Does the Bible teach a covenant of redemption?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by thomas15, Aug 10, 2011.

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Does the Bible teach a covenant of redemption?

  1. Yes

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    20.0%
  2. No

    4 vote(s)
    80.0%
  1. thomas15

    thomas15
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    Does the Bible teach a covenant of redemption between the Father and the Son?

    "Scripture simply does not say much on the pre-creation shape of the decrees of God. To speak concretely of an intertrinitarian “covenant” with terms and conditions between the Father and the Son mutually endorsed before the foundation of the world is to exceed the bounds of Scriptural evidence beyond propriety.

    …In view of more recent light on the character of the Biblical covenants, the feasibility of a “covenant” among members of the Trinity appears even less likely."

    quoted from:
    O.Palmer Robertson
    The Christ of the Covenants
    1980 P&R Publishing Co. Phillipsburg, NJ
    Pg 54
     
  2. thomas15

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    Two issues to start with in the above quote:

    1. The apparent lack of Biblical support for one of the three covenants that covenant theology teaches.

    2. The evolving theology of the covenant camp, an option which they allow for themselves but don't allow for the dispies.
     
  3. thomas15

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    Anyone interested in a discussion on the Biblical feasibility of covenant theology may ask why I chose in my OP to quote O. Palmer Robertson. Kim Riddlebarger, the current heavy weight champion of the modern A-mil crowd recommends Robertson or Horton for anyone who desires more information of the covenants of works, redemption and grace. Since I find Horton to be annoying (a personality flaw on my part), I chose Robertson.

    Surprisingly, Robertson devotes approx 1 page to the covenant of redemption; he cites no scripture but he advises the reader in a footnote to consult either Berkhoff, Hodge or Campbell for full treatments of this subject. Campbell's work is no doubt really good reading but alas it is an unpublished thesis. I have both Hodge and Berkhoff on my bookshelf so I decided to consult Berkhoff simply because his work is newer.

    Berkhoff devotes a full 4 pages to the covenant of redemption. Of those 4 pages, one contains the subtitle "Scriptural Data for the Covenant of Redemption (pg 266 Systematic Theology 1932 Eerdmans Grand Rapids Michigan).
     
  4. JesusFan

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    So they would be saying that father and Son "worked" out the agreement to save us before we were ven created, in eternity past?

    Don't they also hold to a "covenant" of works between adam and God before the fall, had a works based salvation procress going on?
    If so, is that why they have such a big emphasis on the Law even for today?

    Almost that we are saved by grace, kept by law!
     
  5. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    Salvation was determined, before ever there was a world, in the Covenant of Grace (also sometimes called he Council of Redemption. That is why Paul can say of the Thessalonians, ‘But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth’ (2Thes 2:13 ). The whole of the Bible may be seen as the outworking of this great covenant and the accomplishment of God’s gracious plan for our salvation.

    References to the Covenant of Grace can be found in various parts of the Bible if one is prepared to look for them as the following examples will show:-

    Luke 22:22. “And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined……” Determined where and by whom if not in the Covenant of Grace?

    John 6:38-39. “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.” Christ has been given a people and the task by the Father which He is determined to fulfil. What can this refer to if not the Covenant of Grace?

    John 10:16. “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” Not, “I will bring,” but, “I must bring.” Our Lord had been given a commission to fulfil.

    John 10:17-18. “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” Where did Christ receive this command, the doing of which merited so well the Father’s love? In the Covenant of Grace, of course.

    Phil 2:6-8 (my translation). ‘Who, being in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be held onto, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.’ In the Covenant of Grace, our Lord gave up temporarily that equality with the Father that had existed from all eternity, and became the willing servant of Exodus 21:5-6 and Psalm 40:6-8 in order to rescue those who had been given to Him (John 17:2, 6 ).

    Heb 2:13. ‘Here am I and the children whom God has given to Me.’ Given by the Father to the Son in the Covenant of Grace to be redeemed from sin and brought to heaven.

