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The Doctrine of the Christian Life (Frame)

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The third volume of Frame’s Theology of Lordship series, this book focuses on biblical ethics, presenting a method for ethical decision-making, an analysis of biblical ethical teaching focusing on the Ten Commandments, and a discussion of the relation of Christ to human culture.

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Table of Contents: 

Part One: Introductory Considerations 

1. Introduction 

2. An Ethical Glossary

3. Ethics and Divine Lordship 

Part Two: Non-Christian Ethics 

4. Lordship and Non-Christian Ethics

5. Ethics and the World’s Religions 

6. The Existential Tradition 

7. The Teleological Tradition 

8. The Deontological Tradition 

Part Three: Christian Ethical Methodology 

Section One: The Normative Perspective 

9. The Organism of Revelation 

10. Attributes of Scripture 

11. The Sufficiency of Scripture 

12. Law in Biblical Ethics 

13. Applying the Law 

Section Two: The Situational Perspective 

14. Situation and Norm 

15. Our Ethical Situation 

16. Redemptive History

17. Our Chief End

Section Three: The Existential Perspective 

18. Goodness and Being 

19. Motives and Virtues

20. The New Life as a Source of Ethical Knowledge 

21. The Organs of Ethical Knowledge 

Part Four: The Ten Commandments

22. Introduction to the Decalogue

23. The First Commandment: No Other Gods 

24. The First Commandment: Contemporary Issues

25. The Second Commandment: Prohibited Images

26. The Second Commandment: Regulating Worship

27. The Third Commandment: Reverence for God’s Name

28. The Fourth Commandment: Views of Sabbath Keeping 

29. The Fourth Commandment: Theology of the Sabbath 

30. The Fourth Commandment: The Sabbath in the New Covenant 

31. The Fifth Commandment: Honoring Authorities 

32. The Fifth Commandment: Family, Church, and State 

33. The Fifth Commandment: Man and Woman 

34. The Fifth Commandment: Equalities, Racial and Otherwise

35. The Sixth Commandment: War and Punishment 

36. The Sixth Commandment: Protecting Life 

38. The Seventh Commandment: Sexual Purity 

39. The Seventh Commandment: Divorce and Remarriage 

40. The Seventh Commandment: Reproduction 

41. The Eighth Commandment: Respecting Property 

42. The Eighth Commandment: Wealth and Poverty 

43. The Ninth Commandment: Truthfulness 

44. The Tenth Commandment: The Desires of the Heart 

Part Five: Christ and Culture 

45. What Is Culture?

46. Christ and Culture 

47. Christ and Our Culture 

48. Christians in Our Culture 

49. Culture in the Church

Part Six: Personal Spiritual Maturity

50. Growing in Grace 

Appendix A: Ethics and Biblical Events 

Appendix B: Zwingli and Reformed Ethics 

Appendix C: Schleiermacher and Protestant Ethics 

Appendix D: Gentleness in the Pastorate 

Appendix E: In Defense of Christian Activism

Appendix F: Is Natural Revelation Sufficient to Govern Culture?

Appendix G: Review of R.J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law 

Appendix H: Review of Peter Richardson, Paul’s Ethic of Freedom 

Appendix I: Review of Margaret Howe, Women in Church Leadership

Appendix J: Review of Hessel Bouma III et al., Christian Faith, Health, and Medical Practice 

Appendix K: Review of R.F.R. Gardner, Abortion: The Personal Dilemma 

Appendix L: Review of Beverly Wildung Harrison, Our Right to Choose: Toward a New Ethic of Abortion  



John M. Frame (B.D., Westminster Theological Seminary; A.M. and M.Phil., Yale University; D.D., Belhaven College) is professor of systematic theology and philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando campus. He previously taught theology and apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia) and at Westminster Seminary California. Frame’s published works include The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God and The Doctrine of God in the Theology of Lordship series, as well as Apologetics to the Glory of God, No Other God: A Response to Open Theism, Cornelius Van Til: An Analysis of His Thought, and Salvation Belongs to the Lord.



“This book is a landmark in its field because of its soundness and thoroughness. It is noteworthy for its careful attention to the biblical basis for ethical instruction, its use of the Bible in its details, its attention to non-Christian ethical systems, its discussion of a wide range of issues, and its sensitivity to the multidimensional demands of the Christian life.”  — Vern S. Poythress

“Frame sets forth God’s commandments as broad and deep, as sweetly adaptable to the varieties of human experience. He shows how the person, promises, and actions of our redeemer God are always intrinsic to our wisdom, faith, and love. He sets forth a vision for the Christian life that, in fact, glorifies the God of glory.”  — David Powlison

“‘Classic Frame’ at his best: profound in analysis and clear in articulation, rigorously biblical while engaging issues in the contemporary church and culture, irenic and occasionally controversial, philosophical and pastoral, deeply grounded in Reformation and post-Reformation Calvinism. . . . a rich resource for pastors, elders, counselors, and others who offer guidance in ethical decision making.” — Dennis E. Johnson 

“Reflects all the characteristics we have come to expect from John Frame: passion for clarity and lucid explanations; boldness in addressing relevant and controversial topics; refusal to capitulate to ideologies, whether Left or Right; commitment to the highest standards of scholarship; and, most importantly, zealous fidelity to Scripture as the infallible source of ethical norms.”  — P. Andrew Sandlin

“John Frame is one of the greatest teachers of ethics in the world. His magnificent work on the Christian life fully endorses the authority of Scripture and practically addresses the situations and people involved in ethical decisions. Istrongly recommend this book as a text for serious students of ethics and for every layperson who wants to know how to make decisions pleasing to God.”  — Richard L. Pratt Jr.