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Archive for the ‘John Frame’ Category

Theology at the Movies John Frame

Christian apologist and theologian John Frame has a e-Book in Html format titled “Theology at the Movies.”

Here are the Table of Contents:

  • Reviews

 

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john frame

How should we understand the concept of God’s presence? Isn’t there a dilemma of God bring non-physical and yet is described as all present?
John Frame has a good paragraph:

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The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God John Frame cover

John Frame. The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1987. 402 pp.

According to the author this book was completed in December 1984 (382).  I finished this book thirty years after it was written on December 2014 and I would say that it is a work that is more relevant than ever.  This book is an exploration of a Biblical view of knowledge and specifically the pursuit of the knowledge of God.  John Frame does a masterful job showing us how Scripture’s teachings have bearing towards a Christian theory of knowledge.  Frame does caution early in the book that this work is more theological rather than philosophical but I think this is the book’s strength in that Frame is driven by a high view of God’s Word in his construction of a distinctively Christian view of knowledge.

This is the first volume in Frame’s four book “Theology of Lordship” series.  It so happened that I completed John Frame’s Doctrine of the Christian Life first, which is actually Frame’s third volume and I found that some of the materials on perspectivalism wasn’t necessarily new when I read this present volume.  Of course, the Doctrine of the Knowledge of God lays the foundation for the other volume in this series in that it articulate, explain and defend the concept that knowledge is perspectival; that is, there are aspects to knowledge that are inter-dependent though distinctions could be made.  Specifically, Frame sees a triade that there is a normative, situational and existential side of knowledge.  Throughout the book this triade is mentioned again and again and Frame shows its usefulness in theology, apologetics and philosophy.  I found it useful as a template in identifying people’s reductionistic fallacy when they assume only one perspective is right over and against the other.  Frame’s perspectivalism is also useful as a tool to make one conscious of being balanced and well rounded when one approach theology and philosophy.

The book is divided into three parts with part one focusing on the objects of knowledge, the second part on the justification of knowledge and the third on the method of knowledge.  I enjoyed part two’s discussion of various traditional epistemology followed by Frame’s identification of their problem.  This is helpful in equipping a Christian apologist to know how to refute bad epistemologies.  But I also appreciate John Frame’s direction in the second chapter of part two of the book in constructing a positive justification of knowledge.

Other parts of the book that I really enjoyed include Frame’s discussion about anti-abstractionism in which he defends the notion that abstraction is not necessarily a bad thing in of itself and that we can’t help but to think abstractly in various degrees whenever we think or communicate.  I also appreciate John Frame sharing his perspective on Reformed Epistemology which Frame devote an appendix of good length to the issue by means of a book review.  I also enjoyed the book’s discussion of the laws of logic and how the laws of logic ought to be thought of as a subset of ethics.  Frame’s discussion about the human faculty involved in the process of knowing must not be missed.  I was pleasantly surprised to find how holistic John Frame was in that he even discussed the qualification of a theologian!  Sanctification is important in the knowledge of God and vice versa!

As it is typical of John Frame’s work, I found the book to be extremely helpful and every page to be stimulating and thought provoking.  Frame’s work often make me think of theological methods and makes me more aware of my own method and the method of others in arriving at a theological position.  Typical of other work by Frame is that I enjoyed reading this book and enjoyed God in the process—his work often leads me to worship God!  It is not a dry systematic theology book, as I found the book to be quite a good devotional as well.  This book is also good for those who have read a lot of introductory materials on Presuppositional apologetics and would like to expand more indepth Christian epistemology from a Van Tillian perspective.  I highly recommend this work.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

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love-4

Yesterday I posted a critical look at two Fuller Seminary’s professors’ argument that Jesus was not for carefully reasoned arguments.  I want to balance that by saying that just because I argue that reasoning is important that does not mean it is okay to be rigorous with our reasoning and not have love.  Both logic and love are compatible.  In fact if we love others it require us to adhere to and use the laws of logic appropriately!  And when we use the laws of logic, as Christians we ought to use it lovingly for the other person.

Here’s John Frame’s quote from the Doctrine of the Knowledge of God that reflect one way there is an inter-relationship between love and the laws of logic:

Perhaps you are beginning to see what a practical science logic is or at least should be!  Love for our brethren requires careful thought.  Unfortunately, we often leap recklessly to conclusions precisely on these matters that are most important, matters that require the most careful analysis .  We jump to conclusions on those matters because we are passionate about them.  The passion may be appropriate, but it ought to be channeled in a healthier direction.  Our passion ought to give us a greater zeal for truth and for the means of attaining truth” (John Frame, Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, 293).

If we don’t want to miscommunicate and have problem in our relationship with others, it require us to be diligent in how we accurately understand what people are saying, and the right implication rather than the wrong ones of what their words mean.  We need to also make sure our words to others are coherent.

Loving thoughts need to logical thoughts, etc.

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John_Frame

Those of you who follow our facebook page and Twitter will know that we post John Frame quotes every morning Monday through Saturdays for your edification and Lord willing we plan to do this up until the end of 2015.

I thought today I post an extended quote that would be too long to post through Social Media.

One of the thing that I enjoy about reading John Frame is that it is not dry systematic theology but his exploration of the relationship of doctrines and the inter-connectivity of God’s truth makes me stand at awe of God when I see the coherence of Biblical truths.  I would say it portray the beauty of God!  It is not only wonderful as an apologetic (the coherence of the Christian worldview) but it moves me to worship God–we can call it “doxological apologetics” to borrow that phrase from another apologist!

