Two covenants of grace

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Notthemama1984

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
So I am listening to the baptism debate Jen posted and Dr. Schreiner said something about CT that is confusing.

He states that nowhere in Scripture do we see that there was only one covenant of grace.

Dr. Schreiner points out that Ishmael received grace in the first covenant, but when mentioning the new covenant in the NT Ishmael is never mentioned. Thus the two covenants may overlap, but they are not the same.

Now I know that the WCF points out that There are not therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations.


So can someone clear this up?

Am I missing something that Dr. Schreiner is stating? You can see Dr. Schreiner's statement at the around the 31:30 mark.
 

Jen

Puritan Board Freshman
I spoke to him after the sessions ended this afternoon, but in rereading your post, it seems that I have misremembered your question...

I asked him to elaborate on the multiple covenants of grace, and he said that he means that the Abrahamic covenant and New Covenant are two different covenants, but both are under the heading of covenant of grace. This is, I think, the standard Baptist response... He said that Dr. Wellum's chapter in "Believer's Baptism" unpacks this idea.

Does that help at all?
 

Notthemama1984

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
It does help, but I see the WCF's Scripture proofs pointed to a single covenant. I would be curious what his feelings on Romans 4:13-23 are.

I have not read Dr. Wellum's book so I can't refer to it.
 

Jen

Puritan Board Freshman
That I don't know directly, but he did write a commentary on Romans (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)... I don't have it, but maybe someone around here does or you can get a hold of it somehow?

To clarify, it's actually Wellum's chapter in "Believer's Baptism", which has chapters written by multiple authors -- Dr. Schreiner is one of the editors. Someone posted a link to the PDF here once, if you search for Wellum, it should come up.
 

Notthemama1984

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
LOL, I knew the name Schreiner sounded familiar. I have his commentary on Romans. I had to have it for my Romans class. I will look it up and let you know his feelings.
 

Notthemama1984

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Ok, I just read through Dr. Schreiner's commentary on the Romans passage.

Dr. Schreiner states that Abraham is the father of both Jews and Gentiles through faith. This universal fatherhood is the promise given to Abraham in Genesis 15. This promised inheritance is secured by God's grace, it follows that it is guaranteed for all his seed.

He also mentions how circumcision was required for the entrance into the covenant of the Jews, but now Paul states that the enjoyment of the promise is not due to keeping the law, but rather through right standing with God received through faith.



So Dr Schreiner refers to Genesis 15 as a covenant of grace. It was originally given to Abraham and all who have the same faith that Abraham had are apart of that same covenant and enjoy its promises.

This really sounds like a single covenant of grace. I am not sure what Dr. Schreiner is stating in the baptism debate by saying that nowhere in Scripture can we get the idea that there is no evidence that we have one covenant of grace. I would venture to say that Dr. Schreiner's own words on Romans contradicts his saying in the audio.

Also his commentary on Romans 11 states that the root of the olive tree is the patriachs and that the Gentiles have been grafted into that. So again it does not seem to me that Dr. Schreiner is pointing to a new covenant, but is making the point quite clearly that believing Gentiles are apart of the Abrahamic covenant.

I am off to go read Wellum now.
 

CovenantalBaptist

Puritan Board Freshman
Dr. Schreiner and Dr. Wellum hold to a form of New Covenant Theology. They are Calvinistic Baptists. This would be a difference between them and confessional (1689) Reformed Baptists. Confessional Reformed Baptists articulate a Covenant of Works and a Covenant of Grace as upheld in the confession Chapter VII paragraph 2 and 3:

II. Moreover, man having brought himself under the curse of the law by his fall, it pleased the Lord to make a covenant of grace,[2] wherein He freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved;[3] and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life, His Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.[4]

2. Gen. 2:17; Gal. 3:10; Rom. 3:20-21
3. Rom. 8:3; Mark 16:15-16; John 3:16
4. Ezek.36:26-27; John 6:44-45; Psa. 110:3

III. This covenant is revealed in the gospel; first of all to Adam in the promise of salvation by the seed of the woman,[5] and afterwards by farther steps, until the full discovery thereof was completed in the New Testament;[6] and it is founded in that eternal covenant transaction that was between the Father and the Son about the redemption of the elect;[7] and it is alone by the grace of this covenant that all of the posterity of fallen Adam that ever were saved did obtain life and blessed immortality, man being now utterly incapable of acceptance with God upon those terms on which Adam stood in his state of innocency.[8]

5. Gen. 3:15
6. Heb. 1:1
7. II Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2
8. Heb. 11:6, 13; Rom. 4:1-2; Acts 4:12; John 8:56


For a critique of NCT from an RB perspective, this page will get you started

Hope that helps unravel some of these distinctions. The term Reformed Baptist is confusing as many groups claim it. This is why the distinction confessional (1689) Reformed Baptist is often applied. Churches who affliate with ARBCA and those independant churches who have loose connections with the Monteville RB church (Pastor Al Martin) would fall into this category. Others like the SBTS crowd and the Masters Seminary crowd would be NCT. In the FIRE fellowship there are both types together although I am guessing the greater majority are NCT. Confused yet?
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Dr. Schreiner and Dr. Wellum hold to a form of New Covenant Theology. They are Calvinistic Baptists. This would be a difference between them and confessional (1689) Reformed Baptists. Confessional Reformed Baptists articulate a Covenant of Works and a Covenant of Grace as upheld in the confession Chapter VII paragraph 2 and 3:

