Adam T Calvert's Reviews > The Escondido Theology: A Reformed Response to Two Kingdom Theology

The Escondido Theology by John M. Frame
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Dec 16, 12

bookshelves: theology
Read from July 01 to November 01, 2012

Here is a very interesting but very important work by Frame. The book consists basically of several very long, very thoughtful book reviews of authors who've come from the Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California. Based on the works they've produced Frame makes a very compelling case that they've developed their own "version" of Reformed theology particular just to the Escondido school. Unfortunately, as Frame goes on to show, their "version" is not truly standard Reformed theology. Furthermore, when seen through a Biblical analysis, it is at many points unbiblical theology.

Taking on about a half dozen authors (including such authors as Michael Horton, R. Scott Clark, David Van Drunen, Meredith G. Kline, and Darryl Hart), Frame shows review by review how their particular outlook is simultaneously (1) not in line with standard Reformed theology, (2) particular only to the Escondido school, and (3) not at all a truly Biblical outlook.

The main common denominator between the Escondido proponents is their "Two Kingdom Theology" whereby they teach in essence that it is not the church's responsibility or call to try to influence culture or society much in any way. While the exact opposite of this can be seen throughout Frame's Theology of Lordship series (and many other Reformed works by other Reformed theologians and teachers), in this work he makes a very concise application of that theology by reviewing selected works of these Escondido authors.

In an age where Evangelicalism has already waned in regard to making disciples (their focus tends to be on evangelism rather than actually evangelizing AND discipleship - teaching converts to observe all that Christ has commanded in all spheres of life), the Escondido proponents ("Reformed" theologians of all people) have stepped in to basically congratulate such behavior. Meanwhile Frame is working hard at calling the church back to the great commission to truly make disciples of all nations, and teaching them to observer all that Christ has commanded.

No doubt this book will not be welcomed with open arms among the faculty at Escondido (and perhaps several other "Reformed" institutions). But I'm very glad to see that it's in print and that Frame is not giving up the battle. I truly hope the students at Southern Seminary (past, present, and future), will at least give this book a perusal seeing as how it looks like Southern's main systematic theology text is now Michael Horton's "Theology for Pilgrims on the Way."

In the end, while this book will not be the last word, it is certainly an important word. And I hope it's read by the many students of theology for whom it was written.
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message 1: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Robbins Just FYI...there is only 1 class I know of at Southern that uses Horton's Systematic Theology. Most would disagree with much of what Horton says (seeing as he's a Presbyterian, for one). In my class, we focused on doctrine of creation and doctrine of Christ using that book, none of which was controversial at all. Using a book does not mean full endorsement of everything said. Almost all use Grudem or Erickson for Systematic classes.


Adam T Calvert Thanks for the info, Matthew. I truly appreciate it.

I agree using a book doesn't mean a full endorsement. I thought that Grudem's (which I also realize has some problems) was the main text at Southern, but it's hard putting the pieces together not being there. From the outside I've notice that Horton's systematic got a glowing review in "Towers" in 2011

http://www.sbts.edu/resources/files/2...

And then made Mohler's list of "Books Every Pastor should Read" in 2012 (seemingly ranked #1).

http://www.sbts.edu/resources/files/2...

I love Mohler's Calvinism and his commitment to the authority of Scripture. Knowing his influence makes me very glad that he's there at Southern. But on the other hand, knowing how much influence Mohler has is also what makes me nervous when it comes to the Christian faith and its level of influence in culture and society. At least from his podcasts he seems to present undertones of an amill two kingdom approach. I have no idea where he officially stands on that...but again, I was only going by the pieces I could put together as an outsider.

Thanks again for the clarification.


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