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

passionsDuring 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. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

An Open Letter to the Abortive Mother

babyTo the Abortive Mother:

I’m sure that you, like everyone else in America, recognizes that we may well be in the midst of a sea change on the issue of abortion. A few years ago, when Kermit Gosnell (a rather typical inner city abortionist) was tried and sentenced, the true nature of the abortion industry began to leak out. Now, due to the stunning revelations of the Center for Medical Progress, the truth is front and center. In spite of the desire of the media to shield you and the rest of us from the truth, in spite of two entertaining primary races, and in spite of a dust-up at congress within the President’s party, there is still a great deal of light shining on the behind-the-scenes activities of Planned Parenthood. Both sides are quick to sing the party line, but I’ve been wondering how to talk to you. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

I Blame Us, Part 5: The Recovery

theses

Let’s Have a Reformation!

All week I have argued that the American Evangelical church is to blame for the collapse of our culture. We have failed utterly to maintain the doctrine of the law which was universally taught in Protestant confessions, becoming instead a lawless people. This has handicapped our witness to the world, robbing us of the moral authority to speak and of any message which could convict.

A very serious reformation is needed. Efforts to defund (and dismantle) Planned Parenthood are certainly a righteous cause. It is right for Christians to fight abortion, and to struggle to define marriage properly. However, a more fundamental reformation is necessary, and what is more, it is within the grasp of the church. I speak of a reformation of Evangelicalism – one in which we repent of the last half-century of abandonment of morality. The needed reformation will be spiritual, theological, ecclesiastical, and homiletical. Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

I Blame Us, Part 4: The Failure

tied

The Preacher of the Law

Yesterday I wrote about the scourge of antinomianism which has all but erased traditional protestant doctrine from the evangelical world. While thorough antinomians may be in a minority; they are both vocal and influential. Most evangelicals have at least abandoned part of the law. Many have adopted a form of homiletical antinomianism – an antinomianism of message if you will. It is as though we are permitted to believe in moral law, so long as we never preach it and rarely write about it. Where the law is still permitted to be discussed, it is only with regard to its first (evangelistic) use. Talk of the law restraining human corruption is forgotten, while talk of the law as a standard for Christian ethics is strongly resisted within the church. Continue reading

9 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

I Blame Us, Part 3: The Rejection

pharisee

Anybody for a game of “Who’s the Pharisee”?

Yesterday I laid out the traditional Christian ethical system, having already quoted the chapter on the law from the 1689 Baptist Confession. Of course this system seems like a radical departure to any contemporary Christian who has been raised on the conviction that biblical law is a useless relic from an earlier dispensation. It is, however, the consistent teaching of Protestantism. In a nutshell, that system may be summarized like this: Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

I Blame Us, Part 2: The Law

compass

I always thought “moral compass” was figurative.

Yesterday I argued that the main culprit in America’s moral collapse has been none other than Evangelical Christianity. In support of that argument I linked to the 1689 Confession’s statement on the law. I argued that this was not a uniquely Particular Baptist doctrine, nor even English Reformed, but was universal in the Protestant church at one time. So before I make some observations on the confession, I need to demonstrate the truth of this statement: “[This] theology was held by Anglicans, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and the Continental Reformed as well as the Baptists.” Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

I Blame Us, Part 1: The Collapse

whiplash

That’s gotta hurt!

Most American Christians are currently experiencing cultural whiplash. We thought we lived in the best country on earth, one with a long history of Christian influence, and that we were necessarily better than a lot of other places. Better than atheist Europe, better than pagan Africa, better than Catholic Latin America, and better than the tyrannical Far East. Obviously we’re better than the Islamic Middle East. And Canada, too – everyone knows we’re better than Canada. We’re America. We pledge allegiance to the American flag and to a recently-invented Christian flag right next to each other. Piety and Patriotism are twin brothers in our land. We’re the Christian nation, the home of the free, the defenders of liberty. Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized