Sunday, March 12, 2017

John Frame's "The Doctrine of the Christian Life": Chart

*    Taken from John Frame The Doctrine of the Christian Life (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2008), chapter three “Ethics and Divine Lordship,” pp. 19-37.

“In general, then, ethical judgment involves the application of a norm to a situation by a person.”  (p. 33)

How God governs our ethical life
God plans and rules nature and history, so that certain human acts are conducive to his glory and others are not.
God speaks to us clearly, telling us what norms govern our behavior.
God commits himself to be with us in our ethical walk, blessing our obedience and punishing our disobedience.

·       He is a model for us (you shall be holy as I am holy)
·      He alone is able to provide sinners with power to do good (set us free from the power of sin)
The demand for appropriate response
We learn to trust in God’s plan and his providence.
We learn to obey God’s authority.
We are moved to worship God. 

“Whenever God meets with human beings in Scripture, the situation immediately becomes one of worship: when the King enters, we bow down.” (p. 26)
Three theological virtues
Hope looks to God’s controlling power, which will accomplish his purposes in the future, as in the past.
Faith trusts in God’s revealed Word.
Love treasures the presence of God in the intimate recesses of the heart and the new family into which God has adopted us.
Necessary and sufficient criteria of good works

Right goal
… it is God’s creation and providence that determine what acts will and will not lead to God’s glory.  God determines the consequences of our actions, and he determines which actions lead to our summum bonum.
Right standard
Right motive
Biblical reasons to do good works
History of redemption
…for history is the sphere of God’s control, the outworking of his eternal plan
Authority of God’s commands
Presence of the Spirit

Types of Christian ethics
Narrative ethics
Command ethics
Virtue ethics
What really matters
“For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”
(Gal 6.15)
“For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God.”
(1 Cor 7.19)
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision or uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.”
(Gal 5.6)
Perspectives on ethics

·      Christian teleological or consequential ethic


·      Christian deontological ethic


·      Christian existential ethic (focuses on the individual inner life)

Ethical Principles

·      A good act maximizes the happiness of living creatures


·      A good act is a response to duty, even if it requires self-sacrifice


·      A good act comes from a good inner character