God of Our Fathers

Classical Theism for the Contemporary Church

Edited By Bradford Littlejohn
About this book

Proceedings from the 5th annual Convivium Irenicum

Protestantism today has an idolatry problem. Not merely in the sense of worshipping false gods—of pleasure, wealth, or politics—but in the sense of worshipping the Triune God of Scripture according to images and ideas of our own devising. Whether it’s a God who suffers and changes alongside his creatures, or a “Trinitarian circle dance” of divine personalities, or a hierarchically-arranged Trinity that serves as a blueprint for gender relations, modern evangelical theology has strayed far from historic Christian orthodoxy. Needing a God that can be put on a greeting card or in a praise song, our idolatrous hearts shrink the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob down to size, and make him more like us.

Amidst this scramble to make God more relevant, we seem to have forgotten that the only God truly capable of saving us is a God who is radically other and transcendent, far above our imaginings. This incomprehensible God is not the God of the philosophers, as modern revisionists frequently charge, but the God of the Bible. The essays in this volume, written by scholars and pastors deeply concerned for the life of the church, seek to retrieve and defend the tradition of classical theism as the historic Protestant faith, rooted in Scripture, philosophically coherent, and still relevant to the needs of the church today.

Paperback | 262 pages | 6×9 | Published May 1, 2018 | ISBN 978-0999552773

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From the Foreword

The New Testament treats the people of God as a people who know something, and are engaged in learning more. Paul prays that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give believers a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Eph 1:17). And even in delivering ethical exhortations, he admonishes them that they “did not learn Christ in this way, if they have heard him” (Eph 4:20). The health of the doctrine of God in our churches lies in this Ephesian direction of knowing, with all the saints, the length, height, breadth, and depth, of the love of God in Christ (Eph 3:18).

The Davenant Institute’s motto, “adtendite ad petram unde excisi estis,” is the exhortation of Isaiah 51:1 to “look to the rock from which you were hewn.” In a general sense, the Institute recognizes in these words a summons back to the sources of Protestant Christian theology. But in this volume, with its careful attention to the classical doctrine of God, its vigilance to name defections and failures in worship and confession, and its patient tracing of the way back to theological normalcy, the motto resonates with its deepest possible significance: to look to God, our rock, in whom alone is our salvation.

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Fred Sanders, Biola University

Bradford Littlejohn, The Davenant Institute


Melanchthon’s Unintended Reformation? The Case of the Missing Doctrine of God
E.J. Hutchinson, Hillsdale College


Natural Theology and Protestant Orthodoxy
David Haines, Veritas International University


Divine Action and the Meaning of Eternity
Steven J. Duby, Grand Canyon University


“Arid Scholars” vs. The Bible? A Theological and Exegetical Critique of the Eternal Subordination of the Son
Alastair Roberts, The Davenant Institute


Can the Trinity Save Everything? Herman Bavinck, Missional Theology, and the Dogmatic Importance of the Doctrine of the Trinity
Gayle Doornbos, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto


Biblical Inspiration and the Doctrine of God, With Attention to the Example of John Webster
Timothy J. Harmon, University of Aberdeen


Encounter With the Triune God in the Reformed Liturgy for the Lord’s Supper: Eucharistic Prayer or Communion Order?
Christopher Dorn, Independent Scholar


Classical Theism in a World Come of Age
Joseph Minich, University of Texas at Dallas

About the Editor

Dr. Bradford Littlejohn (Ph.D., University of Edinburgh) is the Founder and President of the Davenant Institute. He also works as a Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and has taught for several institutions, including Moody Bible Institute-Spokane, Bethlehem College and Seminary, and Patrick Henry College. He is recognized as a leading scholar of the English theologian Richard Hooker and Has published and lectured extensively in the fields of Reformation history, Christian ethics, and political theology. He lives in Landrum, SC with his wife, Rachel, and four children. Follow him on Twitter at @WBLITTLEJOHN


The Davenant Institute endeavors to restore wisdom for the contemporary church. We seek to sponsor historical scholarship at the intersection of the church and academy, build friendships and facilitate collaboration within the Reformed and evangelical world, and equip the saints with time-tested resources for faithful public witness. Below are some of the works we’ve published towards that end.

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