Early on, Frank includes helpful definitions of the Fear of God found in Puritan writings. The first discovery of the Fear of God is found to be in Heaven. There the fear was not a fear of dread or terror but of a worshipful demonstration that is of the very nature of the Fear of God. The Fear of God is expected from all beings made in God’s image.
The central portion of the book describes the fears that people have in their spiritual search. Those fears are variously identified as exclusively ungodly fear, as provisionally godly fear, and as perpetually godly fear. A misplaced fear is described and known as the fear of man. Most everyone has this fear to a greater or lesser degree.
The final chapter of the book is largely dedicated to Christian preachers. Practical guidance is given on the preaching of the fear of God. The appendix has a Puritan sermon that would be helpful in these matters.
Second edition has ADDED Study Questions and a new Scripture Index!
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
When Editor Mark Kakkuri invited me to read the manuscript of Dr. Arnold Frank’s book for consideration to publish it, I immediately became excited about that prospect, as I had not heard a sermon on this subject and knew it was a neglected and vital doctrine. As the subtitle says, it is (today) the forgotten doctrine of the Church, but certainly was at the forefront of Puritan thinking. After reading it, I knew it had to be published for general consumption and careful study by the Christian community, those genuinely serious about the Word of God and worshiping our Lord.
Our first President, George Washington, pronounced: “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.” The father of our country also said: “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” And President Ronald Reagan affirmed: “How can we hope to retain our freedom through the generations if we fail to teach our young that our liberty springs from an abiding faith in our Creator.”
The reverence and fear of the Lord is a prerequisite to deep, abiding, and intimate faith. How can we have this faith, fear and awe of God without understanding his character and essence and knowing that our Lord God Omnipotent is a self-conscious Trinitarian God? My friend, Dr. Ted Baehr (founder of Movieguide), exclaimed: “Christianity is the only world religion that reveals this. Salvation is found in none other than Jesus Christ. When God became flesh as one of us, it is only as Jesus Christ. When God appears to Moses or anyone else, it is as Jesus Christ. He is the Truth, the Way and the Life. In that sense, we note that the Hebrew word for ‘Truth’ means, ‘to reveal.’ Jesus Christ alone reveals completely and totally who the Almighty Triune God is.”
Christian statesman Noah Webster, l.l.d., defines “Fear” in part as:
1. . . . We have reason to fear the punishment of our sins.
“I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” Psalm 23:4b.
2. To reverence; to have a reverential awe; to venerate.
“This do, and live: for I fear God.” Genesis 42:17b.
6. In scripture, fear is used to express a filial or a slavish passion. In good men, the fear of God is a holy awe or reverence of God and his laws, which springs from a just view and real love of the divine character, leading the subjects of it to hate and shun everything that can offend such a holy being, and inclining them to aim at perfect obedience. This is filial fear.
“I will put my fear in their hearts.” Jeremiah 32:40b.
Slavish fear is the effect or consequence of guilt; it is the painful apprehension of merited punishment. Romans 8.
“The love of God casteth out fear.” 1 John 4:18b.
7. The worship of God.
“I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” Psalm 34:11b.
8. The law and word of God.
“The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.” Psalm 19:9a.
9. Reverence; respect; due regard.
(Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language, Facsimile 1828.
Chesapeake, VA: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1967, 1995).
Dr. Arnold Frank with excellence expounds on this doctrine, defining it in detail using numerous quotations from the Puritans to educate readers of this crucial doctrine of Holy Scriptures. In this second edition, he has added a Scripture Index and a “Study Questions (by Chapter)” section.
—Gerald Christian Nordskog
The Fear of God: A Forgotten Doctrine is a labor of love: love for this precious doctrine of holy fear, love for those Puritans who lived it in a more compelling way than any who came before or after, love for God’s people today who walk in shadows because the fear of man is too much with us, and love for the Word rightly preached, which is able to bring the Church back to an attitude of holy fear. Above all, this book is the fruit of filial love for our Savior Jesus Christ, who alone is able to deliver us from all unholy fears and bring us to a place of trusting all His promises to us. If you would face unholy fears head-on, this book will make you strong for the battle. If you long for reformation in the way the Church worships, begin with the wise counsel you will find here.
Christian wife, mother, Bible teacher
In this insightful treatise on the fear of God, Pastor Arnold Frank writes as a Puritan born out of time. Frank’s love and appreciation for the seventeenth century English Puritans is evident throughout as he carefully sets forth the forgotten and largely misunderstood teaching of Biblical fear. I have personally used Frank’s work in my own study and preaching, and commend this book to you, the reader, for similar use. May the Lord be pleased to work in our day not only to give His church a proper understanding of doctrine, but also to give His church the life-transforming reality of deeply knowing and fearing Jehovah God.
President, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA
I recommend this book heartily to any Christian wanting to know more about the all-important subject of the fear of God. Dr. Frank unpacks this critical doctrine for Christian life in all its aspects, providing a useful analysis for layman and preacher alike. The reader will come away encouraged to pursue holiness out of love and respect for our Heavenly Father who is worthy of all obedience and love.
Christian husband and father, Surrey, England
The Biblical concept of the fear of God is too often marginalized or ignored by the Christian church and its preachers today. The result is shallow views of sin, easy belief, and antinomianism. With the aid of Puritan preachers, Arnold Frank sounds a clarion call for a Biblical and sure approach to the fear of God. He accomplishes this by distinguishing between ungodly fear and godly fear, the fear of man and the fear of God, spiritual awakening and saving faith, slavish fear and childlike fear, and the “almost Christian” and the genuine Christian. He also explains how childlike fear of God sanctifies affliction; relates to faith and love and worship; and operates experientially in conviction of sin, salvation, and obedience. Frank concludes this much-needed book by providing practical guidelines on how to promote the fear of God through preaching.
—Joel R. Beeke
Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan
What a blessing The Fear of God has been in my life. I have never heard or read anything like it before. As my heart soaked it all in, the Lord convicted me, and most importantly instilled fear in me through a proper, Biblical understanding. The nourishment I received through the sound teaching and doctrine presented in this book is priceless. This is a valuable exposition on God’s Word that is severely lacking in contemporary teaching. It increased my love for God and His Word, under His terms! I want everyone I know to read this book. Praise the Lord!
Contributor to the “Study Questions” in this Second Edition, North Carolina