John Frame on Philosophy
John Frame has an extensive background in
philosophy at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
He believes (and I
agree) that this education has enhanced his work in theology
which he has chosen to emphasize rather than philosophy.
However, he also takes
the position that the work of both the theologian and the
Christian philosopher are not that different:
Theology and Philosophy. Christian
philosophers make the same mistake that Christians in most areas
of scholarship make: they underestimate and therefore underuse
On Philosophy in General
The following is from
The Doctrine of the
Knowledge of God, page 318.
“If anything, philosophy is even more in need
of reformation than the sciences are.
Still, I am not convinced that everything said by
non-Christian philosophers is false!
… From philosophy (both
Christian and non-Christian) we can learn a number of useful
“(1) The history of philosophy shows the
futility of trying to find a solid basis for knowledge apart
from the God of Scripture, whether through rationalism,
empiricism, subjectivism, idealism, or some other method.”
(Ed’s note: “The God of Scripture
explicitly through Scripture.
Therefore, “the history of philosophy shows the futility
of trying to find a solid basis for knowledge apart from
believe that this statement is more explicitly what the problem
for Christian and non-Christian philosophers is: a denial
(explicit or implicitly functionally) of an objective source of
“(2) Philosophers have argued well,
nevertheless, that we need norms, facts, and subjectivity if
anything is to be known.”
(Ed’s note: The Scriptures exceed any other
source of knowledge by an immeasurable degree.)
“(3) And they have presented good cases for
the interconnectedness of knowledge, in particular for the
interdependence of metaphysics (theory of being), epistemology
(theory of knowledge), and the theory of value (ethics,
(Ed’s note: I agree wholeheartedly.
“Interconnectedness” and “interdependence” of these areas
is far too lacking in philosophical discussions.)
“(4) They have shown (either by admitting it
or by trying and failing to escape the conclusion) that human
thought is dependent on presuppositions and thus on circular
Yes! If only
most Christian apologists, theologians, and philosophers
understood this truth.
In my opinion, they predominately endorse empiricism and
evidentialism—which are really one and the same.)
“(5) They have developed useful systems of
logic and mathematics.”
(Ed’s note: I agree.)
“(6) They have developed a number of
distinctions that are useful in the analysis of language,
causality, priority, experience, ethical values, and other
matters of importance to theology.”
(Ed’s note: I agree.)
Frame concludes this section: “From
a Christian philosophy, theoretically, we could learn much more.
I do not believe,
however, that a Christian philosophy now exists that is
reasonably adequate for the needs of the modern Protestant
For more on philosophy and theology by Frame,