…in this book Dolezal argues that a number of contemporary evangelical and Reformed theologians, whether wittingly or unwittingly, have rejected and/or wrongly redefined elements of classical Christian theism. In other words, they have rejected and/or wrongly redefined elements of the Christian doctrine of God.
Keith Mathison, Unlatched Theism: An Examination of John Frame’s Response to All That Is in God
People talk about there being multiple Republican Parties within the one Republican Party. The same thing seems to be largely true of the PCA as well. I am surprised that Frame et al in the PCA have not been found in violation of the Westminster Standards.
With how loosely subscription is defined, it is very difficult to get someone on a violation of the Westminster Standards. Frame once put the following out for the world to see: “To be honest, when I hear somebody say that he subscribes to the WCF without exception, I take it as evidence that he hasn’t been thinking very hard.” I’ve witnessed a guy taking 9 exceptions in an ostensibly conservative presbytery.
Jeremiah, the denomination that helped found the NAPARC got kicked out for issues related to subscription. It will be interesting to see if the same thing eventually happens to the PCA.
BLJ, I’m assuming you’re referring to the CRCNA. Definitely a possibility. And it might end up being over the same central issue as well. Only time will tell.
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Afternoon Dr. Clark,
Keith Mathison’s article is excellent. I haven’t read Dr. Dolezal’s book, but I have seen his lectures that he gave on similar material two years ago at a pastors conference for ARBCA in Southern California.
With respect to Dr. Frame, portions of his systematic text were assigned reading in seminary.
I found his triperspectivalism quite arbitrary, if not problematic. But all that to say, I’m thankful for your website where you have some critiques about Frame’s work. So I want to say thank you for those posts on this site.
I once told my brethren at an adult Sunday School class (many of whom had a STEM background) that Newtonian Mechanics is not applicable to God. When He acts on something, no reaction acts on Him; and that this applies in the spiritual realm, too.
But according to our Dr. Frame’s formulation, God is Newtonian!
When I try to imagine why academics like John Frame would want to reformulate important doctrines of the Church, such as the immutable character of God, or the truly human and divine natures of Christ, which are bedrock for our faith, I cannot imagine a single motive that is positive.
I would be hesitant to jump to conclusions about Frame since I have only read part of his review of the book and not Mathison’s review or Dolezal’s book. I have read Frame’s Systematic Theology and do not remember anything out of the ordinary.
There is plenty out of the ordinary. To wit:
I always check out your blog for historically informed comments regarding theological issues. I have started into Dolezal, and read the reviews and reviews of the reviews. Along with the defections re: the Trinity, I find this troubling and a calling to return to our roots both Reformed and ecumenical.
A thought for your response: I was thinking that what the theological reframers (no pun intended) want to do is give to man in his sin the ability to infect the blessedness of God. They ask, “What sort of God is it who is not moved by human sin, etc?” It seems that the response is, “What sort of God is it that allows the rebellion of his image bearers to poison his everlasting joy?” It is C S Lewis who said God will not be blackmailed by the wicked — as they try to hold him and all the redeemed hostage to their terms for happiness.
It is a great part of our comfort and assurance that, even though he allows it, and in some way evil is permitted in His unknowable will, God is immutable and His eternal decree toward His elect never changes. All things must work together for good to God’s elect. I think that such thoughts occupied Luther when he composed, A Mighty Fortress is Our God. Thank you, Dr. Clark for your timely Heidelcast series, I Am That I Am, in defense of the orthodox doctrines of God. In the face of all the false teaching that we are confronted with, you provide the true scriptural and confessional answers.
If a church library has a copy of, let’s say, the catechism of the catholic church it is fairly obvious it is there as a resource to understand what Rome teaches. The problem with Frame’s books is they enter under the guise of reformed teaching. Local churches should issue a corrective concerning such teachings by so callled reformed writers, pending action by their denominations, to protect their people. How to do so on a continuing basis without starting a witch hunt is the challenge. However, it must be done otherwise oversite by consistories and sessions becomes meaningless.
One wonders how academics like Frame get away with denying the doctrinal standards of the Reformed faith on the attributes of God without being brought to trial on heresy charges. What an irony that their books might be made available in the libraries of Reformed churches!