Dr. Resnick's modern-day Oracle of Delphi                                                 By Jack Kettler

Like the Greeks of old, who would not go into battle unless getting a message from the Oracle of Delphi, talk show host Dr. Norm Resnick launches into battle when he receives a message from his modern-day Oracle of Delphi, Mrs. Kelleigh Nelson of Tennessee.  Unlike the Oracle of Delphi, which gave ambiguous messages, it is not so with Mrs. Nelson, the purported Oracle of Tennessee, who issues dogmatic messages in Dr. Resnick's direction. Unfortunately, the role Mrs. Kelleigh Nelson plays in Dr. Renick's life is more like that of a woman “pope” rather than an ambiguous oracle. When Mrs. Nelson speaks, it seems to have the characteristics of someone speaking ex-cathedra, judging by the way Dr. Resnick accepts her words. It is regrettable in light of the fact that Mrs. Nelson’s so-called research and analysis are demonstratively false. Rather than doing his research Dr. Resnick accepts her theological opinions and pretended analysis as the gospel truth, even though Dr. Resnick does not believe the gospel. What is the point of all this?

During the last year, Dr. Resnick has repeatedly slandered Rev. Rousas John Rushdoony and Howard Phillips (of Jewish heritage) on his radio show, accusing them of being anti-Semitic (see this writer's “Dispensationalism's Eschatological Dilemma” for more details and response to Dr. Resnick's attack1). Dr. Resnick has mentioned on his radio show the documentation he allegedly has to support these accusations. It has been requested that Dr. Resnick make them available to this writer. A request of this nature is reasonable. Unfortunately, he has failed to do so. One can describe this as an ethical failure on Dr. Resnick’s part. Thankfully, a couple of minister friends of mine were able to obtain these documents and forward them to this writer.

Quite frankly, one would be shocked at the content of this material. One would at the very least expect something beyond quasi-serious research and interaction with Rev. Rushdoony's theology. Instead, the approximate sixty-five pages of material that Dr. Resnick has used to smear men of good character are nothing more than Internet hearsay, unsophisticated spurious accusations, and feigned analysis. Mrs. Nelson provided this material to Dr. Resnick. After reviewing this material, it is clear that Mrs. Nelson has demonstrated herself to be neither a scholar nor an objective researcher. It is an understatement to say that Mrs. Nelson has engaged in a “witch hunt.”  

Mrs. Nelson's theology, which she assumes to be true, and arrogance are evidenced from her sneering comments (such as calling Rev. Rushdoony “a jerk”), among other things. Her theology emerges throughout the material she has provided to Dr. Resnick. Her theology can be properly characterized as antinomian, semi-pelagian, dispensationalism. Some of Mrs. Nelson's favorite theologians whom she appeals to as authorities are the refuted and discredited Rev. Tommy Ice and wildly mistaken alleged biblical prophecy expert Hal Lindsey. See Mr. Lindsey's The Late Great Planet Earth for an example of his failed predictions.2  

It should be noted that Mrs. Nelson's theological convictions are outside of historic Protestant creedal orthodoxy. In fact, Mrs. Nelson is hostile to historic Protestant theology. In some of the material she provided to Dr. Resnick, she abstained from her usual scornful editorial comments regarding Rushdoony's theology. One example is the 1994 “Contra Mundum” interview with Rev. Rushdoony.3 Mrs. Nelson assumed that it must be self-evident that this interview in some way demonstrated Rushdoony's theology to be false. This interview did nothing at all to support her erroneous conclusions. Mrs. Nelson assumes that everyone must read and interpret things through the dispensational, antinomian glasses glued on her face. Interestingly, this writer had copied the same “Contra Mundum” interview and made it available to Dr. Resnick, which in reality demonstrates the brilliance and intellect behind Rushdoony's theology and his historical analysis. 

In addition, Mrs. Nelson also copied for Dr. Resnick some of Rev. Rushdoony's thoughts from a series dealing with the “Second American Revolution.” In this question and answer format, Rev. Rushdoony evidenced himself to be within traditional Reformed orthodoxy. Rev. Rushdoony is an adherent of the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647). Last century, noted Protestant Church historian Philip Schaff made the following comments relevant to the importance of this “Westminster” or Calvinistic theology on the church in America:

“Puritan Protestantism forms properly the main basis of our North American church. Viewed as a whole, she owes her general characteristic features, her distinctive image, neither to the German or Continental Reformed, nor to the German Lutheran, nor to The English Episcopal communion, but to that band of Independents, who for the sake of their faith and a good conscience forsook their native land before the time of Cromwell, sought refuge first in Holland, and finally landed with prayers and tears on the shores of Massachusetts Bay.  To this New England influence must be added indeed the no less important weight of Presbyterianism, as derived subsequently from Scotland and Ireland. But this may be regarded as in all essential respects the same life.  The reigning theology of this country is neither that of the Heidelberg Catechism, nor that of the Augsburg Confession, nor that of the Thirty-nine Articles. It is the theology of the Westminster Confession.”4

Not only was the theology of the Westminster Confession the dominant theology during the formative years of our nation, the theology of the Westminster Confession not only but also provided the theological groundwork for our Republic. Our constitutional freedoms were not born out of nothingness. The freedom that we have enjoyed in this nation is the product of a theology that can restrain sinful men and yet provide opportunities for success with minimum restraints upon individual liberty. Pastor and historian, N. S. McFetridge, makes some additional illuminating comments concerning the influence of Calvinism upon the foundation of our nation:

