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Response to Rev. Frame's 'Traditionalism, Part 2'

  • Phil Larson,
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While most of my friends wouldn't call me a traditionalist, perhaps Rev. Frame would think that I am . At any rate, I surely come to contradictory conclusions on worship music.

Maybe an important key is his fifth bullet on p. 14 where he contrasts his view with being "completely separate from modern culture," reminding us that we should be "in" but not "of" the world. And I would agree: this separatism is wrong. If I may use Richard Niebuhr's classifications from Christ and Culture, Rev. Frame is correct: "Christ Against Culture" is an unbiblical position.

But some seem to assume that because this separatism is wrong, the simple (and only) alternate is Niebuhr's second position, "Christ of Culture," a position of cultural accommodation. And then I wonder how Rev. Frame's approach differs from being discipled by popular culture.

Would it not be better to direct a radical critique at popular culture, to attempt to disciple this part of our nation, to bring these thoughts into Christ's captivity, to transform this part of Western culture, to work at Christian reconstruction here? Or does "common grace" release us from these duties? If so, how?

Perhaps Paul Feyerabend's remarks would apply to Rev. Frame's argument: "It is a pity that the Church of today, frightened by the universal noise made by the [cultural] wolves, prefers to howl with them instead of trying to teach them some manners."

Sincerely your friend,

Phil Larson
Greenville, SC