John D. Lofton, Jr. (May 26, 1941 – September 17, 2014), recovering Republican who never went to college, was among other things, the most unabashed Christian I have ever met. He was the type that insisted on taking every thought captive to Christ, even if your thought would not go willingly. John will be remembered by many as an “American paleoconservative” political commentator and editor of Michael Peroutka’s The American View radio program. He advised Presidents, went to U.N. meetings, and once even called CBS just to see what famous person he could get on the phone. (As I recall the story, Tom Brokaw answered, but said he would try to find Dan Rather.) For a review of John’s professional life, see http://en.wikipedia.org/
John Lofton was more than a paleoconservative, however. He was a redeemed man, who was forgiven much. John spoke to me emotionally at times about his regrets in his pre-Christian life, and gratitude to God for second chances. John was an adult with children before he was radically changed by Christ. This means certain personality traits were ingrained already and others Christ uprooted. The uprooting is not always without deleterious consequence.
Anyone who knew John believed he pushed things too far, far too often, often to the point of causing great consternation. The first pen I ever threw at a man was thrown at John Lofton. But to anger and frustrate was never John’s intent. John was merely taking thoughts captive.
What amazed me most about John was his refusal to stop learning and growing as a Christian. Just because he was certain an opinion was right in 1982 did not mean he would refrain from revisiting it, and changing it if the Word of God demanded. Like Augustine in his Retractions John revisited his thoughts continually.
I was 30 when I met John (though I had been a reader of The Lofton Letters in my twenties). I am forty now. In this decade of knowing John personally, I was indelibly marked by John’s assault teams roving for thoughts to conquer. Many evenings on my way out of work I’d visit John for a few minutes … which turned into many hours … just to scuffle over one of our recent discoveries. I had the honour of being among the people who would both influence, and be influenced by, John. I would call him from book stores to ask, “Is ‘this’ guy a ‘good guy’ “? John delighted in that, because he did the same thing to Rushdoony.
I cannot recall the specifics at this time, but there were evenings John would thank me for introducing a new line of thinking to him. I do recall the specifics of the changes he directed in me. All too many books that have fundamentally altered the course of my thinking were recommended reads by John Lofton. The very first of this sort was a book entitled The Basic Symbols of American Political Tradition. The nub of the book: “America” was not founded by the Constitution, rather Christianity was planted on this soil in 1620 with the Mayflower Compact. Since then, there have been enemies at work to uproot it.
John died on September 17, 2014, “Constitution Day”. By this let us be reminded not to focus our attention on earthly kingdoms. Rather, keep our eyes on the City whose builder and maker is God. Hebrews 11:10.
I will miss you, my friend, John. I wish we could scuffle once again this side of eternity.
– Godspeed, my friend.
Scott T. Whiteman