What About Covenant Theology?

by
William Arnold III
WmArnold@apostolic.net


Question:

I recently purchased  Keith A. Mathison's book Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope.  You probably  already read this book and others I am sure.  However, have you read  Issues in Dispensationalism and Dispensationalism, Israel, and the Church: The Search for Definition?  If not, do you know if any Progressive Dispensationalist has done a book review?  

What can you tell me about "Covenant Theology"?  I now know that Mathison, R. C. Sproul and numerous others are of this view.  May I humbly ask you why you don't embrace this doctrine?  Would you mind listing for me various books that introduce, explain and respond to "Covenant Theology"? 

I assume that you don't believe the doctrine of "Postmillennialism".  Am I right in this assumption?  How related is "Postmillennialism" to "Covenant Theology"?

I best stop because I can go on and on...  Thanks for your willingness to help me.  God bless you

Response:

I do have the "Search for Definition" book you mention. I have read some of it, but not straight through. So far I think I agree with most of what I have read. Concerning Covenant Theology, if I understand it correctly, it is the more general term for for all of the non-PreMill eschatologies. The major problem I have with this theology is not so much the Millennial issue (which I do not see as of major importance, nor am I emphatically Pre-Mill) but their denial of a future for national Israel. Throughout the OT, God foretold that Israel would disobey yet he promised that he would still forgive them and bless them. God made promises to Israel which he must fulfill to Israel, if indeed we believe that God keeps his promises.

The Church/Israel relation is indeed a difficult one and I do not claim to have settled the matter, even in my own understanding. However, I do believe strongly in a future for national Israel. I also strongly reject may tenents of Dispensationalism, especially their Church/Israel dichotomy and of course, their Pre-Trib rapture. So I guess that leaves me somewhere in between. Progressive Dispensationalism, as far as I have seen, does seem to take the best of both of these theologies and offer a reasonable alternative. Now I must immediately say that I don't always believe a compromise is the answer between two conflicting theologies (hence the fallacy of Mid-Trib and Pre-Wrath) but in this case, it does seem that PD represents what the Bible teaches and they have definitely gleaned truth from the other two.

As far as books, I don't know of one that interacts with Covenant Theology as a system, but you may want to check out some of Zondervan's counterpoints books, such as Three Views of The Millennium and Four Views of The Book of Revelation as they do come close. I do reject Post-Mill as you mention and would like to write on Millennial Views one day when I find the time. I am much more sympathetic with A-Mill, but I do fall slightly in the Pre-Mill camp because (as one scholar put it) it is the only way to make honest sense of Rev. 20.