In this post, I would like to offer a sketch of Baptist (1689) Covenant Theology, contrast it with a few points within Westminster Covenant Theology, and offer some recommended resources for further study. It is my belief that what separates Reformed Baptist and Presbyterians is not baptism, first and foremost, but covenant theology. So says Pascal Denault:
Baptism is not the fundamental distinctive between these two groups. We propose that covenant theology is the distinctive between Baptists and paedobaptists and that all the divergence between them, both theological and practical, including baptism, stem from their different ways of understanding the biblical covenants. Baptism is, therefore, not the point of origin but the outcome of the differences between paedobaptists and credobaptists.
A Brief Sketch of Baptist Covenant Theology:
The opening chapters of the Bible relay how God created all that exists. It might be helpful to think of two circles—one larger and the other smaller. The larger one is God and the smaller one is His creation. How to these two circles relate to one another? The triune God relates to man by covenantally condescending and revealing Himself in both general and special revelation. The 1689 Confession explains it like this:
The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience to him as their creator, yet they could never have attained the reward of life but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.
God condescended by way of covenant to our first parents in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2 (c.f. Hos. 6:7; Rom 5:12-21). Not only was the moral law written on the hearts of Adam and Eve, but God also gave them a positive law: Do not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve were in a sort of probationary period in the Garden. “This state was a trial,” writes Nehemiah Coxe, “in a way to eternal happiness under the law of works and an exercise of obedience which we cannot conceive of except for the purpose of some reward and highest end.” Therefore, “Adam was set in his way but not actually brought to his eternal rest in the state in which he was created. He was capable of and made for a greater degree of happiness than he immediately enjoyed.”
This covenant is referred to as the Covenant of Works. This is because man was created upright in nature, which “consisted in the perfect harmony of his soul with that law of God which he was made under and subjected to.” That is, Adam and Eve had the ability to obey or disobey. In this probationary period, if Adam had kept God’s law he would have merited eternal, eschatological life—hence the reason this is called the covenant of works: Adam’s eternal life was on the basis of keeping God’s law perfectly, which he was equipped to do. When the serpent tempted Eve, Adam should have protected his wife, slayed the serpent, kept God’s law, and maintained the holiness and purity of the Garden. But in Genesis 3 the opposite happens: Adam was the federal head of all of humanity, and when he fell, all of humanity fell with him (Rom. 5:12). The Covenant of Works functioned in this way:
If Adam had obeyed, he and his posterity after him would have retained life and would have been sealed in justice… It is the Covenant of Works that founded the principle “do this and you shall live” (Lev. 18:5; Gal. 3:12) as well as the principle “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23; Heb. 10:28). Under the Covenant of Works, eternal life cannot be given freely, it must be earned.
Before the fall, there was no death, no disease, no suffering, and God and man lived in shalom. But now another federal head must come forth to represent all of humanity, keep God’s law on humanities behalf, and slay the serpent and his work. The person God will send is Jesus of Nazareth, the second Adam, and the second Person in the ontological Trinity. But until the second Adam comes, the Covenant of Works is maintained in the Old Covenant (the Covenant of Works is republished in the Old Covenant), which will operate on the basis of a sacrificial system (c.f. Gen. 3:21), because without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (Heb. 9:22).
God, however, does not send Jesus immediately after the fall. Instead, He moves forward with a plan of progressively redeeming His people. In fact, this was planned out in full detail in eternity past (Luke 22:22; John 4:34; 6:37-38; 10:29; Acts 2:23-24; 4:27-28, Eph. 1:4-6, 11; Col. 1:16; 1 Pet. 1:20-21; Rev. 13:8); this is often referred to as the Covenant of Redemption (or the pactum salutis). The Covenant of Redemption was a covenant made by the Trinity whereby it was decreed that man would fall into sin and that Jesus would redeem those whom the Father had elected unto salvation. Indeed, the purpose of creation was for God to be glorified by redeeming fallen sinners through the work of Christ.
Now—post-Genesis 3—we are totally depraved and unable to come to God for salvation. Man is unable to merit salvation by the works of the law, as he was in his pre-fall state. But God, who is rich in mercy, gave mankind a promise and gave the serpent a threat. He said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel” (Gen. 3:15). This is a promise of perpetual conflict between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, but also a promise that one day, through the seed of the woman, Jesus could come and victoriously crush the head of Satan—Christus Victor (though later the Bible reveals that Jesus achieves Christus Victor via penal substitutionary atonement). This promise revealed—not enacted—the Covenant of Grace, which is the New Covenant.
