Covenant Theology: An Introduction

This blog description includes the word "Reformed". Other than a minor series on John Calvin and his view of the sacraments, I have not truly flexed any "reform muscle". Well, at the request of a reader I'm going to change that a little.

Nothing is more routed and grounded at the heart of Reformed Theology than the systematic approach to the Scripture called Covenant Theology. Now Covenant Theology is a tough nut to crack. Without a doubt, a full blown investigation of this topic would take months if not a full year. Explicating the shared and distinct doctrine of both Presbyterian and Baptist approaches to this doctrine might be something I discuss briefly. But I wouldn't hold your breath. 

Introduction

Because the topic is so large, I'm going to focus on the principal and truly pertinent points of Covenant Theology. I do this because I hope to largely clear up any misunderstandings of what Covenant Theology is and is not. The only way I know to accomplish this is by focusing on the Covenant of Works, the Covenant of Grace and the Covenant of Redemption.
 
Many times when people begin to think of Covenant Theology their minds immediately go the the Biblical account of God's covenants with man. This isn't a bad thing by any means but all Bible readers know there are covenants in the Bible. But we don't all agree on how, even if, they piece and fit together. In particular, Covenant Theology says that the Biblical covenant are linked to such a degree that to break them apart does a disservice to the testimony and continuity of the Scriptures. This is where Covenant Theology ties together Biblical covenant together to Christ through the Covenants of Work and Grace. 
 
This also is not a discussion of the full working out of Covenant Theology. Discussing Covenant Theology does not require a discussion of covenant baptism or familial covenants. Plenty of denominations work on the basis of covenant baptism for a defense of infant baptism without accepting Covenant Theology. Also, it goes without saying that the Old Testament makes it clear that covenants were made with families. There are no systematic approaches that deny this truth. The debate over the inclusion of children into the New Covenant is tempting but not important when considering the structure and system of the Bible from the vantage point of Covenant of Works and Covenant of Grace.
 
The only controversy that will be addressed are the major differences found on the Covenant of Works. I'll take a look at the unique language of the Federal Vision that got them into trouble. I'll also look at the two mainstream approaches to the Mosaic covenant and whether it falls under the Covenant of Grace or the Covenant of Works.

Resources

Further recommend reading include Christ of the Covenants and Introducing Covenant Theology. Both are lengthy reading and rather dry. Both are filled will excellent exegetical points and systematic overviews. Here are some audio resources for those who may be interested: Richard Phillips (10 Parts) and Walter Chantry (12 Parts - Reformed Baptist).
 
Finally, here is a video of debate between the paedobaptism and credobaptism position on Covenant Theology. Both these guys adhere to Covenant Theology. But the fullness of their Covenant Theology is not in agreement with each other. This is incredibly valuable for those interested in this debate.

Enjoy the series as we move forward! Coming up first is the Covenant of Works.

Joshua Torrey is the sole proprietor of Torrey Gazette (don't tell Alaina) and the fullness of its editorial process. That means everything wrong with TG can legitimately be blamed on him.