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Covenant Theology discuss Progressive Dispensationalist and Reformed Baptist in the Theology forums; This thread comes from the observation that many "Reformed" baptist holds a radically different view of the New Covenant vs the Old Covenant. For example, ...

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    Progressive Dispensationalist and Reformed Baptist

    This thread comes from the observation that many "Reformed" baptist holds a radically different view of the New Covenant vs the Old Covenant. For example, in their view, if I am not mistaken, the New Covenant is:

    1. Completely internal, only made with the elect.
    2. No one knows who are in the New Covenant, as no one knows who are the elect.
    3. There is no covenant sign of the New Covenant, because not all who receive a physical sign (e.g baptism/communion) are in the New Covenant in any sense.
    4. The visible church cannot be called the Covenant community, as not all baptized into the visible church belongs to the New Covenant.
    etc.

    At what point can someone still claim to be "Reformed" or holding "Covenant theology"? For example, can a progressive dispensationalist claim to be a "Covenant theologian" or "Reformed"? If no, what disqualify him? Is there a historical sense of the term "Reformed" or "Covenant theology" that we should follow?
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    Reformed Baptists do not claim to be "WCF Reformed", nor do we wish to be considered such. We are Reformed in the sense that we part with Arminian-Dispensational Baptist churches on the doctrines of grace and the systematic theology we use to interpret scripture. We are not looking to embrace the WCF-Reformed view of C.T. I think WCF Reformed believers would do better not to consider Reformed Baptists as trying to be like them. We're not. There are too many theological barriers between us that can never be recnciled.
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    Russell Moore's book *The Kingdom of Christ* is an exploration into this area.
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    Thanks for your reply. I am wondering if most of us on the board will consider Bunyan as Reformed. I am certainly undecided on this matter. Perhaps the word has a broader meaning than I originally envisioned?

    You mentioned Arminian-Dispensational Baptist churches. Let's leave the Arminian part aside, I am wondering what an average baptist in the progressive dispensationalism camp believes regarding the difference between the New and Old Covenant. Are you familiar with that? And in what way is it different from your view? I am curious. Thanks.
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    turmeric's Avatar
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    I know we've had threads dealing with this before. I think John MacArthur is a progressive dispensationalist.
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    I know dispensationalists of any stripe have a bad rap (and some of it justifiably), but I ran across a quote by Robert Saucy that should be placed in every Reformed seminary:

    We would argue that the redemptive work of the Messiah involves not only a inner spiritual salvation but a socio-political salvation as well
    "A Response to Understanding Dispenationalists by Vern Poythress," GTJ 10 [1989]: 145.


    and,

    The eternal state cannot be the focal poont of these national aspect of salvation, contra Hoekema, because in the regeneration, all persons know God, and thus do not need the mediatorial function of national Israel.

    Saucy, "A Rationale for the Future of Israel, JETS 28 [1985]: 439.

    and

    God's kingly rule is brought to the earth through the mediation of the kingdom of the Messiah. According to biblical prophecy, the coming of the kingdom involves the redemption of creation from all the effects of sin through the personal salvation of individuals, the socio-political salvation of the nations, and finally the salvation of the heavens and earth through re-creation. This pervasive mediatorial kingdom program, ultimately fulfilled through the reign of Christ, is the theme of Scripture and the unifying principle of all aspects of God's work in history.
    The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism, 28.
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    Here is a small portion of an article that may be of some interest here. It is a look at Covenatal Baptist teaching. There are differences in Reformed Baptists like there are in Some Presby's. We are bi-covenantal and do not hold to the seven dispensations of dispensationalism. I do not claim to be Reformed in the Presby sense but the term Reformed Baptist is a rather new term that indicates that we are closer in line with Confessional people who hold to a view of Covenant Theology.

    In the investigation upon which we are now entering, I shall in the outset, direct your attention to "the covenant of works," the breach of which made all the others necessary. It stands by itself, and will be so treated. Next I shall refer you to the three separate developements of the covenants, of salvation in the Mediator; the first being the announcement in Eden, immediately after the fall, of a Deliverer from sin; the second, the previous covenant of redemption, upon which necessarily, that announcement was predicated; and the third, the promise to Abraham that Messiah should come of his family, which promise was renewed, and transferred successively, to Isaac, to Jacob, to Judah, and to David. I shall then consider the three manifestations of the covenant of the law; the first of which, made with Abraham, constituted his descendants a separate nation, and gave them as the place of their residence until the coming of Messiah, the land of Canaan; the second of which, also made with Abraham, enacted circumcision, and thus distinguished his posterity personally, from all other men; and the third, made with all Israel at Sinai, gave them their peculiar national government. It will be necessary here, for us to pause, and investigate the philology of these covenants; which when we have examined, we shall consider how they appear in relation to the christian dispensation. It will then at once be apparent that the former three covenants were direct in their reference to Christ, and were substantially one covenant, made known in the gospel, as "the new and everlasting covenant;" and that the latter three were indirect in their reference to Christ. Together formed the old covenant, and when Messiah came, and his claims were fully established, were consummated and superceded by the gospel, which is their perfect developement.
    http://www.founders.org/library/covenants/ch1.html

