People have different paths to understanding the fundamental principles of the Christian ethics. While following these paths, it is important to find the answers to all the questions which can be rather challengeable and controversial. John Frame’s The Doctrine of the Christian Life provides readers with discussions of a lot of basic and problematic issues which can be associated with the question of the Christian ethics.
While reading Part III of the book, I focused on three issues in discussing which I was interested when I began to study the principles of the Christian ethics carefully. I found the answer to the question of God’s revelation at the first pages of Part III.
The next important point was the examination of the problem of faith and its definition. Moreover, I had the opportunity to study the author’s viewpoint on the issue of adiaphora and focus on his attitude to the supernatural as an aspect of the world and human spirituality.
God’s revelation is one of the most significant concepts in the Christian life. However, persons are inclined to add their own ideas to the traditional Christian vision of the concept. That is why, it is necessary to discuss the concept with the direct references to Scripture.
Nevertheless, the question is too complex, and Frame’s discussion of the issue of God’s revelation which is presented in Part III from several perspectives is useful for making my own conclusions. Thus, revelation in all its forms can be perceived as an organism or unity that is why these forms are closely connected with each other and cannot be discussed separately.
God reveals himself in many forms, and all of them are important for understanding the nature of revelation. Furthermore, a person should follow the ethical principles in their relation to revelation because people are created in the image of God (Frame 2008, 131-134).
The issue of faith is discussed in Chapter 19. The question about the nature of faith and its aspects is usually associated with the moment when people become interested in following the Christian ethics and tradition. I am inclined to agree with Frame’s discussion of faith as the approach which can pervade the life of a Christian.
However, Frame pays attention to one more aspect which is the fact of receiving God’s grace. Thus, faith can be discussed as an instrument to receive God’s grace and as the reflection of people’s trust on God’s promise (Frame 2008, 363-367). The notion of faith is complex, and it should be discussed from different perspectives, and Frame’s book helps to understand the approaches to discussing the question.
The concepts of the Christian ethics are based on the distinction between right and wrong actions and things. However, sometimes it is rather difficult to determine things and actions as good or bad. In Chapter 11, Frame pays attention to the notion of adiaphora which is used to define the actions which are neither good nor bad (Frame 2008, 166-168).
In spite of the fact this concept can help to explain the nature of many people’s actions, the idea adiaphora cannot be used in relation to the Christian life because all those actions which are not right should be discussed as wrong.
The next aspect described in Frame’s book which influenced my vision of the Christian ethics is the issue of the supernatural and preternatural which is presented with references to belief in angels. Frame provided a lot of significant arguments to emphasise the fact that belief in angels is related to belief in God (Frame 2008, 244-246). Thus, scepticism as an approach should not be used with references to Christianity.
Frame, John M. 2008. The Doctrine of the Christian life (A theology of Lordship). Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2008.