Chapter 6) — Abraham Kuyper
8.)A Reformation Debate Paperback by John Calvin, Jacopo Sadoleto


1.) What Still Divides Us? A Protestant & Roman Catholic Debate: Are the Scriptures Sufficient? Are We Justified By Faith Alone? (Video Series) — Appropriate sections pursuant to Justification




1.) Read the main Text book and write chapter summaries.

2.) Read book # 1 — This is a intro / primer book on the subject. Write a 5 page paper on the essence of Justification by faith alone.

3.) Read the canons of the Council of Trent on Justification, book #8 and view the video debate. Write a 5 page paper on the essence of Justification according to Roman Catholic thinking. Write a 8-10 page paper on where Roman Catholicism and Reformed theology part ways.

4.) Read books 2-5. Write a 10 page paper comparing and contrasting the views of Bonar, Hodge, Owen, and Turretin. Concentrate especially on any areas you might find where you notice that they disagree.

5.) Read Kuyper on Eternal Justification. Write a 5 page paper giving your thoughts on Kuyper’s view on Eternal Justification

6.) Read book #6. After reading the book tool around on the internet and see if you can locate any Federal Visionists who toy with the doctrine of Justification by Faith alone. Locate their confusion.

7.) Interact 1 hour weekly with the Instructor regarding points of interest in the book that you are currently reading.

8.) Be prepared for pop quizzes or short essay requirements.


Were I to recommend books for the High Schooler from this list I would recommend the Sproul book followed by the Bonar / Hodge book as well as the video debate.

Brief review of reading while away from home

Productive 3 days at the lake

Finished …. Igor Shafarevich’s, “Socialist Phenomenon”
Finished …. Anthony Sutton’s, “Skull and Bones”
Almost finished … R. J. Rushdoony’s, “Chariot’s of Prophetic Fire”

Made good progress in David Hall’s “The Genevan Reformation & the American Founding

RJR’s book is great as a kind of devotional for the lives of Elijah and Elisha. RJR gives insights consistent with what you find elsewhere in RJR — to wit — the warnings against Statist control, the development of the antithesis in the life of Israel, Observations about the dangers of syncretism and what it means to be a “Throne man.” Very good

Shafarevich’s book is a must read if you want to understand what we are living through. Shafarevich connects the dots between atheism as a belief system and socialism as the incarnation of atheism into a social order. Shafarevich lays bare the irrationality of socialism and in a treatise that is worth the price of the book he spends time exposing how socialism is popular among those who think only as animals (intuitively) as opposed who think like humans (using reason). A fantastic book and if one were to combine this read with Dr. Fred Schwarz’s “You Can Trust the Communists to be Communists,” and Toledano’s “Cry Havoc,” and Von Mises “Socialism,” and Hayek’s “On the Road to Serfdom,” one would have a pretty good working foundation on the worldview that is our greatest enemy in our time.

Anthony Sutton’s book made me realize again how deep the worm hole goes. Much of what we get from the thin crust media is 100% spin. The next level isn’t much better with what we get from the court historian publishing houses. Sutton documents the role of the Skull and Bones order in US and world History. Sutton re-emphasizes that most of the conflict that we see in our times is purposely created as part of the dialectic between a manufactured left vs. right that has as its goal the result of a New World Order. Read in conjunction with other Sutton books, Carol Quigley’s “Tragedy and Hope,” and books like “None Dare Call It Conspiracy,” “The Zionist Factor,” “Behind Communism,” and “Secret Societies and Subversive Movements,” one begins to realize that the need for heaven sent Reformation is far greater than any of us could possibly be aware of. Good book.

Hall’s book is the antidote for the disease that Sutton names. Hall gives us how Liberty minded Calvinism is and he traces the impact of Calvin’s thinking on the creation of the West and especially the founding of America. Quoting numerous sources Hall probes how and why genuine Calvinism has always revolted against those who revolt against the Lord Christ as King. This book explodes the myth that R2K thinking is Calvinistic in the least. I still have 75% of this book to read but if the last 75% is as good as the first 25% … Katy bar the door. Hall has done us a real service with this work.

For Your Reading Pleasure

I.) Library

A.) Tuininga, VanDrunen & Hart are analyzed by Littlejohn, Wedgeworth & Escalante

Tuininga’s Kingdoms and the Reformed Tradition

John Calvin and the Two Kingdoms- Part 1

John Calvin and the Two Kingdoms, Part 2

I am not in complete agreement with these chaps but this is some fine historical theology work. In point of fact, this looks to be particularly devastating to the Cartwrightian R2K cause. Now the only question is, will it gain traction in all the hub bub.

B.) Valuable top down look at the inroads made by Liberalism (before it was known as Cultural Marxism) by Joseph Sobran

C.) Fourth Generation Warfare by William Lind

Having some knowledge of this is important because this is the warfare we are currently seeing.

D.) Chesterton & Distributism

II.) Audio

Podcast no. 6 Jonathan Bowden’s “Western Civilization Bites Back”