II. Moreover, man having brought himself under the curse of the law by his fall, it pleased the Lord to make a covenant of grace,[2] wherein He freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved;[3] and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life, His Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.[4]

2. Gen. 2:17; Gal. 3:10; Rom. 3:20-21
3. Rom. 8:3; Mark 16:15-16; John 3:16
4. Ezek.36:26-27; John 6:44-45; Psa. 110:3

III. This covenant is revealed in the gospel; first of all to Adam in the promise of salvation by the seed of the woman,[5] and afterwards by farther steps, until the full discovery thereof was completed in the New Testament;[6] and it is founded in that eternal covenant transaction that was between the Father and the Son about the redemption of the elect;[7] and it is alone by the grace of this covenant that all of the posterity of fallen Adam that ever were saved did obtain life and blessed immortality, man being now utterly incapable of acceptance with God upon those terms on which Adam stood in his state of innocency.[8]

5. Gen. 3:15
6. Heb. 1:1
7. II Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2
8. Heb. 11:6, 13; Rom. 4:1-2; Acts 4:12; John 8:56


For a critique of NCT from an RB perspective, this page will get you started

Hope that helps unravel some of these distinctions. The term Reformed Baptist is confusing as many groups claim it. This is why the distinction confessional (1689) Reformed Baptist is often applied. Churches who affliate with ARBCA and those independant churches who have loose connections with the Monteville RB church (Pastor Al Martin) would fall into this category. Others like the SBTS crowd and the Masters Seminary crowd would be NCT. In the FIRE fellowship there are both types together although I am guessing the greater majority are NCT. Confused yet?

Chris,

Thanks for your post. This can definitely be confusing. However, I think the Masters Seminary crowd would be surprised to learn that they are considered NCT since every faculty member has to subscribe to a dispensational doctrinal statement. It would be similar to saying that the GPTS crowd is Federal Vision friendly. :) They may not represent old style Scofield dispensationalism, but it is dispensational nonetheless. Also, while there are some at SBTS who appear to have some NCT leanings, my guess is that it is more of a mixed bag that includes those who may subscribe to some flavor of dispensationalism and some who are essentially covenantal as well.
 

Notthemama1984

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
It would seem that Dr. Schreiner's argument against paedo-baptism should be discarded if his main reason for not being a paedo-baptist is his belief in the NCT.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
It would seem that Dr. Schreiner's argument against paedo-baptism should be discarded if his main reason for not being a paedo-baptist is his belief in the NCT.

I think his argument should be weighed on its own merits. (I haven't listened to the argument so can't give an opinion at this point.) My understanding is that he is heavily influenced by John Piper. I remember reading on the Desiring God website a few years ago that Piper occupies sort of a middle ground between CT and NCT, not agreeing with either 100% but agreeing with some aspects of each. Also, I don't think Schreiner's views represent those of any of the NCT leaders.

Furthermore, while it could be said that Reformed paedos reason for holding to their belief is their covenant theology, I'm not sure if any baptistic theologian's main reason for not being a paedo is their belief in NCT, dispensationalism, or even their conception of CT.
 

Notthemama1984

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
But the problem is that his main argument against paedobaptism is his view on NCT. So if I disagree with his presuppositions against paedobaptism, then I should discard his arguments against paedobaptism.

I am not necessarily jumping on the paedobaptist bandwagon (I really teeter between both camps). I am just saying that I would not swing to the credo-baptist side due to his argument against paedobaptism.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
But the problem is that his main argument against paedobaptism is his view on NCT. So if I disagree with his presuppositions against paedobaptism, then I should discard his arguments against paedobaptism.

I am not necessarily jumping on the paedobaptist bandwagon (I really teeter between both camps). I am just saying that I would not swing to the credo-baptist side due to his argument against paedobaptism.

I'm not going to belabor this, but again I don't know that Schreiner's views are exactly NCT. I'm not familiar with all of the arguments of the various NCT advocates, but none of the ones I know of would refer to one covenant of grace the way that it is reported in post #2 that Dr. Schreiner did.
 

CovenantalBaptist

Puritan Board Freshman
Chris,

Thanks for your post. This can definitely be confusing. However, I think the Masters Seminary crowd would be surprised to learn that they are considered NCT since every faculty member has to subscribe to a dispensational doctrinal statement. It would be similar to saying that the GPTS crowd is Federal Vision friendly. :) They may not represent old style Scofield dispensationalism, but it is dispensational nonetheless. Also, while there are some at SBTS who appear to have some NCT leanings, my guess is that it is more of a mixed bag that includes those who may subscribe to some flavor of dispensationalism and some who are essentially covenantal as well.

Hi Chris,

Thank you. You are correct, this was written in haste (something I have tried to avoid, this time unsuccessfully). I incorrectly conflated and confused the Masters' Seminary guys and the Progressive Dispensationalists (which are more from DTS - Dallas Theological Seminary) who would hold to a kind of "Covenant Theology Lite" and would have much in common with NCT. You are correct that the Masters' seminary guys are still classically dispensational, at least, officially. NCT is a difficult-to-define field and it encompasses many variants.

You are also correct, there are guys at SBTS who hold to a confessional RB stance and it is a mixed bag, but I believe that it is a small minority who are confessional RBs. In my opinion Schreiner's material points away from the confessional stance and this is a reason to be cautious.
 
