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Covenant and Salvation: Union with Christ Paperback – September 4, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael S. Horton is J. Gresham Machen Professor of Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California in Escondido, California. He is the author of a number of books, including Covenant and Eschatology, Lord and Servant, and Covenant and Salvation, all published by WJK.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (September 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664231632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664231637
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,192,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Shane Lems VINE VOICE on October 1, 2007
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Michael Horton, professor of apologetics and theology at Westminster Seminary California, is truly a "fresh voice" in theology today, as David Kelsey has said. Steeped in the wake of the Reformation and Reformed confessional theology, Horton's third volume (with the fourth on its way) is similar to the first two ("Covenant and Eschatology: The Divine Drama" and "Lord And Servant: A Covenant Christology"). Volume three, "Covenant and Salvation," is an exploration of soteriology broadly speaking and the ordo salutis narrowly speaking.

Horton argues well for "treating justification as the legal ground of mystical union" (p. 203). In the first part of the book, Horton deals with covenant theology, setting forth the historical Reformed understanding of the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. Horton also interacts exensively with the current controversies on justification, highlighting the biblical foundation of the confessional Reformed position. The New Perspective(s) on Paul is evaluated in amazing depth; Horton knows the ins and outs of the NPP and makes some compelling arguments against it. Several times, Horton even points out some stark inconsistencies within the movement.

The second part of the book is about the other "parts" of the ordo salutis, including adoption, sanctification, and glorification. Of course, union with Christ is also emphasized and related to justification and the rest of the ordo.
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This book is separated into two parts. In Part One, Horton interacts with the New Perspective(s) on Paul, notably N. T. Wright, from within classical covenantal theology as it has been "too lightly dismissed without serious firsthand evaluation" (12). Horton then goes on to describe the two types of covenants in Scripture. He argues that they are characterized as the suzerainty treaty and royal grant commonly found in Ancient Near East societies as among the Hittites. He distinguishes these by arguing that the two covenants' forms as treaty and grant are underwritten accordingly by two different principles. Horton spends some time showing how the two are related to each other, which is one of the more substantial parts of the book. His subsection, "Relating Sinai and Zion", discusses the importance of understanding how the Mosaic covenant relates to the Abrahamic covenant. The issues at hand, he says, is "whether the principle of inheritance in question with any specific covenant is law (based on the personal performance of the servant), as in a suzerainty treaty, or promise, as in a royal grant" (20). "If one confuses the principle by which the national promises of land, temple, and kingdom are upheld (the people's obedience) with the principle by which the heavenly reality to which these types pointed was inherited (sheer promise, by virtue of the obedience of the covenant head), then salvation (whether corporate or individual) comes through 'the works of the law' (Sinai) rather than through 'the faith of Abraham.' In Christian preaching, this confusion often occurs when passages emphasizing the conditions of temporal blessing in the land are expounded, either literally or allegorically, as directly applicable to the question of personal salvation and right standing before God." (20-21).Read more ›
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Simply the most comprehensive and profound treatment of Covenant and salvation. Horton has complete understanding of all the arguments and should be considered an original reformer. He shows how profound the reformers were in their understanding of Salvation and Union with Christ. Hortons teratment of Speech Acts and the clear distinctions in essence -energies is so solid. This really is a repudiation of the medieval and modern (equal) processes of salvation.
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I had been reading my way through a lot of the literature surrounding the New Perspective on Paul. I was fascinated and confused and had read a lot of writing in support of and against the NPP. Then I came to this book. I was shocked, this is the third books in Horton's series and this work lays out the way salvation fits in the big picture of God's divine action and revelation. It cuts through all of the rhetoric and gets down to the core biblical issues. This book simply makes sense, and helped me to truly understand salvation within it's biblical theological context.

I highly recommend this book for all Christians who want to truly understands what the bible thinks, and to gain insight in current debates surrounding justification and the relationship between the covenants.
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This is one of the most aware and hopeful accounts of Reformation Theology that the reader will ever see. It is incredibly relevant to the current world of theology. Horton begins with the presupposition not only that "the Reformation tradition" contains a huge amount of "unexploited potential" for engaging this current world, but that this potential is found within the framework of Covenant Theology.

Horton traces the two covenants, "the covenant of Law," given to (and broken by) both Adam and Israel, and the "covenant of Promise," given to Noah, Abraham, David, and ultimately fulfilled in Christ. He distinguishes these two covenants, based on research done not only by Reformed biblical scholarship, but also "from Jewish and Roman Catholic traditions" (including the work of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) that has found two ancient kinds of covenants: a "suzerainty" treat, often given from a stronger king to a weaker king in the form, "do this and you will live," and a covenant of Promise, given in the form of "a royal grant," which took the form of "an outright gift of a king to a subject."

"The covenant at Sinai certainly bears the marks of a suzerainty treaty. In fact, the exact form is followed in Exodus 19 and 20 as well as in Deuteronomy 5: Yahweh identifies himself as the suzerain (preamble), with a brief historical prologue citing his deliverance of the people from Egypt, followed by the Ten Commandments (stipulations), with clear warnings (sanctions) about violating the treaty to which they have sworn their allegiance." (pg 13.)

The covenant with Noah, Abraham and David is given in "a completely different form," a "one-sided promise on God's part with no conditions attached (see Genesis 9).
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