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Authority and Application

“We learn the meaning of Scripture as we apply it to situations. Adam learned the meaning of “subdue the earth” as he studied the creation and discovered applications for that command. A person does not understand Scripture, Scripture tells us, unless he can apply it to new situations, to situations not even envisaged in the original text (Matt. 16.3; 22:29; Luke 24:25; John 5:39f.; Rom. 15:4; 2 Tim. 3:16f.; 2 Peter 1:19-21 – in context). Scripture says that its whole purpose is to apply truth to our lives (John 20:31.; Rom. 15:4; 2 Tim. 3:16f.). Furthermore, the applications of Scripture are as authoritative as the specific statements of Scripture. In the passages referred to above, Jesus and others held their hearers responsible if they failed to apply Scripture properly. If God says “Thou shall not steal” and I take a doughnut without paying, I cannot excuse myself by saying that Scripture fails to mention doughnuts. Unless applications are as authoritative as the explicit teachings of Scripture (cf. The Westminister Confession of Faith, I, on “good and necessary consequence”), the scriptural authority becomes a dead letter. To be sure, we are fallible in determining the proper applications; but we are also fallible in translating, exegeting, and understanding the explicit statements of Scripture.  The distinction between explicit statements and applications will not save us from the effects of our fallibility. Yet we must translate, exegete, and “apply” – not fearfully but confidently – because God’s Word is clear and powerful and because God gives it to us for our good.”

John Frame, The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1987), pp 84.

No barriers to knowing Him

“It is certainly true that our knowledge is finite. The agnostic has recognized that in some measure, though he illegitimately uses it for his own purposes. But the limitations of human knowledge are, we will see, very different from the kinds of limitations supposed by Hume, Kant and the positivists. For now, however, we should simply remind ourselves who the Lord is. Because He controls all things, God enters His world – our world – without being relativized by it, without losing His divinity. Thus in knowing our world, we know God. Because God is the supreme  authority, the author of all the criteria by which we make judgments or come to conclusions, we know Him more certainly than we know any other fact about the world. And because God is the supremely present one, He is inescapable. God is not shut out by the world; He is not rendered incapable of revealing himself because of the finitude of the human mind. On the contrary, all reality reveals God. The agnostic argument, then, presupposes a nonbiblical concept of God. If God is who Scripture says He is, there are no barriers to knowing Him.”

John Frame, The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, pp 19-20.

John M. Frame on Culture

For those who have been wrestling with the issue of culture recently (you know who you are!), John Frame has written a helpful piece on Christ and Culture. (This transcript appears in a revised form in the latest addition to his Theology of Lordship series, The Doctrine of the Christian Life).

“We have seen that culture is a mixed affair, the result of human sinful activity on the one hand, and God’s grace (common and special) on the other. Christians are not to leave culture alone or to limit their influence to the content of natural law. Rather they are to seek a transformation of culture through the whole Word of God.” (Doctrine of the Christian Life, pg 903).

HT to http://scottym.blogspot.com/2008/12/john-m-frame-on-culture.html for the link!