Book review: Salvation belongs to the Lord by John M. Frame (1596380187)

Book review:

Salvation belongs to the Lord by John M. Frame

God is in sovereign control. He has the right to tell people what to do and what not to do. He is powerful, wonderful, holy and awesome (in the true sense of the word). This big-God matrix frames everything else in John Frame’s new systematic theology, Salvation Belongs to the Lord.

Written in a warm, conversational, and engaging style for readers, Frame explains the main subjects of systematic theology. It is a great book for beginners, though the content is consistent with seminary level courses.

The content is very similar to Wayne Grudem’s, Systematic Theology. Frame considers Grudem “The best one-volume systematic theology written in recent years” (p. 351), and quotes him in many areas. The two however, do not agree on all things. Frame writes from a cessational perspective and Grudem from the charismatic.

The book is divided into two halves: (1) objective and unrepeated and (2) the subjective and the repeated. For example, the division is between the incarnation of Christ (unrepeated in history) and regeneration (repeated over and over in history with each believer).

I especially enjoyed the section on the church. He argues for a plurality of elders in each church, and his section on church discipline is very clear and helpful. Frame explains not only how to do church discipline, but why church discipline is important. He writes,

“There are at least three purposes of discipline. The first is to restore a sinning believer (Matt. 18:15; 1 Cor. 5:5; Gal. 6:1; 1 Tim. 1:20; James 5:20) … church discipline is not a cruel thing but a loving thing. Second, discipline exists to deter such sins by others, to instruct the congregation as to what is and is not acceptable (Heb. 12:15; 1 Cor. 5:2, 6-7; 1 Tim. 5:20). Third, discipline exists to protect the honor of Christ and his church (Rom. 2:24; 1 Cor. 6:6; Eph. 5:27). When churches ignore sin, the world despises them and the reputation of Jesus Christ himself is dragged through the mud” (p. 243).

This excerpt reveals the biblical depth, firm convictions, and pastoral concern of Frame in engaging and contemporary words. The entire book is marked with these characteristics.

The book is solidly reformed, quotes frequently from the Westminster Confessions, and uses the ESV translation. Frame is not shy about rebuffing falsehoods like Roman Catholic ‘justification’ and annihilationalism. He argues for padobaptism and sides with Postmillinialists. Frame displays a full awareness of the distinctions between errors that undercut the central tenants of biblical Christianity (justification) from secondary issues (like spiritual gifts and eschatology). He is strong and resolute on the first, and open and fair on the second.

John Frame has given us a wonderful gift. Such a high view of God’s holiness and Lordship; such a reminder of God’s presence with us; such an enjoyable read! I heartily recommend John Frame’s Salvation Belongs to the Lord.

Binding: Paperback
Pages: 383
Topical Index: yes (excellent)
Textual index: yes (excellent)
Bibliography: yes (excellent)
Photos: 0
Charts: 1
Reading level: Adult / moderate
Publisher: P&R
Price: $24.99
Where this book fits into my library:
(1) Systematic Theology > General

Salvation belongs to the Lord, John M. Frame, 978-1-59638-018-9, 9781596380189, 1596380187, 1-59638-018-7

5 thoughts on “Book review: Salvation belongs to the Lord by John M. Frame (1596380187)

  1. I am quite familiar with Frame’s other works but have not gotten around to this work yet. I do know that in other major works of Frame, he develops his theology based on a methodology he refers to as triperspecitvalism or multiperspectivalism. Does he address this methodology in his work and what would your opinion be of it? I respect and love John Frame but have concerns regarding his convictions about general revelation, and even some areas of apologetics. I am cautiously optimistic about his methodology with a few concerns. Let me know what you think.Wayne

  2. Wayne,

    You are correct that Frame uses a triple perspective in his works. I think this is a way to make sure theology is always understood in connection with real-life situations. The Psalms, for example, exalt the sovereignty of God within the context of personal pain and struggle. I like his perspective and I think it will go a long way in bridging systematic theology into counseling and Christian living. Systematic theology for too long has simply been unconcerned with the biblical context of doctrine, isolating the positional. I love that this book ends with a chapter on ethics.

    As far as general revelation goes, Frame is clear that general revelation can only condemn, not save. Special revelation is necessary in conversion.

    I really like Frames perspective on things and most of this book reads like a straightforward systematic.

    Yes. he does explain his system in two areas and recognizes not everyone will agree with his perspective.

    -Tony

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