[Upcoming book snippet] On the remaining sabbatismos for the people of God (Heb. 4:9) [Richard Barcellos]

Richard Barcellos:

taken from my forthcoming book by Founders Press, Getting the Garden Wrong: A Critique of New Covenant Theology on the Covenant of Works and the Sabbath

Copyright © 2016 Richard C. Barcellos. All rights reserved.

That which “remains” is “a Sabbath rest.” The noun “a Sabbath rest” (σαββατισμὸς [sabbatismos]) is used only here in the Bible. Various cognate forms of it are used in the Septuagint (LXX) in at least four places (Exod. 16:30; Lev. 23:32; 26:34; 2 Chron. 36:21). Each use in the LXX, when referring to men, refers to Sabbath-keeping in terms of an activity in the (then) here and now. Lincoln admits this, when he says, “In each of these places the term denotes the observance or celebration of the Sabbath.”[1] This can be seen especially in Exodus 16:30, Leviticus 23:32, and 26:35.


So the people rested (LXX: ἐσαββάτισεν [esabbatisen]; a verb) on the seventh day. (Exod. 16:30)

It is to be a sabbath (LXX: σάββατα [sabbata]; a noun) of complete rest (LXX: σαββάτων [sabbatōn]; a noun) to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep (LXX: σαββατιεῖτε [sabbatieite]; a verb) your sabbath (LXX: τὰ σάββατα ὑμῶν [ta sabbata hymōn]; a noun). (Lev. 23:32)

All the days of its [i.e., the land’s] desolation it will observe the rest (LXX: σαββατιεῖ [sabbatiei]; a verb) which it did not observe (LXX: ἐσαββάτισεν [esabbatisen]; a verb) on your sabbaths (LXX: τοῖς σαββάτοις ὑμῶν [tois sabbatois hymōn]; a noun), while you were living on it. (Lev. 26:34-35)

Dr. Richard Barcellos
Dr. Richard Barcellos

Something interesting occurs in the LXX version of Leviticus 23:32a. The LXX text reads as follows: σάββατα σαββάτων ἔσται ὑμῖν (sabbata sabbatōn estai hymin). The NASB translates this verse: “It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you.” The word σάββατα in the LXX compliments the verb “to be” (ἔσται). The word σαββάτων (“of complete rest”) modifies σάββατα. Both nouns clearly refer to an activity, a Sabbath-keeping to be rendered by those addressed in the passage. In Leviticus 23:32b of the LXX a verb is followed by its direct object as follows: σαββατιεῖτε τὰ σάββατα ὑμῶν (sabbatieite ta sabbata hymōn [“you shall keep your sabbath”]). Here a Sabbath for the people of God to keep is pressed upon them, explicitly by verbs and implicitly by nouns. Also, in each case the word “Sabbath” is the same used by Moses in Genesis 2:2, “and He rested on the seventh day” (emphasis added). Pertinent to our discussion as well is the fact that God’s creational rest in the LXX of Exodus 20:11 is referred to with the verb κατέπαυσεν (katepausen), the same word translated “rest” in Hebrews 3 and 4. In the LXX, what for the Creator is “rest” implies a Sabbath day to be kept for creatures. Hebrews 3 and 4 seem to follow this septuagintal pattern (see the discussion on divine rests above and the exposition of Heb. 4:10 below).

Robert P. Martin has an excellent discussion on the word “a Sabbath rest” (σαββατισμὸς [sabbatismos]). In the context of interacting with Andrew T. Lincoln, Martin says:

It is interesting that Lincoln acknowledges that “in each of these places [i.e., the LXX texts cited above] the term denotes the observance or celebration of the Sabbath,” i.e., not a Sabbath rest as a state to be entered into but a Sabbath-keeping as a practice to be observed. This, of course, corresponds to the word’s morphology, for the suffix —μoς indicates anaction and not just a state. This at least suggests that if the writer of Hebrews meant only “a Sabbath rest,” i.e., “a Sabbath state” to be entered into, he would have used the term σάββατον (“Sabbath”) or continued to use κατάπαυσις (“rest”), for he already had established the referent of κατάπαυσις as God’s own Sabbath rest which is to be entered into by faith (cf., 4:1, 3-4, 11). Thus σαββατισμὸς suggests a Sabbath action, i.e., “a Sabbath-keeping,” although the idea of a “a Sabbath state” is not necessarily excluded because of the overarching theme of the larger context.[2]

Throughout the passage thus far, the word translated “rest” is κατάπαυσις (katapausis). This word is also used in Hebrews 4:10-11. The shift from katapausis to sabbatismos at Hebrews 4:9 is deliberate.[3] But why the change? Joseph A. Pipa suggests the following:

The uniqueness of the word suggests a deliberate, theological purpose. He selects or coins sabbatismos because, in addition to referring to spiritual rest, it suggests as well an observance of that rest by a ‘Sabbath-keeping’. Because the promised rest lies ahead for the New Covenant people, they are to strive to enter the future rest. Yet as they do so, they anticipate it by continuing to keep the Sabbath.[4]

Notice that Pipa includes “spiritual rest” in his understanding of the word sabbatismos. This is an important observation, also made by Martin above (i.e., “the idea of ‘a Sabbath state’ is not necessarily excluded because of the overarching theme of the larger context”).

