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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on January 24, 2004
Dr. McQuilkin's textbook on Christian Ethics is actually a very well-written development of the Ten Commandments for today. The book would be very acceptable to Reformed-Presbyterians, and other groups with strong Sabbatarian convictions.
However, I only give it 3 stars because it's not really a book about distinctively Christian ethics...Christian being defined as New Covenant ethics. There is no real acknowledgement that there are any other approaches to Christian ethics than the transposition of the Ten Commandments as such into the present era. There is no discussion of the greater redemptive framework within which ethics operates (Old vs. New Covenant). There is little discussion on how the shift from a political theocracy to an international faith-confessing body changes the ethical system we follow (e.g., the absence of land-references or any civil laws in the New Testament).
Although Dr. McQuilkin is a Baptist, his underlying assumption is that of covenant theology, and the way he handles O.T. law is almost Theonomic. Now, if you agree with that, then you'll think this book is fine. And it is a good book, well worth reading. But it fails to deal with most of the bigger theological issues underlying Christian ethics, and presupposes an approach that many Christians might not accept.
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We live in a world where ethics are no longer a concern. What is sin one day is viewed as normal the next (see Massachusetts and its legalizing of gay marriages). Dr. McQuilkin gives the Christian a textbook on biblical ethics. His authority is not his opinion or his astute intelect but the inerrant Word of God.
There is hardly an issue that Dr. McQuilkin does not deal with from pornography, alcohol, abortion, war, politics, and homosexuality. He comes at each issue with one purpose and that is to examine what the Bible says about the issue. Sometimes that is easier said than done. However, Dr. McQuilkin always seeks to find a biblical understanding of ethics and disregards cultural values that change with the latest opinion polls.
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on October 30, 2013
I personally divide this book into three parts. First, there are some introductory issues. Second, the heart of the book is a modernizing of the Ten Commandments. Finally, there are a couple chapters on summing up what was taught. McQuilkin himself divides the book into two parts.

The introductory issues concern various foundational issues when approaching ethics from a biblical perspective. Here you will see things like biblical vocabulary expounded (biblical idea of sin, love and law) and some broader ideas like root sins and situation ethics.

The heart of the book is really a modernizing of the Ten Commandments. McQuilkin holds to a popular evangelical approach to the law which divides the 'types' of laws given to the Jews: moral, civil, and sacrificial. He holds that Christians are not bound by the civil and sacrificial laws, but are bound by the moral laws (for example, the Decalogue). He would also further hold that Christians are bound by the moral laws that undergird other civil laws. For example, the law that says you must put a hedge around your roof is because of an undergirding moral law that we care for our neighbors. Thus, we are not bound to put hedges around our roofs, but we are bound to care for our neighbors, which stands under that particular civil law.

McQuilkin takes the Ten Commandments one by one and essentially modernizes their issues to a modern, American culture. Again, this is the brunt of the book. And he does a pretty good job covering a lot of issues. It's not perfect, but it's an introductory text. You should not expect room for such detailed treatments as you might find in more specialized ethical books. However, he covers adequately what he thinks are more important to our culture at the time he is writing. All in all, a fine job.

The final two chapters take a look at everything that has been traversed and shows how to use what McQuilkin has been teaching. Here we see the relationship of church to state and state to church and the final chapter is on how to apply what we have learned and how God's will fits into the overall picture.

Like I said, all in all, it's a good text. You couldn't ask for much more in an introductory work on biblical ethics. My only complaints are minor. First, I wonder if McQuilkin's treatment of the law as a whole is simply a heuristic to approach biblical ethical issues or if he actually adheres to his position on the nature of the divisions of the law into moral, civil and sacrificial. I'm not sure all laws can nicely fit into those categories. Second, at times, McQuilkin goes a little overboard on the proof texting. Occasionally, when I go to research what texts he is citing in support of his position, I am left a bit dumbfounded. I am sure this is more of an editorial problem, though. And it's not often enough that it affects his overall points. While I don't personally agree with him on every issue, I do overall, so I would definitely recommend. Finally, this was written in 1995, so it is dated in many ways. I think an update would be good (especially after 2001 & 2008), but I'm not sure that will happen.
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on February 24, 2000
This book is and answer to many questions one may have about ethics. Have a problem with some area of life, look it up in the index and the author helps you find the answers in the Bible. Sometimes a little preachy but mostly clear consice information you can share with others. Looks like a textbook but works great on the nightstand.
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on November 18, 2013
This is a fantastic book. It is a definitive reference manual for topical study. Should be in every Christian's library.
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on August 4, 2015
Robertson McQuilkin is very knowledgable about the bible. He has an understandable writing style and takes on complex topics well.
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on October 15, 2001
I know the author and he has my deepest respect. He practices what he preaches! I use this book for my adult Sunday School class and my students love it. The first six chapters are a must read; the rest is a handy and helpful resource. The scholarship is well-done, very practical, and thoroughly biblical.
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on August 6, 2015
I didn't really read the description enough. I needed the second edition.
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on April 3, 2009
One of the best books I have had the pleasure of reading/studying. It really breaks done the Love of God and explains how we should Love. I recommend that anyone one who is in Seminary or taking any type of Religious study class should really think about getting this book. I gaurantee you will love it and cherish it and use it over and over again as a reference....
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on March 3, 2015
Very pleased with the product and delivery! Thank you
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