Wednesday, November 18, 2009
John Frame's Festschrift
Speaking the Truth in Love: the Theology of John M. Frame is now available. I must say that it is a true blessing to participate by contributing a chapter to this volume. My contribution is titled, "John Frame's Theology in the Present Cultural Context."
One reason why my involvement is meaningful to me is because there are three people who have influenced my ministry the most over the past 25 years. When I mention the three names, many people are stunned that one of them is John Frame. The other two, by the way, are the late Jack Miller, and Henry Krabbendam.
Now here's a real secret that I rarely tell anyone. Behind all three of these men is yet another figure who has influenced me even more than these; in fact, he did much to guide the thought of the three men mentioned above. He is Cornelius Van Til.
But focusing on the three, I would say that it is John Frame who did the most to fashion the way in which I think about ministry (Dr. Miller helped to put in me a zeal for evangelism and missions, and Dr. Krabbendam shaped the way in which I look for truth in the Bible).
John is not even aware of how he influenced me (of course, if he reads my chapter he may get a hint). It all started when he walked up to a group of us students who were sitting around getting to know each other, and asked, "What are you guys talking about?" One fellow responded, "We're discussing Cornelius Van Til." John said, "Everything Van Til ever said can be boiled down to two ideas: that all men undeniably know the truth. And that the only way to approach them is to pull the rug right out from under them."
I'll never forget that moment. Suddenly, everything came together. Graduating college with a music degree, and with no formal training in theology, made me quite nervous about attending Westminster Theological Seminary. It all seemed so overwhelming. But John's words were the perfect "hat rack" if you will, that helped me to place everything I was being exposed to, and rapidly, in its place.
From that moment, I began to see everything in my theological education in the light of his distilled interpretation of Van Til. Once I graduated seminary, and to this day, everything I have ever done in the ministry--whether preaching, teaching, evangelism, radio broadcasting, and writing, has been guided by the facts that all men know the truth but suppress it in their hearts (Romans 1).
Is it not amazing how just a few words meant in passing can have a lifelong impact on the life of a student? So it is with this recollection that I am more than glad to have participated in the "Fest."