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Posts Tagged ‘Sam Renihan’

SCRBPC 2015 Panel Discussion on Divine Impassibility

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Book Review of Samuel Renihan, God Without Passions: a Primer

passions1Note: I have not read this book yet. This is a book review by Tom Chantry. This book is definitely on my wish list.

 

By Tom Chantry

During the last year I have written a number of times on the doctrine of divine impassibility. This is the doctrine that God, being immutable, does not experience emotional fluctuation as do we. The Scriptures speak of God’s anger burning or of his compassion rising up, but this is analogous to it speaking of his arm or his ear: it is a communication to us of truths about God in human terms which we will understand. Still, God is not a man, and we must not think of him as having “ups” and “downs.”

My interest in this topic of course reflects the conversation which has taken place among Reformed Baptists, particularly within ARBCA, about the nature of God. However, it is a matter of great importance to all Christians. If we think of God wrongly (which almost always means imagining him as being one of us!), then we will neither serve nor worship him as we ought.

In the course of two years’ discussion, I have heard it said with increasing frequency that the doctrine of impassibility is simply too complex to be stated, affirmed, believed, and taught in the churches. In part this is because the very word “impassibility” is alien; in part it is because the subject itself has been forgotten over the years. The recovery of the doctrine has required careful investigation of old theological and philosophical language, as well as a careful examination of our biblical exegesis at many points.

I, however, have questioned whether the concept is actually as difficult to grasp as some have pretended. After the ARBCA General Assembly in April, when I gave a report to my church, I was approached by an older woman, new to our church and without any experience of Reformed theology, who wanted a simple statement of what the issue of impassibility is all about. “Well,” I answered, “the question is: does God experience any emotional change due to his interaction with us?” “Of course not!” she snapped. “He’s God!”

So much for the supposed incomprehensibility of this subject. Now we have a new book to point to which could have been written precisely to address the question of whether or not the doctrine of divine impassibility can be simply taught. It is the second product of Pastor Samuel Renihan’s pen on the question before us. Earlier this year I reviewed God Without Passions: a Reader, which is a summary of the teaching of Reformed and Particular Baptist thought on the question of impassibility during the 16th and 17th centuries. That book was provided as a backdrop to the confessional statement that God is “without body, parts, or passions,” and was intended for pastors and theologians to see how the understanding of impassibility was interlinked with a broader understanding of the nature and character of God. God Without Passions: a Primer, on the other hand, is written with a broader audience in view. The intent is to give a basic introduction to a subject which, while intrinsically complicated, is nonetheless very explainable.

 

 

 

Read the entire review here.

Paedobaptism vs Credobaptism

The Case for Paedobaptism by Brian Cosby Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

The Case for Credobaptism by Sam Renihan Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

Baptist Covenant Theology Stuart Brogdon (Pdf Chart of how Reformed Baptist view the Covenants vs. how Paedobaptist view the Covenants)

Paedo vs. Credo Baptism

November 24, 2014 1 comment

The Case for Paedobaptism by Brian Cosby • October 30, 2014

 

The Case for Credobaptism by Sam Renihan • October 31, 2014