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The Doctrine of God (A Theology of Lordship) Hardcover – May 1, 2002
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John M. Frame (BD, Westminster Theological Seminary; AM, MPhil, Yale University; DD, Belhaven College) is J. D. Trimble Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando. He is the author of many books, including the four-volume Theology of Lordship series, and previously taught theology and apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia) and at Westminster Seminary California.
A meticulusly biblical, remarkably cogent, and powerfully transforming presentation. -- Richard L. Pratt Jr., President, Third Millennium Ministries
A joy to read. It is an intellectual treat, rigorous in analysis, exhaustive in exposition, and cogent in argument. It has listened reverently to all the great voices of the past, yet chooses its own innovative framework, forms its own independent conclusions, and participates fully in all the major theological discourses of the present. Even when I disagreed (as I sometimes did), I was never offended: my position had been treated with respect. Preachers and academic theologians will soon count it an indispensable tool. -- Donald Macleod
Masterfully expounds and defends the biblical doctrine of God. Its adherence to a scriptural worldview gives it power, freshness, and creativity that provide deep roots for the future of systematic theology. -- Vern S. Poythress, Professor of New Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary; author, Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach
Biblical and pastoral, profound and clear. . . . seeks fresh ways to address ‘open theism,’ process theology, feminism, and other contemporary issues in light of the triune God. -- Dennis E. Johnson
From the Publisher
The Doctrine of God received the 2003 ECPA Gold Medallion Award in the Theology and Doctrine Category. Congratulations, Dr. Frame, for this award reflecting many years of study on the topic of God's attributes and character.
- Publisher : P&R Publishing; Assumed First edition (May 1, 2002)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 888 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0875522637
- ISBN-13 : 978-0875522630
- Item Weight : 2.9 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.09 x 2.05 x 9.55 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #206,615 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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If it isn’t obvious already: I enjoyed this book very much. I appreciated Frame’s desire to be biblical in his approach towards systematic theology and also his openness to admit areas he’s not as certain about or have concerns with. At the same time this book is robust in its presentation of what is clear from Scripture and this gives readers the confidence in the certainty of what God’s Word teaches concerning God’s attributes, actions and the Trinity. There was so many gold in the book. Here are a few:
• John Frame is right to note the Bible’s central theme of God’s covenant lordship. This observation concerning the Lordship of God is also the central theme of this work on the doctrine of God. Readers will be immensely edified with Frame’s discussion of the various aspects of God’s Lordship. A big part of Frame’s theology is his analysis of how these aspects which he call “perspectives” can be distinct from one another and yet are also interdependent.
• Often the perspectives Frame observes are triadic by nature. Many examples abound in the book and Frame even have the book’s first appendix be a list of these theological triads and other triads found in God’s creation. A big triad motif in the book is the paradigm that God’s Lordship is demonstrated in His control, authority and presence.
• Frame’s desire to be biblical enriches the contemporary discussion in theology of God’s imminence and transcendence. Frame critiques the unbiblical definitions and understanding of God’s imminence and transcendence. Often in unbiblical theology and philosophy God’s imminence and transcendence are pitted against one another however a biblical definition of each are actually logically consistent and without tension. Frame argues that biblical transcendence is really God’s control and authority as opposed to the unbiblical notion of transcendence that asserts God is unknowable. Likewise with a biblical view of God’s imminence Christians means God’s presence and the unbiblical notion that assert God is totally and fully knowable. One shouldn’t miss the diagram on page 113.
• There was six parts to the book and my favorite among them is part five that covers the biblical descriptions of God. It was an edifying read to go over God’s attributes. For instance I enjoyed the book’s discussion of the unchangibility of God on pages 566-572.
• While this work is theological and about theology proper I found that it was beautifully more than just another theology book. It is as if this work is also a work on apologetics, Christian philosophy and theological methods. Again this is the beauty of Frame’s Perspectivalism and also the beautiful exploration of how various doctrines and disciplines are inter-related so beautifully. It makes me worship God more profoundly reading this book!
I am familiar with Frame through RTS (some of his courses are still available thru itunes u), and some of his other writing. He has always struck me as a thoughtful, sincere and capable thinker - a rare individual who combines solid biblical exegesis with rigorous philosophical thought. DG is characteristic of his thorough work, and, while I agree with Frame on many points, he is most interesting in the areas where we disagree such as the Calvinist denial of human freedom.
A radical denial of human freedom underwrites much Calvinist theology such as, double predestination, wherein some, are predestined to eternal damnation independent of their actions, and, total depravity, where, post-fall humans are unable to perform any `good' acts of their own accord- not even acceptance of the call to faith. This view of free will appears in part to be motivated by an attempt to protect God's omniscience and sovereignty. This move, however, does not seem necessary. With regard to omniscience, Frame appears to conflate foreknowledge with a strong view of foreordination, that is, if God knows something it is because he has determined it to be so. This deterministic view seems avoidable regardless of God's relationship with time. If God is outside of time He would see all of time at once, and, be aware of the free actions taken by individuals without out having to foreordain them. While if God is in time, middle knowledge would allow Him to remain omniscient by his knowledge of all future counterfactuals (how individual would behave in all possible situations).
While with regard to God's sovereignty - it is not clear why libertarian freedom would compromise his power - if anything, it seems to make God and creation all that much more majestic. As Frame notes, the denial of free will is not popular amongst Christian philosophers - that is not surprising since it is difficult to understand how agents could be held responsible, and subject to punishment, by an all-good God for actions and beliefs that God predetermined? While an understanding of God's motives are beyond our knowledge, the Calvinist position seems to compromise the goodness of God. While, I agree with Frame that portions of the Bible can be read in a combatablist sense - a natural reading of the Bible as a whole, strongly implies some degree of human choice - the repeated call to repent and belief would seem empty without it. The mainstream Christian view (Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran and Arminian) that humans possess some degree of free will seems more logical and Biblical.
On a more mundane point, I agree with earlier reviewers that the multiple appendices were ill-fitted for this text and needlessly added to an already lengthy book. Overall, while solid, I was a bit disappointed (my expectations were extremely high; I had saved it for my annual fishing trip). Perhaps I was unduly swayed by my disagreements with Calvinism, or my modest fishing success - it is still worth a look for fans of Frame
Frame has a unique style among Reformed theologians. Having a preference for Berkhof and old Princeton guys (like Hodge, Murray, and Warfield), I did not immediately take to his style. I still do not have a strong taste for his trademark tri-perspectivalism. But I can say that his arguments are very persuasive. I am driven to doxology and devotion after reading Frame. His writing is clear, biblical, and robustly Reformed. With this book in particular, Dr. Frame demonstrates that he is to be counted among the great Evangelical theologians, like Packer and Berkhof. Wonderful book!