Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Monday, April 07, 2008

A Question for Covenant Theolgy Adherents

We received an email from a friend of ours. He said he has a question in regards to Covenant Theology. He was wondering if we knew who he could ask about this. So, I volunteered to post the question on my blog since I have many adherents to CT who visit here and others who know a lot about CT in general. So... take a stab at his question if you hold to CT... or if you have any ideas about how CT would answer it.

His question:
Why is it when it comes to the church and end times, Covenant Theology spiritualizes the text, but when it comes to sin, salvation, Jesus Christ, etc., they take a literal approach to the text?


  • I think a Covenant theology person would say:

    We don't "spiritualize the text," we follow the "literal" sense that the NT authors and Apostles provide for us. They see the OT "types" fulfilled in their NT corollaries as the "anti-types".

    So I think the CT person would say that this question from your friend presupposes a false dichotomy in the first place . . . thus making it a non-starter.

    Hope that helps.

    For a CT/amil blogger who is very informed, this friend of yours can visit Kim Riddlebarger's blog: the Riddleblog

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/07/2008 4:17 PM  

  • Thanks Bobby. Do you agree with those sentiments? 'In part'... right?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/07/2008 9:56 PM  

  • No, not necessarily. Have you read "Progressive Dispensationalism" yet ;-)? I didn't think so . . . :-).

    An "historic premil" would completely agree with "that sentiment," but PD is much more "Dispensational" in their hermeneutic, than I think you think.

    I'm kind of up in the air "suspended" somewhere between PD and historic premil. I'm sure I'll write a post on this, down the road, disclosing where I am at.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/08/2008 4:48 AM  

  • Good morning Rose,

    Assuming that I know what your friend is getting at, not everyone who hold to Covenant Theology denies that literal Israel is intended in the OT or that the 1,000 years in Revelation 20 means somethingother than 1,000 literal years.

    While my own views on prophecy are far from settled, I do not think that it spiritualising the matter if you believe that the OT church was found largely within the borders of Israel and that we in the NT share the same Christ, the same way of salvation etc., with those in the OT.


    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/08/2008 7:20 AM  

  • Rose, I would agree with Colin that the question oversimplifies CT a bit.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/08/2008 11:05 AM  

  • No Bobby. I haven't read "PD" yet. I am still reading "Issues in D"

    You said:
    I do not think that it spiritualising the matter if you believe that ... we in the NT share the same Christ, the same way of salvation etc., with those in the OT.

    I wouldn't call that spiritualizing, either. :~) Normative Dispenstionalists also believe that there is only one Messiah and only one means of salvation for all of time.

    What I do call spiritualizing is when you have a very simple passage like Jer 31 and you bring it up to a CT and they start questioning who is Israel? To me it is obvious in that passage who the NC is being promised to - it is the people who the Lord led out of the land of Egypt - the people whose fathers broke the first covenant - the nation of Israel.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/09/2008 10:32 AM  

  • Possibly Matthew.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/09/2008 10:32 AM  

  • Colin,
    I suppose what my friend is getting at is that if you, as a CT, were to have a conversation with another CT in a restaurant one day and Jer 31 came up and you both scratched your heads over what is the meaning of the word "Israel" in that passage (when it is clear to a "literalist" who it means)....

    and then you walked over to a table with another group of people and they were saying that when the Bible says that Jesus was "without sin" that this was just a way of saying that he was a really good person....

    and you vehemntly took issue with such a spiritualization (rightly so)....

    that you would be a little inconsistent.

    I think that is what he is getting at, if I am not mistaken. :~)

    God bless.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/09/2008 10:38 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    "Without sin" cannot grammatically be taken to mean "just a little sin" - that would be a clear contradiction and besides we have all the arguments from the Virgin Birth etc.,

    When it comes to the designation of Israel, the Scripture immediately tells us that they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: (Romans 9:6) and there is a clear distinction made between the spiritual and the physical. Paul makes further reference to the Jerusalem which is above which is the mother of us all (Galatians 4:26) - the Galatians being Gentiles - which is a spiritualising of a physical name to denote a spiritual body. So the matter here isn't as clear cut as may be supposed.


    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/09/2008 11:28 AM  

  • Probably some discussion of literary issues might come into the CT person's answer.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/09/2008 1:13 PM  

  • I don't think the CT necessarily "spiritualizes" Israel at all. I think they see Jesus as the true "Israel," (He was the "Nazarene"). Who did Jesus go to "first?" Jews and then the Gentiles.

