John Frame and the federal vision

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by jasond49079, Apr 19, 2009.

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  1. jasond49079

    jasond49079 Puritan Board Freshman

    Can someone help me find what side of the Federal Vision John Frame stands on? Everything I have been finding seems to point he thinks it is 'Within the Bounds of Orthodoxy' but I can not find him saying that directly. Please help we are have some controversy in our church.

  2. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    As far as I know, John Frame is a member in good standing in the PCA.
  3. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    In "Machen's Warrior Children" (Machen’s Warrior Children), Frame deals with the Shepherd controversy at Westminster (a precursor issue) in item #9. Frame also writes a positive blurb on the back of Shepherd's newest book (along with folks such as Jordan, Lusk, Leithart, Schlissel, and Wilkens).

    Several years ago, a seminary professor and former colleague of Frame who shall remain nameless due to his admission that he gets into trouble every time he comments on Dr. Frame's theology said:

    You might want to read this recent thread:

    I do not know Dr. Frame and make no representions to understand his theology well. However, he does come up on the PB fairly often. You might try the search feature and see for yourself what some of the issues with Frame might be vis a vis the FV. Anecdotally, I think that you are correct that Frame would distance himself from the FV (note his carefully chosen words in the blurb cited above). Yet, he has always (to my knowledge) viewed the FV as within the bounds.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  4. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Senior

    I read the PCA position paper on the FV and I do not think there is the remotest chance he would have stayed in the PCA if he did not agree with it and was FV.

    By the way this is his site with Vern Poythress

    The Works of John Frame and Vern Poythress

    and his articles.....

    Frame Articles

    (anybody who thinks Vern is a heretic and would share a site with works righteousness is off their rocker)
  5. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    I disagree with Frame on many many issues, but I don't think he's FV.
  6. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    What exactly does that have to do with his views on the FV? We have FV ministers in the PCA who are currently still in good standing.
  7. ww

    ww Puritan Board Senior

  8. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Here is some more grist for the mill . . .

    Of the often cited favorable article, "Within the Bounds of Orthodoxy?: An Examination of the Federal Vision Controversy," by Joseph Minich, Dr. Frame wrote: "I have read the article, and my judgment is that it is a wonderful piece. It is by far the best thing I've ever read on the Federal Vision and/or New Perspective. I hope this essay gets the widest possible distribution. People concerned with these issues, whatever their persuasion, need to meditate deeply about it. And it provides a model of careful, thorough, thoughtful theological criticism."
  9. regswrb

    regswrb Puritan Board Freshman

    Links to free resources (text and MP3s) refuting the Federal Vision heresy at SWRB.

    We (Still Waters Revival Books) have posted a number of links to free resources (free text and free MP3s) refuting the Federal Vision heresy at Doug Wilson, Federal Vision, Auburn Avenue Theology, Credenda Agenda, N.T. Wright, John Frame, Richard Gaffin, Norman Sheperd, Works Justification, etc., Refuted

    Here are two very useful links:


    BOOK REVIEW: "Reformed" is Not Enough by Douglas Wilson reviewed by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon at "A Puritan's Mind."

    This extensive book review contains much more proof that Doug Wilson is not only not Reformed (using the confessional and historic meaning of the word), but that he is also ignorant of many classic Reformation doctrines. Dr. McMahon writes,

    Innovation and originality in theology are the parents of all heresy. Douglas Wilson in his book, "Reformed" is Not Enough demonstrates this subtly but effectively. To the untrained eye his arguments may sound cohesive, helpful and clarifying. To the trained eye his arguments are heretical, and his work demonstrates his theological and historical ignorance.

    It is this writer's opinion that Wilson has crossed the line from error to heresy based on conceptions propagated at the 2002 Auburn Avenue Pastor's Conference with three others -- John Barach, Steve Schlissel and Steve Wilkins, as well as clarifying marks made here in his new book. These four men have been "labeled" the Auburn Four as a result of that conference. Wilson admits in his foreword that he began writing this book before the accusations to him and his colleagues came about by the Covenant Presbytery of the RPCUS in June of 2002. So he has included thoughts about the clarification of his opinion in later chapter (which happen to be some of the most blatant denials of orthodox doctrine in the book) rather than earlier ones.
    This review is must reading, as it exposes much false teaching -- and is free online at:
    Reformed is Not Enough - Book Review


    Continued in the next post ...

