- John Frame
Infobox Calvinist Theologian
era = Contemporary
color = #B0C4DE
name = John M. Frame
birth = 1939
school_tradition = Calvinist, Van Tillian presuppositionalist
Epistemology, presuppositional apologetics, ethics, systematic theology, christian worship
Cornelius Van Til, John Calvin, Herman Dooyeweerd
Vern Poythress, Richard L. Pratt, Jr., Douglas Wilson, Wayne Grudem
John M. Frame (born 1939,
Pittsburgh, PA) is an American philosopherand Calvinisttheologian especially noted for his work in epistemologyand presuppositional apologetics, systematic theology, and ethics. He is one of the foremost interpreters and critics of the thought of Cornelius Van Til.
Frame received degrees from
Princeton University( A.B.), Westminster Theological Seminary(B.D.), Yale University(A.M. and M.Phil., though he was working on a doctorateand admits his own failure to complete his dissertation), [http://thirdmill.org/answers/answer.asp/file/99718.qna/category/th/page/questions/site/iiim] and Belhaven College(honorary D.D.) [http://www.belhaven.edu/news/200304/FrameDoctorate.pdf] . He has served on the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary and was a founding faculty member of their Californiacampus, and as of 2007he holds the J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminaryin Orlando, Florida. [http://www.rts.edu/faculty/StaffDetails.aspx?id=19]
Frame is well known in
Reformedcircles for his many books, chapters, and articles. He is also a classically trained musician and a critic of film, music, and other media.
Frame has elaborated a Christian
epistemologyin his 1987 work "The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God". In this work, he develops what he calls "triperspectivalism" or " multiperspectivalism" which says that in every act of knowing, the knower is in constant contact with three things (or "perspectives") – the knowing subject himself, the object of knowledge, and the standard or criteria by which knowledge is attained. He argues that each perspective is interrelated to the others in such a fashion that, in knowing one of these, one actually knows the other two, also. His student and collaborator Vern Poythresshas further developed this idea with respect to scienceand theology.
As a former student of Van Til, Frame is supporter of the presuppositionalist school of Christian
apologetics. He defines a presupposition as follows:
:A presupposition is a belief that takes precedence over another and therefore serves as a criterion for another. An ultimate presupposition is a belief over which no other takes precedence. For a Christian, the content of Scripture must serve as his ultimate presupposition.... This doctrine is merely the outworking of the lordship of God in the area of human thought. It merely applies the doctrine of scriptural infallibility to the realm of knowing. ("Doctrine of Knowledge of God", 45)
Rationalism and irrationalism in non-Christian thought
Frame, developing the thought of his mentor Cornelius Van Til, has asserted in both his "Apologetics to the Glory of God" and his "Cornelius Van Til: An Analysis of His Thought" that all non-Christian thought can be categorized as the ebb and flow of
In this context Frame defines rationalism as any attempt to establish the finite human mind as the ultimate standard of truth and falsity. This establishing of the autonomous intellect occurs within the context of rejecting God’s
revelationof himself in both natureand the Bible. A rationalist, in this sense, states that the human mind is able to fully and exhaustively explain reality.
Yet, when Frame speaks of "exhaustive explanations" he does not mean these systems seek omniscience. Rather, He means that the history of non-Christian thought (though, admittedly, his focus is
Western philosophy) is the history of various attempts to construct systems that account for everything (a distinctive metaphysic, epistemology and value theory).
According to Frame, examples of attempts to explain reality are found in
Platoand Aristotle's Form/Matter dualism; the debate between the nominalists and the realists over the status of universals and particulars, and the "all is... [fire, water, atoms,etc] " of the pre-Socratics. More examples would include Descartes' Mind/Body dualism, Spinoza's God or nature, and Leibniz's monadology, Plotinus' "The One" and his teaching on emanation, the British empiricists' attempts to limit knowledge and possibility to that which can be empirically verified, Kant's worlds of the noumena and the phenomena, and Hegel's dialectic.
Non-Christian thought, in Frame's view, also is characterized by irrationalism because inevitably the finite and fallen human mind cannot fully capture all of reality into a man-made system. On this position, at the point in which the non-Christian rationalist realizes that they cannot account for everything, they engage in what
Francis Schaeffercalled an "upper story leap."
As a brief example, Frame uses the epistemology of Kant, who taught that the categories of thought that are necessary for our understanding the world around us, such as
causality, laws of logic, time, space, and order, are structured by our minds and imposed upon the things we experience. In order to be rational and make sense out of life we must assume, or presuppose, these notions. Because we cannot empirically verify these categories by touch, smell, sight, etc. they must be thought of as created by and arising from our minds, thus ordering and providing the criterion for those things that we can empirically verify. This led Kant to conclude that if we are to think of anything at all we must think in terms of everything being caused by something logically and temporally prior to it. This led to a fairly deterministic view of mankind.
Frame asks where we can find moral responsibility and freedom in Kant's scheme. He argues that Kant believed that while we couldn't prove that man was a responsible moral agent we must nevertheless act as though this were the case.
