New Book: ‘God Without Passions: A Reader’ edited by Samuel Renihan

The book that Sam Renihan filled us in on, just days ago, is now available from Amazon (“hopefully on sale at RBAP site by Jan 28” which will be where you can get it for less, but for those who can’t wait):

Blank bookcover with clipping path

God without Passions: A Reader
Edited by Samuel Renihan
[ $21.84 | £14.91 ]


The primary purpose of the material presented in this book is to familiarize the reader with sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English language sources pertinent to the doctrine of divine impassibility, particularly for those who confess with the Reformed confessions that God is “without body, parts, or passions.” If this material is studied carefully, the reader will encounter an excellent and diverse array of writings that touch on this subject.

Here is a portion of the foreword by Carl R. Trueman:

In our own day, the battle for the Bible continues. Yet there is another debate which is also happening: that over the doctrine of God. This second debate, while less obviously significant for the church, is likely just as important in the long run. If history can be a guide to how things will develop, then that of revisionists in this area is not a happy one. And thus it behooves all churches to pay careful attention both to their confessional standards, the rationale for the same, and the revisions which are being proposed. I myself reviewed positively a revisionist work a few years ago; subsequent reading and reflection has led me to believe I should have been far more critical.

In this context, this reader fulfills a most useful purpose because it presents an overview of relevant thought on the doctrine of God. Given that the classical Reformed understanding of God took centuries to fine-tune, it is most helpful to have key texts gathered in one volume as this will help both inform pastors and lay-people of the tradition and also point towards the rationale for that tradition and hint at the problems involved in the alternatives.

It will hopefully also serve those who are tempted by the revisions or are themselves engaged in such. Peter Taylor Forsyth once commented that every theological teacher should reflect on what his teaching would look like, or where it would lead, in two generations’ time. When it comes to modifying the doctrine of God, the story thus far would indicate that minor revisions at one point in time become major heterodoxies a few decades later. Let us hope and pray that such is not proven to be the case in our grandchildren’s day.


Paperback: 234 pages
Publisher: RBAP (January 16, 2015)
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches

Also see the Table of ContentsEndorsements &  Seventeenth-Century Dictionary Entries Related to Impassibility

Upcoming Book: ‘God without Passions, A Reader’ edited by Samuel Renihan [RBAP]

Sam Renihan
Sam Renihan

Sam Renihan:

“If you confess that God is “without passions,” you may have wondered about the meaning of that phrase, as many have. But it is of great importance to the doctrine of God. And indeed when removed, the entire doctrine unravels. Understanding this phrase requires one to understand not only the language being used, but also the doctrinal affirmations that precede it. Confessing God “without passions” is one piece of a much larger interrelated and interdependent system.


For those who desire to study this topic so as to confess with sincerity and a clear conscience that God is “without passions,” this book will fulfill the task. Drawing from sixty authors (ten of whom were Westminster Divines), this reader provides a clear picture of both the specific meaning of the phrase “without passions” as well as the larger theological context in which it is placed. After a foreword by Carl Trueman and an introduction, there are six chapters and an appendix:

1. The Reformation (1523-1565)
2. Early Orthodoxy (1565-1640)
3. High Orthodoxy (1640-1700)
4. Particular Baptists
5. Philosophical Works
6. Confessional Documents
Appendix: Definitions of Affections and Passions

This book will be available through RBAP in a few days.

Out Now: ‘Recovering a Covenantal Heritage: Essays in Baptist Covenant Theology’ [RBAP]

Recovering Covenantal Heritage

$27.29 | £22.98 ]

Per Richard Barcellos, RBAP should be getting their copies around the 10th and will be selling them for around $10 less.

Here is the Table of Contents: 

Preface – Richard C. Barcellos, Ph.D.

Introduction – James M. Renihan, Ph.D.



 1. A Brief Overview of Seventeenth-Century Reformed Orthodox Federalism – Richard C. Barcellos, Ph.D.

2. Covenant Theology in the First and Second London Confessions of Faith – James M. Renihan, Ph.D.

3. By Farther Steps: A Seventeenth-Century Particular Baptist Covenant Theology – Pascal Denault, Th.M.

4. The Puritan Argument for the Immersion of Believers: How Seventeenth-Century Baptists Utilized the Regulative Principle of Worship – G. Stephen Weaver, Jr., Ph. D.

