New John Frame Book

I fully expect to be alternately enthralled and infuriated by this book. Certainly, one cannot remain neutral for very long about anything that Frame says. The book contains a rather full (470 pages!) exposition of the Ten Commandments. An important contribution to the field of ethics. The book as a whole is over 1100 pages.


  1. J.Kru said,

    May 26, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    I’ve read the whole thing, and then discussed it with Dr. Frame in his ethics class. I agreed with a lot, resisted a little and railed against a few small chunks. As usual, it’s well written and clear; I understand all the words he uses, but when he puts them in that particular order, look out . . .

  2. David said,

    May 27, 2008 at 2:30 am


    I have only read a little bit of Frame in the past, but was wondering why you say this? What about Frame’s writings led you to write “enthralled and infuriated”. Is there anything particular to Frame that elicits fury?

  3. travis said,

    May 27, 2008 at 9:19 am

    @David My guess is that it will be his views of the sabbath and images of Christ. I am sure there is more, however.

  4. David said,

    May 27, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Thanks Travis, I notice that I shouldn’t have posted when I did, while I meant it purely inquisitively, it seems to come across inquisitorially.

  5. David Gadbois said,

    May 27, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Frame has become persona non grata over the years in confessional circles because of his views on worship (while still remaining both popular and influential at WTS/P and RTS/O).

    While that is a fair criticism, it would be a shame for his work in the Lordship series to be passed over on that account. His Doctrine of the Knowledge of God was a blockbuster for me, extremely helpful in shaping my own thinking. And Doctrine of God remains an excellent reference. This contains one of the best critiques of libertarian free will I have read – maybe the best.

    Ditto for his book on VanTil, and Apologetics to the Glory of God. He is probably the most helpful writer from the pressup perspective of apologetics.

  6. travis said,

    May 27, 2008 at 11:52 am

    He does good work. Read him, enjoy the great knowledge that can be gleaned and disagree where you disagree. Refrain from throwing out the baby with the bathwater (not that you will).

  7. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    May 27, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Dear David Gadbois,

    All the works you mentioned by Frame are great ones, but not the one on Van Til. It was a decent review of Van Til, but many of his criticisms are questionable (see Bahnsen’s review of Frame’s book, and Muether’s book have a few reservations on Frame’s Van Til book as well.)

    Just another perspective (pun intended.)


  8. E.C. Hock said,

    May 27, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Whatever the disagreements may be with certain aspects of Frame’s book on Christian ethics, the lion’s share of it has long been in syllabus form in the classroom. it was outlined earlier in his snaller book on medical ethics. In Reformed circles especially, such a work will be a major contribution to how we may think about ethics beyond just statements about right and wrong conduct. Up to now, John Murray’s, Principles of Conduct (and Carl F.H. Henry’s, Christian Personal Ethics), has been the text used often to articulate some kind of Reformed ethic. Other like John J. Davis, David Jones and N. Geisler, have added their dimension to biblical-evangelical ethics, but in limited ways, theologically, socially and practically.

    G. Bahnsen, who some see as fulfilling the call for a Reformed ethic, gives a more substantive approach. But his presentation is basically a re-working of Frame’s syllabus notes, with obvious deviations and applications in keeping with Theonomy (listen to his tape series). To what degree Frame and Bahnsen mirror each other is, in itself, worth an investigation and discussion.

    Frame’s “The Christian Life”, however, will be an important source today for navigating and entering the contemporary debates surrounding OT law, New Testament applications of Gospel and moral standard in Christ, as well as broader points for mission. His work will aid Reformed ethicists, as well as, engage us more easily in current controversies, especially on-going (and ever frightening) medical debates, without feeling we must depart from Scripture to do so. Vital moral and social issues, in and outside the church, that have not been looked at carefully enough, like the role of situations in ethical understanding through the community of faith and means-to-ends relationships.

    Has Refornmed ethics been too “principle-oriented” at the expense of honesty over the impact of other factors in how do the right thing? Do we discern well enough what’s going on with people when observing an ethical concern? Do we move too quickly to preach an authoritative pronouncement before a proper analysis to clarify and identitfy an ethical problem? Frame helps us here to begin and appreciate these steps (as do others).

    Frame also is right to re-state the whole study of “ethics”, taken as a discipline of philosophy, and define it within the context of revelation under the rubric of “Christian life.” He does this without isolating us from non-Christian uses of language for ethics. Now “ethics” becomes eadily connected to biblical language and history, theological categories, standards, purposes, goals and actions of discipleship, or the response of norm, motive and situation for the Christian person and church and wider constituency in (new) covenantal obedience to God.

  9. Bob Suden said,

    June 3, 2008 at 12:24 am

    (Posted May 31, 2008 at 12:52 am under wrong email)

    Since the accolades have had time to cool off a bit, perhaps a dissent will be allowed.

    This is a book which affirms the sufficiency of Scripture (WCF 1:6) in Chapt. 11, but when it comes to pedagogical pictures of Christ in Chapt. 26 – after the all too familiar and usual interlude of equivocations, non sequiturs and question begging – he concludes that he knows of ‘no reason not to use them’.

    Now if JF had the strength of his presuppositions and had sent us a coloring book with 50 pages, nobody would or could complain. Instead we got this tome with 50 chapters and 1100 pages of print. And true to form, I don’t think that the next time the brother preaches, instead of a microphone and a pulpit bible, he will be asking for a muzzle/gag and a flannel board.

    Rather the real question is just how long will we have to wait before John starts framing arguments for screening Mel Gibson’s Passion of Christ at the afternoon matinee worship services in Lent? After all, it stands to his abuse of reason.

    In short, Mr. Frame’s comments essentially are an attack on the Protestant doctrine of Scripture which includes sufficiency as well as infallibility and clarity and a mealy mouthed attempt in our day and generation to cut the nerve of the lively preaching of God’s Word (LC 155 & SC 89). That is no small and inconsequential thing.

    Further any church that lets this kind of teaching and the teachers of it go without admonishment, rebuke and a pink slip is going to suffer the consequences of violating the Second commandment with a famine of preaching and preachers.

    No thanks, we have enough of it already.

    In other words, forget about the baby/bathwater analogy.
    Any desire I have to wade through any more namby pamby sewage like this in search of great insights was smothered at birth, if not stillborn.

    What JF gives with one hand, he stabs in the back with another, if not betrays with a kiss.

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