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July 20

Greg Bahnsen

On July 20, 1975, Gregory L. Bahnsen was ordained by the Presbytery of Southern California. Trained at Westmont College, Westminster Seminary (MDiv and ThM), and the University of Southern California (PhD), Bahnsen taught apologetics and ethics at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, for three years and then pastored OP churches in southern California (Placentia and Chula Vista), before his death at the age of 47 on December 11, 1995.

In his 1997 book, Theonomy in Christian Ethics, Bahnsen argued for the abiding validity of the Mosaic civil law in the New Testament age. The controversy over this book has served to overshadow the contributions that Bahnsen made to the development of apologetics in the tradition of Cornelius Van Til. A student at the end of Van Til’s long career at Wesmtinster, Bahnsen “not only mastered Van Til’s distinctively Reformed apologetic message, but also clarified and developed it, and put it into practice in thousands of lectures and debates,” according to Bahnsen’s longtime friend and ministerial colleague, the Rev. Roger Wagner. Bahnsen’s posthumous book, Van Til’s Apologetics: Readings and Analysis (1998) is one of the finest introductions to Van Til’s work, along with his more popular Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith (1996).

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