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So You Want to Understand Impassibility

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CIGMany of my readers will be aware that during the last few years a theological controversy has arisen over the doctrine of divine impassibility.  Impassibility is the teaching that God, being perfect and immutable, cannot be moved.  The idea is expressed within many of the Reformed confessions by the assertion that God is “without passions.”  The idea is that God, who in his essence is perfectly blessed, can never suffer any loss.  Therefore the experience of suffering is contrary to the divine nature; God cannot suffer.  It is imprecise to say that God has no emotions; what in us may be called an emotion (such as love) is a virtue in God.  However, whereas in us emotion involves fluctuation and change in our disposition, God is changeless.  His love is like his power, his wisdom, and indeed his very being; it is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable.

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A Word of Advice to our Friends at MOS

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tired This again!

Hoo, boy! I’m getting tired of blogging on the same subject over and over, but here we go again:

I wanted to be positive about today’s episode of Mortification of Spin.  Honestly, I did. Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt, and Aimee Byrd chatted about the difficulties facing credo-baptists and paedo-baptists who decide to marry, and that is a worthwhile discussion.  There was even much to commend in this particular episode:

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Occam’s Razor and the Perpetuity of Evangelical Scandal

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furtick Because dressing like a high school kid makes me soooo down to earth!

Occam’s Razor is the name given to the logical argument that the simplest theory to explain any given phenomena is likely the correct theory.  Since our judgment is often obstructed, we need to shave away needless assumptions and bits of argumentation in order to arrive at a reasonable understanding.  Scientists debate the legitimacy of the Razor as an empirical tool; certain complexities in nature (think of the construction of the living cell) suggest that complex explanations of material phenomena are often correct.  It is nevertheless a useful philosophical tool, particularly as a foundational principle of the common sense by which we ought to live.  If I awake in the morning to find branches from my trees scattered about the back yard, it is simpler to assume that we had a strong wind than it is to believe…

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Genesis 12 in Nehemiah Coxe’s Covenant Theology

In 2005, RBAP modernized and republished Nehemiah Coxe’s 1681 work on covenant theology. This reprint has been very helpful for many as they have studied covenant theology, whether from a sys…

Source: Genesis 12 in Nehemiah Coxe’s Covenant Theology

Time Zones, Creation, and Bureaucratic Overreach: A Question of Sovereignty

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Dakota Midnight Dakota Midnight

This week I stumbled across an interesting article from the Bismarck Tribune. It details the efforts of a North Dakota rancher to shift the boundary between Central and Mountain time far to the east of its current location, bringing it into closer alignment with the 1884 International Meridian Conference which originally established time zones.

Damien Bernhardt contends that at North Dakota’s far north latitude, summer light and winter dark are already exaggerated, and that the decision to locate most of the state in the Central time zone makes matters worse.  He describes a situation in which the sun sets at 11:30 at night, making life hard on those who rise with the clock but can’t get themselves to go to sleep before sundown.

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A Series of Improbable Events

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QUeen-elizabeth_3240651bToday I’m going to ask you to imagine an entirely unlikely sequence of events.  I don’t know why any of this would happen, but let us pretend that it might:

Imagine with me that you have been invited to Buckingham Palace and granted an audience with Her Majesty, Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and Head of the Commonwealth.  Even though I suppose the majority of my readers are anti-monarchist ‘Mericans, we can pretend.  Somehow, and for some reason, you have performed some service for the United Kingdom, Canada, etc., and now Her Majesty wishes to speak to you.

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1689 Federalism Response to Wellum’s “Progressive Covenantalism and the Doing of Ethics”

Contrast

A 20 page paper by Stephen J. Wellum titled “Progressive Covenantalism and the Doing of Ethics” was posted in the New Covenant Theology Facebook group recently [Note: it has since been removed as it was not supposed to be posted publicly]. It presents a good opportunity to bring to attention some of the important areas where 1689 Federalism (a particular version of covenant theology) disagrees with Westminster Federalism (what Wellum simply refers to as “covenant theology”), as well as highlight where 1689 Federalism believes Progressive Covenantalism errs. My comments will be brief, and I won’t be summarizing his argument, so make sure to read it first.

Covenant theology has sought to do ethics and establish the basis for moral law by following the venerable tradition of dividing the Mosaic law into three parts: moral, civil, and ceremonial… A direct equation is made between the Decalogue and eternal moral law and…

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Random Thoughts

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gafcon-primates The Progressive Conundrum Personified

I’m running out of unique Thomas Sowell pictures.  Onward, anyway…

The mess in the Anglican Communion demonstrates a real problem for Western Progressivism, both political and theological.  One of the primary goals of all Progressivisms is escape from traditional moral structure.  One of their central tenets, though, is deference to any cultural or ethnic group perceived to have been marginalized.  So what exactly are they supposed to do when the representatives of the marginalized cultures – say, African bishops – don’t care to go along with moral permissivism?

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Futility

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FastType_crop380w Fast and Furious

The other week I heard that the school van wouldn’t be available for my son’s basketball game and that the coach wanted to know what parents were available to drive kids to the game. I wanted to jot a quick note before school to let him know that we could help. Now I have a phobia of letting any of my kids’ teachers see my penmanship, because then they would know whom to blame. I sat down (at my wife’s computer – thus the coming trouble) to type up my note:

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How Not to Illustrate

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kids sled That’s more or less as I remember it.

Last Sunday I preached on Ephesians 4:14, “…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine…” Harkening back to Homiletics 101, I thought it might be a good idea to open the sermon with an observation about the importance of steering. With that thought, an illustration was born.

It’s winter in Wisconsin, so of course I thought of sleds. I talked about how much sled technology has changed. We see children with bumps and bruises because they were hit by sleds. Of course, if anyone had been run over by a sled when I was a child, he would have been seriously hurt. I don’t recall it happening, though, because as solidly built as our Rosebud-style sleds were, they also included a flexible steering bar. Today’s sledder is…

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