Contemplating God with the Great Tradition: Trinitarian Classical Theism. By Craig A. Carter. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2021. 280pp. $39.99, softcover. Craig A. Carter is Research Professor of Theology at Tyndale University and Theologian in residence at Westney Heights Baptist Church. In addition to Contemplating God with the Great Tradition Carter recently published the popular first volume in this series, Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition. The goal of this critical review is to answer the following two questions: (1) Is it worth buying and reading Contemplating God with the Great Tradition? (2) Are there problems with Contemplating God with the Great Tradition? To answer these, I intend to provide a critical review in an older and more robust sense that is not merely negative but wholly serious, examining arguments with penetrating depth without sacrificing charity. I think this is especially important because thought about God is the most serious subject matter and any claims about God deserve such a careful posture. I will first give a brief summary before critically engaging it. I do this because it is necessary to orient those who haven’t read the work and to ensure a proper and charitable reading. The reviewer that fails to understand the goal, scope, and content of the work they are critically engaging should be ignored. However, charity does not mean overlooking deficiencies. Thus, I ultimately conclude that there are enough problems within Contemplating God with the Great Tradition that it is not worth buying or reading. I realize this is a bold claim given its popularity, but I think it is warranted as I intend to demonstrate below. I also realize that I have some stronger rhetoric at points in this review that may come as a surprise to some. To be frank, I’ve genuinely wrestled with how best to posture this review. I don’t want to fight fire with fire. I want to seriously and charitably engage. But given the level of popularity of the work, the level of rhetoric in the book itself, and what I deem to be serious errors, I have chosen to retain the strength of the language to ensure these aren’t simply swept under the rug as minor problems and that my genuine concerns aren’t feigned by more pedestrian language. I have labored to ensure this doesn’t remove the necessary virtue of charity, though it is possible I have failed at points.Summarizing Contemplating God with the Great Tradition Contemplating God with the Great Tradition is broken down into three parts: (1) defining trinitarian classical theism (henceforth TCT), (2) displaying the biblical roots of TCT, and (3) examining TCT in history. Carter’s chief aim is to recover TCT. He suggests as much: “The purpose of this book is to establish congruence between the classical Nicene doctrine of God and the teaching of Holy Scripture” (44). He claims that TCT is the historic orthodox doctrine of God wherein modern relational theism (henceforth RT) is the opposite—modern and unorthodox—falsely worshiping an idolatrous “God” that is changed by the world rather than the God of TCT that is the “simple, immutable, eternal, self-existent First Cause of the cosmos” (16). Carter is insistent that TCT has been the universal opinion of thinkers from the fourth to eighteenth centuries with no variation (282). Carter begins his retrieval attempt in chapter 1, finding the task necessary because modern theology has unwittingly imbibed metaphysical assumptions contrary to what is required by the fourth century Fathers and the Nicene Creed. Therefore, modern theology followed to its logical conclusion is a reversion to pagan mythology rather than true Christianity. Some of these faulty modern assumptions are noted by Carter from the beginning, such as the tension between divine immutability and divine impassibility. Before the nineteenth century Carter says that “virtually no Christian theologian thought that there was any tension” between these two doctrines (15). These modern problems arise primarily due to three problematic trends in most of modern theology: (1) it discusses the attributes separately from the Trinity (2) it is too impatient with mystery and punts to contradictions (3) it ignores history (22). Thus, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries’ steep decline from TCT to RT is due in large part to its faulty modern exegetical approach. If TCT is to be recovered, premodern exegesis must be recovered (36). Carter spends the entire second chapter attempting to define TCT via 25 theses. These range from broad claims affirmed by those that would reject TCT such as Christian theology being about God and derived from Scripture to more contentious theses such as God is pure act (51, 52, 65). Thesis 11 is the one that does much of the heavy lifting in Carter’s thinking throughout the book. It claims that “God is transcendent, which means that he is not a being within the universe but the sovereign Lord of all that exists” (67). Herein one also finds Carter’s central claim regarding the metaphysics of Nicaea. He describes it as a “sacramental ontology” or Christian Platonism (55).
