Peter Gentry and Steve Wellum have produced the most extensive study of the biblical covenants published in over a century, arguing for what they call Progressive Covenantalism, a middle-way between Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology. All Rights Reserved. It almost seemed like these passages (especially in Hebrews) were irrelevant because of the a priori commitment to discontinuity between Israel and the church (692). Within this chapter they express their disagreement with the standard conditional/unconditional classification of covenants, particularly as those categories have been filtered through the royal-grant and suzerain-vassal treaties of the ancient Near East. The obvious ramifications are an understanding of the church as the new covenant community, a community regenerated by the Spirit, whose sins are forgiven by the blood of the new covenant (690-92). There are many other works that would be worth reading, but few are available in published format. Kingdom Through Covenant presents a case for a via media between dispensationalism and covenant theology. Upon publication, the authors concluded that here hēqîm bĕrît does refer to institution/initiation, but they have since changed their position.7 Depending on how one interprets “everlasting covenant” in verse 60, the argument can go either way. It is the standard for all image bearers (servants), but there is no reward offered for obedience (Luke 17:7-10). It accounts for the change in language found in the 2nd London Baptist Confession with regards to covenant theology (in comparison to the WCF). The authors argue that the blessings which God promised are a repealing of the curses found in the preceding chapters of Genesis. Rather, God will kārat a new bĕrît, cut a new covenant with the house of Israel and Judah (512). The Abrahamic covenant is covered in two chapters following the covenant of creation. One happy spot in it all, however,… Reviewed by Fred G. Zaspel . t is a i December 19, 2012. In relation to the Mosaic covenant, “This is a clear illustration of federal headship: the king is the nation in himself” (423). He says explicitly that we have no business “judging outsiders.” “Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? One happy spot in … consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, and of their children, and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation” (25.2). Nor is there a call to determine who is truly regenerate, but only who is living in flagrant and unrepentant contradiction to his or her public profession. Due to the use of kārat bĕrît in Deuteronomy 28:69 (29:1 ESV), Deuteronomy is viewed as its own covenant, yet as a “supplement” to the Mosaic covenant (378). When we add to this the instances of household baptisms (with only one believing parent mentioned) in Acts (16:15, 32–33; 18:18) and 1 Corinthians 1:16, and the mention of children being sanctified by one believing parent in 1 Corinthians 7:14, the cumulative case seems to place the burden of proof on the Baptist position. The FAQs: Are Fetal Cells Being Used in COVID-19 Vaccines and Treatments? Samuel Renihan* *Samuel Renihan, M.Div., is a pastor at Trinity Reformed Baptist Church, La Mirada, CA. The FAQs: What You Should Know About COVID-19 Vaccines. Heb. Kingdom through Covenant review: Chapter 3 This entry was posted on May 7, 2013 by Kris Lyle, in Book review and tagged covenant theology, covenants, dispensational theology, Kingdom through Covenant, redemptive-history. Within its natural meanings, hēqîm can refer to setting something up and holding something up. The classification of “unconditional” and “conditional” covenants isn’t helpful, they argue, because there are elements of each in every biblical covenant. Moreover, this would be more in line with the authors’ statement that the promise of Genesis 3:15 unfolds in “the entire story line of Scripture …through the biblical covenants” (628). Its terms were similar to the Adamic Covenant, but different. Paul’s designation of circumcision as counting for nothing in Gal. See Jonathan Brack’s review at If the authors’ concern is in the function of the law as it was given to Israel, then we grant that there are indeed nuances to be recognized and maintained. As servant king and son of God mankind will mediate God’s rule to the creation in the context of a covenantal relationship with God on the one hand and the earth on the other. The word proclaimed and sealed in the sacraments is valid, regardless of our response, but we don’t enjoy the blessings apart from receiving Christ with all of his benefits. Thus, it is a false dilemma to see no party besides paedobaptist federal theologians and dispensationalists. Typology is both prospective and retrospective. ↩, It would be absurd to deny this distinction. ↩, The authors are unwilling to fully embrace the title of “new covenant theology” because on the one hand it is not a clearly defined system, and on the other hand they disagree with some of the teachings found within that broad label. “First we want to show how central the concept of ‘covenant’ is to the narrative plot structure of the Bible, and secondly, how a number of crucial theological differences within Christian theology, and the resolution of those differences, are directly tied to one’s understanding of how the biblical covenants unfold and relate to each other” (21). Keeping Israel and the church distinct throughout eternity. So Israel inherits the earthly land by (Abrahamic) promise, but remains in the land by (Sinai-treaty) obedience. The false dilemma is that if we isolate the covenant of works and covenant of grace from the covenants previously mentioned, and consider them on their own, then they truly are conditional and unconditional in the fullest sense. have explored the qualitatively new blessings in the new covenant. They also rightly make the point that the vast majority of typology takes place within covenantal contexts. Kingdom through Covenant [KTC]2 presents itself as a work of biblical theol-ogy under the label, Progressive Covenantalism. Rather, paedobaptists arrive at such a view of the covenant of grace from their belief that the Mosaic covenant was the covenant of grace, and then import such a view into these passages. The New Covenant is the outworking of the Covenant of Redemption