    http://www.founders.org/library/covenants/ch6.html

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    The eternal state cannot be the focal poont of these national aspect of salvation, contra Hoekema, because in the regeneration, all persons know God, and thus do not need the mediatorial function of national Israel.
    Interesting, can I take it to mean that they deny the typological function of the Mosaic covenant? Is it the key to how progressive dispensationalist understand the Old Covenant?

    I shall then consider the three manifestations of the covenant of the law; the first of which, made with Abraham, constituted his descendants a separate nation, and gave them as the place of their residence until the coming of Messiah, the land of Canaan; the second of which, also made with Abraham, enacted circumcision, and thus distinguished his posterity personally, from all other men; and the third, made with all Israel at Sinai, gave them their peculiar national government.
    So in this scheme, circumcision is really tie up to the national/temporarial aspect of the Old Covenant. Again, I am wondering if a progressive dispensationalist will agree with this, and how is this view different from progressive dispensationalism... And how do you view what Paul is talking in Romans 4, is he talking about circumcision in relation to the national covenant? Or is he talking about circumcision in relation to justification by faith?
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    And how do you view what Paul is talking in Romans 4, is he talking about circumcision in relation to the national covenant? Or is he talking about circumcision in relation to justification by faith?
    We have discussed this in the other thread you alluded to. Paul is talking about circumcision in relation to justification by faith alone in Romans 4. Paul is not giving a complete exposition on the promises made to Abraham in Genesis chapter 17. Go back and read what Rich and I are discussing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aleksanderpolo View Post
    Interesting, can I take it to mean that they deny the typological function of the Mosaic covenant? Is it the key to how progressive dispensationalist understand the Old Covenant?
    No, the argument presupposed the background. There are verses in the prophets that are hard for amillennialists, especially the "spirituality of the church" type, to handle. These include what appear to be the prospect of "conversions" in the eternal state (Zechariah 14, Psalm 72). Hoekema tried to get around that and Saucy is rebutting him.



    So in this scheme, circumcision is really tie up to the national/temporarial aspect of the Old Covenant. Again, I am wondering if a progressive dispensationalist will agree with this, and how is this view different from progressive dispensationalism... And how do you view what Paul is talking in Romans 4, is he talking about circumcision in relation to the national covenant? Or is he talking about circumcision in relation to justification by faith?
    I have no idea. I am not a progressive dispensationalist. I don't know how they would handle it.
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    Perhaps it would help to note that Baptists weren't really reformers. They would be "formers," perhaps. They saw no value in trying to change what existed, but rather sought to build according to what they saw in God's Word. This would help to understand why the theology of Reformed Presbys is different from the theology of Reformed Baptists.
    As for progressive disp., MacArthur may fit most of the trappings, but he doesn't label himself as such. He doesn't even label himself as dispy because there is so much confusion as to what that actually means these days. Progressives see a future for ethnic Israel. The sign of the NC would be the circumcision of the heart, which is only observable in one's obedience to Christ.
    Romans 4 - I might get this wrong - I think Prog Dispys would claim that Abraham's physical circumcision was clearly a result of his salvation (heart circumcision) and a sign of his covenant with God. In obedience to God Israel took the sign of the covenant that was temporal, but had spiritual ramifications. In this there is a two fold Abrahamic Covenant, spiritual/temporal. The NC, on the other hand, is a spiritual covenant with temporal ramifications.
    Feel free to correct me if I got the PD perspective a bit tweaked. I haven't looked at it closely for a while.
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    Quote Originally Posted by turmeric View Post
    I know we've had threads dealing with this before. I think John MacArthur is a progressive dispensationalist.
    MacArthur's not PD.... sounds close sometimes, but he's not.
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    Greetings:

    You hit the nail right on the head aleksanderpolo. I am still looking for a New Testament justification that teaches Baptist for "Believer's Only" and not also for their children and households:

    And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token for the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which not of thy seed. And he that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant, Genesis 17:11-13.
    For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call, Acts 2:39
    The Baptist has to cut out the phrase "your children" to make their interpretation correct.

