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Rediscovering the Natural Law in Reformed Theological Ethics
POD; Published: 10/5/2006
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6313-3
Price: $ 41.50
320 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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Series: Emory University Studies in Law and Religion (EUSLR)

Is knowledge of right and wrong written on the human heart? Do people know God from the world around them? Does natural knowledge contribute to Christian doctrine? While these questions of natural theology and natural law have historically been part of theological reflection, the radical reliance of twentieth-century Protestant theologians on revelation has eclipsed this historic connection.

Stephen Grabill attempts the treacherous task of reintegrating Reformed Protestant theology with natural law by appealing to Reformation-era theologians such as John Calvin, Peter Martyr Vermigli, Johannes Althusius, and Francis Turretin, who carried over and refined the traditional understanding of this key doctrine. Rediscovering the Natural Law in Reformed Theological Ethics calls Christian ethicists, theologians, and laypersons to take another look at this vital element in the history of Christian ethical thought.
First Things
"If his account of Protestant theological ethics is faithful, then Grabill has performed a valuable service in plumbing the right texture of Reformed theological ethics. And if his thesis is correct, then a shot across the bow is surely necessary in our time."
J. Budziszweski
— University of Texas
"Stephen Grabill's erudite book will be an indispensable steersman to anyone interested in the important story of natural law in Protestant theology ? what the Reformers thought of it, why it disappeared, and what chance there may be of reviving it."
Paul Helm
— Regent College
"The scope and depth of Grabill's study are impressive. His book swells the rising tide of scholarly interest in the positive role played by 'the natural' in the formative years of Reformed ethics and theology, and it hints at a new agenda. Most welcome."
Russell Hittinger
— University of Tulsa
"In defense of doctrinal orthodoxy, Protestant theologians like Karl Barth cast the natural law tradition into the darkness of the unregenerate works of man. Neither corrected nor fulfilled by Christian wisdom, natural law floats free of the works of God. In this important and penetrating study, Stephen Grabill shows that the Reformed wing of the magisterial Reformation set out to modify but not to reject totally the older position common to theologians, jurists, and philosophers ? namely, that natural law is an expression of divine providence. He shows that the Barthian critique not only collapses the tensions and ignores the nuances received from the Reformers, but also dissevers continuities between Protestantism and the Catholic via antiqua. As evangelical Christians become more politically self-conscious and ever more conversant with Catholics, it is all the more necessary to grapple with the issues explored by Grabill."
J. P. Moreland
— Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
"In the contemporary church and broader culture, there is much ignorance of and great confusion about the reality, nature, and importance of natural moral law. Moreover, it is widely believed that the natural-moral-law tradition is simply unavailable to those of a Reformed persuasion. Stephen Grabill clearly demonstrates that nothing could be further from the truth. With great skill and scholarly patience, Grabill painstakingly demonstrates that natural revelation, theology, and moral law are, indeed, important aspects of Christian teaching and that nothing central to Reformed Christianity requires abandoning this triad. For all those interested in the interface of Christian doctrine, politics, and moral reasoning, this is must reading. I highly recommend it."