Carter next dedicates three chapters engaging theological methodology and scriptural exegesis, focused on Isaiah 40-48, which form part two. An important part of this section is to understand the context of Isaiah and the nature of revelation. Carter rejects modern biblical trends that ignore the broader canonical and divine context and the reliability of the text. Scripture is not a mere human creation but one superintended by God and thus is coherent and relevant for all time (87). The historical critical method is a dead-end method. Carter spends a significant amount of real estate critiquing those who find predictive prophecy impossible. He also suggests that TCT is mutually illuminating to Isaiah—it arises naturally and allows deeper understanding (86). For him, anything besides TCT is a departure from the plain sense and a reversion to pagan mythology (86). The second important part of this section is to show how Isaiah confirms Thesis 11. He concludes as follows:
Isaiah’s belief in a transcendent Creator rules out the possibility of any sort of pantheism, panentheism, theistic personalism, or theistic mutualism, because all of these doctrines view the divine as part of the cosmos rather than before and above the cosmos (183).
So, Carter suggests that Isaiah’s understanding of God as transcendent Creator means TCT is necessarily true. Every other model of God is ruled out from the start since none can affirm God as transcendent Creator.
The third section engages some of the Great Tradition in chapter 7 from Justin Martyr to Irenaeus to Athanasius. Here he shows how these thinkers all promote the same Isaianic themes of transcendence, sovereignty, and monotheism. Chapter 8 is devoted to the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo since it is at the heart of TCT and is key to recovering it (238). Carter concludes in chapter 9 by evaluating several modern theologians in light of the assumption of TCT. Pannenberg and Moltmann are key targets herein.
Critical Engagement: The Negatives
Given this rough summary, my intent is to critically interact with Carter’s work, thereby highlighting several serious deficiencies. Afterward I intend to highlight some areas of agreement. After all, I think Carter and I are similar in many ways. For example, I critique Carter as a fellow Classical Theist. I have drunk deeply from the patristic, medieval, and Reformed tradition and find it beautiful, rich, resourceful, and summarized well in the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith Chapter 2. Moreover, I’m more than simply a Classical Theist in name. I have also researched and published in defense of it. My ThM thesis was a defense of the method and metaphysics of Classical Theism, retrieving from Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. My PhD dissertation assumes Conciliar Christology as basic. Therefore, I critique as one convinced of Classical Theism and one actively defending it.
I begin with the areas of deficiency. The first problem is one that I have noted in the past regarding Carter—a tendency to be so polemical that careful critical engagement is missed. For example, throughout the book Carter loads terms like “modern” with incredible amounts of negative baggage without proving his assumptions. This tactic in popular contemporary thought is often called poisoning the well. Essentially, Carter attempts to influence the reader to have a negative perception of his opponents before ever offering them the opportunity to speak for themselves. Let’s begin with an easy one that is close to home for me. At the end of chapter 8 Carter flippantly mentions how theistic personalism is embraced by “many analytic philosophers today” (268). Maybe this is true. Maybe it isn’t. But no one would be able to determine if it is since Carter cites no one. Much less does he explain what he means by analytic philosopher. This is a problem throughout the book. Oftentimes I am left wondering if I should trust Carter’s rendition of his opponents given that he rarely cites them or presents the best form of their argument. To my knowledge (two fairly thorough readings of the book thus far), one of the only citations he has of an analytic philosopher besides Ed Feser is Richard Swinburne. However, he cites him second hand through Brian Davies and evidences an ignorance of Swinburne given that Swinburne has continually amended his views over time and the view he attributes to Swinburne is from an older work wherein he later changed his mind (17). I do not have confidence that Carter has actually read these “analytic philosophers” that he so quickly dismisses. Such practices make it appear that Carter is more interested in “dunking” on his opponents than he is understanding them and critically engaging them.
The most concerning trend of poisoning the well relates to the terminology of modern. Carter belabors his disdain for all things modern, especially modern metaphysics. But it is never clear what modern metaphysics means, who accepts modern metaphysics, and why it is so bad to accept modern metaphysics. However, throughout Carter’s work you can find breadcrumbs to what he means by modern metaphysics. Carter suggests it is “very different,” “incompatible,” and “contradictory” with Nicaea (29). He claims it wants to fit the Bible into a naturalistic framework (237). Central to it is a loss of divine transcendence (144). It thinks that God is part of the universe (239). It is revisionary (205, 217). It is uncritical of its metaphysical assumptions (50). It considers the findings of physics and biology to be “unchallengeable” (241). The most robust summary is given in a negative fashion. Modern metaphysics rejects a transcendent God, an objectively existing telos in nature, metaphysical realism by which things have natures, and a linear concept of history (172). Carter elsewhere suggests that “Modern metaphysics is thus better understood as a rejection of metaphysics insofar as it is actually a reversion to ancient mythology” (120).