Though many commentators take sabbatismos as either salvation rest in Christ now and in the future or exclusively eschatological rest, its use here in light of the flow of the contextual argument and its LXX usages suggest a different meaning. The LXX use has already been noted. In the context of Hebrews 4:9-10, the divine rests referred to have at least three things in common:  1) a divine rest after a divine work; 2) a rest to be entered in terms of man’s obedience and worship in light of the divine work/rest; and 3) a day of rest as a pledge and token of the divine work/rest and of man’s entrance into it. Each divine rest as given to the people of God (i.e., at creation and Canaan) both had an abiding rest day remaining once the rest was instituted. If the other two divine rests included rest-keeping in the form of a Sabbath day, it is not without warrant to expect future divine rests (assuming they occur) to include the same. I am suggesting Hebrews 4:9-10 indicates just such a rest.

[1] Lincoln, “Sabbath, Rest, and Eschatology in the New Testament,” 213.

[2] Martin, The Christian Sabbath, 251-52.

[3] See Lincoln, “Sabbath, Rest, and Eschatology in the New Testament,” 213, where he admits this.

[4] Pipa, The Lord’s Day, 117.

More snippets from this upcoming book:

Jesus and the Sabbath – Matthew 12:1-14:

Just as the temple yields to Christ and is transformed to fit the redemptive-historical circumstances brought in by his sufferings and glory, so the Sabbath yields to Christ and is transformed to fit the same redemptive-historical circumstances. The inaugurated new covenant has both a temple and a Sabbath. This connects Christ’s teaching on the temple and the Sabbath with subsequent revelation.

Symbols, Types, Vos, and the Sabbath:

It is necessary to distinguish between symbols and types.[1] A symbol portrays a fact or reality that presently exists. A type is prospective. Perhaps Geerhardus Vos’ discussion of the fourth commandment can help at this juncture.[2] In his Biblical Theology the fourth commandment gets much more comment from Vos than the others.[3] One of the reasons is due to its origin and modified applicability throughout redemptive history.

New Book: “A Covenant Feast: Reflections on the Lord’s Table” by J. Ryan Davidson


A Covenant Feast
Reflections on the Lord’s Table

by J. Ryan Davidson



For the Christian, oftentimes the question is: “What else is there to help me grow?” The Lord’s Supper is frequently not thought of in answer to that question. But what exactly is the Lord’s Supper, and why is it important in the life of the Christian? In a day when this feast of God’s covenant grace is often overlooked, this book calls for a greater appreciation and love for the table of the Lord. A Covenant Feast: Reflections on the Lord’s Table is one pastor’s brief attempt at encouraging readers to reflect more deeply on the use of the Lord’s Supper in their lives and to come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for how God uses this meal in the lives of His children.


Paperback: 132 pages
Publisher: Ichthus Publications (September 12, 2016)


Pastor J. Ryan Davidson & Family
Pastor J. Ryan Davidson & Family

J. Ryan Davidson has been serving at Grace Baptist Chapel since August of 2008. Ryan is married to his beautiful wife Christie, and they have four wonderful children: Micah, Lydia, Shaphan and Magdalene. Ryan holds degrees from Samford University (B.A.), The College of William & Mary (M.Ed.) in Counseling, and Southern Seminary (Th.M.) in Louisville, KY and he is completing a (Ph.D.) from The Free University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. He is a full member of the Evangelical Theological Society and a member of the American Society of Church History.

1st volume published in new series “The complete works of Andrew Fuller” ed. by Michael Haykin


complete-works-of-andrew-fullerThe first volume in the series The complete works of Andrew Fuller, ed. by Michael Haykin, has now been published by De Gruyter: Volume 9, Apologetic Works 5, Strictures on Sandemanianism, ed. by Nathan A. Finn.

Andrew Fuller (1754-1815) was the leading Baptist theologian of his era, though his works are just now being made available in a critical edition. Strictures on Sandemanianism is the fourth volume in The Works of Andrew Fuller. In this treatise, Fuller critiqued Sandemanianism, a form of Restorationism that first emerged in Scotland in the eighteenth century and was influencing the Scotch Baptists of Fuller’s day. Fuller’s biggest concern was the Sandemanian belief that saving faith is merely intellectual assent to the gospel. Fuller believed this “intellectualist” view of faith undermined evangelical spirituality. Strictures on Sandemanianism became a leading evangelical critique of Sandemanian views. This critical edition will introduce scholars to this important work and shed light on evangelical debates about the faith, justification, and sanctification during the latter half of the “long” eighteenth century (ca. 1750 to 1815).


The complete works of Andrew Fuller is a modern critical edition of the entire corpus of Andrew Fuller’s published and unpublished works.


New Book: “Covenant Theology: A Reformed Baptist Perspective” by Phillip D. R. Griffiths


Covenant Theology
A Reformed Baptist Perspective

by Phillip D. R. Griffiths

Paperback: $26.00/£19.00 | Kindle: $9.99/£7.58 | ePub: $20.80


God has always dealt with his people through the covenant, yet covenant theology from a Baptist perspective is a teaching that is all too often neglected. Many Baptists don’t know why they are Baptist. If questioned they are most likely to respond by alluding to the mode of baptism rather than its underlying theology. This book is easily accessible, providing the reader with a clear understanding of the historical Baptist position. The work points out the errors inherent in the Reformed paedobaptist paradigm, and seeks to show that the only covenant of grace is the new covenant in Christ.