Philosophershave described these as Kant’s "two worlds" – the world of nature (which leads to determinism), and the world of freedom (where responsibility is found). Kant himself spoke of the "starry skies above" and the "moral law within", and although Kant did not deny the regularity of the natural world and the reality of humanity’s "moral motions," his philosophy could not bring these two worlds together. Frame concludes that Kant made the "upper story leap" to irrationalism by asserting the truth of something with no rational justification. Thus, in Immanuel Kant, Frame finds both rationalism and irrationalism.
Likewise, according to both Frame and Van Til, every non-Christian system contains what
Jacques Derridacalls " alterity", that is each system contains the very principles for its downfall. They all "auto-deconstruct."
Worship and music
Frame has written two books on worship and music. These have provoked controversy as Frame interprets the
regulative principle of worship(which he subscribes to) in a non-conventional manner. Frame regards contemporary worship music, musical instrumentsand liturgical danceas permissible, which has brought him into conflict with other reformedtheologians who regard them as forbidden.
* "Van Til: The Theologian", 1976 (available [http://www.reformed.org/apologetics/frame_vtt.html online] ) ISBN 0-916034-02-X
* "Medical Ethics", 1988 ISBN 0-87552-261-0
* "Perspectives on the Word of God: An Introduction to Christian Ethics", 1990 ISBN 0-8010-3557-0
* "Evangelical Reunion", 1991 (available [http://www.frame-poythress.org/frame_books.htm#evangelicalreunion online] ) ISBN 0-8010-3560-0
* "Apologetics to the Glory of God", 1994 ISBN 0-87552-243-2
* "Cornelius Van Til: An Analysis of his Thought", 1995 ISBN 0-87552-245-9
* "Worship in Spirit and Truth", 1996 ISBN 0-87552-242-4
* "Contemporary Worship Music: A Biblical Defense", 1997 ISBN 0-87552-212-2
* "No Other God: A Response to Open Theism", 2001 ISBN 0-87552-185-1
* "Salvation Belongs To The Lord: An Introduction To Systematic Theology", 2006 ISBN 1-59638-018-7
Theology of Lordship series
* "The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God", 1987 ISBN 0-87552-262-9
* "The Doctrine of God", 2002 ISBN 0-87552-263-7
* "The Doctrine of the Christian Life", 2008 ISBN-13: 9780875527963; portions available [http://reformedperspectives.org/search.asp/keyword/PTethics/category/pt#joh_frame online]
* "The Doctrine of the Word of God", forthcoming, online [http://www.thirdmill.org/files/english/theology/85458~5_8_01_3-01-53_PM~Frame.Doctrine.Word.pdf Outline]
* [http://www.frame-poythress.org Frame-Poythress.org] - the writings of Frame and
* [http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/bio/johnframe.html Biography at Monergism.com]
* [http://www.thirdmill.org Third Millennium Ministries] offers audio, books, articles, essays, and lecture outlines by Frame, his like-minded colleagues, and his students.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
John Frame (cricketer) — John Frame (born 1733 at Warlingham, Surrey; died 11 October 1796, probably at Dartford, Kent) was an English cricketer and arguably the first great fast bowler in the game s history. His first class career spanned the 1749 to 1774 English… … Wikipedia
Frame — A frame is a structural system that supports other components of a physical construction. Frame may also refer to:Engineering construction* Framing (construction), a building term known as light frame construction * Frame (vehicle), to which… … Wikipedia
John Creasey — (* 17. September 1908 in Southfields (Grafschaft Surrey); † 9. Juni 1973 in New Hall, Bodenham (Salisbury, Grafschaft Wiltshire)) war ein englischer Schriftsteller. Er galt als extrem produktiv und schrieb unter vielen verschiedenen Pseudonymen… … Deutsch Wikipedia
John Higgins — Geburtstag 18. Mai 1975 Geburtsort Wisha … Deutsch Wikipedia
John W. Dickenson — John Wallace Dickenson is an Australian inventor, who developed some liquid flow measuring devices [ [http://www.johndickenson.net/other inventions/index.html Other inventions and designs by J. Dickenson] ] and designed a successful hang glider… … Wikipedia
Frame — Frame, n. 1. Anything composed of parts fitted and united together; a fabric; a structure; esp., the constructional system, whether of timber or metal, that gives to a building, vessel, etc., its model and strength; the skeleton of a structure.… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
Frame building — Frame Frame, n. 1. Anything composed of parts fitted and united together; a fabric; a structure; esp., the constructional system, whether of timber or metal, that gives to a building, vessel, etc., its model and strength; the skeleton of a… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
Frame house — Frame Frame, n. 1. Anything composed of parts fitted and united together; a fabric; a structure; esp., the constructional system, whether of timber or metal, that gives to a building, vessel, etc., its model and strength; the skeleton of a… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
Frame level — Frame Frame, n. 1. Anything composed of parts fitted and united together; a fabric; a structure; esp., the constructional system, whether of timber or metal, that gives to a building, vessel, etc., its model and strength; the skeleton of a… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
frame of mind — Frame Frame, n. 1. Anything composed of parts fitted and united together; a fabric; a structure; esp., the constructional system, whether of timber or metal, that gives to a building, vessel, etc., its model and strength; the skeleton of a… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English