Given this smattering of examples, it is quite clear that Carter hasn’t read contemporary modern metaphysics—much less metaphysics, modern, scholastic, or otherwise. If I read this sample of what modern metaphysics apparently means to a group of modern metaphysicians they would find it unrecognizable. Indeed, modern metaphysics is an unbelievably wide term that includes those who would affirm TCT and those who wouldn’t. Does Carter mean to implicate those like William Lane Craig, John Peckham, Richard Swinburne, R.T. Mullins, and Jay Wesley Richards who do attempt to revise TCT at points? Or does he intend to reject the modern neo-Aristotelian metaphysical work from those such as Rob Koons, Alex Pruss, and Ross Inman? Or does he intend to reject the list of modern metaphysicians attempting to retrieve from the tradition such as Eleonore Stump, Jeff Brower, Tim Pawl, Brian Leftow, Ross Inman, Ed Feser, Oliver Crisp, or Greg Welty? I’m sure he wants to reject the initial group, but by his pejorative labeling he actually implicates all of them. But let’s say Carter actually intends to refer to none of these. He intends to target atheistic naturalism and would give a free pass to these thinkers. Does he then mean to take aim at those like Thomas Nagel who explicitly affirm metaphysical realism and an objectively existing telos in nature? I have no idea if he would—but that’s because he either hasn’t read them or hasn’t understood them. If he had read them and understood them, surely he would have taken the time to include their examples in an academic work devoted to critiquing their thought. But he doesn’t. Modern metaphysics as a whole simply isn’t beholden to Kant, Hume, Hegel, or any other thinker Carter enjoys vilifying. He could begin by reading Alvin Plantinga’s Advice to Christian Philosophers to notice the wide disparity between what he calls modern and what actually is modern. Or a single reading of something as simple as Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics would cure most of these blunders. Without naming names, explaining arguments, and detailing the receipts, it is impossible to take Carter’s usage of modern metaphysics seriously. While there are major theological figures in the nineteenth and twentieth century that had a brief moment of towering influence and were similar to these modern boogeymen (e.g. Kant, Hegel, etc.) these figures simply do not play a universal role, or even a majority role in modern metaphysics. But I fear metaphysics is more of a buzzword for him than one with definable content. Don’t get me wrong—there is a place for polemics. But the place for polemics is situated within a deep engagement with one’s opponents, evidencing a grasp of their thinking and arguments. Carter, unfortunately, does not evidence such a grasp. Even more, ironic as it may sound, Carter relies on his definition of divine transcendence to defend TCT but terms such as transcendence and immanence are actually modern terms that became popular during, you guessed it, the Enlightenment. It is striking for Carter to base his argument for TCT on modern concepts and yet vilify it at the same time.
The second problem is a striking level of ambiguity and misunderstanding of TCT itself at various points. One would think that someone attempting to recover TCT would have a solid grasp of the core set of doctrines enshrined in TCT. But Carter does not evidence either a deep familiarity with the tradition or an understanding of some of the key doctrines. One example is his mistake regarding mercy and wrath as divine attributes categorized alongside love and justice, etc. (25, 75). This is not the way the classical tradition has spoken regarding these. Mercy and wrath are not properly attributes of God. They are what Turretin calls an egress or exercise of his attributes. This is the distinction between theology and economy (a distinction that Carter actually references elsewhere himself ). A brief survey of the Reformed tradition reveals a consistent understanding along Turretin’s lines. For example, Petrus van Mastricht argues that mercy is “nothing but grace toward the miserable”—it is a subset of grace which is a subset of goodness. Elsewhere he explains that wrath is “nothing but his avenging justice.” Herman Bavinck and William Shedd concur, viewing mercy as God’s goodness shown to those in misery. Wrath is part of God’s retributive justice. As Shedd explains, “in a sinless world, there would be no place for its exercise, and it would be comparatively an unimportant aspect of the general attribute of justice.” Therefore, mercy and wrath are not properly attributes but egress’s of God’s perfect goodness and justice.
