Article I: Of faith in the Holy Trinity

5 Responses

  1. Bob Chapman says:

    “For God so loved the world….”

    There must be a connotation to passion back in that day that we aren’t getting in our day. isn’t helping much, except for definition #10:

    “the state of being acted upon or affected by something external, especially something alien to one’s nature or one’s customary behavior (contrasted with action).”

    The only thing in the etymology of the word I see that may be helpful is there is appears to be a sense of “submit” in passion.

  2. Glenn Brown says:

    I’d even argue that the very idea of the trinity points to a god who is passionate. This is a god who’s very identity is found in God’s love for us. It tells us that God loves us so much that the love can’t possibly be contained in one person.

  3. Roo says:

    If a Presbyterian may be allowed to interject 🙂 I’m really enjoying your study of the 39 Articles Scott, so thank you (I’m commenting but today is Day 3).
    With regards to passions – this is also in the Westminster Confession of Faith – indeed much of the 39 Articles can be seen lifted direct from the WCF. Anyway! The impassibility of God dates back to the Early Church and is enshrined in the historic Confessions of the Reformation; held also by the RC Church. It proves a difficult one for us today and many have abandoned it, even in the conservative subscription Churches of Presbyterianism. However, some argue that impassibility – without passions – is simply that God is not subject to our fickle emotions. His passions do not have the negative associations of our own and therefore he is without (our understanding/experience of) passions. It is a complex Greek philosophical concept and there is some evidence to suggest that the Hellenisation of Christianity led us to this error of understanding. Certainly, those who held the doctrine didn’t allow it to neuter the passion of God in their devotional or preaching life (i.e. Samuel Rutherford of Scottish Puritan fame).

    Robert Reymond has a very interesting section in his “A New Systematic Theology” which is based on the WCF – and I’d encourage you to have a look at it on impassibility of God. It’s a good read! 🙂

    Many thanks for your insights…

  4. Scott Gunn says:

    Roo, I most eagerly welcome the input of Presbyterians! The Articles are, as you rightly point out, from a particularly Calvinist point in Anglican history. If anything, you can probably read them with more clarity and less baggage than many of us Catholic-influenced Anglicans.

    I get the Greek origins and all, or at least I think I do. As I wrote in the introduction, I’m no theologian. It’s hard to say that God is emotional, but not “fickle”, if one reads the Old Testament at face value. God is persuaded to take different courses of action at times, and even “repents” more than once. This gets back to questions of which bits of our doctrine are biblical and which bits have other sources.

    I finally got a chance to read bits of Gerald Bray’s book on the 39 Articles, and he also talks about impassability. Indeed, the Articles were originally composed in Latin, and “passions” is a crude English translation of the Latin word (with its associate concepts) as you say. While I wouldn’t want to suggest God’s emotional responses are like human responses, I’d be reluctant to sign on for the doctrine of impassability as I understand it.

    That said, I’m always open to learning. I’ll try to check out Robert Reymond.

    Thanks again for your comment. Please do stop by — and comment — often.


  1. March 12, 2011

    opinion for Quadragesima…

    Mark Vernon writes for Ekklesia about Having faith in the importance of doubt. Tamie Fields Harkins, at her blog the owls & the angels has a step-by-step plan for how to get more young people into the church: ah, the……