Friday, May 18, 2012

On the Unbiblical Meta-Narrative and Christology of Both Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology

I've been eagerly anticipating publication of this book since before I started dating my wife, made first contact with the church where I now pastor, got married, moved halfway around the country, and had three children. Which in my universe is, well, just over three years, actually. (We had twins.) But it felt like much longer.

On several occasions in the past couple years I've referred to a chapter written by Steve Wellum, one Kingdom Through Covenant's co-authors, which formed the backbone—literally and figuratively—of Tom Schreiner and Shawn Wright's book on baptism. That chapter is available for free here. I've also just listened to a dense, provocative lecture by Wellum on the relationship between limited atonement and Baptist ecclesiology. (The best part of that lecture was Wellum pointing out how Reformed (non-Baptist) ecclesiology is actually incompatible with limited atonement, much to the consternation of his forthcoming book's Presbyterian publishers.) I wouldn't be surprised to see some of that material in Kingdom Through Covenant as well. I'm less familiar with Gentry, but somewhere out there is an insightful lecture from him on what holiness is, as the language is used in Scripture, not pop theology.

All that to say, I suspect that Kingdom Through Covenant is a volume that'll be quite helpful to those of us who perceive significant unresolved problems with both the dispensational and covenantal systems. How well it answers those questions remains to be seen, but I'm confident that it'll delve into some of the issues and texts that apologists for those systems too often avoid. Because of that, I hope even theologians who disagree will engage rigorously with its arguments.

I haven't found it on the WTS site yet, but Amazon lists it at a remarkable price for an 850-page hardcover, though there's some speculation this may be an introductory, limited-time offer.

And finally, as he always does, Justin Taylor has quite a bit more info and some links here, including lengthy quotes from both Wellum and Gentry outlining problems with the Christology and meta-narrative of the two traditional systems.


Anonymous said...

Eph 2:11-13

So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” which is done in the flesh by human hands. At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.

Those who are saved are not foreigners to the covenants of the promise.

1. Covenants is plural.
2. Promise is singular.

Both systems fail the Pauline test.

I look forward to the book as well. Given the nature of the book and my familiarity with Wellum, I would guess that they will deal with biblical covenants, and not speculative ones. This would mean that the covenants of the promise would be:


d4v34x said...

Is it fair to anticipate you will do some digesting and regurgitation of this for us baby birds?

Ben said...

I've only read the parts of the Credo interviews that Justin Taylor linked to. Those would be a great place to start—probably better and more than I'll ever do. And maybe a couple years before I get through it. Plus I'd probably be writing for the angry birds.

And I have no idea what that means. Just wanted to say it.

I'm sure TGC will review it. But watch especially for what the Ref21 crowd and the Master's Seminary faculty have to say. Maybe even someone from the DBTS blog. Those should be interesting reads.

One more think I should've mentioned in the post: Schreiner, Leeman and Dempsters back cover blurbs are worth checking out too. I have a high level of confidence in each of them. All of their writings have been helpful to me.