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Covenant Theology: Biblical, Theological,…

Covenant Theology: Biblical, Theological, and Historical Perspectives (udgave 2020)

af Guy P. Waters (Redaktør)

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771281,687 (5)Ingen
Titel:Covenant Theology: Biblical, Theological, and Historical Perspectives
Forfattere:Guy P. Waters (Redaktør)
Info:Crossway (2020), Edition: Annotated, 672 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

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Covenant Theology: Biblical, Theological, and Historical Perspectives af Guy P. Waters


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Waters, Guy Prentiss, J. Nicholas Reid, and John R. Muether, eds. Covenant Theology: Biblical, Theological, and Historical Perspectives. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020. $60.00

The Reformed Theological Seminary faculty has produced a book that fills me with excitement. Any volume that requires three editors must be quite an undertaking, and that is certainly accurate of Covenant Theology. I have long awaited the publication of this collection of essays from the faculty of RTS, and it does not disappoint. The reader who picks up this 600 plus page book will be rewarded with scholarly articles covering as much covenant theology as is possible.

Three parts contain 27 chapters, each authored by an individual. I appreciate this aspect because many books co-authored tend to lose their flow. Authors write differently, and when styles compete, the reader loses. That is not the case with the present book. If you happen to struggle with one author, know only three authors wrote more than one chapter (Belcher, Reid, and Waters each wrote two chapters).

Before diving into the contents, I want to clarify and not pretend as though I read every word of each chapter. God has given me gifts; incredible speed reading comprehension is not one of them. I will be getting a physical copy, along with pen and paper, and reading through the entirety of the book at a later date. My eyes perused every chapter and some sections kept my attention for extended periods.

Part one begins with the biblical covenants. They proceed chronologically and do not skip even the most challenging of topics. Dr. Guy Richard kicks off with one of the more controversial teachings within covenant theology, that of the Covenant of Redemption. Dr. Richard summarizes the covenant as “a pretemporal agreement between the persons of the Trinity to plan and carry out the redemption of the elect.” The idea of covenant is not contrary to Scripture, and Dr. Richard provides the biblical and theological rationale for its existence and concludes with its relevance. Dr. Richard Belcher Jr. and Dr. Guy Waters work through the covenant of works in the Old and New Testaments, respectively. The Westminster Confession of Faith articulates a covenant of works (WCF 7.2). Dr. Belcher provides a short overview of some Reformed scholars who vary to different degrees from the WCF and their understanding of Genesis 1-3 before devoting a few paragraphs to the Federal Vision understanding. Dr. Waters shows from 1 Corinthians 15, Romans 5, 10, and Galatians 3 the evidence of Adam being in a covenant relationship with God.

The existence of the remaining covenants is not in question, but our understanding and their role need clarification. Ultimately, all remaining covenants fall underneath the umbrella of the covenant of grace (chapter 4) inaugurated in Genesis 3:14-19. The specific covenants between Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David each receive a chapter. Chapter 9 details the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31) as a “central concern of Prophetic Literature, as well as the whole Old Testaments.” The next four chapters cover how the various New Testament books use covenant theology, or specifically, how they approach the covenants and its language.

Part 2 begins the section looking at the history of covenant theology. Dr. Ligon Duncan starts with a brief study of covenants in the early church. Each successive chapter works its way through a period of history up to recent developments. The overall consensus is that covenant theology has continued to see development in each era. Dr. Douglas Kelly confesses the Medieval era offered little discussion on the matter in light of the expansive time frame (approximately 800-900 years). Some highlights include Dr. Mark McDowell covering Barth’s and the Torrances’ engagement with covenant theology and Dr. Michael Allen bringing the reader up to recent discourse while providing principles for future studies.

Part 3 covers “Collateral and Theological Studies,” otherwise stated as topics of study which help shed light on how we understand covenant theology. We get fantastic essays on ancient Near East backgrounds, Second Temple Judaism, and contemporary NT scholarship. I become gitty scanning through the chapters looking forward to spending a great deal of time in each. Dr. Mike Glodo offers an excellent engagement with Dispensationalism, and the same needs to be said of Dr. Scott Swain’s undertaking of new covenant theologies and progressive covenantalism. Dr. Derek Thomas’s closing chapter on the significance of covenant theology to assurance and sacraments provokes the reader to reconsider all the previous chapters as even more practical than they might have assumed before.

You read all 27 chapters and think you have finished? Nope. Kevin DeYoung provides what may be one of the most critical sections of the entire book: “Why Covenant Theology?”. If you happen to find yourself holding this book and do not know what you are getting into, read the afterward first. Even if you are not familiar with covenant theology, do not worry because the rest of the book will answer questions about what is covenant theology. It is imperative to understand why it is worth days, weeks, or even months of your time to study this area of theology, and DeYoung succinctly provides a reason.

Who should purchase this book? Seminary students and pastors. Interest lay Christians would benefit from reading the various chapters, but this volume is thoroughly academic. Not to dissuade the average Christian from getting this book, but if you are not the type to pick through a systematic theology book, you would not enjoy Covenant Theology.

It is not really within my skillset to engage with each section of the book; expect various scholars to do that in the coming months. I can say that the faculty of RTS provides a desperately needed resource and sets the bar for further studies and interaction on this topic. The authors and editors certainly deserve recognition for how well this volume flows. Covenant Theology will be a book I refer back to, and the book I ask people to engage with who disagree with the Reformed view of covenant theology.

This book challenges the reader to think about how they need to approach reading. It is not like many systematic theologies in which you read a section, perhaps lasting 2-5 pages. The flow is such you kind of want to start at the very beginning and make your way through Covenant Theology in its entirety. One can, without recourse, pick any chapter and start reading; however, I would suggest those with less experience studying covenant theology to start from the beginning and treat each chapter as a building block.

I highly recommend getting a copy of this book, though I wonder if that needs to be said. Covenant Theology is one of those books which interested readers already know about and want to get, and others do not desire to read. Also, while I have increasingly read digital versions of books, I would not recommend that for this book. It is an academic resource; it needs to be on your shelf. I only wish my review copy (which I am grateful for) was physical.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley for review purposes. My comments are independent and my own. ( )
  carter92 | Dec 7, 2020 |
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