in time, and thus it is Christ's Covenant of Works. What we can say to represent accurately the teaching of Scripture is that the righteousness of God codified, enshrined, and encapsulated in the old covenant has not changed, and that this same righteousness is now codified and enshrined in the new. 20:1-17; 31:18) that marks them out from the laws written down by Moses (Exod. Because this treatment focuses on the Old Testament, it is unwilling, in ways, to see New Testament realities in the Old Testament. Laying this aside for the moment, Gentry and Wellum accurately portray the Noahic covenant as a covenant that stabilizes the world for the development of redemptive history (169) and demonstrates the universal “unmerited favour and kindness of God in preserving his world” (175). If I understand it correctly, the main argument of the authors is that dispensationalism and covenant theology both fail to read the Bible in a sufficiently typological way (pointing to Christ), though at different points: an unconditional and inviolable promise of either an ethnic people and geo-political land or of a “genealogical principle” that underwrites the baptism of covenant children and a “mixed body” ecclesiology. Kingdom through Covenant: A Review Gentry and Wellum have made a substantial case for an independent middle path between dispensational and covenant theology. In Jeremiah, as one would expect, ample attention is dedicated to chapter 31, in which they argue that the new covenant will be its own covenant. This chapter concludes the exegetical portion of the book. Having concluded this foundational section, the authors then proceed to the main course and dedicate chapters to the various biblical covenants. However, since I’m offering a review from a traditional “covenant theology” perspective, I will skip over a host of edifying discoveries and get right to the point. And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15). Prospectively it casts a shadow. The gracious promise includes an earthly land and seed as well as a heavenly land and seed. Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants. Paul does not deal the same way with the moral law, the Ten Commandments (cf. ): not only Jews, but Gentiles; not only males, but females also receive the seal of the covenant and are indwelled by the Spirit. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015, 300 pp., $19.99 paper. Long ago, Voetius and Cocceius represented the wideness of the spectrum in covenant theology on that question, and more recent Reformed scholars (e.g., Vos, Ridderbos, Murray, Kline, Gaffin, et al.) In the revision of their interpretation, by taking “everlasting covenant” to refer to the Abrahamic covenant, God is promising to bring to reality something that he had promised previously. This does not mean the stipulations do not carry the force of obligation, but that they must be understood as God’s covenantal directions to Israel, not universal laws. While this chapter is dedicated to summarizing the views of classical covenant theology, Gentry and Wellum take issue with the standard conditional/unconditional classification of covenants, meaning that they take issue with the covenant of works and covenant of grace. £28.99/$45.00. 5:2). For covenant theology that is seen in granting the covenant sign to children. We thank them for their comments and time. I do not deny those exegetical relations and realities. Wellum, Stephen, and Peter Gentry. And it is hard to accept the name of “instruction” attached to the Mosaic law when the violation of this “instruction” comes in a very penal and maledictory fashion (Deut. The nature of the law is different because it comes from a perfectly holy and just Lawgiver whose magnificent law reveals his magnificent character. The Mosaic covenant is summarized by the argument that “by means of the Israelite covenant, God intends for the nation to fulfill the Adamic role reassigned to Abraham. The Gospel Coalition supports the church by providing resources that are trusted and timely, winsome and wise, and centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ. As they go on to explain, the metanarrative of Scripture is a progress of covenants where God always keeps his side of the covenant, but there is no perfect faithful covenant partner until Jesus Christ and the new covenant. God does indeed govern his world through dominion delegated by covenant. But the authors are operating under a few false dilemmas. also, Pascal Denault, The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology (Vestavia Hills, AL: Solid Ground, 2012). Copyright © 2020 The Gospel Coalition, INC. All Rights Reserved. Surely, this covenant is made in light of the covenant made in creation and Gentry and Wellum are right to note that Noah receives “Adam’s mandate, modified somewhat to suit the circumstances of a fallen world,” (165) yet that does not remove this from being the initiation of a distinct covenant. Patterns are established in the Old Testament that find fulfillment in the New Testament. 14 Brueggermann, Theology of the Old Testament, 157f. 13 Peter J. Gentry & Stephen J. Wellum, Kingdom through Covenant, 177ff. Modern Medieval Protestants: Why We (Still) Need the Doctrine of Justification. Their reason for doing so is that the word for covenant, bĕrît, does not appear in the text of Scripture until Genesis 6:18. Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants A Review Article Samuel Renihan* Just as the Israelites feared to enter Canaan because there were giants in the land, so also the one who approaches Kingdom through Covenant1 must consider the viability of digesting and interacting with a work of such magnitude. Through covenant, God will bring his blessing and establish his rule in the lives of his people and, through them, to the rest of the world” (388). 108, 125, 142) and thus keep God’s covenant by obeying his will (pp. Put another way, we must assert not only that the Old Testament looked forward to Christ, but that Christ was present in the Old Testament. However, once we have arrived at Revelation, we realize that it’s time to read the Bible backwards, or at least to start over in light of the New Testament. 