    Blessings,

    -CH
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    The issues that you outlined in the New Covenant are not unique to the New. They were true in the Old Covenant as well. Not everyone who was circumcised and made a child of Israel was elect (The Pharisees, King Saul, Achan, etc.). The same holds true in the New Covenant. Not everyone who partakes in the New Covenant are elect (Judas Iscariot, Simon Magus, etc.). God's covenants has cursings as well as blessings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aleksanderpolo View Post
    This thread comes from the observation that many "Reformed" baptist holds a radically different view of the New Covenant vs the Old Covenant.
    It is interesting how the WCFer sees the LBCer's view of the New vs. Old as 'radically different'. That seems to be the same charge from the Dispy Baptists as well. We are not 'radical' IMO, we are more 'middle of the roaders'. We see continuities and discontinuities.

    Quote Originally Posted by aleksanderpolo View Post
    At what point can someone still claim to be "Reformed" or holding "Covenant theology"? For example, can a progressive dispensationalist claim to be a "Covenant theologian" or "Reformed"? If no, what disqualify him? Is there a historical sense of the term "Reformed" or "Covenant theology" that we should follow?
    I assume that we started calling ourselves 'reformed', not for the Presby's benefit, but for the benefit of other Baptists. We like to distinguish ourselves from the Dispy norm.


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    Let me try to summarize what I have learned from this thread, and what I would like to know more:

    It seems to me the biggest difference between a progressive dispensationalist and a Reformed baptist is that one believes in a separate future for the physical Israel, one does not.

    What I would like to probe futher is this: The difference between the Old and the New Covenant from a progressive dispensationalist's point of view and from a Reformed Baptist's point of view. For example, do they both see the Old Covenant as primarily physical/temporal, while the New Covenant as spiritual/eternal? Do they both see the circumcision as a physical sign for the physical/temporal blessings, and baptism as a sign for the spiritual/eternal salvation?

    Hope this clarify the question a bit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinandHodges View Post
    For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call, Acts 2:39
    The Baptist has to cut out the phrase "your children" to make their interpretation correct.

    Blessings,

    -CH
    --Sigh--

    No. The Baptist would include "your children" as long as they were part of the "as many as the Lord our God shall call." This would, of course, mean that they responded in repentance and faith before we baptized them. We would claim that paedo-baptists cut out the "as many as the Lord our God shall call" in favor of the "your children." We like to include the entire description.
    Last edited by Calvibaptist; 08-16-2007 at 01:12 PM. Reason: spelling correction
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    Quote Originally Posted by aleksanderpolo View Post
    I am wondering what an average baptist in the progressive dispensationalism camp believes regarding the difference between the New and Old Covenant. Are you familiar with that? And in what way is it different from your view? I am curious. Thanks.
    The "average baptist" probably isn't in any camp because they have no clue what you are talking about. Now, as far as progressive dispensationalism is concerned, I took a class from Craig Blaising, who wrote the original book Progressive Dispensationalism. From what I remember, the New Covenant replaces the Old (Mosaic) Covenant as the administration of the Abrahamic Covenant. Thus, they would still see physical promises necessary for the physical descendants of Abraham in some pre-eternal state, but in the eternal state, all is equal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinandHodges View Post
    Greetings:

    You hit the nail right on the head aleksanderpolo. I am still looking for a New Testament justification that teaches Baptist for "Believer's Only" and not also for their children and households:

    And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token for the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which not of thy seed. And he that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant, Genesis 17:11-13.
    For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call, Acts 2:39
    The Baptist has to cut out the phrase "your children" to make their interpretation correct.

    Blessings,

    -CH
    Just like the paedo cuts out "in your flesh" out of Gen. 17 to make his interpretation correct.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calvibaptist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinandHodges View Post
    For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call, Acts 2:39
    The Baptist has to cut out the phrase "your children" to make their interpretation correct.

    Blessings,

    -CH
    --Sigh--

    No. The Baptist would include "your children" as long as they were part of the "as many as the Lord our God shall call." This would, of course, mean that they responded in repentance and faith before we baptized them. We would claim that paedo-baptists cut out the "as many as the Lord our God shall call" in favor of the "your children." We like to include the entire description.
    Greetings:

    Peter just finished giving the general call for all to repent. This call is given indiscriminatly to adults and children alike. It is no bar for children to be baptized.

    Grace and Peace,

    -CH
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    Exactly! Repent and (then) be baptized. Don't repent... don't be baptized.
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