Sunday, 22 June 2014

Book Review - John Frame's Selected Shorter Writings (21/6)

If you have been in the reformed circles long enough, you would have surely came across the name John Frame. Frame has often been praised for his lucidness, but frankly when I first tried to read his books (AGG, SBL), I went away rather confused. So it was with trepidation and a deeper desire to be better able to appreciate this theologian that I took up the task of reading this book. And boy was I glad I that made this decision.87317

The book starts with an essay on (tri)Perspectivalism, a great introduction to the distinctiveness of the way John Frame approaches theology. This essay is the best short introduction to the famed tri-perspectivalism and it is apt that the book begins with this particular essay.

The first two sections spend the majority of the time dealing with the theological topics that are the forte of Frame. In it, Frame raises many basic yet important and thoughtful questions that spurs the readers to become better exegetes (see his essay on what the bible does not say, in particular) and to think more deeply and thoughtfully over theology.

Following which, the next section discusses about apologetics — another area of his forte. It is however regrettably a little too short! (only 3 essays on it). One would have wish that the second volume would hopefully have more articles on this topic. Following which, some essays on the topic of ethics and worship. These chapters, I feel were a mix bag, some were really good, (see his Family, Church and State: A Triperspectival Approach), some were just his responses to reviews, which probably helps you understand his DCL better.

Lastly, it ends off with some personal essays about the author himself, letting the readers take a sneak peek into the life of the author and a list of 100 books that have most influenced him.

Overall, I found that the chapters were not evenly spread, some were long, some were really, really short, which seems odd even for a book titled “Shorter writings”, one would have wished that John Frame could have expanded some of the shorter ones to make this volume “fuller”. Even so, the short articles were often insightful and perceptive, many a times after reading a few paragraphs, one is made to pause and ponder over what was written. And I think, one of the greatest gains from reading this book is that one would surely begin to think more “perspectivally” after reading it.

This book is surely recommended to the younger or newer audience who hopes to dip into John Frame but fear his larger and more challenging works. May this be the first stepping stone towards reading more of Frame for yourself.

Rating 4.25/5

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Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.