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Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Chris,

Thanks for your post. This can definitely be confusing. However, I think the Masters Seminary crowd would be surprised to learn that they are considered NCT since every faculty member has to subscribe to a dispensational doctrinal statement. It would be similar to saying that the GPTS crowd is Federal Vision friendly. :) They may not represent old style Scofield dispensationalism, but it is dispensational nonetheless. Also, while there are some at SBTS who appear to have some NCT leanings, my guess is that it is more of a mixed bag that includes those who may subscribe to some flavor of dispensationalism and some who are essentially covenantal as well.

Hi Chris,

Thank you. You are correct, this was written in haste (something I have tried to avoid, this time unsuccessfully). I incorrectly conflated and confused the Masters' Seminary guys and the Progressive Dispensationalists (which are more from DTS - Dallas Theological Seminary) who would hold to a kind of "Covenant Theology Lite" and would have much in common with NCT. You are correct that the Masters' seminary guys are still classically dispensational, at least, officially. NCT is a difficult-to-define field and it encompasses many variants. You are also correct, there are guys at SBTS who hold to a confessional RB stance, but their more recent seminary publications (at least those that I have reviewed) tend to fall more in the NCT camp and certainly the seminal book on Baptism with Wellum's chapter that was mentioned earlier would be influenced by this teaching.

NCT can definitely be nebulous. I sat under a ministry that was sort of NCT a few years ago but haven't done a ton of research into it. During the time I spent in Presbyterianism I basically paid NCT no mind at all. I've recently seen 3-4 camps or views identified within NCT. As you note it does seem to finally be having some influence with some seminary professors, although they may not have swallowed NCT whole. I listened to part of a Masters Seminary Faculty Lecture Series on NCT a while back and it was noted that unlike the usual course of events where a view is advocated in the seminaries and then eventually shows up in the pulpit, NCT is something that has been articulated by pastors and is barely represented in the academy. (I'd think that one could say similar things about dispensationalism, which was spread through the USA through various Bible conferences, the Scofield Bible and was later taught at DTS and other schools that the early fundamentalists established.)
 

Notthemama1984

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
But the problem is that his main argument against paedobaptism is his view on NCT. So if I disagree with his presuppositions against paedobaptism, then I should discard his arguments against paedobaptism.

I am not necessarily jumping on the paedobaptist bandwagon (I really teeter between both camps). I am just saying that I would not swing to the credo-baptist side due to his argument against paedobaptism.

I'm not going to belabor this, but again I don't know that Schreiner's views are exactly NCT. I'm not familiar with all of the arguments of the various NCT advocates, but none of the ones I know of would refer to one covenant of grace the way that it is reported in post #2 that Dr. Schreiner did.


Schreiner does not believe in one covenant of grace. He believes in one plan of salvation but multiple covenants.
 

Calvibaptist

Dallas Cowboys' #1 Fan
My understanding is that he is heavily influenced by John Piper. I remember reading on the Desiring God website a few years ago that Piper occupies sort of a middle ground between CT and NCT, not agreeing with either 100% but agreeing with some aspects of each.

Here is Piper's quote from his website:

John Piper has some things in common with each of these views, but does not classify himself within any of these three camps. He is probably the furthest away from dispensationalism, although he does agree with dispensationalism that there will be a millennium.

Many of his theological heroes have been covenant theologians (for example, many of the Puritans), and he does see some merit in the concept of a pre-fall covenant of works, but he has not taken a position on their specific conception of the covenant of grace.

In regards to his views on the Mosaic Law, he seems closer to new covenant theology than covenant theology, although once again it would not work to say that he precisely falls within that category.

Piper is definitely NOT a 1689'er, but wouldn't be accepted by the NCT camp either.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
But the problem is that his main argument against paedobaptism is his view on NCT. So if I disagree with his presuppositions against paedobaptism, then I should discard his arguments against paedobaptism.

I am not necessarily jumping on the paedobaptist bandwagon (I really teeter between both camps). I am just saying that I would not swing to the credo-baptist side due to his argument against paedobaptism.

I'm not going to belabor this, but again I don't know that Schreiner's views are exactly NCT. I'm not familiar with all of the arguments of the various NCT advocates, but none of the ones I know of would refer to one covenant of grace the way that it is reported in post #2 that Dr. Schreiner did.


Schreiner does not believe in one covenant of grace. He believes in one plan of salvation but multiple covenants.

Again, I'm not that well acquainted with Schreiner's views. In post 2 of this thread, Jen asked Dr. Schreiner about the two covenants of grace language and got the following response:

I asked him to elaborate on the multiple covenants of grace, and he said that he means that the Abrahamic covenant and New Covenant are two different covenants, but both are under the heading of covenant of grace.

Assuming that the above accurately conveys the conversation, it points to a belief in "one covenant, two administrations," which is a common way of saying that someone is a covenant theologian. Saying that and "one plan but multiple covenants" may be a distinction without a difference in some cases. If you mean to suggest that all of the covenants i.e. Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, Noahic, are exactly the same then I suggest you go back to the drawing board because no covenant theologian believes that. What I quoted above suggests that Dr. Schreiner does believe in one covenant of grace. I was in NCT circles for several years and I don't know of any NCTer who would refer to "one covenant of grace" since their whole system is predicated on the idea that there is NOT one covenant of grace and in emphasizing discontinuity, in some cases moreso than dispensationalists do. John Zens is sometimes credited as the father of NCT with his article in the 1970's in the Baptist Reformation Review questioning whether there was one covenant of grace. Despite what Jen reported it's possible that you may be right that Schreiner does not really believe in one covenant, two administrations i.e. covenant theology but you have failed to provide any evidence to support this assertion.

