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Salvation Belongs to the Lord: An Introduction to Systematic Theology Paperback – June 19, 2006
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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.
About the Author
- ASIN : 1596380187
- Publisher : P & R Publishing (June 19, 2006)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 382 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781596380189
- ISBN-13 : 978-1596380189
- Grade level : 10 - 12
- Item Weight : 1.18 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.02 x 0.84 x 8.98 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #345,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A hallmark of Frame's writing and teaching is an emphasis on the Lordship of God, by which Frame means God's personal ruling power and influence over his creation. Frame's work is conservative, Reformed and evangelical, yet balanced enough to attempt to understand other points of view, and what they can add to the understanding of Christian theology.
With any study of Systematic Theology, even an introductory study such as this, the author will select points of emphasis more than others, or in this case of this book, how to order the teaching of systematics. The book is divided into two sections: an objective and non repeatable study of the points of theology and a subjective and repeatable study. The first section of the book deals with a lot of who's and what's: who God is, what the nature of the Trinity and his Lordship is, who is Jesus and the Holy Spirit, what is the nature of man, etc. The second section concerns how theology influences more subjective things. The nature of the church, last things, the order of salvation, faith and repentance, even ethics.
Frame, a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, originally developed this book out of a series of academic lectures, so it has a bit of conversational tone. He uses a teaching device, that he has developed more fully his multi volume work on Lordship Theology, what he calls trispectivalism, or really a way at looking at life and Biblical thought from three different perspectives: the normative, situational and existential. His teaching device mostly fits all the traditional sections of theology, and it can help the reader to apply and come to a better understanding of the subject.
What is genuinely refreshing about this book is just how Frame combines sound teaching of the theology of the Bible with a heart for individuals and a humble attitude towards his subject. I think this is largely because he is so driven by a theology that focuses on God as Lord, it makes it much easier for him to say that the Bible is not clear on a subject, or that he can give a best guess on something, but be willing that some others may see things a different way. This work interacts with, and is influenced by, such Reformed theologians as Grudem, Murray, Warfield, and Piper. So therfore this work comes out of some sound thinking and meditation on the Bible, but it achieves its goal of being accessible.
Many books of this sort are about unreadable as much other than a reference tool, but Frame writes well enough, that even beginning students of the complexity and richness of the Bible should find this useful. I can heartily recommend this work for individual or group study, as a great guide for teachers and pastors, and for anyone who wants to grasp, grapple with, and learn more of the great doctrines of the Bible.
Salvation Belongs to the Lord began as a series of introductory lectures Frame recorded for the Institute of Theological Studies. Much briefer (and broader) than Frame's multi-volume Lordship series, this book is meant as a short introduction to the major doctrines of the Christian faith. Frame has a sharp mind, is extremely succinct in his treatment of ideas, and roots everything in his understanding of Scripture.
Dr. Frame is unashamedly reformed in his understanding, but because all his arguments are rooted in Scriptural exegesis, the book is valuable even for those who don't share his reformed leanings. Frame is also extremely irenic, and clearly confesses which points of doctrine he sees as crucial, and others that he is not willing to fight about. His temperament and tone should give him an audience with those who disagree with him.
Those who know Frame's work will recognize his "tri-perspectival" categories working their way into every chapter. Frame looks at every topic or issue through three lenses: normative, situational, and existential. "When you ask directly what God's revelation says, you are using the normative perspective... When you ask about God's world, trying to understand situations we get into, I call that the situational perspective... Then when you ask about yourself, when you seek to know yourself, you are seeking to know from what I call the existential perspective." (77) This is a helpful pedagogical tool, especially as he invites us to think through the life and work of Jesus with the lens of prophet (normative), priest (existential) and king (situational).
Dr. Frame suggests this book is written for the layman but with enough academic rigor to be treated as a college or seminary text. It's a tough line to tread. For those who don't read a lot of theology, it may seem a little difficult at first, but still worth your time and reflection. For seminarians and others studying theology, it will be a nice refresher, and helpful in pushing you to boil concepts down in order to better explain them to others. A great application for this book would be for the training of elders and deacons in the local church.
I highly recommend it.
Not that he doesn't go deep, or cover controversial topics. He covers everything: God, the Bible, man, sin, covenants, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and then election, faith/repentance, justification, sanctification, perseverance, the church, the sacraments, heaven/hell, and eschatology. I love that he spells out some of the various views of some of these things, explains which he sees as most Biblical, and does so without having to ridicule opposing views. There is certainly a time and place for that, but his irenic tone in this book was a breath of fresh air.
The thread that holds it all together is the Lordship of God. He traces out most doctrines in terms of triads, 3 aspects of each doctrine that when viewed together, present a full and balanced view of the doctrine. I was surprised that the book had TWO main sections, instead of three :-)
I would definitely recommend this to anyone wanting to start studying systematic theology. It's very readable, very enjoyable, your mind will be stretched, and your heart will worship, as you grow in the knowledge of God.