Another example relates to immutability and impassibility. Carter defines immutability as God “not either receiving or losing life as all creatures are doing” (65). But such a definition is shockingly thin compared to the classical tradition. In fact, such a definition is so thin that it would likely allow most RT’s to affirm it. Elsewhere Carter notes that “the doctrines of immutability and impassibility say that God does not change in his essence” (25). But again, this displays ignorance of the tradition. Immutability is much more than changelessness in essence—it is an impossibility of change in both nature and will. It is a doctrine wherein God neither undergoes affective change nor feels the actions of creatures. Lest one think this is either out of step with the tradition or a minor point, consider the voluminous support for such a definition. Turretin, van Mastricht, Bavinck, Shedd, and Muller all provide this robust understanding of immutability. And impassibility is more than not receiving or losing life but an inability to be acted upon altogether. Carter’s definitions leave me scratching my head as to where he is retrieving TCT from. To be fair, I imagine Carter would affirm these definitions if presented to him—however his writing doesn’t evidence a deep understanding of them. For a book with the title Contemplating God with the Great Tradition, I think it would have benefited from more time immersed in the Great Tradition to remedy some of these sorts of errors.
A third problem relates to the overall level of argumentation in the book. Carter frequently misunderstands how logical deductions work. Take three examples: First, Carter explains that “when relational theism affirms two-way relations of causality and change between God and creatures, it eliminates the uniqueness of God and brings him down to the level of a creature” (19-20). But this statement isn’t a logical inference—it is an assertion. Assertions must be proven by argumentation. Carter doesn’t provide this. Maybe it is true that two-way relations eliminate God’s uniqueness. But nowhere is it clear why it does so. Nowhere are we sure what these “relations” metaphysically amount to either. Maybe they are innocuous. If Carter was familiar with the metaphysical debates over the status of relations—either in scholastic or modern thinking—he would know this would require further clarification. But we aren’t given the details. The argument isn’t explained—it is merely asserted. Take a second example where Carter attempts to prove that God is pure act:
If there is a First Cause, that First Cause must be pure actuality in order to be uncaused. Therefore, God must be pure act. This metaphysical proof is not a matter of probability; nor is it a matter of arguing that the universe must have had a cause to get it started. It is a logical deduction that is certain, not merely probable (60).
Now, as a Classical Theist myself, I’d be delighted to find an argument for TCT that originated in the basic fact that God is Creator such as Carter has attempted to construct here. But again, Carter makes assertions without argumentation. The key undefended premise is that the First Cause must be pure actuality in order to be uncaused. Nowhere is this proven—it is asserted. But mere assertions do not substitute for rigorous argumentation. They may win debates with those unfamiliar with the terminology, but they will not win converts among those with understanding. If the goal of Carter’s book is to self-congratulate those that already affirm TCT, this form of thinking may work, but if he intends to persuade those that either are unsure or disagree, this will do more harm than anything. Finally, take Carter’s most important claim in the book: “a transcendent Creator rules out the possibility of any sort of pantheism, panentheism, theistic personalism, or theistic mutualism, because all of these doctrines view the divine as part of the cosmos rather than before and above the cosmos” (183). Unfortunately, there are several problems with this argument. First, it is unclear what transcendence means besides the Creator-creature distinction which many RT’s explicitly affirm. They would affirm transcendence and the Creator-creature distinction but reject the conclusion that Carter comes to from this initial premise. It doesn’t necessarily follow from transcendence that RT is false or that RT views God as part of the cosmos. If Carter wants to establish this claim, he needs to provide significantly more premises. As this argument stands, the RT can affirm all the same premises that Carter does and yet reject the conclusion. This is an invalid argument. Carter must either provide an argument wherein RT affirms all of the premises and is left with the conclusion that God is part of the cosmos or an argument wherein they reject a premise that is required for the conclusion that God is transcendent. Second, Carter seems to beg the question with his conclusion by assuming that the only way for God to be “before and above” the cosmos is by adopting TCT. But Carter doesn’t explain why this is the case. He merely assumes that only TCT can make sense of it.
