Archives For Apologetics

The young John Frame teaching at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia

Dr. John M. Frame has distinguished himself as a prolific author and one of America’s foremost theologians and philosophers—significantly shaping the thought of Evangelicalism today. Many of today’s most influential Christian leaders and authors, like Tim Keller and John Piper, readily acknowledge the significant impact John Frame has had on them.

“I should like to think that tomorrow’s Reformed leaders will add John Frame’s name to that list; I believe they should.” – J. I. Packer

Commenting on the continuation of protestant reformation theology since the time of Martin Luther and John Calvin, J. I. Packer writes in his foreword to Frame’s Systematic Theology:

“Three parts of the world have since made major contributions to the Reformed heritage, each engendering its own conflicts and loyalties:

  • England saw the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Puritan development, from William Perkins to John Owen, exploring life in Christ in and through the Holy Spirit;
  • nineteenth-century Holland produced the Kuyperian theology of human and Christian culture within a Reformed frame; 
  • and the twentieth-century witnessed, within the conservative Presbyterian world, the ongoing quest for Reformed methodological authenticity, in which B. B, Warfield, Geerhardus Vos, J. Gresham Machen, and Cornelius Van Til are, by common consent, the leading names.

I should like to think that tomorrow’s Reformed leaders will add John Frame’s name to that list; I believe they should.”

After 49 years of distinguished service as a seminary professor at three seminaries, Dr. John Frame retired in 2017. But his influential writing ministry continues today. Although widely known and deeply respected in church leadership and academic circles for decades, his works are now, finally, becoming well known to the general public.

Framing John Frame: 4 Parts

With the goal of helping introduce Frame and his writings more widely to the general public, Childers wrote this four-part series below called “Framing John Frame,” that was later published as the foreword for the book, John Frame’s Selected Shorter Writings, Volume 1, by P&R Publishing. The goal of this series is to help more people begin mining the rich theological, philosophical, and practical gems that have for too long been mostly in the hands of academics and church leaders.


The Applied Theology Project

Since 2016, John Frame and Steve Childers have been collaboration on the Applied Theology Project. The mission of the Applied Theology Project is to provide accessible, affordable, seminary-level courses to underserved church leaders in their language and adapted to their culture wherever they live and serve.

The vision for the Applied Theology Project is to use the latest advances in educational technology to help bring all the loci of Systematic Theology to the millions of church leaders, especially in the developing world, who have no access or cannot afford high quality traditional seminary education. – John Frame

Childers and Frame have published their first two online courses with parallel ebooks, called Foundations of Theology and Essentials in Theology – on the Pathway Learning online library of courses. And they’ve completed writing the manuscripts for the next 3 courses and books – including “Perspectives in Theology” now in production.


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develop churches that transform lives and communities.






The evening immediately after RC Sproul died, John Frame writes about his earliest memories of RC, starting back when they were young men from Pittsburgh. Frame expresses his great admiration for RC and his ministry, and grieves over the “wretched boundaries” that kept them apart, as he prays for RC’s family and loved ones.

Both of us were profoundly influenced by John Gerstner. RC went to Pittsburgh Seminary to study with Gerstner; I went to Westminster to study with Gerstner’s teachers. But I visited Pittsburgh Seminary a few times. Once in Gerstner’s class, there was a young fellow who dominated the class discussion. A friend later introduced the student to me as “Bob” Sproul. Later that year I visited the Wheaton Philosophy Conference, and again there was Bob, going at it with the other conferees.

Those meetings were sufficient to pick up my ears when I heard Bob’s name. I remember hearing of him working with Jerry Kirk in Cincinnati, teaching at Gordon-Conwell Seminary, and other ministries. Then came the Ligonier Valley Study Center. I spoke at one of the early conferences— on inerrancy— and for the first time I was able to say I knew RC— formerly Bob.

We could have been good friends, I think. We were the same age, Pittsburghers, Calvinists, and most of all disciples of Jesus Christ. But alas, we belonged to different clubs. I followed Van Til, Gerstner’s teacher, but Gerstner did not follow Van Til, and RC followed Gerstner. I always felt his heart and mine were in the same place.

We could have been good friends, I think. We were the same age, Pittsburghers, Calvinists, and most of all disciples of Jesus Christ. But alas, we belonged to different clubs.

From time to time I saw, or thought I saw, hints of Van Tillian presuppositionalism in RC’s writings. I think of his exegesis of Rom. 1, which was very much the same as Van Til’s. And he once, at Westminster, described himself as a “proto-suppositionalist.” I took that to mean that whatever you think about apologetic method Scripture must always have the final say. I too am a protosuppositionalist. And in the final analysis that’s all there really is to presuppositionalism.

But RC was nevertheless in one club, and I was in a different one. So we never actually had a good talk, even about old times in Pittsburgh. But I greatly admired dear RC, and I ranked him as the best communicator of Reformed truth in my time.

So now I lean over the wretched boundaries between our respective clubs, and I pray God’s comfort in Jesus to his family, his church, and his great movement.

So now I lean over the wretched boundaries between our respective clubs, and I pray God’s comfort in Jesus to his family, his church, and his great movement. And I pray God’s prosperity on all of these wonderful brothers and sisters. For our love far transcends the boundaries of our clubs.






John Frame & Steve Childers record “3-D Discussions” for Applied Theology series books and courses.

The Applied Theology Series: A Systematic Theologian and a Practical Theologian Apply Theology to Life

John Frame and Steve Childers draw from their more than 70 combined years as seminary professors to help you learn how to apply God’s Word to all areas of life. The excerpt below is from Pathway Learning’s upcoming books and courses. Sign up below to receive the latest updates.

 

How do I apply God’s Word to my life?

 

One of professor John Frame’s most famous quotes is, “Theology is application.” The big idea is that if you don’t know how to apply a passage of God’s word to your life, you don’t really know what that passage means. The practical question then becomes, “How do I apply God’s Word to my life?”

Dr. Frame’s answer to that question today is the same it was decades ago. He likes to respond to that question with, what he calls, his “old, reliable triangle,” by encouraging you always to ask and answer three questions when you’re studying a passage from God’s word.

1. What does this passage require of me? How does it want me to change my beliefs and behaviors? (Normative Perspective)

2. What does this passage tell me about myself and my environment? What does it teach me about God’s grace for me in Jesus Christ? (Situational Perspective)

3. How do I feel, and how should I feel, about this passage? Does it comfort, challenge, convict, or encourage me? (Existential Perspective)

Theology is not merely the accumulation and memorization of doctrinal ideas. It’s also the practical application of those ideas to our hearts and lives. In spite of what many think, Jesus doesn’t command us in the Great Commission to teach people all that he commanded us. Instead, he commands us to teach people to obey all that he commanded us (Matt 28:20). And there’s a big difference!

In spite of what many think, Jesus doesn’t command us in the Great Commission to teach people all that he commanded us. Instead, he commands us to teach people to obey all that he commanded us (Matt 28:20). And there’s a big difference! –Steve Childers, Applied Theology I

With this difference in mind, the Applied Theology Series presents you with an approach to understanding and teaching the bible that has the goal of not merely the transmission of truth from the teacher’s mind to the student’s mind, but also the application of that truth to the student’s heart motivation and real-life situation. These accessible, affordable, seminary-level courses are designed to help underserved church leaders develop churches that transform lives and communities–wherever they live.

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