Book Review: Faith And Obedience: An Introduction To Biblical Law

Faith And Obedience:  An Introduction To Biblical Law, by Rousas John Rushdoony

For quite some time [1] I have been familiar with the writings of many Theonomists, which is largely responsible for my somewhat dim view of the apologetic efforts of Calvinists in general.  I am sure that many more moderate Calvinists would be horrified that my own view of their religious thought is based on my interactions and reading of the writings of these particularly stern-minded writers.  This particular book is, in stark contrast to most works written by Theonomists, an extremely easy read.  This is largely because the “book” is really a very short pamphlet that contains an introduction by the author’s son and the introduction by the author to his larger book, Institutes Of Biblical Law (Volume One), another book in my collection.  Therefore this book does not offer many of the usual difficulties that make books on Theonomy such a difficult chore, including their immense repetitiveness and their attempts to weasel out of biblical obedience.  In this case, the book lives up to its title, serving as an introduction to a favorable view of God’s laws, and one that will likely be far more popular to readers than the massive tome that it comes from.

The contents of this book are very straightforward and this is not a book that should present difficulties to most readers.  The section by the author’s son points out that theonomy simply means God’s law, and that theocracy simply means rule by God, and that those believers who are willing to counter the current of antinomianism by reading this book and giving it a fair hearing are themselves part of a move against dispensationalism.  To be sure, there is a lot of criticism I have towards theonomy, although this is not really the book that deserves such critical comments.   Largely, this book contrasts law and lawlessness, points out that law and grace are not contradictory to each other, and strongly encourages those who profess a belief in Jesus Christ to take God’s laws seriously.  This is not something that is going to arouse my intense critical tendencies.  At least as far as this introductory material is concerned, this is a program I wholeheartedly support.  There are issues where the author’s desire to preserve the antinomian Hellenistic religion project of which he is a part as a Calvinist are problematic in the larger body of the author’s work, but this is about as friendly an introduction to theonomy as one is likely to see ever.

As such, this is likely my favorite book as a whole, except perhaps for some of the writings by Greg Bahnsen that I liked enough to drag on my back to and from Thailand.  At any rate, this is a fine little book and I highly recommend it to those who wish to understand the closest point at which Calvinism approaches biblical religion in taking God’s law seriously and seeking to explore the implications of God’s laws on the way we live our lives here and now.  It should be noted that the author is from the school of thought that does not believe in speaking what is viewed as God’s truths in a gracious fashion, and theonomy in general is not the sort of place where one is going to find much in the way of kindness and mildness.  With that caveat, though, this book presents minimal difficulties in seeing the theonomy project in its best light.  It only goes downhill from here–if this work is too uncharitable and unkind, there is little reason to read longer and more challenging works.  At about 35 pages in length, this is a quick read and ought to give the reader enough material to let one know if one wants to go further into the world of biblical law through the lens of the harshest Calvinists in existence.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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6 Responses to Book Review: Faith And Obedience: An Introduction To Biblical Law

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