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Noah Reed
Noah Reed

Introducing Covenant Theology


Since biblical times covenants have been a part of everyday life. Simply put, they are promises, agreements, or contracts. But how do they translate into faith and the reading of Scripture? Are covenants merely elements of a narrative? Or do they represent something more? And what are the eternal implications of "cutting" a covenant with God?




Introducing Covenant Theology



In God of Promise, author Michael Horton unwinds the intricacies of crucial covenant concepts, showing how they provide a significant organizational structure for all of Scripture. They give us a context in which to understand the voices and message of the biblical narrative. They provide life with a goal and history with a meaning.


Whether you're a pastor, ministry leader, or professor, God of Promise will give you a new understanding of covenants and covenant theology, providing a framework for an important theological concept.


"Thought is packed tight in this masterful survey of the covenantal frame of God's self-disclosure in Scripture, and for serious students it is a winner."--J. I. Packer, professor of theology, Regent College


"God of Promise is a rigorous and articulate defense of a traditional view of covenant theology. Dr. Horton's federalist emphasis gleans from well-established Reformed writers while adding his own highly readable and insightful commentary."--Bryan Chapell, president, Covenant Theological Seminary


"Michael Horton has brought covenant theology to life in a way which engages modern thought and appeals to contemporary students and pastors alike. His book is a clear guide to an essential topic."--Gerald Bray, Anglican professor of divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Sanford University


Since biblical times, history is replete with promises made and promises broken. Pastors and teachers know the power of the covenant, and they know that understanding the concept of covenant is crucial to understanding Scripture. They also know that covenant theology provides the foundation for core Christian beliefs and that covenants in their historical context hold significance even today. But to laypeople and new Christians, the eternal implications of "cutting" a covenant with God can be complicated.


Now available in trade paper, Introducing Covenant Theology unwinds the intricacies of covenant theology, making the complex surprisingly simple and accessible to every reader. With keen understanding, careful scholarship, and insight, Michael Horton leads all believers toward a deeper understanding of crucial covenant concepts.


Since biblical times, history is replete with promises made and promises broken. Pastors and teachers know the power of the covenant, and they know that understanding the concept of covenant is crucial to understanding Scripture. They also know that covenant theology provides the foundation for core Christian beliefs and that covenants in their historical context hold significance even today. But to laypeople and new Christians, the eternal implications of "cutting" a covenant with God can be complicating. God of Promise unwinds the intricacies of covenant theology, making the complex surprisingly simple and accessible to every reader. With keen understanding, careful scholarship, and insight, Michael Horton leads all believers toward a deeper understanding of crucial covenant concepts.


"Thought is packed tight in this masterful survey of the covenantal frame of God's self-disclosure in Scripture, but for serious students it is a winner. Theologian Horton displays the biblical wisdom of mainstream Reformed teaching most vividly."--J. I. Packer, professor of theology, Regent College"God of Promise is a rigorous and articulate defense of a traditional view of covenant theology. Dr. Horton's federalist emphasis gleans from well established reformed writers while, as usual, adding his own highly readable and insightful commentary."--Bryan Chapell, president, Covenant Theological Seminary"The covenant concept is central to the biblical revelation and must therefore be the foundation stone of any truly biblical theology. Michael Horton has brought covenant theology to life in a way which engages modern thought and appeals to contemporary students and pastor alike. His book is a clear guide to an essential topic."--Gerald Bray, Anglican professor of divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Sanford University"This book is more than merely an introduction to covenant theology. It is not only intellectually informative, but spiritually stimulating. I found it very helpful to my own walk with God."--Jerry Bridges, staff member, Navigators Collegiate Ministry; author, Pursuit of Holiness"In this masterful summary of covenant theology, Michael Horton uses his exceptional gifts as a theologian to explain covenant as the central organizing principle of Scripture. Horton carefully shows how systematic covenant theology holds together many important biblical principles in this proper balance! Faith and works, justification and sanctification, law and gospel, human responsibility and divine sovereignty. Clear and comprehensive-the ideal introduction to covenant theology."--Dr. Philip Graham Ryken, senior minister, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Covenant theology is a framework for biblical interpretation, informed by exegetical, biblical, and systematic theology, that recognizes that the redemptive history revealed in Scripture is explicitly articulated through a succession of covenants (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and New), thus providing an organizing principle for biblical theology. Covenant theology also posits theological covenants (the Covenants of Redemption, Works, and Grace) and appreciates how the scriptural teaching about covenants entails and relates to a number of vitally important biblical themes and issues, including the purpose of God in history, the nature of the people of God, the federal headships of Adam and Christ, the person and work of Christ, the continuities and discontinuities in the progress of redemptive history, the relation of the Old and New Testaments, law and gospel, the assurance of salvation, the nature and significance of the sacraments (or ordinances), and what it means to walk with God in this life.


The formulation of covenant theology is the work of the 16th and 17th century Calvinistic Reformation. By the middle of the 1500s Zwingli, Bullinger, Calvin and others had articulated fundamental aspects of covenant theology in response both to medieval Roman Catholic and contemporary Anabaptist interpretative errors, especially pertaining to the relation of the Old and New Testaments, deliberately citing the church fathers as informing their views and confirming the importance of the covenants in their exposition of redemptive history. Covenant theology became influential in all the various branches of Reformed evangelical Protestantism (Presbyterian, Continental Reformed, Anglican, Congregationalist, Independent, and Baptist).


Covenant theology is informed by exegetical, biblical and systematic theology: recognizing that the redemptive history revealed in Scripture is explicitly articulated through a succession of covenants (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and New), thus providing a fundamental architectonic or organizing principle for biblical theology (the study of Scripture from the standpoint of redemptive history). Covenant theology posits theological covenants (the Covenants of Redemption, Works, and Grace) and appreciates how the scriptural teaching about covenants entails and relates to a number of vitally important biblical themes and issues, including the purpose of God in history, the nature of the people of God, the federal headships of Adam and Christ, the person and work of Christ, the continuities and discontinuities in the progress of redemptive history, the relation of the Old and New Testaments, law and gospel, the assurance of salvation, the nature and significance of the sacraments (or ordinances), and what it means to walk with God in this life.


The formulation of covenant theology is the work of the 16th and 17th century Calvinistic Reformation, and its artifacts are evident in the confessions of that era, especially the Westminster Confession of Faith. By the middle of the 1500s Zwingli, Bullinger, Calvin and others had already articulated fundamental aspects of covenant theology in response both to medieval Roman Catholic and contemporary Anabaptist interpretative errors, especially pertaining to the relation of the Old and New Testaments, deliberately citing the church fathers as informing and confirming the importance of the covenants in their exposition of redemptive history.


God initiates divine covenants. They are all divinely initiated. God creates Adam and brings him into a covenant relationship. God reveals himself, speaks to, calls into discipleship, and makes commitments to Adam (not the animals), Noah (not his contemporaries), Abraham (not his father, family, or fellow countrymen), Moses/Israel (not Pharaoh or Egypt), and David (not Saul).


In this first session, we are doing a big picture overview of Covenant Theology. We discuss how Covenant Theology serves as a biblical framework for understanding scripture, give an overview of the three major covenants that form that framework, and explain why a covenantal understanding of scripture is so important for our everyday life as Christians. 041b061a72


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