5. The Antipaedobaptism of John Tombes – Michael T. Renihan, Ph.D.

6. The Abrahamic Covenant in the Thought of John Tombes – Michael T. Renihan, Ph.D.

7. John Owen on the Mosaic Covenant – Thomas E. Hicks, Jr., Ph.D.

8. A ‘Novel’ Approach to Credobaptist and Paedobaptist Polemics – Jeffrey A. Massey



 9. The Fatal Flaw of Infant Baptism: The Dichotomous Nature of the Abrahamic Covenant – Jeffrey D. Johnson

10. The Difference Between the Old and New Covenants: John Owen on Hebrews 8:6 –  John Owen

11. The Newness of the New Covenant (Part 1) – James R. White, Th.D.

12. The Newness of the New Covenant (Part 2) – James R. White, Th.D.

13. Acts 2:39 in its Context: An Exegetical Summary of Acts 2:39 and Paedobaptism (Part 1) – Jamin Hübner

14. Acts 2:39 in its Context: Case Studies in Paedobaptist Interpretations of Acts 2:39 (Part 2) – Jamin Hübner

15. An Exegetical Appraisal of Colossians 2:11-12 – Richard C. Barcellos, Ph.D.



 16. Reformed Baptist Covenant Theology and Biblical Theology – Micah and Samuel Renihan


Scripture Index

Name and Subject Index

Samples: Preface |  Intro | Chapter 1 | Chapter 10

Paperback: 532 pages

‘Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants’ Review Article [PDF] by Sam Renihan [from JIRBS 2014]

Kingdom Through Covenant Gentry Wellum
Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenant by Peter J. Gentry and Stephen J. Wellum

This review article was published in the Journal of the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies (2014): 153-76, and is used with permission from Reformed Baptist Academic Press.

Sam Renihan
Sam Renihan

Here is the first couple of paragraphs of the critique sections and the closing paragraph:

It goes without saying that Gentry and Wellum are to be commended for their detailed, careful, and extensive work. They are also to be commended for a desire to say what God has said in such a way that reflects the way that he has said it. But we must now turn to iron-sharpening and face the giants in the land.


The fundamental argument of Kingdom through Covenant is sound. God does indeed govern his world through dominion delegated by covenant. The overall metanarrative is also sound. There is a great tension/need in the progress of the historical covenants for one who will do perfectly all that God commands. But the authors are operating under a few false dilemmas.


They propose their system as a via media between covenant theology and dispensationalism. From all appearances, covenant theology equals paedobaptism. The only hint to the contrary is the brief mention of Greg Nichols’ book in the preface (12- 13). Forasmuch as the authors are weary of the rehearsal of the same arguments from covenant theologians, they would find many an ally among the federal theologians of the seventeenth-century Particular Baptists. A rejection of the idea that the historical covenants are simply “administrations” of the covenant of grace, an appreciation for the progressive nature of God’s covenantal dealings with man, and an insistence that the new covenant is the covenant of grace are arguments that have been brought forward in the past. But these arguments did not entail the same rejection of the covenant of works and covenant of grace as is seen in this book. Thus, it is a false dilemma to see no party besides paedobaptist federal theologians and dispensationalists…


Gentry and Wellum have produced a volume that demands attention, consideration, and interaction. At the very least, it provides a wealth of exegetical work and research for those who would want to study these issues. But more than that, it is a book that will add contour and detail to the reader’s understanding of the divine drama and all that God has done and will do for his people throughout the ages.

You can read the HTML (text) of this article at 1689 Federalism [52 minute readout], as well as find the PDF below:

Download (PDF, 281KB)

The Case for Credobaptism from a 1689 Federalism perspective [Sam Renihan]

place for truth header

Brandon Adams over at writes:

Place for Truth: A Voice of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals posted two articles recently. One arguing for paedobaptism [link], the other for credobaptism.


Sam Renihan
Sam Renihan

Samuel Renihan wrote an excellent summary of 1689 Federalism’s case for credobaptism. I highly recommend reading it, printing it, and saving it.


Consequently, there has never been a covenant wherein “believers and their children” constituted the paradigm for covenant membership.

A Few Thoughts For Consideration In The Modern Republication Debate [Sam Renihan]

These thoughts are directed primarily at members in the OPC and PCA.