Dr. Richard Barcellos“This book is a welcomed addition to the increase of literature on covenant theology from a Baptist perspective. Griffiths argues that one is either in Adam or in Christ, there being no middle ground, and to be in Christ (prior to or after the fact of the cross) is to be a recipient of what our Lord both secured and delivers by virtue of the new covenant. The discussion is informed and worth the time to read and ponder.”

Richard C. Barcellos, Pastor, Grace Reformed Baptist Church, Palmdale, CA; Author, The Lord’s Supper as a Means of Grace: More than a Memory

Pascal Denault“In this book, Griffiths presents a persuasive argument for a Reformed Baptist understanding of covenant theology. Anyone recognizing the fundamental value of covenant theology will benefit from this edifying work. I warmly recommend it as a very important resource, especially to Reformed Baptist believers. Readers of other persuasions will find much to think through and hopefully will be convinced by the accuracy of the view put forth in these pages.”

Pascal Denault, Author, The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology

“What is a covenant? Why are there two testaments? How does the old relate to the new? Who are the children of Abraham? Who is Israel, and what is the Church? The biblical answers to such questions are vital in seeing the overarching storyline of Scripture, but perhaps more importantly, the answers to these questions reveal the very nature of those who have been redeemed by God. This is why I am so thankful for this book. Phillip Griffiths has done a phenomenal job of answering these questions in offering an explanation and defence of covenant theology from a Baptist perspective. The genius of this book is discovered in how easy Griffith’s argument is to follow without the complexity of the subject being compromised. I love this book, and I am eager to recommend it to everyone.”

Jeffrey Johnson, Author, The Fatal Flaw of the Theology Behind Infant Baptism


Paperback: 214 pages
Publisher: Wipf and Stock (June 10, 2016)


Phillip D. R. Griffiths lives in Bethlehem in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. He has been happily married for thirty years to Melody, and they have two children, Benjamin and Joseph. Phillip is the author of From Calvin to Barth: A Return to Protestant Orthodoxy?

Educations: MTh (philosophical & systematic theology), B Sc (Hons 1st), BA (Hons 1st), BA (Hons 2:1), Dip Theol.

Now on Kindle $4.99: “Faith and Life for Baptists: The Documents of the London Particular Baptist General Assemblies, 1689-1694” [RBAP]

Faith and Life Cover

Faith and Life for Baptists:
The Documents of the London Particular Baptist General Assemblies, 1689-1694

Edited by James M. Renihan



The documents of the London Particular Baptist General Assemblies, 1689-1694, are contained in this book. Each General Assembly published a Narrative of its acts, and several supporting documents were also released. The 1677Confession of Faith (2LCF) was promoted, a defense of the necessity of financial support for pastors printed, a Catechism authorized, and other subordinate but important papers ordered. All of these documents are incorporated here, so far as the editor knows, some of them for the first time in print since the seventeenth century.


Print Length: 462 pages
Publisher: Reformed Baptist Academic Press
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Lending: Enabled

Foreword by Larry K. Kreitzer.

Endorsements by Crawford Gribben, Tom Nettles, Michael Haykin, Robert Oliver, Sam Waldron, Jonathan Arnold, Barry Howson, and Steve Weaver.

Recovering our Confessional Heritage: A new series of small books coming from IRBS [RBAP]

Cov of Works - ROCHReformed Baptist Academic Press:

The purpose of the series Recovering our Confessional Heritage is to address issues related to the Second London Confession of Faith of 1677/89 (2LCF). This centuries-old Confession is widely recognized as the most important Confession of Faith in Baptist history. First published in England in 1677, it became the standard for Baptists in Colonial America through the publication of the Philadelphia (1742), Ketockton, Virginia (1766), Charleston, South Carolina, Warren, Rhode Island (both 1767), and many other editions of the Confession. As late as 1881, William Cathcart, the editor of The Baptist Encyclopedia, could say, “In England and America, churches, individuals, and Associations, with clear minds, with hearts full of love for the truth, . . . have held with veneration the articles of 1689.” Since then, it has been adopted by Baptists around the world and translated into many languages.

We believe that, due to two factors, producing a series of short books on the 2LCF will be useful to many pastors and church members. First, there has been increased interest in the 2LCF in the first decade and a half of the twenty-first century. In fact, from the early 1960s, a greater awareness of this Confession among Baptists in the United States and around the world is evident. One of the encouraging proofs of this growing attention is the multiplication of churches who identify the 2LCF as their confessional standard.

Second, there are many issues related to the Confession that need to be clearly and cogently explained in order for an informed and robust recovery of Baptist confessionalism to continue. While churches and individuals have formally adopted the 2LCF as a standard, it has not always been clear that its contents have been fully or properly understood. As a result, the goal of this series is to aid those considering the 2LCF, as well as those already committed to it, in order to produce or maintain an informed and vigorous Baptist confessionalism.

