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From the Back Cover

cov•e•nant (n): A binding agreement; a compact; a promise

Since biblical times covenants have been a part of everyday life. Simply put, they are promises, agreements, or contracts. But how do they translate into faith and the reading of Scripture? Are covenants merely elements of a narrative? Or do they represent something more? And what are the eternal implications of "cutting" a covenant with God?

In Introducing Covenant Theology, author Michael Horton unwinds the intricacies of crucial covenant concepts, showing how they provide a significant organizational structure for all of Scripture. They give us a context in which to understand the voices and message of the biblical narrative. They provide life with a goal and history with a meaning.

Whether you're a pastor, ministry leader, or layperson, Introducing Covenant Theology will give you a new understanding of covenants and covenant theology, providing a framework for an important theological concept.

"A masterful survey of the covenantal frame of God's self-disclosure in Scripture. For serious students it is a winner."--J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

"A rigorous and articulate defense of a traditional view of covenant theology. Horton's federalist emphasis gleans from well-established Reformed writers while adding his own highly readable and insightful commentary."--Bryan Chapell, president, Covenant Theological Seminary

"Horton has brought covenant theology to life in a way which engages modern thought and appeals to contemporary students and pastors alike. His book is a clear guide to an essential topic."--Gerald Bray, research professor, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

About the Author

Michael Horton (PhD, University of Coventry and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford) is J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California. He hosts The White Horse Inn radio broadcast and is editor-in-chief of Modern

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books; Reprint edition (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080107195X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801071959
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Horton is the founder of the White Horse Inn, a multi-media catalyst for Reformation. He is editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine ( and co-host of the nationally syndicated White Horse Inn radio broadcast ( Michael Horton is also the J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California.

Before coming to WSC, Michael Horton completed a Research Fellowship at Yale University Divinity School. He is a member of various societies, including the American Academy of Religion and the Evangelical Theological Society, and author of thirty books, including a series of studies in Reformed dogmatics published by Westminster John Knox, whose final volume (People and Place: A Covenant Ecclesiology) was published in 2008 and won the 2008 Christianity Today Book of the Year award in Theology.

His most recent book is Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World. He has written articles for Modern Reformation, Pro Ecclesia, Christianity Today, The International Journal of Systematic Theology, Touchstone, and Books and Culture.

Michael Horton is a minister in the United Reformed Churches of North America, and lives in Escondido, with his wife, Lisa, and four children.

Customer Reviews

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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Nate Claiborne on August 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Overall, I am in some ways sympathetic to the project Michael Horton is attempting in Introducing Covenant Theology. I would say I like the idea of it all, but he leaves many questions unanswered. I would consider myself Reformed in my theological leanings, or you could use the word Calvinist(ic) if you wanted to. However, I am not entirely convinced the case Horton makes here holds exegetical water. The book does follow a fairly logical flow, but that might not be enough in the end to overcome the exegetical errors.

Horton starts with the big idea of covenant theology, then in the next chapter moves to the ancient Near East background of the concept of covenant. In chapter 3 he starts dealing with the biblical data on the matter using the lens of Paul's allegory in Galatians 4 of the two mothers. His conclusion is that there are essentially two types of covenants, unconditional and conditional, which roughly correspond to promise and law respectively. In chapter 4, Horton elaborates on the new covenant and explains where there is continuity and discontinuity between it and the old covenants in the Hebrew Scriptures.

At that point, the discussion in the book then shifts to unpacking the basics of covenant theology as a system of interpretation in chapter 5. It is here that Horton addresses the traditional Reformed covenants of redemption (intra-Trinitarian), works (between God and humanity), and grace (between God and the elect). Chapters 6-9 then unpack the implications of this understanding starting with how to live the world in light of common grace (chapter 6); how the covenant people are constituted (chapter 7); the signs and seals of this covenant of grace (chapter 8); and how we are to live in light of it all (chapter 9).
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By PastoralMusings VINE VOICE on April 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
Introducing Covenant Theology
Michael Horton
ISBN: 978-0-8010-7195-9
ISBN-10: 0-8010-7195-X

As one who knows very little of views outside of that with which he has grown up, I waited for this book with much anticipation. I was not disappointed.
Introducing Covenant Theology is well researched and well written. I will grant that, for a reader such as I, it was not easily read. That could well be due to the manner in which my mind works.
Horton looks at the Bible through the lens of covenants, or agreements between God and man. This is indeed a theme that is recurrent in the Scriptures. God covenants with man, gives man promises, and agrees to do certain things for man.
The author presents the covenants as being, in a sense, complementary instead of contradictory. Indeed, when one studies the Scriptures, he finds a sort of progression in which God reveals Himself, His plan, His purposes, and His promises to man. In the various covenants this takes place. One covenant builds upon another until the fulfillment comes in the person of Jesus and His work. Again, this is something that should be easily seen when one consults the Scriptures without attempting to view them through the lens of a theological system.
All in all, the book gives much information that needs to be seriously considered by the student of the Bible. I'm sure that I would not accept it all, but it is indeed, on the whole, a valid approach to the Scriptures; especially because it upholds the unity of the Bible.
The one negative thing is that Horton's Reformed view of baptism and communion is inserted into the book. I do not think that those two things are integral parts of covenant theology, and their presence in the book seems almost forced. It simply does not fit well with the flow of thought, to me.
This book is worthy of five out of five stars.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Darryl B. Denison on December 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First, a bit of background: Only in the past year have I embraced Reformed Theology, coming from a 40+ year history in the Chafer/Scofield/Bible Church Dispensational Theology school. I am absolutely fascinated with what I'm learning now that I have come to "see" the Word from the Reformed perspective.
Now, regarding my impression of this text: I will agree with Ms Stark: this is definitely not cursory reading. Perhaps if I had approached Introducing Covenant Theology as a text to be studied, my impression would be distinctly different. My sense is that Dr. Horton or his publisher may be out of touch with what readers of an Introductory text are looking for.
Candidly, I bailed out on reading the book on page 147, frustrated by the fact that my brain was not able to follow Dr. Horton's train of thought through most of the text. I found myself often asking, "Wait! Why are you leaving this topic?" and "What? How is this paragraph connected to the preceding paragraph?"
To be fair, I should mention that this is the second of Dr. Horton's books that I have read, and that I had exactly the same impression of a lack of continuity in the first book, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, that I had with Introducing Covenant Theology.
It is my hope that other readers will, in their reviews, point out why my frustration is unfounded. The man is obviously a gifted teacher/writer/speaker. The fault for not following Dr. Horton's flow of thought is probably mine. But future readers should be cautioned that one reader, at least, found this text difficult to understand.
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