Covenant Theology is a system for understanding how to put the whole Bible together. It is the understanding that God made one over-arching covenant within the Trinity before the foundation of the world, and the entire Bible’s story is an outworking of that one covenant, known as the Covenant of Redemption, or the Covenant of Grace.
Outside of Presbyterian circles, it seems there are hardly any Covenant theologians. Though I am no expert in these matters, I would classify myself as one. And because I have only recently (in the last five years, really) taken on that label consciously, it has brought about many conversations with many friends. I would encourage you to consider studying covenant theology, and attempt to be persuaded by the many great Reformed minds of the last 400 years. Covenant Theology really stems from the Reformation, and has been held by those who subscribe to the Westminster and 2nd London Baptist Confessions ever since. From my limited experience, I perceive that most American Christians reject Covenant Theology for four bad reasons:
- No regard for history- just because something has been believed for many years does not make it right. Let me be clear on that. But it seems to me that most Christians in America are not big readers, and if they are, they only read things from the last 100 years or less. Please do not reject Covenant Theology just because you are unwilling to read harder books (many older books are harder, and much of the writings of Covenant theologians are older).
- It is not the language of Scripture- I think we should get our theology from the Bible, period. Just like any other responsible Christian. But just because we get theology from the Bible does not mean we do not have to do some synthesizing and harmonizing at times. Just because the term “covenant of redemption” does not appear in the Bible does not mean we should reject it, right? (You simply cannot get around the “Trinity” comparison here)
- They think it is a Presbyterian thing- many Reformed-ish Baptists seem to reject Covenant Theology simply because it is largely a Presbyterian system for understanding the Bible. I would say the majority of Covenant theologians have been Presbyterians. But as I mentioned, the 1689 Baptists were all Covenant theologians!
- “It is not what I learned growing up”- just because you never heard this growing up is no reason to reject it. I know you would all agree with that, but it seems to me many people just hate admitting they are wrong about things, and will go to the grave rejecting certain things simply because of that.
One great resource: “Covenant Theology” by Greg Nichols