Covenant theology

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    covenant theology (also known as covenantalism, federal theology, or federalism) is a conceptual overview and interpretive framework for understanding the overall structure of the bible. it uses the theological concept of a covenant as an organizing principle for christian theology. the standard form of covenant theology views the history of god's dealings with mankind, from creation to fall to redemption to consummation, under the framework of three overarching theological covenants: those of redemption, of works, and of grace.

    covenentalists call these three covenants "theological" because, though not explicitly presented as such in the bible, they are thought of as theologically implicit, describing and summarizing a wealth of scriptural data. historical reformed systems of thought treat classical covenant theology not merely as a point of doctrine or as a central dogma, but as the structure by which the biblical text organizes itself. the most well known form of covenant theology is associated with presbyterians and comes from the westminster confession of faith. another form is sometimes called "baptist covenant theology" or "1689 federalism", to distinguish it from the standard covenant theology of presbyterian "westminster federalism". it is associated with reformed baptists and comes from the second london baptist confession of faith of 1689.[1] methodist hermeneutics traditionally use a variation of this, known as wesleyan covenant theology, which is consistent with arminian soteriology.[2]

    as a framework for biblical interpretation, covenant theology stands in contrast to dispensationalism in regard to the relationship between the old covenant (with national israel) and the new covenant (with the house of israel [jeremiah 31:31] in christ's blood). that such a framework exists appears at least feasible, since from new testament times the bible of israel has been known as the old testament (i.e., covenant; see 2 cor 3:14 [nrsv], "they [jews] hear the reading of the old covenant"), in contrast to the christian addition which has become known as the new testament (or covenant). detractors of covenant theology often refer to it as "supersessionism"[citation needed] or as "replacement theology"[citation needed], due to the perception that it teaches that god has abandoned the promises made to the jews and has replaced the jews with christians as his chosen people on the earth. covenant theologians deny that god has abandoned his promises to israel, but see the fulfillment of the promises to israel in the person and the work of the messiah, jesus of nazareth, who established the church in organic continuity with israel, not as a separate replacement entity. many covenant theologians have also seen a distinct future promise of gracious restoration for unregenerate israel.[3][4][5][6][7]

  • theological covenants
  • covenantal signs and seals
  • history
  • developments
  • see also
  • references
  • bibliography
  • historical documents
  • advocates
  • critics
  • external links

Part of a series on
Calvinism
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Covenant theology (also known as covenantalism, federal theology, or federalism) is a conceptual overview and interpretive framework for understanding the overall structure of the Bible. It uses the theological concept of a covenant as an organizing principle for Christian theology. The standard form of covenant theology views the history of God's dealings with mankind, from Creation to Fall to Redemption to Consummation, under the framework of three overarching theological covenants: those of redemption, of works, and of grace.

Covenentalists call these three covenants "theological" because, though not explicitly presented as such in the Bible, they are thought of as theologically implicit, describing and summarizing a wealth of scriptural data. Historical Reformed systems of thought treat classical covenant theology not merely as a point of doctrine or as a central dogma, but as the structure by which the biblical text organizes itself. The most well known form of Covenant Theology is associated with Presbyterians and comes from the Westminster Confession of Faith. Another form is sometimes called "Baptist Covenant Theology" or "1689 Federalism", to distinguish it from the standard covenant theology of Presbyterian "Westminster Federalism". It is associated with Reformed Baptists and comes from the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689.[1] Methodist hermeneutics traditionally use a variation of this, known as Wesleyan covenant theology, which is consistent with Arminian soteriology.[2]

As a framework for biblical interpretation, covenant theology stands in contrast to dispensationalism in regard to the relationship between the Old Covenant (with national Israel) and the New Covenant (with the house of Israel [Jeremiah 31:31] in Christ's blood). That such a framework exists appears at least feasible, since from New Testament times the Bible of Israel has been known as the Old Testament (i.e., Covenant; see 2 Cor 3:14 [NRSV], "they [Jews] hear the reading of the old covenant"), in contrast to the Christian addition which has become known as the New Testament (or Covenant). Detractors of covenant theology often refer to it as "supersessionism"[citation needed] or as "replacement theology"[citation needed], due to the perception that it teaches that God has abandoned the promises made to the Jews and has replaced the Jews with Christians as his chosen people on the Earth. Covenant theologians deny that God has abandoned his promises to Israel, but see the fulfillment of the promises to Israel in the person and the work of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, who established the church in organic continuity with Israel, not as a separate replacement entity. Many covenant theologians have also seen a distinct future promise of gracious restoration for unregenerate Israel.[3][4][5][6][7]