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Introducing Covenant Theology Paperback – April 1, 2009
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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From the Inside Flap
Covenant theology 101
"It's not just that we were created and then given a covenant," writes author Michael Horton. "We were created as covenant creatures-partners not in deity but in the drama about to unfold throughout history."
While some Bible readers quake at the mention of "covenant" or "doctrine," it is vitally important to recognize and understand the significance of covenant and its role in bridging the gap between sinner and salvation. Why? Because to understand covenant theology is to understand how it unifies the diverse teachings of Scripture, binds the Old and New Testaments as one narrative, and enriches the meaning in your relationship with the Triune God.
Whether new to Reformed theology or not, every believer needs to understand the importance of covenants. God of Promise unpacks covenant theology so you can explore the core of Christianity: knowing-and honoring-the promises of our Creator.
Michael Horton (Ph.D., University of Coventry and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford) is professor of apologetics and theology at Westminster Seminary California. He is also the editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine, the co-host of The White Horse Inn radio program, and the author of several books, including A Better Way and Putting Amazing Back into Grace. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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
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Unfortunately, in my opinion he misses an opportunity here a bit. This is not because I found any specific doctrinal disagreement with Horton, but because of where he chose to spend his energy.
The first part of the book is spent rolling out the widely discussed Suzerain-Vassal treaties. While this is nice corroboration for classic covenant ideals, it's kind of a "paste on" to the core of the theology. So I moved quickly through this section to get to chapter 5, which is where he really discusses the structure of covenant theology itself (perhaps a bit late).
On the good side, in this chapter Horton makes some very strong but subtle points which affect our reading of the Scripture and draws out a few quotes from classics like Geehardus Vos, Perkins, and a few other Puritans. On the bad side, he spends a lot of correcting O. Palmer Robertson's view, and then striking out against the New Perspective on Paul with out naming it by name. It might be good content for a scholarly article, but it was not good content for an introduction to covenant theology. I left more clear on how he differed from Robertson than the actual import of covenant theology. It is only chapter 5 which deals directly with covenant theology itself and it's implication on our view of the Bible... the preceding chapters are preamble, and the following chapters are outworkings of the implications of covenant theology in various spheres.
Horton may have laid good groundwork for a renovation of the theology, but if it is going to impact a broader reading audience, someone is going to have to release a book which deals more completely with the historic theology and it's implications on our hermeneutics and is friendly to an average reader.
First, I think that the book would have worked better if it had included a chapter at the beginning that clearly defines terms and provides an overall structure of covenant theology. Throughout the first three to four chapters, there are many terms used that readers with only a cursory knowledge of covenant theology will not understand. More than that, I think a roadmap of the structure of the covenants would have been useful from the outset. If he had more clearly set out his overarching Covenants of Redemption, Works, Grace from the start, along with the various sub-covenants under each larger theme, it would have made for easier sledding at the beginning. That being said, it all becomes clear by the fourth chapter or so. I just think it's a misstep for a book billed as an introduction to covenant theology.
Second, I would have liked to see more time given to the differences of opinion among those who subscribe to covenant theology. Horton does this with some issues - such as the existence of the "redemptive covenant," as he calls it - but I feel like there's more diversity in opinion, particularly about structure and organization, than he lets on here.
Overall, I would wholeheartedly recommend this text for any layperson who wants a concise, readable overview of covenant theology. Also - no gripes with the Kindle formatting.
Horton view each covenant in Scripture through the lens of Law & Gospel, and shows how Christ ultimately fulfills both.