The Ethics of Tri-Perspective Thinking

Part 12 - The Christian Life
Chapter 52 - How Then Shall We Live?

Like a fireworks show, Frame saves a rapid fire series of triads for the grand finale.

Ethics is part of theology, inherently.  We are saved for works, and can only understand Biblical truth when we apply it.  God reveals standards (normative), controls history providentially (situational), and is with us for an example and guide (existential).

Westminster handles the problem of the virtuous pagan (how can unbelievers do any good?) with three conditions needed to please God.

  1. A heart of faith - motive (existential)
  2. Obeying the Word - standard (normative)
  3. For God's glory - goal (situational)
The Bible motivates us to obedience in three ways.
  1. The history of redemption - gratitude for our salvation and looking ahead to reward (situational).  We are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal 5:6).
  2. The commands of God themselves (normative).  1 Cor. 7:19.
  3. The Presence of the Spirit with us, not to grieve Him (existential).  Gal. 5:6.

There are three kinds of ethics:
  1. Command (normative)
  2. Narrative (situational - redemptive history)
  3. Virtue (existential)

In evaluating any ethical situation, we apply a norm to a situation:
  1. The Word of God (normative)
  2. The circumstances (situational)
  3. The person(s) involved (existential)

Frame concludes the book with a defense of his multi-perspectivalism.  This is not relativism.  Rather, since we are finite, we need to look at reality from different angles to take it all in.  Since we are sinners, we need different angles to apply checks and balances to ourselves.  He credits Cornelius Van Til with this way of thinking.

Finally, the ten commandments summarize what God tells us to do: love God (1-4) and love your neighbor (5-10).

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