    As a PD, and I think CT/amil follows this. The NC was established with national Israel "first," first in Christ, a Jew, and then with the House of Israel (look at the Apostles' ethnic makeup), and then to Gentiles . . . all made one in Christ (both Jew and Gentile).

    Rose, what do you think is underneath the New Covenant? You seem to think it is the Mosaic Siniatic Covenants . . . but it seems to me, that it is the Abrahamic Covenant (remember the "universal focus" of Abe's Cov.). The New Covenant fulfills the unconditional universal scope of the Abrahamic promise. And both of these are mediated and realized through the conditional Mosaic, Siniatic, Davidic Covenants (i.e. unilateral vs. bilateral covenants in dialectic).

    If the NC is static and only applicable to a particular people "in time," Rose, then we have a huge problem . . . since who God is "in time" through Christ is not consistent and thus different with who He is behind time, in eternity. This is the dilemma your perspective leads us to.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/09/2008 3:50 PM  

  • Bobby,
    in specific passages of scripture - like Jer 31 - how can saying that the proposition

    that the word "Israel" means anything other than the nation of Israel

    is anything BUT "spiritualizing"?

    You said:
    And both of these are mediated and realized through the conditional Mosaic, Siniatic, Davidic Covenants (i.e. unilateral vs. bilateral covenants in dialectic).

    I think I will pass on commenting there. (teehee) :~)

    I am not exactly sure what you are saying, Bobby, is the problem with my position, but I think what you are saying that the CD view limits the "everlasting covenant" to such a narrow scope - 1000 years and the Jewish people. Is that your point? I would like to know because if so, I think it is a displaced criticism.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2008 1:11 PM  

  • Rose,

    you are totally misunderstanding me, and for that, I take the responsibility. I don't think Israel means the Church, or vice versa. How could it? The Church is non-national, and Israel is a nation.

    As far as the limited scope of CD and the mil., no I don't think they are displaced. You'll need to explain, why it is displaced.

    All I'm trying to do, is flesh out where a system logically leads us. Not where I "want" it to lead us.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/10/2008 5:26 PM  

  • Thanks,
    Bobby. I still want to think about your question on your blog last week some more too.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/14/2008 1:52 PM  

  • I am new to blogging, so this is my first time posting. I am a friend of John.

    It seems to me that the New Covenant replaces the Mosiac Covenant. This is because the Mosiac Covenant was conditional (Exodus 19:3-6), where the Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional (Genesis 15:9-11).

    The Mosiac Covenant- Law
    The New Covenant- Grace

    The Abrahamic Covenant- Was to be established at 1st Coming of Christ. The Kingdom was rejected by Israel (Matthew 12) It will be literally established at 2nd Coming.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/14/2008 2:19 PM  

  • Hey Anonymous, (even though I know who you are)

    Can you expand on your comment and explain how you see the NC relating to the Abrahamic C?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/15/2008 10:59 AM  

  • Response to Rose

    God’s Covenant with Abraham- Genesis 12, 13, 15, 17

    The Abrahamic Covenant has 3 Aspects:
    1. The promise of land
    This is amplified in the Palestinian Covenant- Duet. 28-30

    2. The promise of Physical Descendents
    This is amplified in the Davidic Covenant- 2 Samuel 7

    3. The promise of the Spiritual Blessings
    This is amplified in the New Covenant- Jeremiah 31:31-36; Ezekiel 26:22

    The connection between the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant is that we enter into the spiritual blessings of God. The church receives the spiritual benefits. This is the connection that we have with Israel. The complete fulfillment of the land, descendents, and spiritual will be fulfilled in the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ upon this earth. This is where Israel will be gathered together in Palestine and Jesus Christ will be ruling upon the throne of David and Israel will receive all of the spiritual benefits.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/16/2008 1:46 PM  

  • Chad,
    Thank you for your comments on the covenants. So you would not say that the church is a partaker of the NC? Are you of the Darby-like view that the church gets a blessing because we are attached to the maker of the covenant, but that we are not partaker so it? That is my view at the present unless I am convinced otherwise.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/21/2008 1:58 PM  

  • That is way that I see it as of now. Unless I am convinced otherwise.


    By Anonymous Chad, at 4/22/2008 2:58 PM  

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