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ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL WORKS OF CHRISTIAN RECONSTRUCTION,
This review is from: Theonomy in Christian Ethics (Paperback)
Greg L. Bahnsen (1948-1995) was a Calvinist philosopher, apologist, Christian Reconstructionist, and skilled debater. He was an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and a full time Scholar in Residence for the Southern California Center for Christian Studies. This 1984 book (expanded edition; original version published 1977) and was an expansion of his Master's Thesis at Westminster Theological Seminary.
He cautions, "Thus theonomists will not necessarily agree with each other's every interpretation and ethical conclusion. For instance, many (like myself) do not affirm R.J. Rushdoony's view of the dietery laws, Gary North's view of home mortgages, James Jordan's stance on automatic infant communion... or David Chilton's attitudes toward bribery and 'ripping off' the unbeliever. Nevertheless, all share the basic perspective reflected in the above ten propositions." (Pg. xix)
He admits, "Jesus did NOT broach the subject of the Older Testament's punishment for adultery and then express personal disapproval... He repudiated the Pharisees, not the law. Hence it is totally unwarranted to maintain that Christ expressly abrogated the law's penal sanction against adultery." (Pg. 110) He asserts, "The fact that adultery is contained in the larger class of crimes, fornication, does not imply even remotely that Christ abrogated the penal sanction against adultery." (Pg. 112)
He insists, "Theonomy must be CENTRAL in Christian ethics... we do not demand autonomous justification for God's commandments... Theonomy, and theonomy alone, must be the standard for Christian ethics. The sole Law-giver and Judge is God." (Pg. 305) He argues, "Those who propose the abolition of the death penalty ... should also carry out the logic of their position: if the gravest punishment (death) is abolished, HOW MUCH MORE the lesser penalties! The result would have to be NO punishments at all. Thus, the magistrate could no more impose a traffic fine upon someone for speeding than he could execute someone for murder!" (Pg. 447)
He concludes, "While many specific questions need to be answered in particular situations, the basic or fundamental principle of social morality and state responsibility has been answered... Our categorical assumption must be that of continuity with Older Testament morality." (Pg. 470-471)
Obviously a highly controversial book, it is also a very IMPORTANT one, and is "must reading" by persons on all sides of this debate.