    -----Added 4/20/2009 at 04:11:15 EST-----

    A Defense of Reformed Orthodoxy Against the Romanizing Doctrines of the New Auburn Theology by Brian Schwertley

    Brian Schwertley writes,

    At the 2002 Auburn Avenue Pastor's Conference four speakers -- John Barach, Doug Wilson, Steve Schlissel and Steve Wilkins -- articulated what they themselves called a new paradigm in theology. These men set forth this new paradigm as an answer to their own perceived problems within Reformed theology as well as the inadequate manner in which they believe Reformed interpreters and theologians have dealt with "problem" passages in Scripture.

    The main theme of the conference centered on a new way to view the covenant which they referred to as "the objectivity of the covenant." In their lectures a number of traditional, confessional Reformed doctrines were rejected and replaced by the novel ideas of the speakers.​

    Some of the standard Reformed doctrines that were rejected or redefined were: the covenant of works, the distinction between the visible and invisible church, the nature of baptism (especially relating to efficacy), the doctrine of perseverance (we are repeatedly told that real believers can fall away), the doctrine of the atonement (the speakers repeatedly separate the ground of salvation from its application in an Arminian manner), justification (sometimes faith is defined in a Romish manner as an obedient or working faith [the Norman Shepherd heresy], at other times perseverance is defined in a manner that makes it either a partial ground of salvation or co-instrument in justification), and assurance (The main answer to problems of assurance [we are told] is baptismal regeneration: "Look to your baptism because you were really saved and united to Christ in your baptism.")

    Because the new paradigm set forth by the Auburn theologians is a radical departure from the Reformed faith and is heretical in many areas, we will briefly examine some of the most perverse areas of their teaching. Not every area will be considered, for that would require a book-length response. Further, some areas such as justification have already been discussed at length. (For example, many excellent articles have been written refuting Norman Shepherd's heretical view of justification. As far as this author can tell the Auburn doctrine of justification is essentially the same as Shepherd's. In fact, Shepherd was originally scheduled to speak at the Auburn conference but was replaced by John Barach because he could not attend.) Therefore, this author will not spend time analyzing their view of this topic.

    One area that will receive a great deal of attention is the Reformed doctrine of the atonement. The Auburn teaching is a repudiation of the classic Reformed formulation of this doctrine. It is our hope and prayer that this brief analysis of their perverse doctrines will inoculate Reformed believers against the Romanizing paradigm of the Auburn four.

    Reformed believers need to be made aware that the Auburn paradigm is a radical departure from the Reformed faith. It is not a refining of Reformed doctrine but rather a rejection of confessional orthodoxy in favor of sacramentalist, Arminian and Romanizing concepts. It is heretical because it strikes at the very heart of Reformed theology -- the doctrines of the atonement and justification by faith alone. May God protect his precious church from this vile theological poison.​

    The full article by Brian Schwertley is free at A Defense of Reformed Orthodoxy Against the Romanizing Doctrines of the New Auburn Theology


    Though this is about another topic related to John Frame, Kevin Reed's defense of classical Protestant worship entitled, Presbyterian Worship: Old and New -- A Review and Commentary upon Worship in Spirit and Truth, a book by John Frame (Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1996; paper, 171 pages) may also be of interest. This important review is free at: Presbyterian Worship -- Old and New.

    Incidentally, John Frame's book on worship eventually lead to my debate with Doug Wilson. The story of how this took place and the debate itself is also free online at SAUL IN THE CAVE OF ADULLAM: A TESTIMONY AGAINST THE FASHIONABLE, SUB CALVINISM OF DOUG WILSON, EDITOR OF CREDENDA AGENDA MAGAZINE, AND, FOR CLASSICAL PROTESTANTISM AND THE ATTAINMENTS OF THE SECOND REFORMATION by Reg Barrow (In A DEBATE With Doug Wilson).
  10. chbrooking

    chbrooking Puritan Board Junior

    It breaks my heart that Dick Gaffin is listed here. I studied under Gaffin for 3 years in the mid to late 90's, and have read everything I could find by him. He does not agree with Sheperd, the NPP or FV. He is a pillar of orthodoxy, and fully confessional. The PDF on your site, Reg, doesn't "refute Gaffin". It just has John Robbins attributing (without argumentation or documentation) to Gaffin sympathy for Sheperd, and warning against WTS East.