Also, if there were no difference between the Abrahamic and New Covenants as you appear to be suggesting, why is it called the New Covenant, and what is new about it?
 
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Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
My understanding is that he is heavily influenced by John Piper. I remember reading on the Desiring God website a few years ago that Piper occupies sort of a middle ground between CT and NCT, not agreeing with either 100% but agreeing with some aspects of each.

Here is Piper's quote from his website:

John Piper has some things in common with each of these views, but does not classify himself within any of these three camps. He is probably the furthest away from dispensationalism, although he does agree with dispensationalism that there will be a millennium.

Many of his theological heroes have been covenant theologians (for example, many of the Puritans), and he does see some merit in the concept of a pre-fall covenant of works, but he has not taken a position on their specific conception of the covenant of grace.

In regards to his views on the Mosaic Law, he seems closer to new covenant theology than covenant theology, although once again it would not work to say that he precisely falls within that category.

Piper is definitely NOT a 1689'er, but wouldn't be accepted by the NCT camp either.

Calvibaptist,

Thanks for digging this up, it is exactly what I had in mind. Piper is a big favorite among at least some NCTers although they understand that he doesn't quite fall within their camp. D.A. Carson and perhaps especially Douglas Moo are other theologians who aren't exactly NCT but are highly regarded by many New Covenant Theologians.
 

Notthemama1984

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The evidence I gave was his direct words from the audio. He states that there is one plan of salvation, but there is not a single covenant of grace. Check it out at the 31:30 mark.


I have seen the New Covenant as the newer version of the Abrahamic Covenant. The New Covenant is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. It is the difference between promised and fulfilled.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
The evidence I gave was his direct words from the audio. He states that there is one plan of salvation, but there is not a single covenant of grace. Check it out at the 31:30 mark.

This is about the third time I've questioned you on this and you continue to completely disregard the testimony of someone who was at the debate who questioned Dr. Schreiner following. Why?

I have seen the New Covenant as the newer version of the Abrahamic Covenant. The New Covenant is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. It is the difference between promised and fulfilled.

Do you find any difference in the administration of these covenants? In other words, is there any difference between them regarding who is to be considered a member of the respective covenants?
 

Notthemama1984

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The evidence I gave was his direct words from the audio. He states that there is one plan of salvation, but there is not a single covenant of grace. Check it out at the 31:30 mark.

This is about the third time I've questioned you on this and you continue to completely disregard the testimony of someone who was at the debate who questioned Dr. Schreiner following. Why?

I have seen the New Covenant as the newer version of the Abrahamic Covenant. The New Covenant is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. It is the difference between promised and fulfilled.

Do you find any difference in the administration of these covenants? In other words, is there any difference between them regarding who is to be considered a member of the respective covenants?

What I am saying is that the testimony does not make sense. I am not saying that the testimony is false, only stating the Dr. Schreiner is confusing. How can there be no evidence of a single covenant of grace, but right after he says there is only one covenant of grace. This seems contradictory.



As for the administration of the covenants.....I don't know. I am still learning hence the reason why I originally asked the original question. I understand the Baptist side saying the New Covenant is spiritual in nature and the Presbyterian side showing the whole visible/invisible church. I just do not know where I stand right now.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
What I am saying is that the testimony does not make sense. I am not saying that the testimony is false, only stating the Dr. Schreiner is confusing. How can there be no evidence of a single covenant of grace, but right after he says there is only one covenant of grace. This seems contradictory.

I agree that it seems to be contradictory, but it is possible that he misspoke (I've known preachers that do it fairly often) and that what he told Jen is what he really meant. I haven't read Wellum's chapter that he referred her to either so I really can't comment on it. Once I do read it I'll have a better idea of where they stand. But even Alan Conner in Covenant Children Today, which was published by Reformed Baptist Academic Press (thus hardly friendly to NCT) wrote that "there is a strong element of contrast between the New Covenant and both the Mosaic and Abrahamic Covenants." If you don't have it already, Conner's book would be a good one to pick up since it is both concise and comprehensive in arguing the Reformed credo view. I think it's only $12.99 from rbap.net.

As for the administration of the covenants.....I don't know. I am still learning hence the reason why I originally asked the original question. I understand the Baptist side saying the New Covenant is spiritual in nature and the Presbyterian side showing the whole visible/invisible church. I just do not know where I stand right now.

I can identify with the predicament since it was my predicament for several years. My only advice (other than to stay on the correct side and remain Baptist) :) is to not make a decision either way until you are sure in your beliefs. But being sure that you are sure can be tricky as well. Two years ago I was convinced in my Presbyterian views but switched back to a baptistic position this spring. I had thought I had really weighed the arguments before but I don't think I really did. I knew the paedo argument inside and out but there was always a doubt in the back of my mind that I had swallowed it because I wanted to join the OPC church in my area and didn't think there were any Baptist ones that were acceptable. Also, it can be easy to be influenced by what ministry opportunity may avail itself to you depending on which side you fall, whether the grass looks greener, or as in my case, if there doesn't appear to be a sound Baptist church in your area.

Not long ago I read a series of blog posts by a Baptist pastor turned Presbyterian who changed for what appeared to me to be the flimsiest of reasons. The posts showed that he was apparently ignorant of both Presbyteran and Baptist history and practice and that his decision basically came down to frustration with the particular circle of Baptists that he had identified with and his admiration for his Presbyterian friends.
 

