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Tri-perspectivalism: How This Concept Impacts the Church An Interview with John Frame

Posted On January 5, 2020

T4L: Today we are interviewing Dr. John Frame. Thank you very much for agreeing to do this interview with Theology for Life Magazine, Dr. Frame. Can you tell us a bit about your life, marriage, and ministry?

Dr. Frame: I was born in Pittsburgh in 1939, received Jesus as my savior and Lord around the age of 12. I got my A.B. at Princeton University, studied theology at Westminster Seminary, earned two Masters’ Degrees at Yale University. I married Mary Grace in 1984, served as stepdad to Debbie, Doreen, and Skip, and as biodad to Justin and Johnny. I taught theology at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, Westminster in California, and Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando.

T4L: Wow! That’s quite a summary! I have quite a few questions for you—but seeing your education, I’m sure you’ll give us some great insight. Firstly, can you briefly outline the work of Christ as King?

Dr. Frame: As God, Jesus shares the rule of the Father and the Holy Spirit over all things. As man, He receives the authority over all things that the Father has given Him, as we see in Matthew 28:18.

T4L: Can you help us understand Christ as Prophet, please?

Dr. Frame: As God, Jesus IS the Word of God, the Word that all the prophets spoke, per John 1:1-14. As man, Jesus speaks all the truth the Father has given Him to speak. So He is the greatest of the prophets. He came to fulfill all the Law and the Prophets—this is explained in Matthew 5:17.

T4L:  Excellent! And, can you please briefly describe Christ as Priest?

Dr. Frame: As God, Jesus is the one God who alone can be mediator between God and man, as expressed in 1st Timothy 2:5. As man, He lay down His life as a sacrifice for sinners, dying the death they deserved—we see this in Matthew 20:28.

T4L: Thank you for that wonderful explanation. Now I’ve got a more difficult question for you…What is tri-perspectivalism?

Dr. Frame: Often, when Scripture distinguishes parts or aspects of a doctrine, it does not separate them, but shows how they are inseparably united to one another—this is tri-perspectivalism. In the case of the three offices of Christ, Jesus could not have been king unless He had been prophet (uttering God’s word of supreme power) and priest (who can mediate God’s power to the created universe). He could not have been the supreme prophet unless His word had kingly power and the supreme priestly ability to reach our hearts. Nor could He have been the Greatest Priest unless He had the kingly power to break through man’s sin and the truth that is a perfect reflection of the Father’s intentions.

T4L:  So, why does tri-perspectivalism matter for the Christian and those in Christian ministry?

Dr. Frame: It begins in the mysterious doctrine of the Trinity. In every phase of our experience, and in all of our salvation, God acts as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is a simplicity to it: He saves us completely from our sins and all their consequences. But in that simplicity, there is a wonderful richness, for we have fellowship with God in every way. In Him, we have a strong Father, a loving Son, and a Holy Spirit who dwells with us and in us. We have a relationship with God in all His fullness. So, in every moment He governs us as King, speaks to us as Prophet, and nurtures us as Priest.

T4L: Very insightful! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview, Dr. Frame!

Dr. Frame: You’re welcome!

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