Covenant Theology: What is it?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by ReformedBaptist, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
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    Hey BB,

    Some threads have raised the subject of Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism. Some of the claims of dispensationalists have been shocking to me. I am by no means an expert on Dispensationalism. Likewise, I am not well versed, as they say, on Covenant Theology. But I have yet to hear something said about Covenant Theology that strikes me as wholly unbliblical.

    So what are you thoughts? What do you understand Covenant Theology to be? What is Dispensationalism? What is the importance of these subjects? Why do they oppose each other?

    I am not looking for exactness here. I am really looking to see how folks understand these subjects, whether they understand them correctly or not. My request is that we proceed with charity toward one another. This doesn't mean we should be spineless. What I mean is dealing with the ideas rather than persons.

    Here are some interesting statements on Covenant Theology that I find wholly agreeable to God's Word.

    "The covenant of all the fathers is so far from differing substantially from ours, that it is the very same. Only the administration varies." -John Calvin

    "If the subject still appears involved in any obscurity, let us proceed to the very form of the covenant; which will not only satisfy sober minds, but will abundantly prove the ignorance of those who endeavour to oppose it. For the Lord has always covenanted thus with his servants: "I will be to you a God, and ye shall be to me a people" (Lv. xxvi. 12). - John Calvin

    And again,

    "..the central element of the blessing involved in covenant grace is the relationship expressed in the words, "I will be your God, and ye shall be my people."

    This last statement I find equisitly beautiful. Knowing that I am in Covenant relationship with God has brought tremendous joy, peace, and thanksgiving. It has brought extraordinary meaning to the Lord's Table for me.

    This should be enough to get a discussion started.
    RB
     
  2. ReformedBaptist

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    [​IMG]

    I guess CT wins! No one reponded. hahaha
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    I subscribe to most of covenant theology. I usually don't let anyone around here know, since I've been (in the past) called a heretic by a classical dispensationalist other places.

    A pretty good primer is on wikipedia...or here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covenant_theology

    cheerio!
     
    #3 preachinjesus, Aug 4, 2008
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  4. jcjordan

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    This whole subject is sort of confusing to me. I have strong leanings toward covenant theology because I really see the "church" and "Israel" as being one in the same. I see the prophecies made to Israel being fulfilled to the Church, not just to the nation of Israel, although there are those in the nation of Israel that are members of the elect. However, not all fo Israel is Israel (the church). Typically, I usually find myself not at odds with many in the dispensationalist camp as long as they aren't saying stuff like.."God had a plan A for Isael and then they rejected Him so now He's gone to plan B". This I see as being a direct attack on the sovereignty of God. Also, some dispys who just go bezerk on trying to figure out the rapture and the millenium and all that stuff just drive me crazy sometimes. Now, I won't take covenant theology as far as the presbyterians do...paedobaptism.
     
  5. webdog

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    What is the purpose of the Great Tribulation if covenant theology is true? I see none whatsoever. The Bible speaks of ages for a reason (dispensations), and the "age to come" hasn't come yet.
     
    #5 webdog, Aug 4, 2008
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  6. preachinjesus

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    I really don't want to get into a huge thing about this but...wait for it...

    I'm a historical premillenialist, ergo I don't believe there will be a "great tribulation." Not a big issue for me, eschatology is more about believing Christ is returning than knowing the details on His return. I know that is a form of "Baptist heresy" but oh well...Calvin and Augustine were historical premillenial covenant theologians, I guess I'm in good company. (Please don't accuse me of placing these guys over Scripture, I'm not...)

    Lots of implications here but most covenant theologians are either historical premillenialists or amillenialists. Just in my experience. Maybe its a poor one. :)

    (btw, I really have prayed, studied, and worked out my theology in this area, it's not an overnight decision.)
     
  7. webdog

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    How can someone not believe in a great tribulation...when the Bible specifically states there will be one? I'm curious...
     
  8. skypair

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    Answering the basic questions, RB, "Covenant Theology" sees ONE covenant covering with all believers and, as Renald Showers points out, only shows God's "program" for man -- not angels, not demons, not the lost, not the earth, not eternity.

    Furthermore, the one covenant is said to be between God and Jesus regarding mankind. One covenant -- all time and eternity. And, not "incidentally," they can't point to any verse or passage wherein God reveals such a covenant!

    Dispensationalism says that there are SEVEN covenants and those are just in God's programs for MAN. There are 3 instances that truly illustrate God's SEPARATE revelations and dealings with mankind. 1) Pre law Gentiles (2 covenants*), 2) the Jews under law (4 covenants*), 3) the church (1 covenant*).

    * ALL revealed in scripture!

    What is the importance? There is no understanding of salvation and sotierology without what Larkin calls "rightly dividing the word of God." God's "program" for mankind is to be A) justified with God, B) sanctified by the Spirit, C) glorified in Christ. Those that THREE different time elements to God's program for believers. That's a simple as I can put it, RB.