Notthemama1984

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I will definitely look into getting the Conner's. I am finding that one's view of baptism stems largely from one's views on other aspect of theology (mainly the covenants). In fact, I had a PCA Chaplain tell me once that the secret to baptism was through the covenants so study them.


I will take your advice and take it slow. I have a tendency to think that I need all the answers prior to seminary, but in reality I go seminary to learn the answers.


Oh and as for a local Reformed church influencing one's decision. There is no need to worry there. The closest reformed congregation nearest to where I am moving is a Confessional Reformed Baptist church and it is about 35 miles away (although there is one Calvinist Dispensational church about 20 miles away). The closest PCA or OPC church is even further. I found it surprising that in an area with a church on every corner that there was not at least one reformed church remotely close by.
 
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Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I will definitely look into getting the Conner's. I am finding that one's view of baptism stems largely from one's views on other aspect of theology (mainly the covenants). In fact, I had a PCA Chaplain tell me once that the secret to baptism was through the covenants so study them.


I will take your advice and take it slow. I have a tendency to think that I need all the answers prior to seminary, but in reality I go seminary to learn the answers.

The chaplain is essentially correct. A man's view of the covenants, particularly the New Covenant, is going to tell you what his view of baptism is. Studying the various texts on the covenants as well as the ones on baptism is the way to go. What I was arguing against earlier was the idea of adopting a particular flavor of theology and then basically imposing that on the text without doing the exegetical work. Agreeing for the sake of argument that Dr. Schreiner is influenced by NCT, in my opinion that doesn't mean that he has nothing profitable to contribute on the issue since not all of his answers (and perhaps few of them) have to do with whether he is NCT, CT or somewhere in between. NCT has more of an impact on one's view of the law. It also has more of an impact on whether or not you believe there is a pre-fall Covenant of Works and as we have noted, whether or not there is one covenant of grace.

You definitely don't need all the answers prior to seminary. Who does have them all? But obviously your choice of seminary will determine what you are taught there. Having a settled position definitely helps in choosing a seminary in line with those views.
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
To help clear up some of the baggage I would recommend some of Welty's articles. You can find them here.
Papers by Greg Welty

Concerning a Reformed or Particular Baptist's view of the covenants I would point you guys to Nehemiah Coxe's Covenant Theology from Adam to Christ to get a good understanding of the Covenants from a Credo Position.

It can be found on this page here.
SGCB | Reformed Baptist Academic Press

There are not two Covenant's of Grace. There is one Covenant of Grace administered by various covenants. These covenants may administer the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace as does the Abrahamic and the Mosaic. In my humble opinion.

There is an Everlasting Covenant that is mentioned in Genesis 17 which is the Covenant of Grace. There is only one. Ishmael was not a part of it even though Abraham petitioned God on his behalf.

And let me put in a plug for a school I highly recommend. Midwest Center for Theological Studies.


http://www.mctsowensboro.org/index.html


Edit for correction...
I made a mistake..... Ishmael was not a part of the Everlasting Covenant. Esau wasn't either but he was not Abraham's son whom Abraham petitioned God for Everlasting Covenant inclusion. I got a little mixed up so I needed to fix it..... It won't be the last time. My mind aint what it use to be.
 
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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Calvin (from Book II)
CHAPTER 6.

REDEMPTION FOR MAN LOST TO BE SOUGHT IN Christ.

The parts of this chapter are, I. The excellence of the doctrine of
Christ the Redeemer--a doctrine always entertained by the Church, sec.
1. II. Christ, the Mediator in both dispensations, was offered to the
faith of the pious Israelites and people of old, as is plain from the
institution of sacrifice, the calling of Abraham's family, and the
elevation of David and his posterity, sec. 2. III. Hence the
consolation, strength, hope, and confidence of the godly under the Law,
Christ being offered to them in various ways by their heavenly Father.

Sections.

1. The knowledge of God the Creator of no avail without faith in Christ
the Redeemer. First reason. Second reason strengthened by the testimony
of an Apostle. Conclusion. This doctrine entertained by the children of
God in all ages from the beginning of the world. Error of throwing open
heaven to the heathen, who know nothing of Christ. The pretexts for
this refuted by passages of Scripture.

2. God never was propitious to the ancient Israelites without Christ
the Mediator. First reason founded on the institution of sacrifice.
Second reason founded on the calling of Abraham. Third reason founded
on the elevation of David's family to regal dignity, and confirmed by
striking passages of Scripture.

3. Christ the solace ever promised to the afflicted; the banner of
faith and hope always erected. This confirmed by various passages of
Scripture.

4. The Jews taught to have respect to Christ. This teaching sanctioned
by our Saviour himself. The common saying, that God is the object of
faith, requires to be explained and modified. Conclusion of this
discussion concerning Christ. No saving knowledge of God in the
heathen.

