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The Bible is a Textbook on Everything

When I talk with secular Christians (those who claim to be Christians but believe in evolution, Keynesianism, Marxism, or "liberalism"), I'm always told that I cannot trust the Bible to give authoritative answers in whatever field we are discussing. The evolutionist says, "The Bible is not a textbook on geology" or biology or whatever. The Keynesian says, "The Bible is not a textbook on economics." The liberal says "The Bible is not a textbook on political science." Whatever the discipline, the Bible is "not a textbook" in that field.

The implication is clear: the Bible is only a textbook on "religion." This is no threat to the secular Christian, because he has relegated "religion" to the "upper-story" of his life, which at best takes only one hour on Sunday morning. Religion is hermetically sealed off from every other area of life.

In fact, for these people, the Bible is not even a textbook on religion. Name one secular university religion class that uses the Bible as a textbook, that is, teaches religion as the Bible says religion should be taught. Sure, the Bible is an "exhibit" in most religion classes, along with Greek and Roman mythology, the Bhagvad Gita, and the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh. But it has no more authority in the religion class than these pagan religion texts.

If the Bible is not a textbook of science and economics, 
it is not a textbook of anything.

"If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?"
John 3:12

When the Bible is said to not be a textbook in any area of life, then the true authority in every field is the religion of Secular Humanism.

The issue here is not facts: not science, not history, not economics, not politics. The issue is morality. The secularist is saying, "Keep your morality out of my life." What is right and what is wrong for these secularists is determined by the scientists, or the economists, or the politicians -- any "expert" but Moses and the Prophets; any authority but God.

Even worse than saying the Bible is a textbook on geology is saying that the Bible is an infallible textbook on geology. This means that when the Bible speaks of a world-wide flood at the time of Noah, there is no option but to accept it and make it the foundation of all geological theories and explanations. What makes this so offensive is not the facts that would remain unexplained by bringing the Bible into the classroom (for more facts are explained by the Bible than by uniformitarianism), but by the actions in our lives that would be scrutinized and judged by the Bible. This is what motivated the rise of evolutionism.

If the Bible is a textbook for the geologist, it means he faces God's Judgment for his political life. Darwin wrote of his victory over Noah, and his joy that the Bible was no longer a textbook on geology:

As all forms of life are the lineal descendants of those which lived long before the Cambrian epoch, we feel certain that the ordinary succession by generation has never been broken, and that no cataclysm has desolated the world. Hence we may look with some confidence to a secure future of great length.

No doubt his belief produced great relief.

Sir Julian Huxley articulates the secular equivalent of "whew!":

The past of life has been steadily increased by science until it now (1958) exceeds the staggering figure of two and one-half billion years. And in place of an imminent Last Judgment, Life on this planet can now envisage at least an equal span of evolutionary time in the future.

If the Bible is a textbook for the politician, it means he faces God's Judgment for his sexual exploitation and his perjury. The lines were vividly drawn by Aldous Huxley, grandson of "Darwin's Bulldog," Thomas H. Huxley:

I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves. . . . For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political."

The Limitations of Any Textbook

To say that the Bible is a textbook on geology is not to say that it contains every formula, every date, every molecular structure. Consider Orlin Grabbe's textbook on International Financial Markets. While it may discuss digital cash, foreign currencies, "forwards," "swaps" and interest parity, there are many subjects it does not discuss. Does this mean it is no longer a textbook?

There are many subjects not discussed in the Bible, and many facts not mentioned. It is, nevertheless, the Word of God, and it governs us in every area of life, and whatever it states on any subject of life, it is our infallible authority. What makes this proposition so offensive is that the Bible addresses every area of our lives. God claims jurisdiction over every action, every thought.

Consider the Table of Contents from Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law. Under the pattern of the Decalogue, Rushdoony surveys all the case laws, prophetic utterances, and the commands of the Lord and His Apostles. Decades of study are evident in hundreds of footnotes to "secular" sources, to which Biblical Law is applied in detail (over 3000 Biblical citations). It can be seen that no area of life is not addressed by God's Law. Most evangelicals would never think to apply the Bible's authoritative and concrete direction to such problems as these:

III. The Third Commandment
2. Swearing and Revolution
3. The Oath and Society
5. The Oath and Authority
IV. The Fourth Commandment
3. The Sabbath and Work
5. The Sabbath and Law
Appendix: The Economics of Sabbath keeping -- by Gary North
V. The Fifth Commandment
1. The Authority of the Family
3. The Economics of the Family
4. Education and the Family
5. The Family and Delinquency
VI. The Sixth Commandment
2. The Death Penalty
5. Hybridization and Law
6. Abortion
8. Restitution or Restoration
9. Military Laws and Production
10. Taxation
13. Quarantine Laws
14. Dietary Rules
20. Social Inheritance: Landmarks
VII. The Seventh Commandment
1. Marriage
5. Family Law
6. Marriage and Monogamy
7. Incest
9. Sex and Crime
11. Adultery
12. Divorce
14. Homosexuality
17. The Transvestite
18. Bestiality
VIII. The Eighth Commandment
1. Dominion
2. Theft
3. Restitution and Forgiveness
4. Liability of the Bystander
5. Money and Measure
6. Usury
9. Landmarks and Land
10. The Virgin Birth and Property
11. Fraud
12. Eminent Domain
13. Labor Laws
15. Prison
18. The Rights of Strangers, Widows, and Orphans
IX. The Ninth Commandment
5. Corroboration
6. Perjury
8. False Witness
11. Slander Within Marriage
13. Slander as Theft
16. Judges
17. The Responsibility of Judges and Rulers
18. The Court
19. The Procedure of the Court
20. The Judgment of the Court
X. The Tenth Commandment
1. Covetousness
3. Special Privilege
5. The System
XV. Notes on Law in Western Society

It is obvious that The Institutes of Biblical Law is no gushy, "pious" devotional reader. It is a pathbreaking, foundational Reconstruction of Law, Politics, Jurisprudence, and Social Morality. Every Christian Lawyer should read the book from cover to cover (849 pages). Every political scientist should do the same. It is not the last word, but it is the first word in generations attempting to rigorously apply Biblical laws to the problems of contemporary society from a Bible-believing perspective. The importance of Rushdoony's Institutes and of the "Theonomic" movement in general is not in the details of their applications, but the inescapable conclusion that the Bible provides all the Law we need to apply to the facts of our lives.

Rushdoony and the Reconstructionists have completely challenged the prevailing "piety" of the Protestant and Evangelical churches. Breaking asunder the previously impenetrable barrier between the "clergy" and the "real world," Rushdoony shows how every believer-priest must apply the Word of God to every area of his life. Since its publication (1973), the Reconstructionists have continued to apply God's Word to contemporary problems in new areas and in new ways.

We may disagree with his applications and interpretations, but we must begin where Rushdoony begins: with the recognition that the Lord claims sovereignty over all the earth, and has given us His Law in written form in the Bible. Every Christian, in whatever capacity he exercises his gifts, must bring every thought captive to the lordship of Christ. Lawyers are not excepted. Nor are judges, politicians, educators, scientists, and all others involved in "secular" matters. The Bible is not an out-dated document for the "religious," for "church-workers," and for the "ordained clergy" and other ecclesiastics. God's Law governs all men.

The Bible is a textbook on every subject.

Jay Adams: The Bible is a textbook on Counseling


Is the Bible a Textbook? - John W. Robbins

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