People are inclined to find the definitions and characterizations for almost each situation, aspect or phenomenon. That is why, there are always a lot of questions about different objects or concepts, and it is important to find the answers to these significant issues. In his book The Doctrine of the Christian Life, John M. Frame discusses the most controversial aspects of ethics from the point of the Christian tradition, stating that all the ethical questions are based on the religious or biblical fundament (Frame 2008).
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Having concentrated on the opinions and explanations in relation to the most controversial ethical questions provided by the author in Part I and Part II of the book, I determined several points significant for their further discussion and analysis. These key points are the question of good works which is discussed in Chapter 3, the problem of understanding the Bible, and the issue of atheism discussed in the chapter about the connection of ethics with religions.
The argument of John M. Frame is not difficult to follow because all the concepts and explanations depend on the basic idea that ethics should be discussed with references to the Bible. From this point, the concept of good works is based on the personal desire to follow the biblical principles.
Thus, according to Frame, the definition of ethics is correlated with the notion of God’s blessing when only definite persons, their acts, and their attitudes can be discussed as good or ethical because they respond to God’s will (Frame 2008, 10).
It is rather difficult for me to correlate the difference between good and bad actions with biblical principles which can be discussed as liberal or conservative. However, Frame draws the readers’ attention to the fact that good works depend on the right motive, right standard, and right goal which are associated with God’s control, authority, and presence (Frame 2008, 26-28).
That is why, I understand good works in their connection with the virtue ethics, basing on the inner personal qualities, and with references to Frame’s explanation of living the ethical life and doing good works. Thus, to follow the ethical life means to be biblical (Frame 2008, 6-7).
The next problematic question which I could answer with the help of Frame’s work is the problem of understanding the Bible and, as a result, ethics. Thus, “a person who understands the Bible is a person who is able to use the Bible to answer his questions, to guide his life”, and the author explains the issue of understanding the Word of God and its reference to ethics as the active usage of moral principles which should guide the person in his or her life (Frame 2008, 31-32).
Now, I can consider the ethical life as the life which is built according to the principles presented in the Bible because they emphasize the devotion to God.
Many people who study the problem of ethics and its connection with the issues of Christianity are inclined to discuss the question of atheism as rather controversial. Having started the reading of the book, I was interested in the author’s opinion on the problem and his position, and the following explanation helped me to understand the point and examine it from different perspectives.
Thus, I agree with the statement that “nobody is really an atheist, in the most serious sense of that term” because everyone believes in something, and it can be God, idol or idea (Frame 2008, 52-54). From this point, non-Christian ethics and philosophical conceptions are also related to the ideas of biblical ethics.
Having read the first parts of The Doctrine of the Christian Life by John M. Frame, I could start the examination of the most important questions in order to find the balance between the theoretical concepts presented in the Bible in their connection with the ethical issues and their realization in the everyday life.
Frame, John M. 2008. The Doctrine of the Christian life (A theology of Lordship). Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2008.