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By This Standard: The Authority of God's Law Today Paperback – January 1, 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen (1948-1995) was once described as "the man atheists fear most." He was a distinguished scholar, author, and Christian apologist. He was an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and the author of Theonomy in Christian Ethics, No Other Standard, Theonomy and Its Critics, and co-author with Kenneth Gentry of House Divided: The Breakup of Dispensational Theology.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 263 pages
  • Publisher: American Vision/Covenant Media Press; 2015 Edition edition (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0915815842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0915815845
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
What authority does the Law have in the life of the New Testament believer? The answer may disturb you. It did me. Be forewarned. Dr. Bahnsen is not writing comic-book dialog here! This is tough stuff. It demands your attention. It demands thought. But the rewards are great. This book is a blessing. This is the definitive biblical counter to situation ethics and moral relativism. If you are a Christian, you really ought to consider it your duty to find out what the Bible (both Testaments) has to say about issues of morality. What does it really mean to "love your neighbor"? My wager is that most of us Christians don't really know.
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By This Standard is a slimmed down version of Bahnsen's larger treatment of Theonomy, Theonomy in Christian Ethics. The shorter version is devoid of lengthy scholarly interaction and extensive footnotes, so it is less helpful for those really wanting to dig into the debate. However, Bahnsen's clear expositional writing makes this the perfect book for folks wanting to learn a sound treatment of Theonomy. Many opponents of theonomic readings of Scripture labor under misconceptions, misrepresentations, and false implications based upon false assumptions about what theonomy actually is. Bahnsen's treatment here is as clear as it gets for the lay reader and is a good primer on the considerations of Biblical law.
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I was interested in finding out more about theonomy, being somewhat inclined that way based on my own study and understanding of the Word of God, & I found this book to be a very readable book making the case for the continuing validity of God's commands as revealed in the OT unless clearly withdrawn in the NT. Bahnsen makes many logical points (I particularly like how he uses football rules' & library cards' continuing validity today to argue his point) and supports them with scripture references. I'm not thoroughly convinced, because some of what Paul says, even in the context of some of his supporting texts seems to indicate more nullification of OT law than Bahnsen grants, but in other places the scripture really does seem to support his position (the evidence seems in his favor). I think he makes a very strong case against autonomy and one of the strengths of this book is how he refutes humanistic (the new version) reasoning. In this book he does not go into great detail in regards to what commands do stand firm, he is more interested in simply establishing that many do - which he does well, while balancing it with a wise dose of "general equity" (common example seems to be in OT they were told to build a fence around their roof, we don't have flat roofs anymore, the point is - don't leave a loaded gun around for your neighbor;s kid to shoot etc). It was most interesting to go back and look at my confession of faith in regards to this subject as well, I suggest anyone under the 1689 London Baptist Confession or the Westminster Confession take a look at the chapters on the law of God and civil government, it may challenge you!
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"By This Standard" is far more than a popularization of Bahnsen's earlier work, "Theonomy in Christian Ethics." It is a worthy defense of theonomy in its own right. Moreover, it is a needed book for today. Having been a Reformed Christian for 35 years (since my conversion as a 31-year-old adult from agnosticism), but having had a fair amount of contact with the broader evangelical community, I can say this with conviction. The truth is that many, perhaps most Christians ground their views of politics, economics, culture, and society, as well as their "personal" morality elsewhere than in the holy Law of God. Not surprisingly, their lives reflect the values of the secular culture and their understanding of the issues shows very little awareness of a biblical worldview. Because this has happened, Christians have been unable to effectively counter the prevailing wisdom of secular culture.

By showing that there is no neutral ground, that one's views of civil government, education, economics, law, etc., etc., if not grounded in Scripture will wind up being nearly indistinguishable from the views of secular society, Bahnsen demonstrates how crucial it is that those who desire to live as Christians accept the revelation of God in His Word and in His Law as being foundational for all of life.
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Very carefully/tightly reasoned by the late Prof Bahnsen, this is a great first stop in your readings on Theonomy. He appears to have written it as a more approachable version of his "Theonomy in Christian Ethics" (TICE) and I think he succeeded there. That said, there's nothing light and soft about this work. It's very much a "real thing" book. Ninety percent of those who read this won't feel any need to read TICE as there is plenty here.
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Format: Paperback
A terrific condensed book from his much larger work Theonomy in Christian Ethics. (If you're comparing page numbers it might be hard to see that since it goes from TiCE 476 pages to BTS 350 pages(paperback edition). But TiCE has 476 - 6"x9" pages - while BTS has 350 - 4"x6.75" pages. This makes a huge difference.)

By This Standard is in many ways better than Theonomy in Christian Ethics in that it doesn't read like a master's thesis, is more digestible in its chapter lengths, is aimed at a broader audience and so is more accessible for the layman, and has a great succinct section at the end refuting criticisms of his previous work.

The main point of this book though is still the same: by what standard shall nations decide what is just in socio-political laws? By the standard God has revealed in Scripture.

For a review of that main point, see my review of Theonomy in Christian Ethics:
http://www.amazon.com/review/R3290GWXC99I2E/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0967831733&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

As for this book, Bahnsen applies the same principles of argumentation and clear exegesis but presents it in an easier tone. Of course this means his argument is not as exhaustive in this book; but it still carries the same weight. Chapter by chapter he uses Scripture over and over again to present the case. And just as before, while it is hard psychologically and emotionally sometimes to reach the conclusions he does. There doesn't seem to be any Biblical or logical reason not to come to the same conclusion.
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