20th Century Reformed Baptist Book Suggestions

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Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
Im looking for the top 20th Century Reformed Baptist books that are on Covenant Theology. I have Denault's and other resources for a 1689 Federalism viewpoint on CT but nothing really on a 20th Century viewpoint. Im not looking to jump ship, Im fully committed to Reformed Presbyterianism. I want to read it with my pastor who is baptist and just getting his feet wet in CT. We are going through Robertson's Christ of the Covenants, and he is loving it, but I want him to get familiar with CT from a baptist view also.
 

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Sophomore
I mentioned this is another thread: Greg Nichols is three volumes in to a Reformed Baptist systematic theology series, putting out about a volume per year. I expect it will be heavily "20th century" RB covenant theology. Lots of nuts and bolts--Greek and Hebrew all over it, and very thorough from what I hear.
 

Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
I mentioned this is another thread: Greg Nichols is three volumes in to a Reformed Baptist systematic theology series, putting out about a volume per year. I expect it will be heavily "20th century" RB covenant theology. Lots of nuts and bolts--Greek and Hebrew all over it, and very thorough from what I hear
That sounds like what Im looking for. I heard Nichols denies the CoW though. Do you know if that is the case?
 

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Sophomore
That sounds like what Im looking for. I heard Nichols denies the CoW though. Do you know if that is the case?
I don't know for sure. I listened to some scratchy audio recordings of his CT lectures and don't remember any mention of the CoW. I think his method is to examine every appearance of the word "Covenant" in Scripture, collate them, and go from there. So it may not have got much attention, since the phrase "Covenant of Works," doesn't appear in scripture. I realize that "Covenant of Grace" also doesn't appear, so it's possible to have a whole and correct discussion of covenants without ever mentioning those two. Mind. Blown.
 

Chad Hutson

Puritan Board Freshman
I mentioned this is another thread: Greg Nichols is three volumes in to a Reformed Baptist systematic theology series, putting out about a volume per year. I expect it will be heavily "20th century" RB covenant theology. Lots of nuts and bolts--Greek and Hebrew all over it, and very thorough from what I hear.
Greg Nichols' The Doctrine of Christ is the volume that covers the covenants. It is very thorough and beneficial. I have it on my bookshelf and refer to it often.
 

Chad Hutson

Puritan Board Freshman
That sounds like what Im looking for. I heard Nichols denies the CoW though. Do you know if that is the case?
In his book he does not deny the CoW, but does not include it in his survey of the covenants. He mentions that it is included in the WCF but that it has been excluded from the LBCF. He goes on to say that the LBCF makes a reference to the CoW later, and that he finds this inconsistent and puzzling why the CoW was omitted by the Baptists.
My opinion: we never make things easy!
 

Wretched Man

Puritan Board Freshman
I think 20th century RB covenant theology is actually similar to Presbyterian CT... which might be why you’re struggling to find a good “RB” resource on this.
 

brandonadams

Puritan Board Freshman
Nichols' book on covenant theology is Covenant Theology: A Reformed and Baptistic Perspective on God’s Covenants. And yes, he denies the CoW in it. Here are some quotes.


In sum, Adam’s original relation to God was familial and filial-parental. Thus it was warm and affectionate, not cold or distant. It was not an impersonal relationship between “contracting parties.” It was not between a disinterested judge and an unrelated defendant, or a ruler to an unknown subject. Thus, a “covenant of works” model simply doesn’t comport with its filial-parental framework. Categories like “contracting parties,” “stipulations,” and “penalties” are foreign to this familial relation. Such categories might suitably define a contract between corporations forging a business venture through their lawyers. They seem woefully inadequate to define a parental prohibition. In Genesis 2:16-17 God addresses Adam, not as a lawyer, but as a Father. This prohibition is an integral part of Adam’s filial relation to God. Thus, the covenant of works model wrenches this prohibition from its filial foundation. This is my primary objection to imposing this motif and its categories on this prohibition. (337)

This conditional form [of the Adamic Covenant] is similar to the conditional form of the Mosaic covenant… Observe that if [Adam] had complied with the condition, he would simply have done what was required. He would not have merited or earned anything – because he merely gave what was owed, trust and compliance. (346-7)

God freely blessed Adam with the Sabbath and with the hope it symbolized. Adam did not earn the Sabbath by works. Thus, Adam did not merit his hope by works – but he could sin and forfeit his hope. The covenant of works motif seems to say that Adam had to earn the hope of eternal rest that God gave him freely as a privilege… By eternal hope I refer to this expectation of divine blessing once he fulfilled his mammoth vocation. When he had populated and subdued the earth, he would have entered his rest. (341)

An Evangelical Explanation of the Mosaic Covenant’s Conditional Form
In this conditional promise God doesn’t say: “if you repent and believe, then you will be my special people,” but, “if you keep my law, then you will be my special people.” God said to Adam, if you eat you will die, implying, if you obey you will retain life and Eden. Similarly, he said to Israel, if you obey, you will retain Canaan, but if you disobey, you will be judged and disinherited. As Adam lost Eden, you will lose Canaan…

This teaches the necessity of gospel obedience unto complete salvation… (Lev 18:5; Matt. 5:20; Rom 8:12-13)
Jesus warned that evangelical obedience was necessary to enter heaven… This is how the conditional promise of the Mosaic covenant applies to the Christian life. It demonstrates the necessity of perseverance in gospel faith and holiness. …The law is gracious because it teaches us that if we live a holy life, mortify the deeds of the body, and keep evangelically the commandments of God, we will go to heaven, not to hell. (233-4)
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Nichols' book on covenant theology is Covenant Theology: A Reformed and Baptistic Perspective on God’s Covenants. And yes, he denies the CoW in it. Here are some quotes.
Seems like he's neither this nor that. Not-Reformed as one rejecting the CoW. Also not-Reformed on the place of good works in the scheme of salvation.
 

Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
Nichols' book on covenant theology is Covenant Theology: A Reformed and Baptistic Perspective on God’s Covenants. And yes, he denies the CoW in it. Here are some quotes.
Thanks for the clarification. Would you also be able to recommend a 20 Century Baptist CT book besides Nichols?
 

brandonadams

Puritan Board Freshman
The closest thing is probably "Covenant Theology: A Baptist Distinctive" edited by Earl Blackburn. It's a collection of essays, not a full treatment.
 

Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
The closest thing is probably "Covenant Theology: A Baptist Distinctive" edited by Earl Blackburn. It's a collection of essays, not a full treatment.
Thanks. I checked it out. Its odd though that those who hold to 20th Century CT haven't written a work arguing for their position. Even if its similar to Reformed CT they obviously have differences when it comes to the NC and who is part of the Church. I want to see how they arrive at their position.
 
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Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks. I checked it out. Its odd though that those who hold to 20th Century CT haven't written a work arguing for their position. Even if its similar to Reformed CT they obviously have differences when it comes to the NC and who is part of the Church. I want to see how they arrive at their position.

Sam Waldron's A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Confession of Faith is another good resource. I think his chapter on God's Covenant rightly points out the obvious problem with 1689 Federalism.

 

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks. I checked it out. Its odd though that those who hold to 20th Century CT haven't written a work arguing for their position. Even if its similar to Reformed CT they obviously have differences when it comes to the NC and who is part of the Church. I want to see how they arrive at their position.
Perhaps it was because there was no need: the Confession, while brief, is pretty clear. It only began being called "20th Century CT" by the 1689 Federalists (a recently arrived group) to distinguish from their position. With their claim that Federalism is different than 20th Century CT, I suspect we'll begin to see a lot more material in future to flesh out the nuances. I find myself agreeing with much of what @brandonadams posts, when he uses his own words instead of endless dead guy quotes, but certain nuances raise a red flag. I can't put a finger on it, though, and wish that perhaps someone could make a brief chart showing the two positions and their principal differences. It may be that they are very small, and some more a matter of semantics than anything else.
 

brandonadams

Puritan Board Freshman
Bottom line is that the "20th century" view was developed in isolation from/without knowledge of the older 1689 Fed view. As that view has re-emerged, there has been very little interaction with it. Blackburn offers some comments in his essay in CT: A Baptist Distinctive, but he significantly misunderstands the point he critiques (he critiques it's view of the Mosaic covenant, pointing people instead to Samuel Bolton's view - unaware that Samuel Bolton's view is 1689 Fed's view). Waldron has offered one very brief objection regarding the temporality of the New Covenant (which can easily be addressed through further dialogue), but has elsewhere said he has benefited much from the view. Talking with him online, his view is actually extremely close to 1689 Fed, particularly regarding typology. James White would be considered 20th century, but he has not studied 1689 Fed and is not interested in focusing on the topic. I'm not sure who else holds to the view and has any interest in writing more on it.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
David Kingdon's long out of print "Children of Abraham" is another one, if you can find it. (This is a relatively brief book on baptism by a British Reformed Baptist.) I recall that a few years ago Samuel Renihan referred to Kingdon's teaching as "immersing paedobaptism" when I asked him about it, so that's about as ringing an "endorsement" as you can get for it being considered "20th Century Reformed Baptist."

I'm not sure what camp Errol Hulse fell into. Maybe he was "20th Century" also. I recently acquired his "Testimony of Baptism" but haven't looked at it yet. This too is out of print and somewhat hard to find, especially at a reasonable price.

Paul King Jewett wasn't really a "Reformed Baptist" and being one of the examples of a leftward move at Fuller Seminary wasn't really even solidly conservative from an evangelical standpoint, but his "Infant Baptism and the Covenant of Grace" was a standard text for a long time as being a non-dispensational baptistic argument from a 20th Century evangelical. He was covenantal, broadly speaking, but attempts to take paedobaptist CT to the woodshed. To the extent that his argumentation falls into either camp, my guess is that it is the "20th Century" one. But he was probably more influenced by Barth than he was by any particular Baptist writer, although I don't know that there is much that could be considered "neo-orthodox" about his argumentation in this book. I read the book about 15 years ago, back when I thought that "one covenant, two administrations" was the only teaching consistent with the 1689, and back before I had done a whole lot of other reading. Later, even before I heard of "1689 Federalism" it became clear to me as I read them here and there that older Baptists didn't teach that, yet they were covenantal compared to NCT and dispensationalism.
 
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