The series will include treatments of various subjects by multiple authors. The subjects to be covered are those the series editors (along with consultants) determine to be of particular interest in our day. The authors will be those who display ample ability to address the issue under discussion. Some of the installments will be more involved than others due to the nature of the subject addressed and perceived current needs. Many of the contributions will cover foundational aspects of the self-consistent theological system expressed in the Confession. Others will address difficult, often misunderstood, or even denied facets of the doctrinal formulations of the 2LCF. Each installment will have a “For Further Reading” bibliography at the end to encourage further study on the issue discussed.

It is hoped that, by the blessing of God, these brief books will produce a better understanding of “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, NKJV) as well as a clearer and more robust understanding of what it means to confess the 2LCF in the twenty-first century.

James M. Renihan, Editor-in-Chief

Richard C. Barcellos, Managing Editor

October 2016

David Campbell’s radio interview on his book “Handle That New Call with Care: Accepting or Declining a Call to a New Congregation” [Iron Sharpens Iron]

From the recently posted October 1, 2015 Iron Sharpens Iron radio show:

Handle_that_new_call_with_care_2057b726-1abe-42d9-b74b-07d71586df8d_1024x1024Guest #1: DAVID CAMPBELL pastor of Grace Baptist Church of Carlisle, PA,
on his book:

Accepting or Declining a Call to a New Congregation…

1 hour audio:


New Book: “Faith and Life for Baptists: The Documents of the London Particular Baptist General Assemblies, 1689-1694” [RBAP]

Faith and Life Cover

Faith and Life for Baptists:
The Documents of the London Particular Baptist General Assemblies, 1689-1694

Edited by James M. Renihan


The documents of the London Particular Baptist General Assemblies, 1689-1694, are contained in this book. Each General Assembly published aNarrative of its acts, and several supporting documents were also released. The 1677Confession of Faith (2LCF) was promoted, a defense of the necessity of financial support for pastors printed, a Catechism authorized, and other subordinate but important papers ordered. All of these documents are incorporated here, so far as the editor knows, some of them for the first time in print since the seventeenth century.


462 pages
Published 2016 {Reformed Baptist Academic Press]

Foreword by Larry K. Kreitzer.

Endorsements by Crawford Gribben, Tom Nettles, Michael Haykin, Robert Oliver, Sam Waldron, Jonathan Arnold, Barry Howson, and Steve Weaver.

New Booklet: “1689 Confession’s Influence on Early American Missons & Church Planting” by Steve Weaver


The 1689 Baptist Confession and Its Influence on Early American Missons and Church Planting

by Steve Weaver


Pastor Steve Weaver
Pastor Steve Weaver

By showing that the original signers of the confession were evangelistic and missions-minded and by showing that those who held to the confession in North America were also evangelistic and missions-minded, it is hoped that we can lay to rest the mistaken notion that those who held to the 1689 Baptist Confession and its theological descendants in America – the Philadelphia and Charleston Confessions – were unconcerned and uninvolved in the work of missions and church planting.


  • $2.00
  • 80 lb. cover
  • Staple-booklet binding
  • 35 pgs.
  • Published by Reformed Baptist Faith and Family Ministry

Reformed Baptist Faith and Family MinistryReformed Baptist Faith & Family (RBFF) is a non-profit Christian printing and publishing ministry, which exists to provide the Churches of Jesus Christ with quality resources aimed at equipping, exhorting and encouraging her members while remaining committed to the biblical truths as preserved in the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689 Baptist Confession).


“Owen on the Christian Life” 50% Off @ WTS Books [Haykin + others]


Praise for the book:

“Theologically rich, carefully researched, and historically grounded, this book leads us into the wisdom of one of the greatest theologians of all time. Barrett and Haykin’s study of John Owen expands our view of the Christian life to embrace the knowledge of God’s glory in Jesus Christ. As our Lord reminded us, that is life indeed (John 17:3). Once you finish this book, you will definitely want to read Owen himself!” — Joel R. Beeke

“The writings of John Owen constitute an entire country of biblical, exegetical, doctrinal, spiritual, casuistical, practical, ecclesiastical, controversial, and political theology. Massive in size, Oweniana cannot be visited on a day trip. Indeed a lifetime hardly suffices for all there is to explore. But hire as your tour guides Matthew Barrett and Michael Haykin, and the daunting journey seems possible after all. With these seasoned scholars and enthusiasts as companions, visiting the varied counties, the significant towns, and the great cities of Oweniana is as enjoyable as it is instructive. Owen on the Christian Life simply excels as an outstanding contribution to an already first-class series.” — Sinclair B. Ferguson

From the site:

Two Credo Magazine contributors, Matthew Barrett and Michael Haykin, have written a new book together: Owen on the Christian Life: Living for the Glory of God in Christ.

This book is part of the series, Theologians on the Christian Life, edited by Stephen Nichols and Justin Taylor. For only two more days, the book is 50% off at Westminster Books!

John Owen is widely regarded as one of the most influential English Puritans. As a pastor, he longed to see the glory of Christ take root in people’s lives. As a writer, he continues to encourage us toward discipline and communion with God. His high view of God and deep theological convictions flowed naturally into practical application and a zeal for personal holiness.

In Owen on the Christian Life, Barrett and Haykin guide us through the seventeenth-century theologian’s life and doctrine, giving us a glimpse into the majestic vision that served as the foundation for his approach to the Christian life–the glory of God in Christ.

