Institutes of Biblical Law, #3

Blog Entry #3

Institutes of Biblical Law

Rousas John Rushdoony

This is kind of short but I wanted to note that one of the critiques of Theonomy in general that I have always heard from both Christians and non-Christians has been that it would turn the Civil Magistrate, where it was implemented, into another Iran or Taliban-era Afghanistan. However one place this is proven to be false can be found (and there are a number of other examples where this can be confirmed not to be the case) in reading through Rushdoony’s discussion of the First Commandment (specifically pg. 49ff in his Institutes of Biblical Law). He notes over and over again how much of a blessing the Tithe Laws were (and would be) to the downtrodden in society in a way that the current attempts by Socialists and others to lessen the burden felt by those in difficult situations cannot and have proven incapable to do. The widow, homeless, orphan, the poor, etc. are taken care of in a manner and a way that secular societies and Islamic states neither have the capability or the right of doing as is seen under the blessing of the Law of God. It also delineates one of the many differences between the God of Christianity and the false gods that man has created to replace the God of the Scriptures. One can think of a myriad of other examples where Biblical Law goes nearly out of its way to care for the poor and oppressed. A notable example includes the requirements to leave a part of your field unharvested for these types of people in society. We can even see this profiting our Lord and the Disciples in Luke 6:1-3.

More to come…

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One thought on “Institutes of Biblical Law, #3

  1. Thanks for the interesting post. Rushdoony (re-)opened what was normal until the last century or so – the importance of the continuity of biblical law. It will be the basis of God’s judgment on the last day and is also the basis for the crucifixion and resurrection of the Son of God.

    The need for a rational justification of the continuity of God’s law is paramount. The very notion of an inviolate law is at the heart of all scholarly endeavours. Rushdoony saw this in the philosophical work of Van Til, though his work in the IBL was of course the heart of the moral and civil law. The wider concept of law — universals — presupposes eternality and this the pagans cannot countenance, because they cannot attain to universals from particulars – the problem of the one over many. Central to this wider notion of universal law (ultimately, God’s word) is the character of the unchanging God. And Rushdoony simply took this notion, espoused by Van Til as the choice between autonomy and theonomy, and applied it to the moral and civil law. Bahnsen alos came along and provided some really necessary clarification of Van Til’s work.

    As the Lord stated twice in Luke, heaven and earth may pass away by my word AND not one title of the law — aren’t the two almost the same? — will not fail to come to pass! And that is indeed a great and hearty word – that a King would come and die in pace of you and me!

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