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Apologetics to the Glory of God: An Introduction [Paperback]

By John M. Frame (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   265
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.42" Width: 5.62" Height: 0.85"
Weight:   0.73 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 1994
Publisher   P & R PUBLISHING #97
ISBN  0875522432  
EAN  9780875522432  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Here John M. Frame unveils some of the "variety and richness of a biblical apologetic." Defining apologetics as "the discipline that teaches Christians how to give a reason for their hope," he distinguishes three main kinds of apologetic: PROOF - presenting a rational basis for faith DEFENSE - answering objections of unbelief OFFENSE - exposing the foolishness of unbelieving thought. Frame clarifies the relationships of reason, proofs, and evidences to faith, biblical authority, and the lordship of Christ. He offers a fresh look at probability arguments and gives special attention to the problem of evil. Particularly helpful are his extensive use of Scripture and his presentation of specific lines of argument. A model dialogue in the concluding chapter shows how the various lines of argument work in a conversation with a nonbeliever.

Publishers Description
Frame sheds needed light on the message and method of genuinely Christian apologetics. Giving special attention to application of the truth, he insightfully examines apologetics as proof, defense, and offense. Frame clarifies the relationships of reason, proofs, and evidences to faith, biblical authority, and the lordship of Christ. He offers a fresh look at probability arguments and gives special attention to the problem of evil.

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More About John M. Frame

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John M. Frame (A.B., Princeton University; B.D., Westminster Theological Seminary; M.A. and M.Phil., Yale University; D.D., Belhaven College) holds the J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando and is the author of many books, including the four-volume Theology of Lordship series.

John M. Frame was born in 1939.

John M. Frame has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Theology of Lordship
  2. Theology of Lordship

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2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Apologetics   [1450  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A Good Introduction to Presuppositional Apologetics   Jan 29, 2007
Apologetics to the Glory of God" is a good introduction to presuppositional apologetics. In this book, John M. Frame outlines three main types of apologetics: proof, defense, and offense. Basic terms of presuppositional apologetics are defined and explained. Charges of circular reasoning are addressed and the short-comings of presuppositionalism are identified. Also, the author discusses the transcendental argument while providing new formulations of the traditional arguments for the existence of God (e.g. the cosmological, the teleological and the ontological arguments). In addition, the author provides an interesting discussion concerning the "point of contact" and the "presuppositionalism of the heart."

New to Apologetics  Jul 29, 2006
My motivation for buying this book was to learn how to be a more effective evangelist, and while my need was met, it was at times a bit difficult to translate Frame's information into practical, everyday methods. It answered my questions about how to converse with unbelievers without assuming a position of neutrality. It also brought apologetics out of the academy and back into "the highways and by-ways". I believe the author wanted to address two audiences at the same time, which led to a careful blending of technical philosophy and Sunday school Scripture.

Why I would recommend this book: Christ is Lord and is placed at the center of the apologetics instead of man. Even as an academically untrained Christian, I saw the need for the church to quit putting man at the center of everything and put Christ and His Word back on the throne. It may be harder to take the faith approach because it strips us of the ability to woo people with wise and persuasive words, and returns us to a place where we trust God to demonstrate His power in genuine heart conversion.
Good Intro To Presuppositional Apologetics  Aug 8, 2004
In this accesible and concise book John Frame helpfully introduces the reader to the basics of presuppositonal apologetics. Frame closely follows the classic Van Tillian approach for the most part, thought he is not afraid to go beyond and even disagree with Van Til at certain points.

One of the great features of this book is its clarity and simplicity. Frame breaks apologetics down into three different perspectival categories, apologetics as proof, defense and offense. He begins his book by overviewing apologetic method and clarifying some important issues that are often misunderstood by classical and evidential apologists. Against those that argue that presuppositionalism is circular reasoning that begs the question, Frame shows how all human reasoning flows from and is determined by presuppositions. Most critics do not ever engage with the actual arguments that Frame (and Van Til and other presuppositionalists) make on this front. Rather most critics argue that if the presuppositonal approach were correct, then all reasoning would be circular and fideistic. Since they cannot accept this conclusion, they simply feel free to ignore the actual arguments that presuppositionalists make for their position and as such, have very few cogent objections to actually make.

Frame very helpfully shows how the classical apologist's desire for "neutral" ground from which to logically proove God's existence (or the resurrection of Christ, or whatever) is doomed to failure. This aggrees with postmodern insights about the inherently intersubjective and perspectival elements of all human knowing. Unlike classical apologists who quest after the ellusive unicorn of "objectivity" and "neutrality," Frame shows how apologetics must seek to call into question the very presuppostions that undergird how the unbeliever reasons.