“Thus, it was the Calvinists and their sons, at home and abroad, the Huguenots and Puritans and Independents and Presbyterians, who were banded and marshaled together in the eighteenth century for the laudable purpose of rescuing the liberties of men from the deadly grasp of a mediaeval political Arminianism.  Understanding, then, the history of the times referred to, we are not surprised to hear men say, as Ranke, that ‘John Calvin was virtually the founder of America….’” 5" 

McFetridge then cites Bancroft, the noted American historian, who supports his serious historical analysis concerning the influence of Calvinism in America.  Consider this citation from Bancroft’s History of the U.S.:

“He that will not honor the memory and respect the influence of Calvin knows but little of the origin of American independence.”6

Rushdoony is a proponent of this same Calvinistic theology. So are the well-known pastor D. James Kennedy and theologian R. C. Sproul to name just two other contemporaries. Anyone that has read Rushdoony’s works knows him to be thoroughly Calvinistic. Moreover, Rev. Rushdoony is strongly committed to Christian libertarian principles. That is why leading principled constitutionalists and Christian libertarian thinkers have always had material published in the “Chalcedon Report,” which is the official publication of Rushdoony's Chalcedon Foundation. 

In addition, Rev. Rushdoony and the “Chalcedon Report” are cited several times each year in “The New American magazine,” the official publication of the John Birch Society (JBS).7 Discerning readers will remember that Rev. Rushdoony at one time provided information for the Society's “Review of the News,” the predecessor of “The New American” magazine. Furthermore, because the Society itself has been maliciously slandered with these same types of accusations, astute readers are fully aware of how careful the JBS is to stay far away from anyone espousing anti-Semitism or any other ideology of hate. This favorable relationship is just one example, which vindicates and speaks volumes concerning Rev. Rushdoony's character and beliefs.    

It has become increasingly clear that neither Dr. Resnick nor his oracle from Tennessee knows but little of the origin of American independence. Mrs. Nelson is in opposition to the theology that shaped our nation speaks volumes about her theological and political views, which are nothing short of bankrupt. Mrs. Nelson is nothing more than a “busy body” meddling in affairs of things she knows but little. In contrast to the great men and their ideas which shaped our nation, the theological crackpots that Mrs. Nelson admires have produced nothing in history, except in the area of eschatology, where dispensational false predictions have produced lots of laughter and have brought reproach upon the gospel. 

It is clear after this whole tragic incident that Dr. Resnick does not appreciate historic Protestant theology and the contribution it has made to the foundation of our Republic.  Dr. Resnick not only does not appreciate historic Protestant theology, Dr. Resnick also does not want anyone else to have the opportunity to hear it explained or defended. He has strongly protested the possibility of Rev. Steve M. Schlissel (faithful Protestant theologian and pastor of Jewish heritage) even appearing on the “American Freedom Network” to provide a response to the malicious accusations that he has made. Why? Dr. Resnick is in over his head with his false accusations. His credibility is completely destroyed. His approach now is to suppress the truth. The truth can never be suppressed.  Dr. Resnick's slander and dependence upon an incompetent prejudiced source are now widely known. All of Dr. Resnick's opinions and sources must now be questioned.

It is incomprehensible that a university-educated man such as Dr. Resnick has accepted such materials from Mrs. Nelson as a credible evaluation of Rev. Rushdoony's theology, let alone as an “infallible papal edict” concerning his work. However, Dr. Resnick's “Oracle of Delphi” seems to have a spell upon him. Dr. Resnick's own professed beliefs are awash with contradictions. His professed belief in the God of the Old Testament and his concurrent hostility to Old Testament law is a prime example. Secondly, his professed respect for American constitutional law and his hostility towards the theological system that produced our Republic and its accompanying law system is another example of an egregious contradiction.

It is regrettable that a network that calls itself the “American Freedom Network,” does not allow freedom for a response to false accusations that have gone out over its airwaves. Why is this? The Rev. Andrew Sandlin, editor-in-chief of the “Chalcedon Report,” has made himself available to be on the air to discuss these matters. One individual forwarded information to the station owner, notifying him that Rev. Sandlin was going to be in Denver for a speaking engagement and should try to secure him as a guest on his own show. Unfortunately, this opportunity to address and clear up this slander was passed up. Rev. Sandlin has personally expressed to this writer his willingness to appear on the “American Freedom Network” to discuss these matters.      

What should those of Christian conviction who have heard this slander do?  First, and most important, we should not hate Dr. Resnick, or Mrs. Nelson. They are both in need of prayer for repentance. Especially, Dr. Resnick who is becoming increasingly ill with the cancer in his body. Second, we should pray for Dr. Resnick to accept Christ Jesus as his Lord and Savior. It is only then that his professed faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will become realized and true. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has fully revealed Himself in redemptive history as the Triune God of Holy Scripture, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  


1.      Jack Kettler, “Dispensationalism's Eschatological Dilemma,” (Spring Lake Park, MN: Contra Mundum - A Reformed Cultural Review - New Series 1999). 

2.   Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth, (Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan, 1973).

3.   R. J. Rushdoony, Interview with R. J. Rushdoony, (Spring Lake Park, MN: Contra Mundum, No. 13 1994).   

4.   Philip Schaff, The Principle of Protestantism, (Philadelphia: United Church Press, 1964), p. 147.

5.   N. S. McFetridge, Calvinism In History, (Edmonton, AB, Canada: Still Waters Revival Books, first edition 1882, reprint edition 1989), pp. 68,69.

6.   George Bancroft, Cited in, Calvinism In History, (Edmonton, AB, Canada: Still Waters Revival Books, first edition 1882, reprint edition 1989), p. 69.

7.   Rousas John Rushdoony, “The New American,” (Appleton, WI: American Opinion Publishing, 1999), p. 11.

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: http://www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com