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What is "Theonomy?"

Dr. Van Til taught us that, “There is no alternative but that of theonomy and autonomy” (Christian Theistic Ethics, p. 134). Every ethical decision assumes some final authority or standard, and that will either be self law (“auto-nomy”) or God’s law (“theo-nomy”).

While unbelievers consider themselves the ultimate authority in determining moral right or wrong, believers acknowledge that God alone has that position and prerogative.

The position which has come to be labeled “theonomy” today thus holds that the word of the Lord is the sole, supreme, and unchallengable standard for the actions and attitudes of all men in all areas of life. Our obligation to keep God’s commands cannot be judged by any extrascriptural standard, such as whether its specific requirements (when properly interpreted) are congenial to past traditions or modern feelings and practices.