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

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 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: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #467,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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 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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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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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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This is a first class book which reminds us that the New Testament doesn't 'replace' the Old Testament but merely builds upon it. The law of God is the definition of his character and nature and therefore it is His desire that we draw close to Him by living through his Law. Through Jesus we not only have the knowledge of the Law (and Jesus NEVER revoked it) but also the power to live in it through the purification of his death and the power of his resurrection. We are sanctified, made pure and holy through the Holy Spirit which ENABLES us to keep God's Law and what is more, the Holy Spirit gives us the desire to do so. What a shame that much of the modern church has lost sight of all this and in consequence fallen into Satan's trap of thinking like the World, the flesh and the Devil.

A must read, in my view, for everyone who is serious about their faith, their path and their eternal salvation. Excellent Biblical citations throughout so the logic of the argument can be clearly followed. A work of great scholarship and reflection and yet highly accessible to the lay but interested reader.
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