However, unlike Van Til, Frame is also able to show how traditional arguments for the existence of God (and the resurrection of Christ, etc.) can be incorporated within the presuppositional framework. The way that he does this is through the helpful notion of the transcentental argument for God's existence. Basically, the transcendental arguments seeks to argues that the biblical Trinitarian God is necessary for any form of meaning, rationality or predication to take place. Thus, the apologist will (as Van Til articualted well) seek to hypothetically take the position of another worldview and show how it cannot account for essential elements of human life that all people see as essential (such as morality, rationality, social order, etc.) Within this framework, then Frame erects the traditional arguments to support his approach, not because they "proove" God's existence, but because when properly argued, they shows that the biblical Trinitarian God is the necessary condition for all truth, rationality, beauty, meaning and goodness.

Frame also spends two chapters on the problem of evil. In the first he simply attacks theodicies that he finds inadequate. in the second, he attempts a biblical response to the problem of evil that avoids trying to provide an all-encompasing "solution" to the problem (which would be artificial, to say the least). Instead he argues based on God's sovereignty that we should be able to trust God in the face of evil without an exhaustive answer (i.e. God's response to Job). He also argues that God will indeed overcome evil in the eschatological future, thus giving us hope in the face of suffering.

Frame also includes a brief chapter on apologetics as critique of unbelief in which he attacks atheism and idolatry and examines the way the tow reinforce one another.

This is, on the whole an excellent introduction to apologetics that will be of great use to most Christians, not just students and academics. However, there are some shortcomings.

First, Frame tends to fixate on certain peripheral issues such as creation not being taught in public schools and rant and rave about them. This destracts from the greater points he is often trying to make and risks alienating his audience, some of whom (including myself) don't beleive that it is the business of the powers the be to teach our children Christian doctrines (such as the nature of creation).

Second, Frame also focuses overmuch on the Calvinistic underpinnings of his position (although, not as badly as Van Til did). While there are certainly arguments that can be made for his positon, the thrust of presuppositional apologetics does not depend on Calvinism.

Thrid, ironically, Frame seems blind to many of his own presuppostions at times. He also seems to believe that there is a solid line that can be drawn between Chrsitian and non-Christian presuppositions. This I find problematic. Part of the difficult process of being a Christian is struggling with one's presuppositons and trying to discover if they are trely the presuppostions of the gospel, or our own additions to the gospel. The idea that one can have nothing but pure Christian presuppositions simply fails to cohere with the biblical portrait of salvation as I understand it and typical Christian experience. More care needs to be taken and more work needs to be done in presuppositional apologetics, not only to provide a critique of unbeliever's presuppositons, but also our own when they fail to cohere with the revelation of Christ.

Fourth, Frame does not spend nearly enough time dealing with apologetics as critique of unbeleif. Christian apologetics, I beleive must set itself in a deconstructive (in the Derridian sense) posture toward other beleif systems, taking them apart and showing their inherent contradictions and incoherencies. This isa vital part of apologetics in the postmodern context, and Frame does not spend enough time on it.

Finally, Frame also tends to lump all non-Reformed evangelicals into the category of the evil "liberals" which have betrayed the gospel. He also shares Van Til's poor reading of Barth. This I think is more sad than anything else, as it keeps him from benefiting from the insights of other theological movements such as liberation and narrative theology. While these movements are certainly not beyond criticism, engagement with such movements will help us at least become conscious of the many unbiblical presuppositions that most evangelicals are completely blind to (i.e. our positions on capitialism, democracy, feminism and rach and class issues).

These criticisms notwithstanding, this is a good intro to apologetics and will be helpful to many Christians. I beleive that the presuppositional appraoch is the most helpful and biblical method of apologetics yet formulated, and Frame has made a good contribution to it.
Good Introduction  Jul 16, 2004
This introduction by Frame is to be commended for recognizing proper apologetic priorities - that our biggest apologetic battles should not be with other Christians over apologetic method, but with non-Christians who are outside the Kingdom. Frame refuses to play contentious games over apologetic method, choosing instead to take what he believes is the best (the most Biblical) from each approach and incorporate it into a generally presuppositional approach that emphasizes his version of the transcendental argument.

Frame, following Van Til, spends a good bit of time in this book arguing that atheism in particular, and all non-Christian thought in general, is guilty of being both rationalistic and irrationalistic at the same time in ways that are incoherent. Frame strongly believes that only Christianity is capable of avoiding this serious problem, and that in our discussions with non-Christians, the incoherence of his system should be an important part of our apologetic in terms of playing offense.

His transcendental twist on more traditional forms of apologetics is good for several reasons. First, contra Van Til, Frame acknowledges that a transcendental argument, in order to be persuasive, needs to incorporate elements of classical and evidential apologetics (though Van Til was not totally against these things at all, he just seemed a bit reticent to incorporate them into his own system). The transcendental twist is clearly driven by Frame's conviction that metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics inform each other and are all essential to knowledge. Frame's basic point is that without God, intelligibility is impossible. We cannot understand concepts like cause, motion, evidence, ethics, or anything else without presupposing God. It is here that the reader will see Frame's Calvinist theology, where Romans 1 takes center stage in appraising man's ability to think rightly without God. Frame's discussion of what unregenerate man does and doesn't know about God, and how this impacts on how much 'common ground' the Christian and non-Christian share is quite good and in my view, is far more helpful than Van Til's or Clark's formulation of this problem.

