Frame discusses the Historical, Reenactment, and the Dialogue approaches to worship. During this chapter Frame points out benefits and critiques of each approach. All three approaches display characteristics which may be beneficial to a local body, based upon its context. Often times those familiar with these approaches will hold a dogmatic position, in regards to why their approach is the exclusive position. Frame sees dangers with each position, demonstrating how each position "potentially" could have flaws with its approach. Frame offers all three positions as possibilities for churches to consider. One small critique I have with Frame in this section is with his critique of the Reenactment Approach to worship. The Reenactment Approach generally looks something like this: (this is the Chronological Order of the Service) the reading of the law, confession of sin, and assurance of pardon. Frame argues, "An important theological point is obscured by the reenactment liturgy. That is that redemption is in the past, accomplished once and for all." I think Frame's critique is a straw-man. Those who hold to a Reenactment Approach also see the redemption is secured in the pasted and accomplished once for all. John, in writing the book of 1 John, calls believers to confess their sins to one another. John says," "If we confess our sins one to another, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse of from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)." The context of this passage is to "Believers". Obviously these believers did not see confession of sin as something that obscured the fact that Christ's work was accomplished in history and was effective for all future sins. A church that practices confession and absolution would see this practice as a fulfillment of John's command. So, I think Frame's critique of this is a silly. Frame concludes the book by pulling all his thoughts together and giving testimony to how that looks within his own church.
Worship in Spirit and Truth is a well written systematic look at ecclesiology. Frame does an excellent job at explaining multiple positions and benefits of each. One reason I enjoy reading Frame is because he explains his position so well. Frame anticipates critiques and then dissects those critiques in his arguments. Frame also does a wonderful job at explaining deep theological truths in such a way that any lay person can understand the basics tenets of each position. Worship in Spirit and Truth from my perspective is very similar to Wayne Grudem's approach to systematic theology. Both authors explain a diverse range of positions and fairly present honest critiques of all positions. Frame in this work addresses issues that most ecclesiologies neglect (e.g. Should a church allow music with no words, drama, soloist, or dance into the worship service?). Although I recognize that most people will not agree with his interpretation of the regulative principle, I think it would be impossible to hold to a strict interpretation of it, without ever addressing his arguments. One thing that I admire about Frame, Bahnsen, and Van Til is that all three men have/or are devoting their great minds to making deep theological truths understandable on the lay level. Frame in this work has equipped another generation of believers with ammunition to think through why their church service looks the way it does. This book would be wonderful for Sunday School classes and small groups alike. TAKE UP AND READ!
John Frame sets out to expound upon the regulative principle of worship, as he cleary states at the outset. I fear, however, that he has denied the Reformed doctrine and settled upon the Roman Catholic non-regulative principle. Truly a work with heretical leanings!