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The Doctrine of the Christian Life (A Theology of Lordship) Hardcover – June 6, 2008

4.9 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"This book is a landmark in its field because of its soundness and thoroughness. It is noteworthy for its careful attention to the biblical basis for ethical instruction, its use of the Bible in its details, its attention to non-Christian ethical systems, its discussion of a wide range of issues, and its sensitivity to the multidimensional demands of the Christian life." --Vern S. Poythress

"Frame sets forth God's commandments as broad and deep, as sweetly adaptable to the varieties of human experience. He shows how the person, promises, and actions of our redeemer God are always intrinsic to our wisdom, faith, and love. He sets forth a vision for the Christian life that, in fact, glorifies the God of glory." --David Powlison

"'Classic Frame' at his best: profound in analysis and clear in articulation, rigorously biblical while engaging issues in the contemporary church and culture, irenic and occasionally controversial, philosophical and pastoral, deeply grounded in Reformation and post-Reformation Calvinism. . . . a rich resource for pastors, elders, counselors, and others who offer guidance in ethical decision making." --Dennis E. Johnson

About the Author

John M. Frame (A.B., Princeton University; B.D., Westminster Theological Seminary; M.A. and M.Phil., Yale University; D.D., Belhaven College) is the J. D. Trimble Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando and the author of many books, including the four-volume Theology of Lordship series.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1104 pages
  • Publisher: P & R Publishing; First edition (June 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875527965
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875527963
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 2.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bill Muehlenberg VINE VOICE on October 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I am very impressed with this book. It really does an outstanding job of providing a very comprehensive and detailed examination of biblical ethics. It is a massive undertaking (well over 1000 pages) and really does cover all the bases.

Frame is a very competent theologian within the Reformed tradition. He is professor of systematic theology and philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando. His has written on both theological subjects as well as ethical issues. His many years of lecturing are reflected in this important volume. He has thought through things very carefully, read widely, and integrates ethical theory and practice with a thorough grounding in Scripture.

This is the third volume in a projected four-volume series, A Theology of Lordship. The first volume, The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God (1987), is over 400 pages in length, while the second volume, The Doctrine of God (2002), is nearly 900 pages long. When the fourth and final volume - The Doctrine of the Word of God - eventually appears, this will be a solid, scholarly yet accessible systematic theology which should meet the needs of both pastors and students.

This volume looks carefully at ethical theory and philosophy, but as it does so, it deals with virtually every important particular ethical issue going, be it war and peace, bioethics, sexual morality, wealth and poverty, population and the environment, marriage and family, slavery, capital punishment, nuclear ethics, and so on.

The first 400 pages discuss in some depth various ethical options, theories and approaches. Plenty of practical ethical issues are discussed along the way. The next major section, of over 450 pages, is an extensive and detailed look at the Ten Commandments.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is for those who are serious and who are facing the question of whether or not there IS such a thing as a distinctive Christian life. The term for such a comprehensive exploration is "Ethic" but Frame properly recognizing that modern terminology tends to understand "ethic" more narrowly, chooses "Christian Life" instead. His book addresses the idea of a Christian ethos, a comprehensive world view that encompasses the whole of life and subordinates it to the demands of God.

I believe that a distinctive Christian ethic is a corollary and product of saving faith; that a person who truly believes will be lead through scripture toward the "path" which becomes a "life" which evidences a true and lively faith. Frame does useful work in laying out in some detail the components of such a life. I thoroughly appreciate the structure of the book. He distinguishes a Christian ethic from others by drawing attention to the presuppositions which under gird them. He amplifies the distinctives of a Christian life by using the major headings of the ten commandments. Though I have some quibbles with him in some of his conclusions, this is a useful book and should be on the shelves of every Christian who desires to explore the call of Christ on his or her life.

But the question remains - how serious are you about the Christian life. The book is 1000 pages long and is not something you take to the beach for a little recreational reading. It is a serious work for serious readers. Non-Christians can benefit from it by learning just how radical a Christian world view is from their own presuppositions. Christians will find a resource that may be perused or read straight through as questions arise. This may be Frame's best work.
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I did not read the entirety of this thick tome, but I read significant chunks of it that were of interest to me as I listened to Frame's ethics course from Reformed Seminary, which is available free at iTunes U and which covers the same material in necessarily less detail. The book will be a first point of entry -- and in many cases, all that is needed -- for researching most ethical topics from a thoroughly Christian perspective.

Overall, Frame's book is quite good, even though I differ with him on a few lesser points and wish he had expanded on other points more (two volumes?). He approaches his subject with characteristic humility and wisdom. The sheer number of topics that he covers from meta-ethics down to practical applications of principles is astounding, and he writes clearly and for the layman, not the professional philosopher (though a mild background in philosophy and theology is expected, of course). He applies his "multiple perspectives" approach here (developed with respect to epistemology in his Doctrine of the Knowledge of God), and it is useful and informative. I appreciated his not skirting the tough topics and his teasing out gray areas, particularly sticky problems that have arisen since the Bible was written.

The book is not a list of "do"s and "don't"s, but rather it teaches the reader how to think about ethical problems biblically. That is, Frame seeks to impart a wisdom to our decision making through his exploration of ethical problems and related biblical material. Since new ethical problems are constantly arising, this seems like the right approach.
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