Here John Frame makes the point with the example of the doctrine of God’s Sovereignty and human responsibility:

And so it often comes as an exciting discovery that doctrines that at first glance to be opposed are actually complementary, if not actually dependent one on another.  For Calvinists, for example, divine sovereignty and human freedom are examples of that sort of dependence and complementarity.  Although at first glance those doctrines appear to be opposed to one another, a closer look shows that without divine sovereignty there would be no meaning in human life and therefore no meaningful form of freedom.  And if our concern for freedom is essentially a concern to maintain human ethical responsibility, we should observe that divine sovereignty is the source of human responsibility.  Because the sovereign Lord is the cause of and authority over human responsibility we can say that God’s sovereignty–His absolute lordship–establishes human responsibility.  Thus Scripture often places the two doctrines side by side, with no embarassment or sense of impropriety whatsoever (cf. Acts 2:23; 4:27f; Phil. 2:12f.).  Human responsibility exists not ‘in spite of’ but ‘because of’ God’s sovereignty.  Not only are the two compatible; they require each other” (John Frame, Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, 268).

In the past I have written on our blog on the importance on how .  I’m grateful to see John Frame point out something similar with human freedom and human responsibility necessitate the Sovereignty of God.

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Christmas gift on defocused lights background

This is the fifth year on our blog in which we post our recommendations of books as Christmas gifts on the subject of Presuppositional apologetics and the Christian worldview.  When I first began this I didn’t think it would be that popular.

Here are the past years’ recommendation:

This year list’s of recommended books on Presuppositional apologetics is below.  Each category has one book with a brief description, a link to my review and links to purchase the book.

For Nonbelievers

What’s Your Worldview? by James N. Anderson

What's Your Worldview James Anderson

Description: Dr. Anderson has written a book with a “Choose Your Own adventure” format that is great for non-Christians!

My Review can be found by clicking HERE.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

 

For Discipleship

Christian Answers to Hard Questions (9 Booklet Set)

Christian Answers to Hard Questions

Description: Booklet series that is perfect for discipleship discussion!

Video interviews and links to my review of individual books can be found by clicking HERE.

Purchase: Westminster 

 

For Beginners

Always Ready: Directions For Defending The Faith by Greg L. Bahnsen

Bahnsen Always Ready

Description: Many think this is the best introduction to Presuppositional apologetics!

My Review can be found by clicking HERE.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

 

For Intermediate and Advance Students

The Doctrine of the Christian Life (A Theology of Lordship) by John Frame

Doctrine of Christian Life John Frame

Description: I feel many discussion in apologetics’ today touches on the area of ethics.  This book is more than helpful!

My Review can be found by clicking HERE.

 

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

 

For Those Who Probably Have Every Book on Presuppositional Apologetics

The Doctrine of the Christian Life (A Theology of Lordship) by John Frame

John Frame's Selected Shorter Writings Volume 1

Description: A more recent book that is probably not as well known at this time.  Good collection of essays from John Frame!

My Review can be found by clicking HERE.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

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One Christian apologist and theologian that I really got to read more this year has been John Frame.  His writing has been tremendously helpful and has the rare combination of being intellectually stimulating, biblically faithful and I would even say quite devotional.  Beyond the apologetics’ value of John Frame presenting a coherent Christian worldview in which he shows the inter-relationship and inter-dependence of Christian doctrines, I find that Frame’s writing engages my mind, will and emotions to love God and God’s truth more.

If you didn’t know already, every morning on Mondays through Saturdays we post quotes from John Frame on our Facebook page and our Twitter.  We plan to do this for the remainder of 2014 and going into 2015.

An example of Frame’s spirituality that seeps into his discussion about apologetics and theology is a passage in The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God that talks about doctrinal controversy and the relationship to spiritual immaturity in which he discusses the importance of Christians to grow in holiness and make progress in sanctification.  I appreciated that Frame did talk about this in the context of a book that talks about Christian theory of knowledge!  The Christian must not separate academic theological endeavors from one’s progress in being more like Christ!

Here is the quote:

Many doctrinal misunderstandings in the church are doubtless due to this spiritual-ethical immaturity.  We need to pay more attention to this fact when we get into theological disputes.  Sometimes, we through arguments back and forth, over and over again, desperately trying to convince one another.  But often there is in one of the disputers–or both!–the kind of spiritual immaturity that prevents clear perception.  We all know how it works in practice.  Lacking sufficient love for one another, we seek to interpret the other person’s views in the worst possible sense.  (we forget the tremendous importance of love–even as an epistemological concept; cf. 1 Cor. 8:1-3; 1 Tim. 1:5ff; 1 John 2:4f.; 3:18f.; 4:7ff.).  Lacking sufficient humility, too, we overestimate the extent of our own knowledge.  In such a csae, with one or more immature debaters, it may be best not to seek immediate agreement in our controversy”

(John Frame, The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, 155)

Of course this does not mean that all doctrinal debate is the result of all parties being theologically immature but if we really believe what the Bible says about our sinfulness, we ought to be ready to search our motives, and re-check if any of the above is true.

Knowing this truth has made me more slower in responding to online debate and also see the importance of not just only reading up on theological and apologetics’ controversy but also the importance of resources on sanctification and godliness.

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