A fourth problem is his preoccupation with the Hellenization thesis (the thesis that the early Christians were unduly influenced by pagan Greek metaphysics and thus TCT should be rejected for its contamination). Throughout the book Carter continually suggests that modern thinkers reject TCT because of it (49, 85, 208-209, 272). But as has been shown throughout my critique, Carter doesn’t cite examples of modern Christians who are actually using the thesis to reject TCT. Sure, the creator of the foolish thesis in von Harnack is one, but what about all of the contemporary RT’s? I don’t know of any (at least in the theistic personalist or theistic mutualist camp) that are depending on the Hellenization thesis for their claims. Yes, Pinnock, Harnack, McLaren and the like do. But there is a radical difference between Clark Pinnock and Bruce Ware or Adolf von Harnack and William Lane Craig. But for Carter, these are all in the same bucket–RT’s that are reverting to pagan mythology and idolatry. It’s of course fine to critique the ignorant claims of von Harnack and the like on this topic—but if we intend to critique an entire group that is diverse and actually rejects the Hellenization thesis, this claim will only give more reasons to ignore TCT.
A fifth problem, though not unique to Carter, is his misunderstanding of the equivocal, analogical, univocal language debate. Consider what Carter says: “to speak of God in a univocal way would mean that every aspect of what “father” means in human terms would apply to God….The only way our language about God can be meaningful without reducing God to the level of a creature, then, is if it is analogical” (69). The problem is that this definition of univocal language is not true. Univocal language does not require that every aspect of the term correspond—it only requires that there is a univocal core of meaning—which is actually required for analogical language to be coherent. If univocity requires every aspect to be identical then it is an absurd thesis that doesn’t even apply to everyday objects. There is always something that differs, no matter how small, between objects.
A sixth problem is a repetitive practice of misunderstanding or misrepresenting his opponent’s beliefs. While Carter lacks wide citations of his opponents and often makes entailments that do not follow, Carter also makes completely false statements about some of his opponents. For example, he says that “In modern relational theism, the simplicity and aseity of God are denied, and God is seen as existing in a relationship to creation similar to the kind of relationship one creature has with another” (19). This is unequivocally false. RT has some of the most serious defenders of aseity to date. William Lane Craig is a chief example. He has an entire book devoted to defending divine aseity—God Over All. Unless Carter is willing to say that William Lane Craig, despite attempting to defend divine aseity, is actually rejecting it, I see no other way to understand Carter’s claim than either as ignorance of the wider literature or attributing a conclusion to his opponents that they don’t accept. I take it that the former is the case. But if Carter is genuinely this ignorant of the wider literature on the doctrine of God, I do not think he should yet be publishing work in the area. Such mistakes may be understandable by a Master’s student who is only beginning to wrestle with an area but should never be acceptable in a published work. This is quite frankly irresponsible. Take another example: Carter says that modern theology thinks that God should be “easily understandable” (28). I know of no RT that thinks this and Carter doesn’t cite anyone who suggests as much. If there is one, they are the serious minority. These are unacceptable assertions to an author’s opponents. If these assertions are true, citations should be made. Even when our opponents are completely wrong, they deserve a careful hearing. James exhorts us to listen before we speak. Assertions and criticisms ought to be made—but they should be made with proper documentation.
A final problem relates to the overall content and goal of the book. Remember how important it was for Carter to include the Trinity within Classical Theism (hence TCT and not CT)? Part of the problem of modern theologians is considering the attributes apart from the Trinity. However, Carter seems to do just this. There is no clear exposition of the Trinity nor is there a connection made between the attributes and God’s triune nature. Carter’s actual product would be better understood as a promotion of a robust divine transcendence and not TCT.
Critical Engagement: The Positives
Now, Carter’s book isn’t all negative. There are some strengths. First, Carter is absolutely right about our need to think critically about our metaphysical presuppositions (48). This is something he rightly hammers home in his first book, Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition. It is impossible to leave our presuppositions at home when interpreting Scripture. No one has a “me and my Bible only” theology. Anyone that attempts to suggest otherwise is dead wrong. Carter has done a great service in bringing this point to the forefront in popular theological discussions. Second, I think Carter’s actual exegesis of Isaiah 40-48 is great. He handles the problematic aspects of many modern biblical scholars well. His critiques of those who reject predictive prophecy, those who disjoint the narrative of Isaiah, and those who are beholden to the historical critical method are excellent. He unearths the key insights from the text: transcendence and sovereignty. Had this book been solely dedicated to his exposition of Isaiah 40-48 I would have no problem commending it as a great resource. Third, Carter is a talented writer. Whether one agrees with Carter or not—they can recognize his gift for writing. It is smooth and powerful. It is never a labor to read but always a treat. It is this writing style that has made him such a powerful popularizer of TCT. People of all walks can understand him. A fourth aspect I really appreciate is his understanding that the patristics were not under some Greek spell wherein they simply imbibed the metaphysical assumptions of the day without critical engagement. For example, he says, “The fathers were determined to integrate what was salvageable from Greek philosophy into a Christian worldview built on the basis of biblical exegesis because they wanted to assimilate all human culture into a biblical framework” (205). It is this type of work that I wholeheartedly support. My only wish is that such opportunities would be extended beyond the fourth century. Christians in every age ought to want to assimilate all human culture into a biblical framework. The Spirit of God is not frozen in 381. And even the fourth century is far more diverse than Carter leads on. Carter has a tendency to flatten the genuine diversity that leads to a robust ecumenism. There are other aspects that I found beneficial throughout the book but given the goal of this review as primarily a critical interaction, I leave them to the reader to discern for themselves.
