Progressive Covenantalism continues the research project of Peter J. Gentry and Stephen J. Wellum, Kingdom through Covenant (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012). In that latter work, Gentry and Wellum propose a slightly different way of “putting together” God’s plan of redemption in contrast to the dominant biblical-theological systems of covenant and dispensational theology (and each of their varieties).
Gentry and Wellum argue that the biblical covenants provide the backbone to the narrative plot line of Scripture, and thus, it is essential to think through the interrelationship between the biblical covenants starting in creation and culminating in Christ, in order to rightly grasp the “whole counsel of God.”
In fact, as one walks through the biblical covenants, one discovers how the plan of God is disclosed from seed to full bloom, and how through the progression of the biblical covenants, we discover God’s glorious plan of salvation come to its telos, terminus, and fulfillment in our Lord Jesus Christ and the new covenant he inaugurates.
Progressive Covenantalism continues to develop the insights of Kingdom through Covenant by a team of scholars who accept the basic biblical-theological framework of the latter work, but now in this work developing that framework in areas which the initial book did not. Where Kingdom through Covenant could only hint at some issues and not develop them fully, Progressive Covenantalism picks up where the former book left off and provides further discussion and argumentation for the position. So, for example,
- New Testament scholar Thomas Schreiner writes on the Sabbath command from the Old Testament and thinks through its applications to new covenant believers.
- Christopher Cowan wrestles with the warning passages of Scripture, texts which are often viewed by covenant theologians as evidence for a “mixed” view of the church. Cowan disputes this reading of the warning texts and instead demonstrates how they can fit within a believer’s or regenerate view of the church.
- Jason DeRouchie provides a biblical theology of seed and demonstrates that the covenantal view is incorrect in some of its conclusions.
- Jason Meyer thinks through the role of law in both the old and new covenants.
- John Meade unpacks circumcision in the OT and how it is applied in the NT, providing further warrant to reject covenant theology’s link of circumcision with (infant) baptism.
- Oren Martin tackles the issue of Israel and land over against a dispensational reading.
- Richard Lucas offers an exegetical analysis of Romans 9-11 arguing that it does not require a dispensational understanding of this text.
- Other essays wrestle with the nature of typology and the role of the Mosaic law in the life of the Christian.
All of the essays are seeking to advance the discussion within evangelical theology and to commend progressive covenantalism as a better way of thinking through God’s one plan of redemption as it is revealed and accomplished through the biblical covenants in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Watch our interview with Dr. Stephen Wellum as he explains more about progressive covenantalism.
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