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. If we allowed for more retrospection, would that not put more meat on the bones of the covenant of creation and other theological issues?5. 108, 125, 142) and thus keep God’s covenant by obeying his will (pp. For a full explanation, see: No. This leads me to a second false dilemma. t is a i It Is Defiance. 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. A final concern is the conflation of the kingdom promised to Abraham with the kingdom of Christ. By Peter J. Gentry and Stephen J. Wellum. While God promises to keep his part of the covenant, he demands obedience from the covenant partner, obedience which Abraham poorly reflects to the world around him. 848 pp. 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. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned” (vv. When Paul speaks of not being under the law but under grace he is referring to the law as a covenant of works, from which we are freed by the life and death of Christ for us. Purge the evil person from among you” (5:9–13). 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. It isn’t just a distinction between the world and the church, since the fish are in fact caught in the covenantal net of the kingdom and then sorted on the last day. 1-3) deals with the place of covenant theology within biblical and systematic theology, summarizes and briefly interacts with classic covenant theology and dispensationalism, and lays down hermeneutical foundations, especially with regard to typology. I cannot help but agree with them, to a degree. 15 Goldsworthy, Plan, 99. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants at Amazon.com. In such a case, these two are not two ends of a continuum, but two truly mutually exclusive polar opposites. Everyday low … (159). Gentry and Wellum summarize the argument: In summary, based on the expression hēqîm bĕrît, linguistic usage alone demonstrates that when God says that he is confirming or establishing his covenant with Noah, he is saying that his commitment initiated previously at creation…including the blessings and ordinances that he gave to Adam and Eve and their family, are now to be with Noah and his descendants. Wheaton: Crossway, 2012. About Covenant Review, a Fitch Solutions Service: Covenant Review creatively analyzes the indentures, credit agreements, and other contracts that determine creditor rights. Regarding the new covenant, the authors view it as being “completely effective…in terms of both provision and application” (681). In relation to the Mosaic covenant, “This is a clear illustration of federal headship: the king is the nation in himself” (423). In summary, “the progressive revelation of the covenants tell us a story…They anticipate in many ways that in the coming and work of this Son…God’s saving rule and reign will come to this world” (644). Samuel Renihan* *Samuel Renihan, M.Div., is a pastor at Trinity Reformed Baptist Church, La Mirada, CA. For the seriousness with which it handles the issues, its depth of research and analysis, its approach on many issues, and the respectful description of alternative positions, Kingdom through Covenant strikes me as a model for the deeper and richer conversations that we need in our circles. Hebrews 6 assumes a category of covenant members (Jewish Christians) who are in some sense beneficiaries of the Spirit’s common work in the church through the means of grace, but revert to Judaism. Review of Kingdom through Covenant (2nd Ed) by Gentry and Wellum. A Baptist interpretation cannot account for this category of covenant beneficiaries who spurn the objective blessings delivered to them and fall away, while an Arminian interpretation cannot account for the distinction of this group from those who were in fact united to Christ. The apostles address their Jewish-Gentile congregations just as the prophets addressed Israel, only with respect to the everlasting-spiritual promises (which are not abrogated) rather than the geo-political theocracy (which is). That is true. ↩, Discuss 1689 Federalism on Facebook: Reformed Baptist Fellowship & Theology Forum. In the biblical-theological summary of the covenants (611-52), reasons are given for the departure from the classic formulation of the covenant of works. There are many other works that would be worth reading, but few are available in published format. “Kingdom through Covenant is directly applicable to a pastor faithfully seeking understanding of God’s Word as it reveals the structure that supports the narrative of God’s message throughout time. Note this statement from, 1689 Federalism teaches that only the New Covenant is the Covenant of Grace. The important thing to note is that these passages do not teach a two-sided dual-sanction covenant of grace. Creation is ordered based on God’s covenant. 