1. The whole human race having been undone in the person of Adam, the
excellence and dignity of our origin, as already described, is so far
from availing us, that it rather turns to our greater disgrace, until
God, who does not acknowledge man when defiled and corrupted by sin as
his own work, appear as a Redeemer in the person of his only begotten
Son. Since our fall from life unto death, all that knowledge of God the
Creator, of which we have discoursed, would be useless, were it not
followed up by faith, holding forth God to us as a Father in Christ.
The natural course undoubtedly was, that the fabric of the world should
be a school in which we might learn piety, and from it pass to eternal
life and perfect felicity. But after looking at the perfection beheld
wherever we turn our eye, above and below, we are met by the divine
malediction, which, while it involves innocent creatures in our fault,
of necessity fills our own souls with despair. For although God is
still pleased in many ways to manifest his paternal favour towards us,
we cannot, from a mere survey of the world, infer that he is a Father.
Conscience urging us within, and showing that sin is a just ground for
our being forsaken, will not allow us to think that God accounts or
treats us as sons. In addition to this are our sloth and ingratitude.
Our minds are so blinded that they cannot perceive the truth, and all
our senses are so corrupt that we wickedly rob God of his glory.
Wherefore, we must conclude with Paul, "After that in the wisdom of God
the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of
preaching to save them that believe," (1 Cor. 1:21). By the "wisdom of
God," he designates this magnificent theatre of heaven and earth
replenished with numberless wonders, the wise contemplation of which
should have enabled us to know God. But this we do with little profit;
and, therefore, he invites us to faith in Christ,--faith which, by a
semblance of foolishness, disgusts the unbeliever. Therefore, although
the preaching of the cross is not in accordance with human wisdom, we
must, however, humbly embrace it if we would return to God our Maker,
from whom we are estranged, that he may again become our Father. It is
certain that after the fall of our first parent, no knowledge of God
without a Mediator was effectual to salvation. Christ speaks not of his
own age merely, but embraces all ages, when he says "This is life
eternal that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ,
whom thou hast sent," (John 17:3). The more shameful therefore is the
presumption of those who throw heaven open to the unbelieving and
profane, in the absence of that grace which Scripture uniformly
describes as the only door by which we enter into life. Should any
confine our Saviour's words to the period subsequent to the
promulgation of the Gospel, the refutation is at hand; since on a
ground common to all ages and nations, it is declared, that those who
are estranged from God, and as such, are under the curse, the children
of wrath, cannot be pleasing to God until they are reconciled. To this
we may add the answer which our Saviour gave to the Samaritan woman "Ye
worship ye know not what; we know what we worship: for salvation is of
the Jews," (John 4:22). By these words, he both charges every Gentile
religion with falsehood, and assigns the reason--viz. that under the
Law the Redeemer was promised to the chosen people only, and that,
consequently, no worship was ever pleasing to God in which respect was
not had to Christ. Hence also Paul affirms, that all the Gentiles were
"without God," and deprived of the hope of life. Now, since John
teaches that there was life in Christ from the beginning, and that the
whole world had lost it (John 1:4), it is necessary to return to that
fountain; And, accordingly, Christ declares that inasmuch as he is a
propitiator, he is life. And, indeed, the inheritance of heaven belongs
to none but the sons of God (John 15:6). Now, it were most incongruous
to give the place and rank of sons to any who have not been engrafted
into the body of the only begotten Son. And John distinctly testifies
that those become the sons of God who believe in his name. But as it is
not my intention at present formally to discuss the subject of faith in
Christ, it is enough to have thus touched on it in passing.

2. Hence it is that God never showed himself propitious to his ancient
people, nor gave them any hope of grace without a Mediator. I say
nothing of the sacrifices of the Law, by which believers were plainly
and openly taught that salvation was not to be found anywhere but in
the expiation which Christ alone completed. All I maintain is that the
prosperous and happy state of the Church was always founded in the
person of Christ. For although God embraced the whole posterity of
Abraham in his covenant, yet Paul properly argues (Gal. 3:16), that
Christ was truly the seed in which all the nations of the earth were to
be blessed, since we know that all who were born of Abraham, according
to the flesh, were not accounted the seed. To omit Ishmael and others,
how came it that of the two sons of Isaac, the twin brothers, Esau and
Jacob, while yet in the womb, the one was chosen and the other
rejected? Nay, how came it that the first-born was rejected, and the
younger alone admitted? Moreover, how happens it that the majority are
rejected? It is plain, therefore, that the seed of Abraham is
considered chiefly in one head, and that the promised salvation is not
attained without coming to Christ, whose office it is to gather
together those which were scattered abroad. Thus the primary adoption
of the chosen people depended on the grace of the Mediator. Although it
is not expressed in very distinct terms in Moses, it, however, appears
to have been commonly known to all the godly. For before a king was
appointed over the Israelites, Hannah, the mother of Samuel, describing
the happiness of the righteous, speaks thus in her song, "He shall give
strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed;" meaning by
these words, that God would bless his Church. To this corresponds the
prediction, which is afterwards added, "I will raise me up a faithful
priest, and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever," (1 Sam. 2:10,
35). And there can be no doubt that our heavenly Father intended that a
living image of Christ should be seen in David and his posterity.
Accordingly, exhorting the righteous to fear Him, he bids them "Kiss
the Son," (Psalm 2:12). Corresponding to this is the passage in the
Gospel, "He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father,"
(John 5:23). Therefore, though the kingdom was broken up by the revolt
of the ten tribes, yet the covenant which God had made in David and his
successors behaved to stand, as is also declared by his Prophets,
"Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will
make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant's sake,"
(1 Kings 11:34). The same thing is repeated a second and third time. It
is also expressly said, "I will for this afflict the seed of David, but
not for ever," (1 Kings 11:39). Some time afterwards it was said,
"Nevertheless, for David's sake did the Lord his God give him a lamp in
Jerusalem, to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem," (1
Kings 15:4). And when matters were bordering on destruction, it was
again said, "Yet the Lord would not destroy Judah for David his
servant's sake, as he had promised to give him alway a light, and to
his children," (2 Kings 8:19).