Part of the Theologians on the Christian Life series.

Upcoming Book: “Confessing the Impassible God: The Biblical, Classical, & Confessional Doctrine of Divine Impassibility” eds. Baines, Barcellos, Butler, Lindblad & J. Renihan [RBAP]

Reformed Baptist Fellowship:

Confessing the Impassible God

Confessing the Impassible God:
The Biblical, Classical, & Confessional Doctrine of Divine Impassibility

eds. Ronald S. Baines, Richard C. Barcellos, James P. Butler, Stefan T. Lindblad, and James M. Renihan.


RBAP [Reformed Baptist Academic Press] currently has two books on divine impassibility, God without Passions: a Reader and God without Passions: a Primer. What is divine impassibility? Sam Renihan, in his newest book (God without Passions: a Primer), defines it as follows: “God does not experience emotional changes either from within or effected by his relationship to creation” (19). That definition might startle you. It sounds as if God were a cold, indifferent divine rock or robot. Notice the words just used to describe God: “cold,” “indifferent,” “rock,” and “robot.” Each of these terms are creaturely; they are borrowed from the created realm. Of course God is not “cold,” “indifferent,” a “rock,” or a “robot”; He is not creature. This is exactly what the Second London Confession of 1677/89 asserts, when it says, “[God is] without body, parts, or passions” (2.1). Each of these terms – “body,” “parts,” “passions” – are indicative of creatures not the eternal Creator. “Passions” are creaturely actions which need a creaturely “body” and creaturely “parts” (i.e., faculties of the soul) in order to exist. “Passions” come into being; God is (Exod. 3:14).  Since God has neither “body” nor “parts” of which He is comprised or compounded, and due to divine immutability and eternity, He is impassible (i.e., “without…passions”).

But, someone might be thinking, does divine impassibility mean that God is not love? Of course not, for we are told that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). The love of God is a divine perfection, co-extensive with the divine essence and, therefore, eternal. It is not a divine passion (a contradiction). Love is what God is (i.e., actually), not what God can become (i.e., potentially). God can and does reveal His love to creatures but He does not and cannot manufacture more love or deplete Himself of previous love. For to become more or less loving, for example, implies the imperfection of a previous state of existence. God’s perfections are immutable.

This leads to RBAP’s next book on divine impassibility, Confessing the Impassible God: The Biblical, Classical, & Confessional Doctrine of Divine Impassibility. This book will cover hermeneutics, exegesis, historical theology, systematic theology, the Confession, and practical theology. It will contain a Foreword by Paul Helm and has been endorsed by Earl Blackburn, Walter Chantry, James Dolezal, J. V. Fesko, Ryan McGraw, Fred Sanders, David VanDrunen, Jeffrey Waddington, and Sam Waldron.

Table of Contents:


Foreword | Paul Helm

Preface | The Editors


An Introduction to the Doctrine of Divine Impassibility: Why is this Doctrine Important? | James M. Renihan

Part I: Theological and Hermeneutical Prolegomena

  1. Analogy and the Doctrine of Divine Impassibility | Charles J.  Rennie
  1. Hermeneutics: Analogia Scripturae and Analogia Fidei | Ronald S. Baines

Part II: Biblical Foundations

  1. The Old Testament on Divine Impassibility: (I) Texts on the Nature of God | Steve Garrick with Ronald S. Baines
  1. The Old Testament on Divine Impassibility: (II) Texts on Immutability and Impassibility | Ronald S. Baines and Steve Garrick
  1. The Old Testament on Divine Impassibility: (III) Texts on Apparent Passibilism and Conclusion | Steve Garrick, James P. Butler, and Charles J. Rennie
  1. The New Testament on Divine Impassibility: (I) Texts on the Nature of God, Immutability, and Impassibility | Richard C. Barcellos and James P. Butler
  1. The New Testament on the Doctrine of Divine Impassibility: (II) Creation, the Incarnation and Sufferings of Christ, and Conclusion | Richard C. Barcellos

Part III: Historical Theology

  1. Historical Theology Survey of the Doctrine of Divine Impassibility: Pre-Reformation through Seventeenth-Century | Michael T. Renihan, James M. Renihan, and Samuel Renihan
  1. Historical Theology Survey of the Doctrine of Divine Impassibility: The Modern Era | Brandon Smith and James M. Renihan

Part IV: Systematic Theology

  1. A Theology of the Doctrine of Divine Impassibility: (I) Impassibility and the Essence and Attributes of God | Charles J. Rennie
  1. A Theology of the Doctrine of Divine Impassibility: (II) Impassibility and the Divine Affections | Charles J. Rennie
  1. A Theology of the Doctrine of Divine Impassibility: (III) Impassibility and Christology | Charles J. Rennie and Stefan T. Lindblad

Part V: Confessional Theology

  1. Confessional Theology and the Doctrine of Divine Impassibility | James M. Renihan

Part VI: Practical Theology

  1. Practical Theology and the Doctrine of Divine Impassibility | James P. Butler

Part VII: Conclusion

  1. Closing Comments and Affirmations and Denials | Ronald S. Baines and Charles J. Rennie


  1. Review of God with Us: Divine Condescension and the Attributes of God, K. Scott Oliphint | Charles J. Rennie
  1. Review of God is Impassible and Impassioned: Toward a Theology of Divine Emotion, Rob Lister | James E. Dolezal

