On Frame's review of Horton's book
The Reformed blogosphere is (or was) abuzzed it seems with Prof. John Frame's review of Prof. Michael Horton's book Christless Christianity. Frame's review has been answered by Darryl G. Hart, Kim Riddlebarger, R. Scott Clark, and the staff of the White Horse Inn. My friend Stephen Macasil has entered the fray also with his latest blog post, which attempts to go deeper and interact with the topics raised.
When I was first directed to Frame's review through the article on Gospel-centered Legalism (ie a totally different topic), I was rather stunned by the review. Having owned and read Horton's book Christless Christianity, Frame's review was the worst misrepresentation of a single book I have ever seen. The most ludicrous part was when Frame semi-defended Joel Osteen (?!) against Horton's charges. Osteen is a Word-faith heretic, and Frame who is supposed to be Reformed defends a wolf against Horton? Amazing!
The state of the Church in general was another point where I just have to shake my head in amazement. Which planet is Prof. Frame living on? The "Ivory Tower" planet? It most definitely is not earth! America is awash with heresy as the Emerging Church movement, the Word-faith cult, and the Contemplative Spirituality nonsense is destroying the faith of many, yet according to him, the Church is still doing fine and "There is a greater interest in sanctification (not just justification), on Christianity as a world view, on believers’ obligations to one another, on love within the body of Christ, and in the implications of Scripture for social justice"? Even discounting America (which has a really bad habit of thinking they are the center of the world), the rest of the world is in really bad shape. But let us go back to America. What about the heresy of Federal Vision and Neolegalism wrecking havoc in Reformed and Presbyterian circles? Oh wait, Frame defended the heretic Norman Shepherd while he was still in WTS.
In their response to Frame, the White Horse Inn staff Eric Landry has picked the 10 points with which Frame accuses Horton of teaching, and refutes them all. I think it would be instrumental to just let Landry speak in this regard here (Dark Red Italics refer to Frame's points).
1. Attention to ourselves necessarily detracts from attention to Christ.
No, it can detract from Christ. But it does not necessarily detract from Christ. When it comes to the gospel, “we preach not ourselves, but Christ,” because the gospel is not about us at all. Confusion over this matter does detract from Christ. However, the good news about Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection has implications on the way we live, and so we must give some attention to ourselves as we let the light of the gospel shine in every dark corner, which challenges us to rethink our actions, self-centeredness, etc.
2. We should not give attention to the way we communicate the gospel, or to making it relevant to its hearers.
3. God’s sovereignty and human responsibility are a zero-sum game. The idea that man must do something compromises the absolute sovereignty of God.
This is an outright misrepresentation and we’re disappointed that Professor Frame should characterize Horton’s theology in this way. He is not a hyper-Calvinist and nothing in Christless Christianity or anything else that he has written bears this out.
4. God’s work of salvation is completely objective, external to us, and not at all subjective, internal to us. (Here he backtracks some.)