The sum of the whole comes to this--David, all others being excluded,
was chosen to be the person in whom the good pleasure of the Lord
should dwell; as it is said elsewhere, "He forsook the tabernacle of
Shiloh;" "Moreover, he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not
the tribe of Ephraim;" "But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion
which he loved;" "He chose David also his servant, and took him from
the sheep folds: from following the ewes great with young he brought
him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance," (Ps. 78:60,
67, 70, 71). In fine, God, in thus preserving his Church, intended that
its security and salvation should depend on Christ as its head.
Accordingly, David exclaims, "The Lord is their strength, and he is the
saving strength of his anointed;" and then prays "Save thy people, and
bless thine inheritance;" intimating, that the safety of the Church was
indissolubly connected with the government of Christ. In the same sense
he elsewhere says, "Save, Lord: let the king hear us when we call,"
(Ps. 20:9). These words plainly teach that believers, in applying for
the help of God, had their sole confidence in this--that they were
under the unseen government of the King. This may be inferred from
another psalm, "Save now, I beseech thee O Lord: Blessed be he that
cometh in the name of the Lord," (Ps. 118:25, 26). Here it is obvious
that believers are invited to Christ, in the assurance that they will
be safe when entirely in his hand. To the same effect is another
prayer, in which the whole Church implores the divine mercy "Let thy
hand be upon the Man of thy right hand, upon the Son of man, whom thou
madest strong (or best fitted) for thyself," (Ps. 80:17). For though
the author of the psalm laments the dispersion of the whole nations he
prays for its revival in him who is sole Head. After the people were
led away into captivity, the land laid waste, and matters to appearance
desperate, Jeremiah, lamenting the calamity of the Church, especially
complains, that by the destruction of the kingdom the hope of believers
was cut off; "The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the Lord, was
taken in their pits, of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live
among the heathen," (Lam. 4:20). From all this it is abundantly plain,
that as the Lord cannot be propitious to the human race without a
Mediator, Christ was always held forth to the holy Fathers under the
Law as the object of their faith.

3. Moreover when comfort is promised in affliction, especially when the
deliverance of the Church is described, the banner of faith and hope in
Christ is unfurled. "Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy
people, even for salvation with thine anointed," says Habakkuk (3:13).
And whenever mention is made in the Prophets of the renovation of the
Church, the people are directed to the promise made to David, that his
kingdom would be for ever. And there is nothing strange in this, since
otherwise there would have been no stability in the covenant. To this
purpose is the remarkable prophecy in Isaiah 7:14. After seeing that
the unbelieving king Ahab repudiated what he had testified regarding
the deliverance of Jerusalem from siege and its immediate safety, he
passes as it were abruptly to the Messiah, "Behold, a virgin shall
conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel;" intimating
indirectly, that though the king and his people wickedly rejected the
promise offered to them, as if they were bent on causing the faith of
God to fail, the covenant would not be defeated--the Redeemer would
come in his own time. In fine, all the prophets, to show that God was
placable, were always careful to bring forward that kingdom of David,
on which redemption and eternal salvation depended. Thus in Isaiah it
is said, "I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure
mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the
people," (Isa. 55:3, 4); intimating, that believers, in calamitous
circumstances, could have no hope, had they not this testimony that God
would be ready to hear them. In the same way, to revive their drooping
spirits, Jeremiah says, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I
will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and
prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his
days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely," (Jer. 23:5,
6). In Ezekiel also it is said, "I will set up one Shepherd over them,
and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and
he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my
servant David a prince among them: I the Lord have spoken it. And I
will make with them a covenant of peace," (Ezek. 34:23, 24, 25). And
again, after discoursing of this wondrous renovation, he says, "David
my servant shall be king over them: and they all shall have one
shepherd." "Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them; it
shall be an everlasting covenant with them," (Ezek. 37:24-26). I select
a few passages out of many, because I merely wish to impress my readers
with the fact, that the hope of believers was ever treasured up in
Christ alone. All the other prophets concur in this. Thus Hosea, "Then
shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered
together, and appoint themselves one head," (Hosea 1:11). This he
afterwards explains in clearer terms, "Afterward shall the children of
Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king,"
(Hosea 3:5). Micas, also speaking of the return of the people, says
expressly, "Their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head
of them," (Micah 2:13). So Amos, in predicting the renovation of the
people, says "In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that
is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up the
ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old," (Amos 9:11); in
other words, the only banner of salvation was, the exaltation of the
family of David to regal splendour, as fulfilled in Christ. Hence, too,
Zechariah, as nearer in time to the manifestation of Christ, speaks
more plainly, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter
of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having
salvation," (Zech. 9:9). This corresponds to the passage already quoted
from the Psalms, "The Lord is their strength, and he is the saving
health of their anointed." Here salvation is extended from the head to
the whole body.