Scripture Index

Name and Subject Index

Glossary of Technical Terms and Theological Phrases

Bibliography of Works Cited

Excerpts from Paul Helm’s Foreword:

. . . This book can be said to present an interdisciplinary exposition and so a cumulative defense of divine impassibility and of the doctrine of God of which that is an aspect. Each line of argument strengthens and supports the other. Its foundation in Scripture, and the hermeneutics employed, show the doctrine to be not speculative or abstract but to have its foundation in the varied data of the both Testaments of the Bible. The chapters on history show that divine impassibility is not a recent whimsy or the peculiar invention of a Christian sect, but the historic catholic faith. Those on the confession and the doctrine of God set out its Baptist pedigree, and the connectedness of impassibility with other distinctions made in the doctrine of God, and their overall coherence. Each line of enquiry sensitizes the palate to taste the others. There is a polemical strand throughout the book, contrasting this view with those of Open Theism and aberrant statements from contemporary Calvinists and others. But these arguments are used not to score points but to set forth and make even clearer the positive, historic teaching on divine impassibility, by contrasting it with other currently-held views.

I am honored to have been asked to write this Foreword, and delighted with what I have read. Confessing the Impassible God is heartily recommended.

Paul Helm
Former Professor of the History and Philosophy of Religion
King’s College

Some Endorsements:

Pastor Earl BlackburnHow is the confessional phrase God is  “without . . . passions” to be understood? Is God really without passions? Isn’t he like us or rather aren’t we like God, made in his image? We have passions and emotions, therefore, God must have the same; or so the argument goes. Can God become emotionally hurt or distraught? Does God actually and emotionally change with varying circumstances and situations in human history? After all, doesn’t the Bible say that God repented? These are some questions that have been raised in the past century, but with renewed vigor in the last ten years.

The above questions are skillfully answered in this book Confessing the Impassible God. . . .

Earl M. Blackburn
Heritage Baptist Church, Senior Pastor
Shreveport, Louisiana


Pastor Walt Chantry. . . You will find within these covers profound thought that is not all easy to grasp but well-worth the effort.

I am pleased to commend this volume. May it bring much praise to “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).

Walter J. Chantry
Author of Today’s Gospel, Authentic or Synthetic?,
Signs of the Apostles, and Call the Sabbath a Delight


James DolezalThe essays in this volume constitute a wonderful blend of biblical, historical, contemplative, and practical theology all in defense of the doctrine of divine impassibility. The defense mounted is not primarily against the usual cast of detractors—Open Theists and process theologians—but against those evangelicals who imagine that abandoning or reconceiving impassibility can be done with little or no detriment to the edifice of a classical theology proper. The authors are convinced that once one begins to chip away at this crucial piece of the foundation the whole house of orthodox Christian conviction about God and his attributes begins to falter. And they are right.

. . . The result is a richly rewarding study that magnifies our unchanging God.

James E. Dolezal
Assistant Professor of Theology
Cairn University


Truth sometimes sounds stranger than fiction, which is why Confessing the Impassible God is a welcomed, rigorous defense of the traditional and confessional doctrine of divine impassibility. . . . The contributors provide a significant exegetical, theological, historical, and practical engagement of the issues, which makes this eminently useful for pastors, scholars, seminarians, and even people in the pews.

J. V. Fesko
Academic Dean Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology
Westminster Seminary California


Theology is not static. The church has made progress in its understanding of the Trinity, Christology, Soteriology, and Ecclesiology. However, theological development ordinarily comes through the church combating error rather than choosing a research topic for a new book. In responding to error, the church must build upon and enrich her understanding of Scripture, in dialogue with church history, with an eye toward a new generation, rather than jettison the past in the name of theological progress. This book presents the old view of divine impassibility, using old arguments, against new critics.

Ryan M. McGraw
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology
Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary


A spirited reclaiming of the doctrine of divine impassibility, this coherent, well-edited, multi-author project is unique in several commendable aspects. It is decisively Baptist, but advances its argument in ways that recent generations have stopped expecting from Baptist theologians. These authors are committed to the final authority of Scripture in doctrinal matters, but mastery of their tradition’s confessional resources gives them uncommon access to depths of theological understanding. In particular, they have chased the doctrine that God is “without passions” all the way down metaphysically, relating it meaningfully to the theology of the divine being as pure act, and steadfastly refusing mere voluntarism, the persistent Scotist reductionist temptation to make everything depend on God’s will rather than his nature. Evangelical projects of retrieval are becoming more common as theologians appropriate patristic and medieval resources. Confessing the Impassible God stands out for its commitment to a retrieval of the middle distance, the Baptist confessions of early modernity as the nearby trailhead to the great tradition of Christian theology. Good fences make good neighbors, and I think that, paradoxically, the decisively Baptist focus of this project is what will make it useful beyond its own Reformed Baptist confessional borders.

Fred Sanders
Professor of Theology
Torrey Honors Institute
Biola University


Confessing the Impassible God addresses a topic that gets to matters at the heart of our understanding of the living God. Exploring the doctrine of divine impassibility through thorough historical, confessional, systematic, and exegetical studies, the authors make a compelling case that maintaining a robust affirmation of impassibility not only secures our continuity with the long patristic, medieval, and Reformation tradition of theology proper but also guards against falling into a range of errors that entail portraying God as something fundamentally other than the God of classical, biblical Christianity.