    John Robbins’ mp3 is a great example of peurile argumentation and straw men. Thank you for the link, I will be using it in my logic class as a demonstration of rhetoric without substance and logical fallacies. The sad thing is that good men (Vos, Ridderbos, Ferguson, Gaffin, et al.) are slandered in it.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2009
  11. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor


    Dr. Gaffin has recently become a favorite of mine and I have not found an iota of sympathy to FV in his works.
  12. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Senior

    I wish you had lived nearby when my husband for the first time listened to the John Robbins tape that says Gaffin was off, and Bavinck, Vos, and Van Til. :p I had to be there while he vented. Fortunately we have good pastor that took my place real quick :lol:

    Sometimes I wonder if certain people, for all they talk about justification by faith, are really putting their trust in having perfect doctrine as they define perfect.
  13. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Robbins seemed to have expected all the WTS men to have the same kind of vision of Shepherd that it is possible to have today. As I have stated before, however, Shepherd's theology was not clear back then. That is why personal friendship could get in the way. It may seem clear to some today that it should have been equally clear back then, but I don't necessarily see that. Now, don't get me wrong. I think Shepherd's theology even back then should have been labelled a red flag. But he had not gone the distance that he has now gone. I have very little respect for Robbins, as he tends to shoot first, and then aim. There is a lot of collateral damage. And I certainly agree that Trinity Foundation tends to be a salvation by perfect theology type of thing. Clark was an exception to that, in my mind. Robbins really did make an idol out of Clark, though.
  14. uberkermit

    uberkermit Puritan Board Freshman

    Since we are sort of on the topic of Shepherd, in the back of my mind I remember reading somewhere (If I recall correctly) that Lloyd-Jones was critical of Shepherd on some of his theology, which gave cause for Frame to speak poorly of Lloyd-Jones (Which I believe Frame possibly later recanted). Would someone care to refresh my memory as to where I might have read that?
  15. jasond49079

    jasond49079 Puritan Board Freshman

    So...I should consider John Frame sympathetic to FV but not agreeing with it. This was where is was when i posted. Above in the list of problems with Frame is listed his view on the Regulative Principle. I recently found an article by him on about the RP. It made sense to me. Has anyone or would anyone read it that would be willing to teach me? Miscellaneous & Unclassified
  16. regswrb

    regswrb Puritan Board Freshman

    Richard Gaffin And The Federal Vision Heresy

    Though there are problems with Robbins' teaching in other areas (i.e., my pointing to him on this issue is not a blanket endorsement by any means, as Robbins was Neopresbyterian in many areas of his thought), I suggest readers of the Puritan Board listen to Robbins' lecture on Gaffin for themselves and then decide how well he does regarding argumentation or documentation concerning this particular issue. Make sure to listen to the very end, as more about Gaffin comes up during the last few minutes. This free MP3 is at:

    The whole series of five free lectures in the The Justification Controversy series by John Robbins at, from which Robbins' MP3 on Gaffin is taken, also included the following lectures:

    More on the issue can also be found in the blog entitled, The Gaffin Question, which confirms a number of the points made by Robbins in the MP3 about Richard Gaffin (your protests notwithstanding), at The Gaffin Question on the God’s Hammer blog.

    In fact, I found The Gaffin Question blog so helpful that I've added it to the links on SWRB's page refuting the proponents of the Federal Vision heresy (and those who support and/or defend anyone who spreads the Federal vision poison) at Doug Wilson, Federal Vision, Steve Schlissel, Steve Wilkins, N.T. Wright, Norman Shepherd, etc., Refuted.

    The following two posts on this board, related directly to this discussion and Richard Gaffin, may also be helpful:

    Also see:

    "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?"

    - 1 Corinthians 14:8

    Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

    - Romans 16:17
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