4. By familiarising the Jews with these prophecies, God intended to
teach them, that in seeking for deliverance, they should turn their
eyes directly towards Christ. And though they had sadly degenerated,
they never entirely lost the knowledge of this general principle, that
God, by the hand of Christ, would be the deliverer of the Church, as he
had promised to David; and that in this way only the free covenant by
which God had adopted his chosen people would be fulfilled. Hence it
was, that on our Saviour's entry into Jerusalem, shortly before his
death, the children shouted, "Hosannah to the son of David," (Mt.
21:9). For there seems to have been a hymn known to all, and in general
use, in which they sung that the only remaining pledge which they had
of the divine mercy was the promised advent of a Redeemer. For this
reason, Christ tells his disciples to believe in him, in order that
they might have a distinct and complete belief in God, "Ye believe in
God, believe also in me," (John 14:1). For although, properly speaking,
faith rises from Christ to the Father, he intimates, that even when it
leans on God, it gradually vanishes away, unless he himself interpose
to give it solid strength. The majesty of God is too high to be scaled
up to by mortals, who creep like worms on the earth. Therefore, the
common saying that God is the object of faith (Lactantius, lib. 4 c.
16), requires to be received with some modification. When Christ is
called the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15), the expression is
not used without cause, but is designed to remind us that we can have
no knowledge of our salvation, until we behold God in Christ. For
although the Jewish scribes had by their false glosses darkened what
the Prophets had taught concerning the Redeemer, yet Christ assumed it
to be a fact, received, as it were, with public consent, that there was
no other remedy in desperate circumstances, no other mode of delivering
the Church than the manifestation of the Mediator. It is true, that the
fact adverted to by Paul was not so generally known as it ought to have
been--viz. that Christ is the end of the Law (Rom. 10:4), though this
is both true, and clearly appears both from the Law and the Prophets. I
am not now, however, treating of faith, as we shall elsewhere have a
fitter place (Book 3 Chap. 2), but what I wish to impress upon my
readers in this way is, that the first step in piety is, to acknowledge
that God is a Father, to defend, govern, and cherish us, until he
brings us to the eternal inheritance of his kingdom; that hence it is
plain, as we lately observed, there is no having knowledge of God
without Christ, and that, consequently, from the beginning of the world
Christ was held forth to all the elect as the object of their faith and
confidence. In this sense, Irenaeus says, that the Father, who is
boundless in himself, is bounded in the Son, because he has
accommodated himself to our capacity, lest our minds should be
swallowed up by the immensity of his glory (Irenaeus, lib. 4 cap. 8).
Fanatics, not attending to this, distort a useful sentiment into an
impious dream, [185] as if Christ had only a share of the Godhead, as a
part taken from a whole; whereas the meaning merely is, that God is
comprehended in Christ alone. The saying of John was always true,
"whosoever denieth the Son, the same has not the Father," (1 John
2:23). For though in old time there were many who boasted that they
worshipped the Supreme Deity, the Maker of heaven and earth, yet as
they had no Mediator, it was impossible for them truly to enjoy the
mercy of God, so as to feel persuaded that he was their Father. Not
holding the head, that is, Christ, their knowledge of God was
evanescent; and hence they at length fell away to gross and foul
superstitions betraying their ignorance, just as the Turks in the
present day, who, though proclaiming, with full throat, that the
Creator of heaven and earth is their God, yet by their rejection of
Christ, substitute an idol in his place.
__________________________________________________________________

[185] French, "reverie infernale."
__________________________________________________________________
 

Julio Martinez Jr

Puritan Board Freshman
What I am saying is that the testimony does not make sense. I am not saying that the testimony is false, only stating the Dr. Schreiner is confusing. How can there be no evidence of a single covenant of grace, but right after he says there is only one covenant of grace. This seems contradictory.

I agree that it seems to be contradictory, but it is possible that he misspoke (I've known preachers that do it fairly often) and that what he told Jen is what he really meant. I haven't read Wellum's chapter that he referred her to either so I really can't comment on it. Once I do read it I'll have a better idea of where they stand. But even Alan Conner in Covenant Children Today, which was published by Reformed Baptist Academic Press (thus hardly friendly to NCT) wrote that "there is a strong element of contrast between the New Covenant and both the Mosaic and Abrahamic Covenants." If you don't have it already, Conner's book would be a good one to pick up since it is both concise and comprehensive in arguing the Reformed credo view. I think it's only $12.99 from rbap.net.

As for the administration of the covenants.....I don't know. I am still learning hence the reason why I originally asked the original question. I understand the Baptist side saying the New Covenant is spiritual in nature and the Presbyterian side showing the whole visible/invisible church. I just do not know where I stand right now.

I can identify with the predicament since it was my predicament for several years. My only advice (other than to stay on the correct side and remain Baptist) :) is to not make a decision either way until you are sure in your beliefs. But being sure that you are sure can be tricky as well. Two years ago I was convinced in my Presbyterian views but switched back to a baptistic position this spring. I had thought I had really weighed the arguments before but I don't think I really did. I knew the paedo argument inside and out but there was always a doubt in the back of my mind that I had swallowed it because I wanted to join the OPC church in my area and didn't think there were any Baptist ones that were acceptable. Also, it can be easy to be influenced by what ministry opportunity may avail itself to you depending on which side you fall, whether the grass looks greener, or as in my case, if there doesn't appear to be a sound Baptist church in your area.

Not long ago I read a series of blog posts by a Baptist pastor turned Presbyterian who changed for what appeared to me to be the flimsiest of reasons. The posts showed that he was apparently ignorant of both Presbyteran and Baptist history and practice and that his decision basically came down to frustration with the particular circle of Baptists that he had identified with and his admiration for his Presbyterian friends.

Not Presbyterian anymore? That's too bad.

-----Added 12/1/2008 at 09:03:33 EST-----

I was actually a Reformed Baptist until I began to study CT. Read some Strawbridge and that little blue book by Schreiner. Heard many debates. Bahnsen's lectures on CT finally did it for me.
 
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