John Frame’s Advice For Young Theologians #11-20

January 18, 2012 — 3 Comments


As I explained in the original post, these pieces of advice come from “Reflections of a Lifetime Theologian” in Speaking the Truth in Love: The Theology of John M. Frame. Reflecting back on his career in teaching and his life of ministry, he offers off the cuff in an interview 30 nuggets of advice.

Here’s the next 10:

#11: If you get a bright idea, don’t expect everybody to get it right away. Don’t immediately start a faction to promote it. Don’t revile those who haven’t come to appreciate your thinking. Reason gently with them, recognizing that you could be wrong and arrogant to boot.

#12: Don’t be reflexively critical of everything that comes out of a different tradition. Be humble enough to consider that other traditions may have something to teach you. Be teachable before you start teaching them. Take the beam out of your own eye.

#13: Be willing to reexamine your own tradition with a critical eye. It is unreasonable to think that any single tradition has all the truth or is always right. And unless theologians develop critical perspectives on their own denominations and traditions, the reunion of the body of Christ will never take place. Don’t be one of those theologians who are known mainly for trying to make Arminians become Calvinists (or vice versa).

#14: See confessional documents in proper perspective. It is the work of theology, among other things, to rethink the doctrines of the confessions and to reform them, when necessary, by the Word of God. Do not assume that everything in the confession is forever settled.

#15: Don’t let your polemics be governed by jealousy, as when a theologian feels bound to be entirely negative toward the success of a megachurch.

#16: Don’t become known as a theologian who constantly takes potshots at other theologians or other Christians. The enemy is Satan, the world, and the flesh.

#17: Guard your sexual instincts. Stay away from internet pornography and illicit relationships. Theologians are not immune form the sins that plague others in the church.

#18: Be active in a good church. Theologians need the means of grace as much as other believers. This is especially important when you are studying at a secular university or liberal seminary. You need the support of other believer to maintain proper theological perspective.

#19: Get your basic training at a seminary that teaches the Bible as the Word of God. Become well-grounded in the theology of Scripture before you go off (as you may, of course) to get firsthand exposure to nonbiblical thought.

#20: Come to appreciate the wisdom, even theological wisdom, of relatively uneducated Christians. Don’t be one of those theologians who always has something negative to say when a simple believer describes his walk with the Lord. Don’t look down at people from what Helmut Thielicke called “the high horse of enlightenment.” Often, simple believers know God better than you do, and you need to learn from them, as did Abraham Kuyper.


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I’m an avid reader, musician, and high school Bible teacher living in central Florida. I have many paperback books and our house smells of rich glade air freshners. If you want to know more, then let’s connect!

3 responses to John Frame’s Advice For Young Theologians #11-20

  1. Great two-part series, Nate. Very practical wisdom from a theological giant with Christ-like humility.

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  1. John Frame’s Advice For Young Theologians #21-30 | Marturo - March 4, 2012

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