24:4). Briefly, the arguments concerning the law need to be addressed. For example, if Christ represents his people as the one who makes atonement for their sins, and if we believe in a definite number of individuals for whom Christ performed this mission, how can there be any in his covenant who fail to enjoy the benefits thereof? It is God’s own commentary on what he has done and will do in history (87-89). ” 17 Cf. What does hold across the various administrations of the covenant of grace, however, is God’s unilateral promise to provide a Savior in whom the families of the earth will be blessed. The church comes into being not whenever God speaks, washes, and feeds his flock, but when the hearers trust and obey. In fact, Paul clearly says that this is a judgment exercised within the church, toward professing members who live in open rebellion. A natural consequence of this is to reject the idea that the historical covenants of Scripture are simply administrations of the one covenant of grace and to seek to emphasize the unique character of each of those covenants, hence the extended exegesis of chs. Especially given the robust exegesis and theological argumentation elsewhere, I was expecting to find more rigorous engagement with the “apostasy” passages. Primarily, their use of typology is prospective. In chapter three, the authors lay down hermeneutical foundations. Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum's new and much-awaited book Kingdom Through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants (Crossway, 2012) has only been out for a couple of months, but it has already generated quite a bit of discussion. If the authors reject the identification of the moral law with the Ten Commandments, then to what inspired revelation should we look to identify the moral law? “The new covenant therefore brings to fruition God’s promises and purposes in all the others” (445). The church began in Genesis 3:15 and the church began at Pentecost. Yet again, this is indeed a development of promises made earlier in the Abrahamic covenant (and well before that in Genesis 3:15), meaning that hēqîm bĕrît can refer to the initiation of a covenant, but in light of another covenant. ↩, Cf. First, the 2LBCF states in. . When the authors summarize the meaning of baptism as signifying the believer’s faith, marking one as God’s child, and add that “baptism always assumes faith for its validity” (700, emphasis added), it’s clear that our differences concern the nature of baptism itself and the relative priority of God’s promise and our faith. Christ was not just portrayed in the Old Testament. In fact, they argue that the place of Deuteronomy 6:5 in the literary structure of Deuteronomy makes it “the key text of the Old Testament” (366). So while I definitely think this criticism keeps us on our toes, there’s enough out there to qualify the charge that we see the Spirit’s work as “basically the same across redemptive history.”. For all the argumentation, the disagreement is small. ‘Kingdom through Covenant’ Authors Respond to Bock, Moo, Horton It is both gratifying and humbling to have our work reviewed by such scholars as Darrell Bock, Michael Horton, and Douglas Moo. 15 Goldsworthy, Plan, 99. Following the exegesis of the Old Testament covenants, Gentry and Wellum discuss the new covenant as it is presented in Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel’s seventy weeks as well as an extended treatment of Paul’s command to “speak the truth in love” as an example of the new covenant community demonstrating the kind of conduct that was envisioned in the old covenant. Then, one must understand this text in its epochal horizon, its place within redemptive history. Jewish branches that didn’t yield faith were broken off to make room for living Gentile branches that share the faith of Abraham in Christ. At this point, Reformed theology has traditionally appealed to a distinction between basis and administration. It was given to Christ as a covenant of works, along with the added stipulation of bearing the wrath of his people, with the promised reward being a heavenly inheritance and a people (John 6:38, etc). In fact, given that the conclusions about Genesis 3 in chapter 16 appear so in line with the classic covenant of works, one wonders what that assumed exegesis would look like and how it would change the presentation of the “covenant of creation.”, I understand the authors’ reservations. They affirm the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture and argue that because it is a unified whole, ultimately the product of one author, God, we should read the Bible canonically. 2 Comments. Progressive Covenantalism sees it- self as a version of New Covenant Theology, and New Covenant Theology itself is a revision, reformulation, of traditional Covenant Theology, one that refocuses the cov-enant concept away from the traditional theological covenants … But we must now turn to iron-sharpening and face the giants in the land. Once that is accepted, one must admit that within all of the laws found within the Mosaic covenant, some laws represent true universals while others are peculiar commands for Israel. 4:11). 2014, On 01, Dec 2014 | In Resources, Samuel Renihan | By Brandon Adams. REVIEW ARTICLE QUESTIONING THE PROGRESS IN PROGRESSIVE COVENANTALISM: A REVIEW OF GENTRY AND WELLUM’S KINGDOM THROUGH COVENANT Jonathan M. Brack and Jared S. Oliphint P eter J. Gentry, professor of Old Testament Interpretation at the South-ern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Stephen J. Wellum, professor of Christian Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, … In sum, Abram is promised a kingdom in which God himself is the ruler as opposed to Adam’s rebelling and Babel’s self- aggrandizement (242-45). The final section of the book summarizes and synthesizes the work that has already been done. The reason for calling this project a “via media” (23) is that Gentry and Wellum are not in agreement with the way that classical covenant theology and dispensationalism have understood the relation of the biblical covenants one to another. The first chapter covers God’s call of Abram and his promises to him in Genesis 12. Though most certainly in light of a prior covenant we are somehow involved in ’! J., and Stephen Wellum who both serve at the very least it! Covers God ’ s promise, creates the church making a covenant of works in... 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