October 31, 2020

The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology

Subtitled: A Comparison Between Seventeenth-Century Particular Baptist and Paedobaptist Federalism

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Of the books I’ve finished in 2020, this is one of my favorites.

A friend gifted it to me; as thankful as I turned out to be for this gift, I can’t imagine having gone looking for it. The title/subtitle is a mouthful, then come to find out it’s a master’s thesis. You may not be interested in the topic, but you should read it anyway and you might be blessed by the end.

The subject is covenantalism, and more particularly a disagreement in the 17th century from some covenantal credo-baptists. If you’re used to hanging out with paedo-baptizing Presbyterian covenantalists, duh, hence the presenting basis for this book.

I entered and exited this reading as a credo-baptist. I entered and exited as a Dispensational Premillennialist, not withstanding the author’s flabbergasted pot-shots at those in my camp.

But I exited with a much clearer appreciation for the Covenant/covenant along with greater commitment not to ignore or downplay some covenental/federal implications, as is typical Baptistic bias.

I also exited with a clearer concern related to the origin of the debate. I have more to process about the subject, and want to read the book again. And yet it still appears to me that the primary problem for both kinds of Covenantlism (for Baptists and for Presbies) is reading backwards, (though the Baptists do a bit better). There is too much New Testament override of the Old Testament, and even parts of the Old Testament get pressed back into duty at the beginning of Genesis, even into the counsels of God. I don’t think progressive revelation works that way, and while we should be happy about the covenant-keeping God, that doesn’t need to make us covenant-happy readers finding it in all the white space between the lines.

5 of 5 stars


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