    In Isaiah 42:6, Christ is described as the Covenant itself. He is, in His own Person and work, the very substance of it. In Mal 3:1, He is, ‘The Messenger of the Covenant’ because He came to proclaim it and make it known. In Heb 7:22, He is, ‘The Surety of a better covenant.’ Christ came as the representative of fallen Man, being engaged to fulfil the obligations incurred under the Covenant of Works. In Heb 9:15, He is, ‘The Mediator of the New Covenant’ since He has brought about legal satisfaction between God and man so that covenantal blessings are now imparted to those who had previously forfeited them, and He now stands between the two parties, advocating the cause of man to God (1John 2:1 ) and speaking a word of the comfort of God to the weary man (Isaiah 50:4 ).

    Read more here: http://marprelate.wordpress.com/2009/09/07/the-covenants-part-ii-the-covenant-of-grace/

    Steve
     
  6. thomas15

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    Not all covenant theologians hold to 3 covenants, some hold to just the covenants of works and grace. But to answer your question, to my knowledge yes, they teach that a covenant was made between the Father and Son. I don't know what part the Spirit had in formulating the covenant as not much is written on this point.

    Some covenant types try to make the case that the covenant of grace is really in the form of a simple promise so that anytime God promises something it becomes a covenant. That is one of the reasons why they deny that the Abrahamic covenant is unconditional because in order to have the church receive the promises and not Israel, there has to be conditions not met.

    If the three persons of the Godhead are fully God (which they are), it is a little hard for me to comprehend those persons sitting at the table (so to speak), working out the terms of a covenant. Any covenant of this nature would have to be unconditional, God would have to know that at some point man would break whatever conditions were placed on it. If/when that happened, then no man would be saved.

    Anyway, it's not what I think that counts, it's what the Bible teaches that matters. I have not read anything that gives any good reason why the sovereign triune God would need a covenant of redemption in the first place.
     
  7. thomas15

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    Steve, slow down, you are getting ahead of me.
     
  8. JesusFan

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    Since the truine God is always ONE in Will and purpose, why would there evn have to be a n "agreement?" between ANY of the trinity?
    Wouldn't ANY Covenant agreement be betwenn a greater/lessor party, as between God and man per Bible use of that term?
     
  9. thomas15

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    I'm finding myself in total agreement with you.
     
  10. thomas15

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    Ok Steve,

    In the OP I ask the question regarding the covenant of redemption, not the covenant of grace. It is my understanding that some reformed theologians don't acknowledge this covenant and others combine it with the covenant of grace. My intention is to deal with the covenant as a separate covenant.

    Louis Berkof in his theology and under the heading previously mentioned in post #3 regarding the Scriptual Data/covenant of redemption (pg 266) devotes 1 of the 5 paragraphs to the "counsel of peace" that you mention. Since it is only one paragraph, I will quote the whole thing:

    "The name "counsel of peace" is derived from Zech. 6:13. Coccejus and others found in this passage a reference to an agreement between the Father and the Son. This was clearly a mistake, for the words refer to the union of the kingly and priestly offices in the Messiah. The Scriptural character of the name cannot be maintained, but this, of course, does not detract from the reality of the counsel of peace.The doctrine of this eternal counsel rests on the following Scriptual basis."

    Basically Berkof is saying that the title counsel of peace is based on a misunderstanding of the meaning of Zech 6:13 but the concept of the counsel is Biblical. This is of course the purpose of this thread to debate the accuracy of his assertion but it is interesting that Berkof does not use the term counsel of peace again.

    Hopefully Steve we are on track talking about the covenant of redemption and looking at the Biblical support for it.

    The question: Does the Bible teach a covenant of redemption?
     
  11. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    As something separate and additional to the covenant of grace, No. I follow the W.C.F. and the 1689 baptist Confessionin seeing one covenant made in eternity past between the Persons of the Trinity for the salvation of mankind. The problem is that people give it different names.

    Steve
     
  12. JesusFan

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    Would you happen to know what reformed mean when they say "the Covenat of Works?"
     

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