For those contra republication:

  1. The view that the Mosaic covenant was a covenant of works is a view found among Reformed divines in the 17th and 16th centuries.
  2. The Westminster Confession of Faith is not the exclusive expression or boundary of Reformed orthodoxy.

For those pro republication:

  1. The fact that a given divine at the Westminster Assembly held to a given view does not mean that the Confession itself either reflects, includes, or accounts for their view. They debated many things. The conclusion of the debates was a majority vote in one direction, not a unanimous vote.
  2. A covenant of works and a covenant of grace are as different as wood and stone. They are different “substances.” If the Mosaic covenant is a formal covenant of works (not just containing a remembrance of Adam’s covenant) it cannot be the covenant grace. See John Ball, A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace (London: Printed by G. Miller, 1645), 93-95. Ball is discussing John Cameron’s view that the Mosaic covenant (the old covenant) is neither the covenant of works nor the covenant of grace but a legal covenant for the nation of Israel to live life in the land of Canaan. Ball concludes that this view makes the old covenant differ from the new in substance. See also John Owen, A Continuation of the Exposition of the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews(London: Printed for Nathaniel Ponder, 1680), 324-42. Owen considers the majority view as expressed in the WCF and rejects it because he views the Mosaic covenant as a works covenant for life in the land. This is the result of the simple logic of substance as applied to covenant theology.

Read more here

Particular Baptists & the Substance / Administration Distinction Part 2 [Sam Renihan]

covenant theology federalism header 2

Sam Renihan
Sam Renihan

Sam Renihan follows up on a post he wrote June 2013:

Some time ago, I posted a lengthy piece intending to offer some balance to the strong push with which “1689 Federalism” was being put forward. The point was to make it clear that there were some Particular Baptists who held to a more “Westminster” style of federal theology. As the examples of this other flavor I mentioned Robert Purnell, Robert Steed/Abraham Cheare, and Thomas DeLaune.


I want to reevaluate some of the thoughts in that post for three main reasons:


  1. I missed some vital elements of argumentation in those authors’ writings which yield a somewhat different picture of their federalism.
  2. I want to remind readers to be careful with the language of “administration.”
  3. I want to reaffirm that a more “Westminster” style of federalism was present among PB’s.


I consider these reasons to be “live” issues because of some recent blogs by an internet-friend of mine, Enrique Junior Duran [yes, our own “Bigg Dippa”]:



I intend this post to be a friendly reply, and a help, to him. A reply because I think we both have not understood Steed/Cheare correctly, and a help because I’m adding another author that I think Junior would find a lot of agreement with…

Read the rest of Particular Baptists and the Substance/Administration Distinction (Part 2) [21 minute readout]

Redeemer Radio: “God’s Covenant” with Pastor Sam Renihan (Part 2) [Audio]

Sam Renihan and the Redeemer Radio host
Sam Renihan and the Redeemer Radio host
Last week we shared, Part 1 of Redeemer Radio’s interview with Pastor Sam Renihan on the Covenant of Grace.

Part 2 is now up and available at [mp3]

In this episode they discuss how the Covenant of Grace was administered in the Old Testament (God taught His people to believe the gospel of Christ through types and shadows), recommended readings on Covenant Theology from Particular Baptists, and an outline of Pascal Denault’s “Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology”.


Redeemer Radio: “God’s Covenant” with Pastor Sam Renihan (Part 1) [Audio]

Sam Renihan

As someone who agrees with the Federalism as described in the Second London Baptist Confession of 1677/89 I agree with most of Pastor Renihan’s theology. We differ on a few things (which I have discussed with him in the past), and I believe we agree on some things although we use different terms.

Redeemer Radio (Jeff Massey & Steve Marquedant), a radio ministry of Redeemer Reformed Baptist Church of Redlands, California has been working their way through the Chapters in the 1689. Last Friday, May 16, 2014 they interviewed Pastor Sam Renihan regarding Chapter 7: Of God’s Covenant. This broadcast is Part 1. I especially appreciated the discussion of “Why was a Covenant of Works Necessary?”. Enjoy! [mp3]


The Unity of God’s People [Anthony Burgess & Sam Renihan] 5-part blog series


Sam Renihan concluded the five part series (which we talked about briefly on the last Dunker Bunker) going through Anthony Burgess’ (not a Baptist) five sermons on Christian unity from John 17. He begins:

Anthony Burgess, a member of the Westminster Assembly, preached CXLV sermons on John 17, five of which were concerned with the topic of unity among Christians… It is well presented and well worth reading. I also find this material, including the subsequent sermons, to be excellent arguments and information for the practice of associationalism (although Burgess of course would not have taken it in that direction).

