My right hand holds the London Baptist Confession of 1689 pretty firmly with only a few exceptions—like defining the pope as the antichrist (a pretty common hermeneutical conclusion back in the Luther-Calvin-Council of Trent days). And Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings rests comfortably in my left hand. My wife and I have read through the trilogy 5 times in 8 years of marriage. The last time through I even read the poems in Elvish.
These two books—one basically a pamphlet and the other a 1,000 page novel—summarize key aspects of my life. I want to believe right propositions about God, know objective truth about His revelation, and proclaim this body lucidly in whatever venues Providence opens up for me. That’s the Confession of Faith. We use it as textbook when training pastors, and my teammate and I have both worked through it with men in our church.
Tolkien stands for the wonder and intrigue that should grip the mind of a Christian who is eager to see the fingerprints of his Father in every area of life. Several years ago, when I first moved to South Africa, I began trying to find a trail back to God from everything I met with in life. Abraham Kuyper helped me do that. A few months before marriage I took my first visit to Lewis’ Narnia which helped me see the value of imagination in this process. The Lord of the Rings, with its languages, cartography, history, botany, anthropology, etc., etc. built walls, doors, and windows on that foundation.
But I wish I had three hands because as important as these works are to me, I felt like I was neglecting one of my children by not putting John Frame’s The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God in the header for this blog.
On another occasion I plan to post a fuller interaction with the many practical, Biblical, and insightful sections of this book, but here suffice it to say, that Frame’s work fortifies the mind against hastiness in judgment. How often have I found myself assenting to some idea only to find my reasoning based on some passing stimulus rather than on real, logical bedrock.
Classic and enduring. Those are the watermarks I want to find on my conclusions. Frame’s book helps the thinker build stilts by which to get through the morass of post-modern triteness to the dry ground of appropriate and measured certainty.
I’ll go forward with two great works if I have to, but if I could carry three, The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God would be a good choice.