So, is it worth buying and reading Contemplating God with the Great Tradition? At the outset of this review I said no. But a better answer might be: Maybe, but probably not. If you are an undergraduate or graduate student wanting to understand the classical doctrine of God, as much as I hate to say it, this isn’t the book for you. If you are an academic researcher on the doctrine of God, you might need to read it. But even then, it’s not serious scholarship. Carter’s work is oftentimes more akin to Classical Theism propaganda than it is a defense or retrieval. While this may be okay for the reader who is already convinced of TCT, it is detrimental to those seeking understanding or considering changing their minds. But while I suggest that it is not worth reading, I wish it was. I want more measured, serious, erudite, and fair, retrieval of Classical Theism. I want more theological retrieval that is deep in history but conversant and aware of modernity. I want more that persuasively engages with opponents. If TCT is to survive the continued assault on its central doctrines, we need more retrieval. Sadly, while I love and share Carter’s goal of retrieving the Great Tradition, I think this book fails to do so. I take no pleasure in providing such a negative review. The business of critiquing bad books is not one I delight in. However, a robust defense of the Confession and a commitment to critical thinking requires serious examination which has resulted in what I think is a failed book. And herein is the great danger of Carter’s work. It is incredibly popular. And while I am a Classical Theist, blatant misrepresentations like Carter’s will make it even more difficult to fight against the trend of rejecting TCT. Shallow popularizing of ideas like this most often bears bad fruit in time because those caught up in the movement do not have the proper roots. But there is good news. There are other resources that can provide a serious engagement with the tradition. If one is partial to more polemical and blunt writing, James Dolezal is a great example of a serious and well-researched defense. There are other more measured defenses from those like Tim Pawl, Adonis Vidu, Glenn Butner, and Katherin Rogers which ought to be engaged. There are also other excellent recent works by Reformed Baptists who confess the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith like Richard Barcellos and Sam Renihan. But of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t simply recommend the great Reformed systematicians themselves. There is a reason people continue to read Calvin, Turretin, Bavinck, and the like. The Great Tradition is far greater than Carter exemplifies in this book. The challenges of RT are not new to the twenty-first century and there are resources within the tradition that can provide us a way forward. So, despite the deep and critical flaws found in Carter’s work, I do hope that it functions as a catalyst for more reflective study on the merits of Classical Theism.
Editors Note: The London Lyceum confesses the 2LCF. If the content of the book rejects the 2LCF at any point, we find reasons for concern and the need for revision. However, it is not the mission of the London Lyceum to always publish work that agrees with our confession of faith. We seek to generate thinking and foster an intellectual culture of charity, curiosity, critical thinking, and cheerful confessionalism.
 Petrus van Mastricht, Theoretical-Practical Theology, ed. Joel R. Beeke, trans. Todd M. Rester (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2018), 2:345.
 Mastricht, 2:355.
 Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, ed. John Bolt, trans. John Vriend (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003), 2:213; William G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 3rd ed (Phillipsburg, N.J: P&R, 2003), 306.
 Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 295.
 Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, ed. James T. Dennison, trans. George Musgrave Giger (Phillopsburg, NJ: P&R, 1994), 1:204; Mastricht, Theoretical-Practical Theology, 2:157; Bavinck, RD, 2:153-154; Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 284; Richard A. Muller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics: The Rise and Development of Reformed Orthodoxy, ca. 1520 to ca. 1725, 2nd ed (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003), 3:312-313.