. . . I recommend this volume to all thoughtful Christians who wish to know and worship God truly, and I expect they will find here great encouragement to embrace impassibility not as a sterile idea of Greek metaphysics but as profound biblical teaching meant to bolster our faith, hope, love, joy, and confidence in the Triune God.

David VanDrunen
Robert B. Strimple Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics
Westminster Seminary California


Classical theism is under attack in our day. Specifically such doctrines as divine simplicity and impassibility are deconstructed in an effort to achieve a more believable and accessible God. Unfortunately this more believable and accessible God is not the God of the Bible. It would be bad enough if the enemies of Christ led the attack against classical theism, but it is so-called friends who undermine the classical biblical witness to our great and glorious self-contained triune God. The broader church and Reformed community owe a debt of gratitude to our Reformed Baptist brothers for producing Confessing the Impassible God. In this fine book, the classically biblical doctrine of divine impassibility is defined and defended, explored and exposited. . . . This volume covers the whole spectrum of the theological encyclopedia on divine impassibility. I salute the men who have been involved in the publication of this fine book.

Rev. Jeffrey C. Waddington
Stated Supply & Ministerial Adviser—Knox Orthodox Presbyterian Church Lansdowne, PA
Ministerial Adviser—Calvary Church of Amwell (OPC) Ringoes, NJ
Panelist & Secretary of the Board—The Reformed Forum
Articles Editor—The Confessional Presbyterian Journal
Book Series Editor & Fellow—Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals


Dr. Sam WaldronThere was a time when it was my opinion that the Doctrine of God or Theology Proper was settled. It seemed to me that, except for the debates over God’s eternal decree between Reformed and Arminian Christians, the Doctrine of God was of little polemic interest. If that was ever really the case, it is surely not the case now. The onslaught of Process and Open Theism, the claims that the classical Christian doctrine of God was seriously infected with Greek philosophical ideas, and the consequent and widespread proposals to modify the traditional Theology Proper of classical Christian theism are provoking widening discussion. Confessing the Impassible God provides an important, deep, and thoughtful response to the proposed revisions to the doctrine of divine impassibility—one of the hot-spots in the polemic furor among Reformed evangelicals over the Doctrine of God. I am grateful for the theologically careful and historically informed hermeneutics and exegesis of the present volume. I am grateful especially for the reminder that this book contains of the importance of recognizing the revelation of Scripture as analogical, and sometimes anthropopathic, and the importance of recognizing this in our teaching. Confessing the Impassible God deserves close study and appreciative discussion among Reformed Christians.

Sam Waldron
Dean of Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary
Pastor of Grace Reformed Baptist Church
Owensboro, KY


New Book: “A Noble Company, Vol. 6: Biographical Essays of Notable Particular-Regular Baptists in America” [Particular Baptist Press]

Particular Baptist Press:

A Noble Company, volume 6, is here!

You can order your copy today on our web site – PBPress.org – or by clicking on the shopping cart on our Facebook page – Facebook.com/ParticularBaptistPress. The hardback book sells for $34 – 654 pages, illustrated with 3 comprehensive indexes. Get your copy today!


$34 – A Noble Company

Biographical Essays on Notable Particular-Regular Baptists in America

Volume 6

Edited by Terry Wolever


Particular Baptist PressThis volume marks the halfway point in our projected twelve-volume series on the Calvinistic Baptists in North America, the first 11 volumes of which will focus on the Americans (including those who did pioneering work north of the border in Canada), while the 12th volume will deal exclusively with the Canadians. We are grateful to the Lord for bringing us to this place in our series and we are relying on His grace to complete this effort. Volume 6 has essays on twenty more men and women, all of whom lived between the mid-eighteenth century and the opening decades of the nineteenth century. Once again there will be some familiar names—Isaac Case, Stephen Gano, Daniel Merrill, Elisha Andrews, and Robert B. Semple, but far more of the “unknowns” which readers have come to appreciate in these volumes, such as Elisha Scott Williams and Abigail L. Williams, Joseph Willis, Sarah Hallet, Obed Warren, John Peak, Joseph Keen, Lemuel Covell, Otis Robinson, Charles Lahatt, Peter P. Roots, Henry Smalley, John Williams, Edward Barber, and Thomas B. Montanye.

Subjects in this volume are [link give short description]:

1. Elisha S. Williams (1757-1845) and Abigail L. Williams (1758-1818) by Terry Wolever.

2. Joseph Willis (1758?-1854) by Thomas Ray.

3. Sarah Hallet (1759-1814) by Terry Wolever.

4. Obed Warren (1760-1823) by Patrick D. Kennedy.

5. John Peak (1761-1842) by J. Ramsey Michaels.

6. Isaac Case (1761-1852) by Jeff Brodrick.

7. Joseph Keen (1762-1821) by Lloyd A. Harsch.

8. Stephen Gano (1762-1828) by Terry Wolever.

9. Lemuel Covell (1764-1806) by Gerald L. Priest.

10. Otis Robinson (1764-1835) by Ian Hugh Clary.

11. Charles Lahatt (1764-1850) by Ron Baines.

12. Peter P. Roots (1765-1828) by Larry Oats.

13. Daniel Merrill (1765-1833) by Ron Baines.

14. Henry Smalley (1765-1839) by Christopher C. Moore.

15. John Williams (1767-1825) by Michael D. McMullen.

16. Edward Barber (1768-1834) by Andre A. Gazal.

17. Elisha Andrews (1768-1840) by Johnny Truelove.

18. Thomas B. Montanye (1769-1829) by Nathan V. Lentfer.

19. Robert B. Semple (1769-1831) by Reginald S. Mills.

Concluding the book are two appendixes:

