John R. Franke is a Christian theologian and is professor of theology at Biblical Seminary in Hatfield, PA. Franke received a BA from Nyack College, an MA from Biblical Theological Seminary, studied at Drew University, and received his D.Phil. from the University of Oxford.

Franke has associated himself with the missional church and Emerging church (EC) movements, having given talks and presentations at various EC conferences. His theology tends to be regarded as postmodern and postconservative. An emphasis of his work is to recognize that all who do theology bring their personal, ecclesial, and professional culture and perspectives to biblical interpretation and theologizing. Franke recognizes that it is unbiblical to believe that infallible, imperfect human beings can know either God or his written word fully and completely, as modernist thinking would, eventually, imply (indeed, require.) He strives to focus on Bible over tradition while addressing the contemporary postmodern culture which does not think foundationally, although he teaches and writes from within the Reformed tradition and does (despite accusations to the contrary) believe Biblical propositional truth exists. The issue for Franke is how to relate [absolute] Biblical truth to those who either do not believe absolute truth exists or that one can not know such truth absolutely? In lieu of foundational thinking, Franke's perspective and approach may be viewed as more of a net, with essentials of doctrine but not requiring those essentials to be build upon one another as in foundationalism.

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  • "As concluded in the previous chapter, the unending task of theology is to find ways of expressing and communicating the biblical story in terms that make use of the intellectual and conceptual tools of a particular culture without being controlled by them. This suggests the need for both critical and constructive reflection on the beliefs and practices of the church in order to scrutinize continuously the life of the church by the standard of the biblical witness and to envision all of life in relationship to God and the mission of God in the world." [1]


  • Beyond Foundationalism, with Stanley Grenz (John Knox Press, 2000)
  • The Character Of Theology: An Introduction To Its Nature, Task, And Purpose (Baker, 2005)
  • "Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel" in the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (IVP, 2005)
  • Barth for Armchair Theologians (John Knox, 2006)
  • Manifold Witness: The Plurality of Truth (Abingdon, 2009)


  1. The Character of Theology, p. 119

External links

Online writings

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