Here is the series Anthony Burgess on the Unity of God’s People:

  1. Invisible and Visible
  2. The Benefits of Unity and the Mischief of Division
  3. Why are there so many divisions in the Church?
  4. Cautions concerning unity – good and bad principles
  5. Remedies for preventing and repairing schism
Sam Renihan
Sam Renihan

Although Burgess wouldn’t apply the above to associations Sam does. The series concludes:

To conclude with a few applications to confessional associations:

1. Where there are differences, we must deal fairly with the disagreeing party. This requires both parties to state their positions clearly, so as to be understood positively and negatively (i.e., where there is agreement and disagreement).

2. We should prize the doctrinal accountability of an association, and we should prize the wealth of teaching gifts within an association. Beyond prizing these things, we should take advantage of them and submit ourselves to them.

3. We should defend the fundamentals (that which we confess), and avoid disputing the rest.

4. We should root out pride, promote humility, and pray to God that he would give us one heart established on one faith immersed by one baptism serving one Lord in one Spirit. Let our unity begin and end with Christ, his truth, his commands, and his ways.

The Best Preachers, Sermons, Worship, and Books EVER! [Sam Renihan]

Sam Renihan introduces and comments on Isaac Watts’ consideration of rationalism, emotionalism, anti-intellectualism, anthropocentrism, cage-stage-ism, fundamentalism, and Osteen-ism.

There is nothing new under the sun. The errors of our day are the errors of days gone by because the common thread that runs through every age is the sin of the human heart that lies within us all. Isaac Watts provides some helpful critiques of these common errors.


On one side, many Christians are content with a “dead orthodoxy” in which all that matters is intellectual accuracy. For others, all that matters is what feels right. But the reality is that true doctrine will produce true doxology. What are the dangers of an imbalance in this area? When our emotions are in control, we pursue Christian celebrities. And this in turn can cause us to identify the worth of a sermon with our emotional loyalty to the preacher. Instead of coming to hear the word of Christ from the ministers of Christ to the people of Christ, we come to hear So-and-so who tickles our fancies.


Our emotions can cause us to think that the right worship is that which makes me feel a certain way. How can it be bad when it feels so good? Ask Uzzah.


We may love the singing more than the song (the words). This is an interesting insight coming from so worthy a hymn-writer. If that’s the way we operate, we will begin to innovate according to our whims. And many, carried away by their emotions, become very poor testimonies for the truth because they are only babies spiritually speaking but they desire to walk and run and talk as adults.


Still others will read anything that pleases them. The internet is very good at satisfying such theological prostitution, but sadly even “christian” bookstores are sources of plentiful emotional fluff.

Read Watts’ insights here: The Best Preachers, Sermons, Worship, and Books EVER! | Particular Voices.

Redeemer Radio: Reformed & Confessional [1689] Talk Radio [Jeff Massey + Guest]

Redeemer Radio is a ministry of the Redeemer Reformed Baptist Church of Redlands, California.

The program features solid Bible teaching, guest interviews on a wide range of theological topics, and other special segments. The host, Pastor Jeff Massey, is a graduate of Westminster Seminary California and the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies. Tune in for a stimulating and thought-provoking Christian talk radio program with a distinctively Reformed and confessional emphasis.

Listen to their 60 second radio promo:

Tune in to KCAA Radio at 3:00 PM .(Pacific Time Zone)on Friday afternoons for a stimulating and thought-provoking Christian talk radio program with a distinctively Reformed and confessional emphasis. The broadcast is repeated Sunday mornings at 11:00 AM. 

KCAA Redeemer Radio Broadcast 7-Mar 2014
Guest: Pastor Jason Walter | Co-Hosts: Pastor Jeff Massey and Pastor Steve Marquedant

So what does this have to do with our weekly Monday audio dump?

Well, you can find the edited radio broadcast on SermonAudio and on their site. Here is what is currently up [note that they also give book recommendations on the topics they cover]:

Subscribe to the above [RSS | iTunes]