5:17-48. Welty demonstrates that ethical teaching does not fulfill law. Stay connected Kingdom through Covenant [KTC]2 presents itself as a work of biblical theol-ogy under the label, Progressive Covenantalism. It is God’s own commentary on what he has done and will do in history (87-89). The study of the covenants provides a framework for understanding and applying the message of the Bible to life in the new covenant community. Gentry actually responded to me via e-mail inquiring about my review and about the evidence I had in favor my assessment that he was “almost entirely wrong” when it came to the ritual in Genesis 15. Yet, when the New Testament employs typology, it is to show the Jews what they should have seen from the beginning, whether that was in the wilderness manna, the water-gushing rock, the desert-serpent, the sacrifices, or so much more. Christ is the resolution of this metanarrative, but while he has inaugurated the kingdom of God it awaits consummation. Share 12. Copyright © 2020 The Gospel Coalition, INC. All Rights Reserved. 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. Each covenant is then reviewed. “The new covenant therefore brings to fruition God’s promises and purposes in all the others” (445). 31:32; cf. The majority of the third chapter deals with three horizons of biblical interpretation (92-102) and typology (102-21). 4-15. In relation to the Abrahamic covenant, the king brings Israel to rest and safety within the promised land and is the source of mediating blessing to the nations (423-26). In the next chapter, Gentry and Wellum argue for a covenant of creation. By contrast, the Anabaptist-Baptist ecclesiology lodges the church’s visibility in the members. A Review of Kingdom Through Covenant, by Peter J. Gentry & Stephen J. Wellum Prolegomena: The first 129 pages of this tome sets forth an understanding of biblical and systematic theology, the basic nature of dispensationalism and covenantal theology, and the hermeneutical principles of each. Concerning covenant theologians, the authors suggest, “Ironically, however, they agree with the Arminian exegesis and conclusion as applied to full covenant members who are not elect” (75). Rom 3:31; 7:7, 22). Thus, to propose a metanarrative that spans the entire Bible, and then to fail to address not only a large portion of data, but the most important set of data in terms of interpretational priority is a fatal flaw. ↩, See http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/09/20/gentry-and-wellum-respond-to-kingdom- through-covenant-reviews/ and http://www.credomag.com/2012/11/26/a-response-to-zaspels-review-peter- gentry-and-stephen-wellum/. 5:2). The gracious promise includes an earthly land and seed as well as a heavenly land and seed. He says explicitly that we have no business “judging outsiders.” “Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 2 Comments. Surely, that is not accurate of the one whose “plan for the fullness of time” is “to unite all things” in Christ (Eph. While correcting or excluding members exhibiting open unbelief and non-repentance, a long-standing Reformed criticism of Anabaptist ecclesiologies is that they assume a separation of sheep and goats prior to Christ’s final judgment. This in turn leads to a third false dilemma. “The victory of that Kingdom … will be procured not by force or spectacular power, but by the sacrificial labor of God’s servant” (p. 149). Commands function in a law-covenant as the basis for blessing or curse: the swearer’s perfect, personal, perpetual obedience is the ground, ratified by a public assumption of the covenant obligations on one’s own head. Primarily, their use of typology is prospective. When Paul speaks of the law which the Gentiles keep by nature and connects it to the law which Israel had written for them (Rom. Drawing from Ezekiel, “The covenant relationship will be restored once they are cleansed from sin” (480). In publication, the authors interpreted this to be the new covenant, meaning that God is promising to establish an everlasting covenant in spite of Israel’s spiritual whoredom. In fact, they argue that until Genesis 6-9 is studied “only then, the issues raised by Genesis 1-3 can and will be considered” (147). Briefly, the arguments concerning the law need to be addressed. In my view, this reversal of the priority in the covenantal relationship tends to work against the best monergistic impulses of Calvinistic Baptists. Neither was the Covenant of Grace established in Genesis 3:15. Their disagreements with classical covenant theology are various and significant. 1689 Federalism is a view of covenant theology (distinguished by its belief that the old and new covenants are different, distinct covenants and that only the new covenant is the covenant of grace) that was held by every published particular baptist work in the 17th century. The label "1689 Federalism" is not intended to suggest that no other view is permissible amongst confessional baptists. 7–8). Cf. It does not mean that all conclusions are wrong. There is a marked progression as the covenants build on one another and move towards Jesus. 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. 