A conversation with John Frame

BENYOLA: Your Systematic Theology has been critiqued for being light on Christology. In what ways is it a good treatment of the person and work of Jesus Christ?

FRAME: I do explain this in the beginning of the Christology section. The book is full of Christology, but that is scattered through all the other chapters, rather than being concentrated in the Christology chapter. So the book is not “light on Christology.” The only complaint anyone can legitimately make is that it doesn’t put all the Christology where the critics would prefer to find it. Well, contrary to some traditionalists, the Bible does not tell us where to discuss this topic or that in a systematic theology. I’ve done some creative things with the traditional ST order, and I’m not ashamed of that. Further, the people who criticize me for this are largely people who haven’t liked me for years; so if they hadn’t had this objection they would have found some other.

BENYOLA: Thanks for answering that. I just wanted to give you the opportunity to rebut that particular criticism. Now let’s talk about the transferability of systematic theology to our proclamation of Christian truth. It’s great to be immersed in theological studies in writing. How do we apply all these truths of what we read in these volumes to leading people to Christ? How does presuppositional apologetics help us more effectively reach people?

FRAME: Well, it depends on what you can get people to listen to. You have to judge your time and their time, and what they’re willing to sit down and discuss. On one level, apologetics can be done just by life example of someone who’s following Christ. That will involve showing love in various contexts, and sometimes that’s all you can do. Sometimes people aren’t willing to listen to arguments and theories, and you just have to present Christ to them, and be an ambassador. Beyond that, if they’re willing to get into some conversation about philosophy or argument, and they present their unbelieving worldview, first you have to listen to them. First you have to find out what their view of the world is. There’s always a worldview. Everybody has some conception of what the world is like, some people believe in God, that God created it, and some people don’t. So you have to find that out. I talk in apologetics about rationalism and irrationalism, those two alternatives. The irrationalist says, “Well, there’s no way of knowing or being sure about anything, the world is just not adapted to the human mind. You might be able to look outside and say that the sky is blue, but it’s just impossible to say where meaning comes from, or truth, or anything like that,” so they tend to be total skeptics.

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