John Frame, Systematic Theologian at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando Florida has a new book out entitled, Salvation Belongs to the Lord. Frame has had a wonderful career as a theologian both at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia and now at RTS. Throughout his career his systematic theology has been marked by a passion for the Lordship of God, and a markedly different approach to charity than most professional theologians take – a living one.

In this present book, which is a small non-technical systematic theology text, Frame covers the nature of the Church. In his chapter on this he moves from OT and NT pictures of the Church, to Apostolic attributes for the Church, and finally into the Reformed marks of the Church. In his handling you can tell that as long as God has meet with his children they have wondered who they are coporately and individually and how to connect the two conceptually yet practically.

One thing that stood out to me in Frame’s handling of the nature of the Church is the honesty he displayed in the ‘incompleteness’ and peculiar selectivity of the Reformed marks. They are: the true preaching of the word; the right administration of the sacrament, and church discipline. Frame notes that if these are the true marks of the church then what happens when there are squabbles over the particulars within them, to much seems up for grabs in disagreements here. Frame also notes the peculiar selectivity of the Reformed marks, why did they not choose things like love which is so explicit in the teaching of Christ (Jhn 13:35), or worship or even the great commission. Can a church be a true church without these? No… Frame’s answer is to treat these three as broader categories through which to read and handle the previous three marks of the Reformers. I think this is a more missional ecclesiology, a good maturation of theology within the Reformed community.