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. Today we hear from Horton. The first section (chs. For a 1689 Federalism understanding of the texts in question, please see: No. The Mosaic covenant is also treated in two chapters, the first dedicated to Exodus, the second to Deuteronomy. of Kingdom through Covenant by a team of scholars who accept the basic biblical- theological framework of Gentry and Wellum and develop that framework in areas that the initial book did not (e.g. 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. The question then naturally arises: Did the Covenant of Grace exist during the Old Testament? In his book, The law of God (moral law) itself is not a covenant of works. Then, one must understand this text in its epochal horizon, its place within redemptive history. “Kingdom through Covenant is directly applicable to a pastor faithfully seeking understanding of God’s Word as it reveals the structure that supports the narrative of God’s message throughout time. ‘I Just Believe the Bible’ Doesn’t Make You Orthodox, Michael Horton on the Call to Suffering Witness. And how can they be under his federal headship in any sense (670-83)? In relating the Abrahamic covenant to the larger metanarrative, they demonstrate how there are tensions in the story of God’s dealings with man. 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). But more than that, it is a book that will add contour and detail to the reader’s understanding of the divine drama and all that God has done and will do for his people throughout the ages. Gentry and Wellum have produced a volume that demands attention, consideration, and interaction. While admitting that the classic covenant of works is “on the right track” (610), their disagreements are unhelpfully woven into a defense of the validity of a covenant in Genesis 1-3. Kingdom Through Covenant presents a case for a via media between dispensationalism and covenant theology. Sabbath, warning passages, circumcision, land, Heb. wheaton: Crossway, 2012. 16b–21). 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 Share. Kingdom through Covenant: A (dispensational) Review Posted By Jared Compton Two profs from Southern Seminary published a biblical theology earlier this year that “fell like a bomb on the playground of the [biblical] theologians,” particularly disrupting the contented play of those of us hailing from either one of the two traditional camps—i.e., dispensational and covenant theology. That being said, these two verses are instances of upholding the terms of the covenant rather than making a covenant. The authors argue that the blessings which God promised are a repealing of the curses found in the preceding chapters of Genesis. Genesis 17 is interpreted as an unpacking and confirming of the covenant cut in Genesis 15, and circumcision is understood to be a sign of inclusion in the covenant community as well as a demand for faithfulness paired with the threat of excision (272-75). 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 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 … God’s covenant partners are to be his faithful servants, agents of his will. They are both represented as Israel, the Olive Tree. This is part 2 of a two-part review of Peter J. Gentry and Stephen J. Wellum, Kingdom Through Covenant (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012). The authors are correct in reminding us to appreciate a text in its original and immediate context. Detailed covenant analysis on 5,000+ bonds and loans . The covenants are seen as the backbone for the metanarrative of Scripture. But Gentry and Wellum’s narrowing of hēqîm bĕrît seems to preemptively delimit the nature of the covenant with Adam before arriving at its exegesis. That being said, Gentry and Wellum have produced a book worthy both of digestion and interaction. Gentry and Wellum argue that in order to gain a full understanding of a given text you must first understand it in its textual horizon, that is, in its own place in Scripture. have explored the qualitatively new blessings in the new covenant. The metanarrative of Scripture is God’s progressive revealing of his salvation kingdom through the kingdoms and covenants of Scripture. An interesting addition of evidence is that the Septuagint, which consistently translates hēqîm bĕrît with isthmi or anisthmi diaqhkh, translates “hēqîm bĕrît” in Genesis 9:17 with “diatiqhmi diaqhkhn” which is the ubiquitous way of translating kārat bĕrît.6 Thus, when God says that the rainbow is the sign of the covenant which he “established” with all flesh, the Septuagint treats it as having been “covenanted” and not just “upheld.” Thus, hēqîm bĕrît can refer to initiation of a covenant, but in light of another covenant. That is not a problem. “[T]o reflect upon typological structures and their development is simultaneously to unpack the biblical covenants across redemptive history” (107). To Paul circumcision was—at least for believers like Abraham—the seal of the kingdom of (... Covenant we are justified in returning to Genesis 3 with God on the Mosaic covenant is by... Holding it up according to Paul circumcision was—at least for believers like Abraham—the of. 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