    Well, obvious CT. His caveat about "administration" is the precise meaning of dispensations --- DIFFERING ADMINISTRATIONS! Is Calvin totally blind to animal sacrifices vs. Christ's sacrifice??? Law vs. grace??? C'mon, RB. Even YOU can see a difference, can't you??

    Perhaps Calvin had "tipped a few too many" when he wrote this. That is the "smallest of bandaids" on the "largest of wounds" within the church! What? He's going to explain everything with "I will be your God and you will be My people?" Pulleease!

    "Covenant relationship?" Calvies won't even acknowledge that they have done anything to enter a covenant relationship. Let's get this straight -- covenants involve TWO parties. When one Party says "believe ON the Lord Jesus Christ," that is a CONDITION of the covenant!! Comprende'? Capice'? IOW, covenant relationship and "election" are NOT unconditional.

    Abraham's covenant with God was unconditional but he had already proven his faith in God. Noah's "rainbow" covenant with God was unconditional because Noah had proven his faith. Calvinists "give" nothing to God and expect that God to "lay" salvation in their "laps." Ain't so! JM tries to remedy this by making "good disciples" of the "unconditionally saved." It don't work that way, RB.

    skypair
     
    #8 skypair, Aug 4, 2008
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  9. Brother Bob

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    Put me down as the Covenant theology, ok Sky?

    My part of the Covenant is "I Believed".

    BBob,
     
  10. Thinkingstuff

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    I don't really know how to respond. I believe that there are no plan B's with God. He always intended Christianity to be the inheritors of the promise. I also believe in the importance of scripture and take it for what it says. I read it plainly and believe it. Which doesnt' seem to fit in the Covenant Theology discriptions I've read on the web. I don't believe that God says ok this is how I work now and I will work differently later. I believe revelation of Gods plan is progressive that as he reveals more we understand more. With out the OT there would not be a NT. The OT is the building block that the NT is built on. We could not understand the need of redemption without first understanding we need it. The plan doesn't change it just gets filled out. I must first count 1, 2, 3 before I learn to add before I learn to multiply, before I learn linear equations before I learn quadratic equations before I learn differential mathmatics. Humanity is like that in a sence when coming to understand God. So where does that fit in?
     
  11. ReformedBaptist

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    As a quasi-covenant person (hahaha...not sure I understand all that Covenant Theology teaches) I do believe in a great tribulation and the age to come which has not happened yet, but the great tribulation I reckon we are in. In the Scripture I am aware of only two ages: this present age, and the age to come. Then ending of this present age, and the begining of the age to come is marked by the return of Christ. Now, this brings in the subject of eschatology, which I am not sure why when the subject is Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism.

    Are they inherently eschatological? Or is one and not the other? Also, why do you equate the word dispensation(s) with age(s)? I have not looked up every instance where the KJV translates the greek to "dispensation" but in Eph 1:10 for example, the greek there is oikonomia. I am not even a novice in Greek, but I do understand the word translated age is different.

    This oikonomia is quite an amazing word. It means the managment of a household or of household affairs. As you probably know, it is sometimes translated administration. This is espeically interesting in light of the following passage:

    "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house." Hebrews 3:1-3

    Moses was a servant in all his house, but Christ the son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

    This house of Moses was not his own, but God's. And we are this house who believe in Jesus. It is one household, as it seems to me, but different servants in the house. Moses, as a servant in His house, and Christ, as the Son over His own house.
     
    #11 ReformedBaptist, Aug 4, 2008
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  12. skypair

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    Correct, but God's plan DOES include more that one "step." Not "12 steps," to be sure! :laugh: But at least 3 -- justification, sanctification, and glorification. "Sinc-ing" that with scripture, you have OT, NT, eternal kingdom of Rev 21-22.

    Think about it, thinking.

    skypair
     
  13. Thinkingstuff

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    I'm not sure I agree with the step thing. What about the verse that states that the lamb was slain at the foundations of the world? I think Revelation 13:8
     
  14. Outsider

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    Hi everyone,
    I am not an expert on the dispensationalism, so I am sure it has merit. I do believe there are things for periods of time and should be looked at and studied.

    Something to consider is that Christ said our time is always. The Pharisees knew the Christ was to come, but they were always looking ahead and in their own way. When Christ did come, they were blinded to the fact because it wasn't what they had pictured.

    As for the tribulation, too many people have it pictured a certain way. Scripture told the Pharisees that Christ was to come. How He was to come and what He would do. They still didn't see it.
    If we are looking for the tribulation to always be in front of us, we won't be able to see it. I know that there are some that will say they will be able to because they seem to have it all figured out, but I believe the Pharisees knew the Bible (OT) pretty good too.

    I am a partial preterist on eschatology (Maybe by default), but I will take the grace anyday. That is why I am a believer of the covenant theology.

    Please do not think I am calling anyone a Pharisee. I am only using that as an example and as a primary reason why I accept what I see in scripture. Everytime I think I have it all figured out, I find I have a lot more to study.
    I leave it in the good Lord's hands. He knows what He is doing so I am trusting in Him and waiting on His return.

    God bless!!!
     

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