 A. A Memorial to the faithful band of female members at the Pittsgrove Baptist Church, N.J., 1788-1803.

B. Did Henry Holcombe depart from the accepted Regular Baptist understanding on the doctrine of saving faith?


Hardcover. Bound in Navy cloth vellum with gold stamping. 654 pages. Illustrated with some additional rare portraits and other pictures. Three extensive indexes – Persons, Subjects and Churches.

Upcoming Book: “The Forgotten Fear: Where Have All the God Fearers Gone?” by Al Martin [RHB] + 1st Chapter PDF

Coming October 2015 from Reformation Heritage Books:

Forgotten Fear

The Forgotten Fear:
Where Have All the God Fearers Gone?

by Albert N. Martin

[ preorder from RHB: $11.25 | AMZ: $15.00/£9.75 ]


The fear of God is an important theme in the Bible, yet many Christians today overlook it or treat it carelessly. Fearing God is the soul of godliness, and those who claim to love God should desire to understand what it means to fear Him. The Forgotten Fear revisits this important topic. Author Al Martin first establishes the theme of the fear of God in both the Old and New Testaments, and then he defines what fearing God means. Finally, he addresses the practical implications of fearing God, showing its expression in the lives of Abraham and Joseph and providing instruction for believers today to maintain their fear of God and even increase it.

Table of Contents:

  1. Predominance of the Fear of God in Biblical Thought
  2. Definition of the Fear of God
  3. Ingredients of the Fear of God
  4. Source of the Fear of God
  5. Relationship of the Fear of God to Our Conduct
  6. How to Maintain and Increase the Fear of God
  7. A Final Word to the Reader


Al Martin
Al Martin

Albert N. Martin served as a pastor of Trinity Baptist Church of Montville, New Jersey for forty-six years. He now resides in western Michigan with his wife, Dorothy.


“Professor John Murray once wrote, “The fear of God is the soul of godliness.” Well said! But what is the fear of God? And how does the Christian biblically express it? Thankfully, Reformation Heritage Books brings us a new work that answers these questions.

Pastor Rob Ventura
Pastor Rob Ventura

Coming this October is a masterful treatment of this vital subject by Pastor Albert N. Martin, who sets forth the Bible’s teaching on this topic in ways that are clear, practical and motivating. Since the fear of God is a major theme from Genesis to Revelation, it is an enormous blessing to have this comprehensive exposition available. I highly recommend it.”

– Rob Ventura


Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books (October 23, 2015)

Read the first chapter [PDF]:

Download (PDF, 204KB)

Standing on the shoulders of giants: The preacher & his books [Steve Weaver | Hercules Collins | Spurgeon]

Pastor Steve Weaver gives an encouragement for pastors to learn from others by way of reading. Here is a snippet with quotes from Hercules Collins and C. H. Spurgeon :

Historically, Baptists have recognized the importance of learning from the works of others. In his book on pastoral ministry, The Temple Repair’d, the seventeenth-century English Baptist pastor Hercules Collins provided his readers with a list of recommend books [see/read them here]. Furthermore, when young men in his Wapping church expressed a desire to begin preaching, they were provided with key biblical and theological works. Collins believed that ministers must labor in their study of the Word of God because of the exalted nature of their work as ministers. Collins-signature2-480x320Commenting on 2 Timothy 2:15, he wrote,

“We should study to be good workmen because our work is of the highest nature. Men that work among jewels and precious Stones ought to be very knowing of their business. A minister’s work is a great work, a holy work, a heavenly work. Hence the Apostle says “Who is sufficient for these things?” O how great a work is this! What man, what angel is sufficient to preach the gospel as they ought to preach it! You work for the highest end, the glory of God, and the good of immortal souls. You are for the beating down of the kingdom of the devil, and enlarging and exalting Christ’s kingdom.”

Pastor Steve Weaver
Pastor Steve Weaver

The tendency to downplay the importance of reading and studying books in one’s preparation for preaching has been a perennial issue. Some have sought to downplay the importance of God-honoring books out of false sense of piety. But even the apostle Paul, when in prison, urged Timothy to bring “the books” (2 Tim. 4:13). The nineteenth-century’s Prince of Preachers Charles Haddon Spurgeon commented on the example of Paul in a sermon on 2 Timothy 4:13 titled “Paul—His Cloak and His Books.”

C. H. Spurgeon
C. H. Spurgeon

“He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He has had wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up in the third heaven, and had heard things unlawful for a man to utter, yet he wants books! He has written a major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books! The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every Christian, “Give thyself to reading.” The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains proves he has no brains of his own.”

Read “Standing on the shoulders of giants: The preacher and his books”.