Friday, December 01, 2017

Ecclesiastical power politics

In a previous version of this post, I recommended John Frame’s The Doctrine of God and a book by Bruce Ware on the Trinity. I can no longer recommend Frame’s book because it has become evident that he has moved away from the classical Christian understanding of such doctrines as divine simplicity and immutability.

But Frame isn't saying anything new as of 2017. He's not saying anything he didn't say in the monograph that Mathison recommended back in 2009. He hasn't moved from the position he took in c. 2002. 

So it's not Frame who's changed. Evidently, what's changed in the intellectual climate within some Reformed circles, so there's pressure to retract previous positions that were acceptable 8 years ago. What's changed in the church politics. 

In particular, I think the ruckus over eternal functional subordinationism is causing people like Mathison to preemptively recant before the inquisition strikes! 


  1. Allow me to demure. I have known of John Frame for some years now, and have always been suspicious of him. I attend a "Reformed" Baptist church (we don't explicitly use Reformed, but that's where our theology is coming from). Several years ago a young, eager man in the church, a future leader, was reading Frame's Doctrine of the Knowledge of God (around 2012 or so). I attempted to warn him off of this at the time. This was at least a few years before all this "subordinationism" stuff. Many of us have seen the same issues in Frame long before the change in politics you allude to. That Mathison has changed so recently may be attributed, for himself alone, to politics. But you paint with too wide a brush. Here is something from 2007, and while not focused on Frame's doctrine of God, shows other areas of concern - note, 2007, not 2017:

    I agree that Mathison is incorrect to claim that Frame has changed since 2009. But many of us have seen where Frame was in 2009 and objected for the same or similar reasons since then, and before then. Concerns about Frame's theology are far older than the recent subordinationist controversy and more than about politics. You are better than this rank reductionism.


    1. Yes, Frame has always had critics. But that's kinda the point. We now see a piling on that didn't happen before. So what's changed? Not Frame. I think the eternal functional subordination controversy hardened attitudes regarding what's permissible.