Here are a few excerpts from an interesting letter written by Ralph Erskine to George Whitfield.
Back in January, I announced God without Passions: A Reader. The intent of this book was to provide access to original source writings from the 16th and 17th centuries relevant to the classical confessional Reformed doctrine of divine impassibility. While that book included an introduction designed to help understanding and processing the authors’ arguments, there were no further comments on the content of the writers.
Coming out very soon from RBAP, God without Passions: A Primer is a new (and much shorter) book that explains the doctrine of divine impassibility as it is drawn from the Scriptures and understood in the contexts of the human and divine natures. God without Passions: A Primer has been peppered (and salted) with quotations from Reformed authors (their language updated), written with a personal and pastoral perspective, and it includes study questions at the end of each of the five chapters. The chapters are:
- Impassibility’s Foundation
- The Human Half of the Equation
- Eminence and Negation
- Perfections and Incarnation
- Personal Applications and Pastoral Implications
God without Passions: A Primer would be a great book for personal study, and even better for group study. I hope you enjoy it!
***You should know that “primer” is pronounced “primmer” (unlike primer used in painting).***
It’s easy to beautify and idolize the past. Many think of a “Puritan Era” in England and America which never existed (side note: the popular literature of the day mocks and makes fun of Presbyterians and Puritans). And for those who appreciate the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, we might think that the men who edited such a document surely pastored a people who lived in a more civilized and outwardly moral time. We might even bewail the state of our nation’s outward morality, etc., wishing for bygone days.
As a reality check, take note of the fact that in the Petty France church, pastored by Nehemiah Coxe and William Collins, the following sins were recorded as disciplinary issues in their congregation between 1675-1689:
- Practical: consulting a conjurer, stealing, lying, adultery, kidnapping, spousal abuse, servant abuse, going to a prostitute, deceitful business practices, prolonged and intentional neglect of church attendance.
- Doctrinal: Quakerism, Church of England, paedobaptism.
The list is not exhaustive. If there is anything “golden age” about this picture, it is that on the one hand the church openly and directly confronted these sins, and on the other hand that they always sought repentance and restoration.
There is nothing new under the sun.