The strengths of Frame's apologetic, first of all, is that it is flexible. His perspectivalism, coupled with his transcendental twist, really enables the Christian to start just about anywhere with a non-Christian in terms of apologetic discussion. Frame provides good tools for starting with metaphysics in dealing with philosophically sophisticated non-Christians, or for non-Christians who care far more about things like ethics, the Christian can start there as well. His appraisal of atheism as incoherent is also quite good, and he provides solid tools upon which we can demonstrate its incoherence to folks who subscribe to it. His secondary embrace of evidentialism as defensive apologetics is also welcome, as is his insistence that positive apologetics are needed in order to make a persuasive argument for Christianity, rather than simply doing negative apologetics in the hopes that people will see that Christianity is the only thing left standing.

Frame's treatment of the problem of evil is good, in that he attempts to erect a Biblically based theodicy rather than a philosophical one without Biblical warrant. As others have pointed out, his rejection of the free-will defense is courageous and absolutely correct as a matter of exegesis. However, his greater-good defense is something I found to be a bit lacking, in that it's good for as far as it goes, but actually raises serious concerns that Frame does not really address.

The other weakness is that while Frame does try to make presuppositional apologetics accessible at the street level (which was a major failure of both Van Til and Clark), I suspect many readers who are not fanatical about apologetics will still be confused and unsure of how to use a good bit of the central pieces of Frame's approach in their interactions with non-Christians. It seems somewhat clear to me that absent a background in philosophy and epistemology, too much of Frame's approach will fall on bewildered ears that don't know what to do with most of the material in this book. In this respect, while those who are familiar with Frame's perspectivalism will indeed find this book to be an introductory work, I suspect that most who are not familiar with Frame's approach will find this book to be far more difficult to get through and practically use.

So this is a good, but improveable effort.

An Intro to Semi-Van Tillian Apologetics  Dec 30, 2002
John Frame, once a student of Cornelius Van Til, provides "new" light upon the topic of apologetic methodology in his work, Apologetics to the Glory of God. I say "new" in quotes because this work was written in 1994, and much has been said since. Nevertheless, Frame does make some contribution to the discussion. I take it that his main emphasis is that apologetics has to do with one's "heart-committment." Some original contribution has do with direct vs indirect arguments (also negative vs positive argumentation). Quite a bit, however, is just regurgitated from other books (i.e. The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God) - but what else is to be expected of an introduction like this? And that is not totally original with Frame. Other philosophers have clearly recognized various types of arguments. Rather, Frame's contribution of them has to do with the role of the traditional arguments indirectly proving a transcendental conclusion. There is a nice discussion at the end of the book regarding the book, Classical Apologetics. Frame locates some misunderstanding that the authors of that book make regarding presuppositionalism.

I noted this is a semi-Van tillian approach. In what way is it van tillian? It is Van Tillian in that Frame is correct that reasoning is not this neutral process that occurs independently of commitments to any worldview in particular. But Frame is not totally on board with Van Til (or Bahnsen for that matter). Frame thinks that the traditional proofs might be needed to "supplement" the transcendental argument. What Van Til and Bahnsen mean, more precisely, is that these other arguments are illustrative. They are not, however, a group of syllogisms that prove - independently of the Christian worldview - the truth of the Christian worldview. So, it is this point that makes Frame Semi-Van Tillian (c.f. Bahnsen's answer to Frame from Covenant Media Foundation).

Now what about the argumentation in this book? This is why Frame deserves a three star rating. Much of what he says is correct and it is good. However, Frame has a M.Phil from Yale. I kept asking myself, "what happened to Yale?" Let me provide an example. Frame discusses different arguments that have traditionally been provided for God's existence. When he discusses the ontological argument, specifically Anselm's, he raises the good point about how "perfection" implies things for Anselm that others could not agree with (e.g., a Buddhist conception of perfection differs from a Christian conception). Unfortunately, Frame concludes, "the ontological argument proves the biblical God only if it presupposes distinctively Christian values and a Christian view of existence" (117). This is simply wrong. Anselm's ontological argument fails even if the Christian concept of perfection or existence is correct (and they are!). Furthermore, Frame seems to lump the different ontological arguments into one group. This too is wrong. Plantinga's modal argument is quite different from Descartes'.

To end on a high note, Frame does make some good points. For instance, I was pleased to see his discussion of different theodicies or defenses to the problem of evil (e.g., Clark's ex lex argument, Irenaeus' soul-making theodicy, Plantinga's free-will defense). It is good to see that some people are interested in giving christocentric answers to this problem.

So, Frame's book has some good points to make. Other times, his arguments are just really weak or simply wrong. A few times, I'm left wondering what exactly is the relationship that apologetics has to whatever he was talking about (I have an idea, but it is only because I'm familiar with CVT's discussion of the relationship of theology and apologetics - contra B.B. Warfield); Frame just didn't make the point explicit. Hence, mediocre book. I think his DKG is worth more time reading. On the other hand, if you're interested in being an "expert" on apologetic methodology, then you're stuck having to read this book.


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