Greg Bahnsen (September 17, 1948-December 11, 1995) was an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and a full time Scholar in Residence for the Southern California Center for Christian Studies. He is also considered a contributor to the field of Christian apologetics.
He was the first born of two sons of Robert and Virginia Bahnsen in Auburn, Washington, and grew up in Pico Rivera, California. In youth he was beset by a number of medical difficulties, the most serious of which was a lifelong blood platelet problem that made it difficult for him to stanch bleeding. He also had heart trouble—a fact that came to light only during his first college admissions medical exam.
Raised in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, he actively participated in religious activities, never deviating from the faith. He first began reading the apologetics of Cornelius Van Til when in high school, and his absorption of these works influenced his later career. While attending Westmont College he began writing for the Chalcedon Foundation of Rousas J. Rushdoony and soon came to admire the latter's strong Calvinistic convictions.
In 1969 Bahnsen married Cathie Wade. The two went on to have three sons of their own—Jonathan, David, and Michael—as well as an adopted Vietnamese daughter, but she later deserted him and the marriage ended in divorce in 1990.
In 1970 Bahnsen graduated magna cum laude from Westmont College, receiving his B.A. in philosophy as well as the John Bunyan Smith Award for his overall grade point average. From there he went on to Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he studied under Van Til and the two became close friends. When he graduated in May 1973, he simultaneously received two degrees, Master of Divinity and Master of Theology, as well as the William Benton Greene Prize in apologetics and a Richard Weaver Fellowship from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. His next academic stop was the University of Southern California (USC), where he studied philosophy, specializing in the theory of knowledge. In 1975, after receiving ordination in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, he became an associate professor of Apologetics and Ethics at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. While there, he completed his studies at USC, receiving his Ph.D. in 1978.
One of the original pillars of Christian Reconstruction, Bahnsen was a proponent of theonomy, postmillennialism, and presuppositional apologetics. He lectured to a broad range of evangelical Christian groups at many colleges and conferences, not only throughout the United States but in the British Isles and Russia. He published numerous articles and has over 1700 audio tapes, videos, articles, and books to his name.
Due to his lifelong medical problems, Bahnsen had to undergo a third aortic valve implant surgery on December 5, 1995. After the completion of the operation, serious complications developed within twenty-four hours. He then became comatose for several days and died on December 11, 1995 at the age of forty-seven.
Note: Some of the information from this bio was derived from a Covenant Media Foundation "featured speakers" page.
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