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The Institutes of Biblical Law Hardcover – 1973


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The Institutes of Biblical Law + Theonomy in Christian Ethics + By This Standard: The Authority of God's Law Today
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 890 pages
  • Publisher: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co. (1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875524109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875524108
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Caleb Hayden on March 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Rushdoony is a theologian that you either love or hate. And this is consistent with his presuppositional philosophy of no neutrality. Drawing from the great Christian philosopher and theologian Cornelius Van Til, Rushdoony clearly lays out in "The Institutes" and in his numerous other works, the defining question of all thought: BY WHAT STANDARD? Either we will uphold God's Law and repudiate man's attempt "to be as God, knowing [i.e., determining for himself] what constitutes good and evil" (Genesis 3:5); or we will accept the challenge of the tempter, believing the lie that we can be like god, living forever in a universe of our own invention (Genesis 3).

In short, we will either serve and worship God, or we will serve and worship His creation, attempting to ignore Him (Romans 1). We cannot have it both ways.

I cannot say that I agree with everything that Rushdoony wrote. How could anyone agree with all of his views, given how controversial, sincere, and rigorous he was? However, the corpus of his work -- including his Magnum Opus, "The Institutes" -- supplies a sure foundation for a systematic and "epistemologically self conscious" worldview: one that applies God's Law to every area of life and thought in a rigorous and uncompromising manner.

Given the "hidden" or "veiled" influence that Rushdoony has had on our society, more people -- both Chrisitians and humanists -- should pay attention to Rushdoony and his followers such as Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, Gary North, and others. Many do not realize that Rushdoony was at the center of the fight in the '60s and '70s to legalize private and home education.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Clarke H. Morledge on February 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Rushdoony is rejected by many Christians and non-Christians alike as being on the lunatic fringe. There is good reason for this, though it is complicated. As John Frame argues, while rightly challenging in many ways, Rushdoony's work is a fine example of how *not* to engage in theological dialogue. Making accusations of "antinomianism" at every turn is not the best way to draw in your audience. I argue that Rushdoony's detailed insight into ignored aspects of history in the Christian era is fascinating and valuable (hence the four star rating), but the theological lessons to be learned do not always hold together. He makes a convincing case for political libertarianism (a.l.a. Ron Paul), but his theonomic vision is frightful to many fellow libertarians. He writes of the dual dangers of expanding militaristic and socialistic powers of the state, but he unfortunately sees fit to condemn interracial marriage. He masterfully makes sense of many Mosaic texts in a plausible way to the modern Christian, but the architecture of his theological argument is confounding. Are we really "sanctified by the law", as Rushdoony suggests? Surely we are "justified by grace", but juxtaposing that with "sanctification by the law" seems to diminish the Gospel.

Nevertheless, perhaps Rushdoony's critics have not read him closely enough. The man was incredibly well read and incredibly prolific. It took me THREE YEARS to get through _The Institutes of Biblical Law_! This is the best case for theonomy I have yet to read. If you follow him carefully, Rushdoony proposes that Christ's theonomic reign will only come as more and more people come to know Christ. Regeneration ALWAYS precedes civil reform.
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43 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 21, 1996
Format: Hardcover
Clear, penetrating reasoning which considers the Biblical basis for respecting divine law, and working to obey it. The author also examines each commandment of the decalogue in detail, showing the application and implications of each. I have never seen such a probing analysis in a quarter-century of reading and study on this subject! You see, the overwhelming majority of churches in this century teach that God's law not only no longer applies to believers, but that it was sort of defective and evil anyway. They teach that attempts to respect and obey it repudiate what Christ did! For the most part, if you want to read well-thought-out arguments which show the bankruptcy of that position, you have to drop back in history and read selected works from the time of the Puritans up through the late 19th century, when numerous preachers and commentators could explain the relevance of divine law cogently. But their older style of writing doesn't always "compute" for the modern reader. This book is an entirely up-to-date, hard-hitting challenge to the prevailing concept. Face it: whatever you believe, somebody, somewhere thinks you're doomed for it! This book will force a serious Christian to consider whether what you've been taught holds water. It's not an "easy read," more like a college text; but the examples and citations are timely, modern. Caveat: While I enthusiastically endorse Institutes of Biblical Law to serious Christians as a tool for getting your brain in gear, I don't want to leave readers thinking this is a plug from the author's church or similar. I go to a different church than he, and I believe there were some erroneous conclusions in the book -- but he has really "done his homework" and he really made me think. Reading this whopper was well worth my limited time. What more can a reader ask of an author
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More About the Author

Rousas John (R. J.) Rushdoony (1916-2001) was a well-known American scholar, writer, and author of over thirty books. He held B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of California and received his theological training at the Pacific School of Religion. An ordained minister, he worked as a missionary among Paiute and Shoshone Indians as well as a pastor to two California churches. He founded the Chalcedon Foundation, an educational organization devoted to research, publishing, and cogent communication of a distinctively Christian scholarship to the world-at-large. His writing in the Chalcedon Report and his numerous books spawned a generation of believers active in reconstructing the world to the glory of Jesus Christ. Until his death, he resided in Vallecito, California, where he engaged in research, lecturing, and assisting others in developing programs to put the Christian Faith into action.

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