Rushdoony on Logos Bible Software
April 5, 2011 | William Brannan
To attempt to study Scripture without studying its law is to deny it. To attempt to understand Western civilization apart from the impact of Biblical law within it and upon it is to seek a fictitious history and to reject twenty centuries and their progress.
When R. J. Rushdoony wrote The Institutes of Biblical Law his purpose was a reversal of the present trend. It is called "Institutes" in the older meaning of that word, i.e., fundamental principles, here of law, because it is intended as a beginning, as an instituting consideration of that law which must govern society, and which shall govern society under God.
To understand Biblical law, it is necessary to understand also certain basic characteristics of that law. In it, certain broad premises or principles are declared. These are declarations of basic law. The Ten Commandments give us such declarations.
A second characteristic of Biblical law, is that the major portion of the law is case law, i.e., the illustration of the basic principle in terms of specific cases. These specific cases are often illustrations of the extent of the application of the law; that is, by citing a minimal type of case, the necessary jurisdictions of the law are revealed.
The law, then, asserts principles and cites cases to develop the implications of those principles, with its purpose and direction the restitution of God's order.
It is a modern heresy that holds that the law of God has no meaning nor any binding force for man today. It is an aspect of the influence of humanistic and evolutionary thought on the church and it posits an evolving and developing god. This "dispensational" god expressed himself in law in an earlier age, then later expressed himself by grace alone, and is now perhaps to express himself in still another way. But this is not the God of Scripture, whose grace and law remain the same in every age, because He, as the sovereign and absolute Lord, changes not, nor does He need to change. The strength of man is the absoluteness of his God.