“A Critical Review of Frame’s Book: ‘Apologetics: A Justification of Christian Belief’”
CENTURION EDUCATION FOUNDATION
A Theological Article
Dr. Andrew T. Knight
How does Frame Describe Apologetics?
Andrew Thomas Knight
DMIN Luther Rice Seminary, 2014
MABA Clarks Summit, 2018
MRE West Coast Baptist College, 2010
MBS Emmanuel Baptist Theological Seminary, 2004
BB Pensacola Christian College, 1994
January 27, 2017
- THE ANALYSIS OF THE PURPOSE OF JOHN FRAME’S BOOK: APOLOGETICS
- THE ANALYSIS OF THE DISAGREEABLE ASPECTS OF FRAME’S BOOK
- THE ANALYSIS OF THE AGREED UPON ASPECTS OF FRAME’S BOOK
- INITIAL SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
The first part of this review will offer an analysis of the purpose of John Frame’s book, “Apologetics: A Justification of Christian Belief.” The second part of this review will focus attention on the less agreed upon aspects as this writer offers analysis of Frame’s volume. The third aspect of this paper will high light the favorable aspects of Frame’s volume as this writer offers his analysis. Finally the conclusion will summarize the analytical review for consideration.
THE ANALYSIS OF THE PURPOSES OF JOHN FRAME’S BOOK: APOLOGETICS
The first purpose which the author mentioned was the need for a biblical approach to Apologetics. John Frame’s first purposes were stated, “A biblical apologetic targets unbelief wherever it may be found, strengthening the faith of Christians and calling unbelievers to repentance and faith in Christ.” Frame began with a brief biblical definition and outline for Presuppositional Apologetics. First he referenced the biblical basis of Apologetics, I Peter 3:15-16, and then outlined, “1. Apologetics as proof:” Followed by “2. Apologetics as defense:” And then “3. Apologetics as offense:” Frame demonstrated a clear way of understanding as he outlined and in effect taught the basics of Presuppositional Apologetics.
Frame touches on both of his stated themes when he stated, “But Christianity is not just an alternative to the secular philosophies or a set of moral standards better than those of current society. It is gospel, good news.” Frame seems to have pointed out to the Christians’ Apologetics is a source of encouragement to ones’ faith, and to the unbeliever Apologetics is a source of reasons to except God’s gift of salvation.
Frame made an argument that both benefitted Christians and unbelievers alike when argued for the Transcendental Argument for God’s existence. Frame argued, “For God is the Creator of all, and therefore the source of all meaning, order, and intelligibility.” Weather the unbeliever knows it or not both the believer and the unbeliever benefits from the existence of God. The believer is encouraged by a reasonable argument for one’s faith in God, and the unbeliever as a reasonable argument to put one’s faith in Christ.
Frame goes on to make numerous other arguments that edified believers and made appeals to unbelievers, such as the Theistic Argument. The Apologetic defense which this writer believes most helps unbelievers and believer alike is one of the subjects Frame’s dealt with, The problem of evil. Frame explained, “In his view, all the wimpish theologians who have agonized over the problem down through the centuries (such as Augustine), who have mumbled ‘mystery’ and tiptoed around the issue, have simply failed to see the answer that has been right there in black and white in front of their noses! That answer is Romans 9:17” Here Frame does a service to the believer and unbeliever alike as he puts the believer as ease with the problem of evil and he gave the unbeliever a reason to discard this issue as a reason for unbelief.
THE ANALYSIS OF THE DISAGREEABLE ASPECTS OF FRAME’S BOOK
John Frame has done a great service to his students and readers relative to the body of study of Presuppositional Apologetics. In particular Frame has done a masterful job of laying out the framework (no pun intended) of the Apologetic apparatus, and explaining the many parts and pieces to this way of looking at Scripture and arguing for the faith. One aspect of this body of study seems to this writer to be unessential to Apologetics which Frame inserts into his explanation of Apologetics which is predestination.
Frame stated, “The doctrine that God foreordains and directs all events is generally regarded as Calvinistic, and I am not embarrassed to be called a Calvinist.” Frame goes on to discuss Arminianism. The question to ask is can the study of Apologetics stand on its own without inserting Calvinism into it? This writer believes so. Good men of course can disagree, and should be able to remain amicable with one another, especially in higher Christian education.
Furthermore, the whole problem with the argument for being foreordained in Ephesians 1:11 is that it misuses the antecedent of whom and when those were predestinated to eternal life. The context of who Paul was speaking to were the saved, baptized members of the church at Ephesus, thus these believers were indeed predestined from the point of their conversion. By far every other aspect of Frames’ work was excellent thought and content. Frame largely did a great job of explaining even the more technical aspects of Presuppositional Apologetics.
THE ANALYSIS OF THE AGREED UPON ASPECTS OF FRAME’S BOOK
A vast majority of this work that John Frame wrote was both informative, as it is a new body of study to this student, and was edifying to this writers spirit. As this writer read the wheels were turning on the many ways this Presuppositional Apologetics study can aid on soul winning outreach and through the pulpit ministry.
Frames’ explanation of the Transcendental Argument for God was the first of many new aspects of this body of study that was spiritually enriching. For example Frame offered numerous arguments such as, “My point here is not merely that if God doesn’t exist, for example, the law of non-contradiction will fail. Rather: it does not even make any sense to talk about a world in which God doesn’t exist. If God does not exist, we cannot argue either the presence or absence of logic in the world.” This kind of apologetic argumentation exemplified is helpful to put into practice apologetic conversations and apologetic preaching.
The two chapters on the problem of evil were a welcome sight to this writer as it appears that this topic is dealt with in numerous apologetic programs and in many apologetic seminars. Frame wrote about this topic in such a way as to convey the need of believers and unbelievers to find answers to this dilemma. Frame gave the best answer one could give when he explained, “In his view, all the wimpish theologians who have agonized over the problem down through the centuries (such as Augustine), who have mumbled ‘mystery’ and tiptoed around the issue, have simply failed to see the answer that has been right there in black and white in front of their noses! That answer is Romans 9:17, ‘For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.’’”
Frame made other significant arguments relative to the unbelievers’ straw man arguments. Frame argued, “Marxism claims scientific status, but preaches ethical relativism. If ethics are relative, why should we value science? Modern public schools claim religious neutrality. What this means in practice is that they are relativistic in their values, but dogmatic in excluding Christianity from all substantive discussions.” What Frame offered in this work was to lay out the foundational principles in this body of study. He outlined it in such a way that could be understood and processed. Frame also was practical in his presentation so that his readers can see how to put Presuppositional Apologetics into practice in real life ministry.
This critical book review of John M. Frame’s book, Apologetics: A Justification of Christian Belief is a brief analytical overview of the book. This writer first reviewed Frame’s stated purpose for his book. Frame was very accurate relative to addressing each of his stated purposes to be accomplished. This work that Frame wrote had very little for anyone to be critical of but one differing viewpoint was offered. Several passages of Frame’s book was sited with much favorable analysis which was offered. Frame’s book was seen overall as an excellent teaching and practical applications to Presuppositional Apologetics.
INITIAL SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
Frame, John M. Apologetics: A Justification of Christian Belief. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publications, 2015.