Man, however, became increasingly more and more sinful until “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). God decided to flood the entire earth and wipe out the wickedness. But, remembering his promise in Genesis 3:15, God chose Noah and his family to be saved along with the animals. There were conditional and unconditional aspects of God’s covenant with Noah. Regarding the former, Noah had to abide by God’s instructions on how to be saved (i.e. build an Ark), he had to follow God’s post-flood instructions, and offer a sacrifice for the atonement of sin. Regarding the latter, God—on the basis on Genesis 3:15—promised never to flood the earth again (which would wipe out the seed of the woman), and created the rainbow to picture this covenantal promise.
After some time, God made a covenant with Abraham. Again, there are conditional and unconditional aspects. Viewing this covenant through the lens of Galatians 4:22-31, it becomes clear that there are two covenants involved here: “The Covenant of Grace in Genesis 12 with Abraham and his spiritual posterity (the believers) and the covenant of circumcision in Genesis 17 with Abraham and his natural posterity (the circumcised).” Jeffery Johnson states further:
In the New Testament, the promised kingdom is being progressively established in an unconditional, antitypical, and eternal fashion. The physical descendents of Abraham were established into a geopolitical nation which eventually crumbled because of their disobedience. Abraham’s spiritual seed, on the other hand, have been born again into a spiritual kingdom which is eternal because of the imputed righteousness of its citizenship.
However, these two kingdoms (physical and spiritual) do not represent two distinct and separate plans of God. Rather, these two kingdoms work together to fulfill God’s overall covenantal plan of redemption…. Thus, the spiritual kingdom does not replace the physical kingdom, but rather fulfills it… The physical seed inherited an earthly land; the spiritual seed are heirs to a heavenly city whose builder and maker is God. The physical seed became a geopolitical nation, an earthly kingdom; the spiritual seed have been birthed into the kingdom of God.
The Covenant of Grace (which is the New Covenant) was just promised and revealed in Genesis 12, and only the covenant of circumcision is considered the formal Abrahamic covenant. “The covenant of circumcision, Hagar,” writes Pascal Denault, “corresponds to the Old Covenant; a covenant of works established with the physical posterity of Abraham. The covenant of the promise, Sara, corresponded to the New Covenant; the Covenant of Grace.” This is also how Coxe understands Paul’s teaching on type and antitype in Galatians: Hagar is Mount Sinai, Ishmael is the carnal (physical) seed of Abraham, Sarah is the New Jerusalem (gospel church), Isaac is the spiritual seed of Abrahan (true Israel), and the ejection of Hagar and Ishmael into the wilderness points to the future abrogation of the Mosaic Covenant. What is more, the Old Covenant (which encompasses all of the Old Testament covenants) is a covenant of works—not in the sense that if you (hypothetically) keep the covenant you will gain eternal life, but in the sense that it was conditional and required the obedience of the people for covenantal, land blessings.
Through the carnal seed of Abraham (i.e. his offspring), God promised a people and a land in which to dwell. He did not, however, promise eternal salvation to every single carnal seed (Rom. 9:6-8). The carnal seed still had to become Abraham’s spiritual seed (via ordo salutis). Notice the progression from the Genesis 3:15 promise of Eve’s seed to God’s promise to Abraham’s seed: “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Gen. 22:18). Now notice the progression to Galatians 3:16: “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.” Christ is the seed promised to both Eve and Abraham. Thus, for those who are in union with Christ—either Jew of Greek—they are Abraham’s spiritual offspring (c.f. Gal. 3:29; Heb. 2:16).
With a people formed by the carnal seed of Abraham, God enters into a covenant with Moses to set apart His people by use of both geography (i.e. Canaan) and moral and positive law. Moral laws (summarized in the 10 Commandments) are permanent laws that reflect God’s moral character, and positive laws (e.g. ceremonial and civil) are temporal laws for an immediate context and purpose. This covenant was a covenant of works—only in the sense that it was conditional—and it was to conclude in Christ “(1) by preserving both the messianic lineage and the Covenant of Grace; (2) by pointing typologically toward Christ; (3) by imprisoning everything under sin in order that the only means to obtain the promised inheritance was through faith in Christ.”
For Israel, the Mosaic covenant was a national covenant by which they received blessings and curses in its land (Duet. 28)—not eternal life—but for Christ (the “Second Adam”), who was born under the curse of the law (Gal. 4:4), it was to be a Covenant of Works for which He would become a curse for us (Gal. 3:14-15) by fulfilling the law through perfect obedience (Rom. 5:19-20). Jesus Himself said He came to fulfill the Mosaic law (Matt. 5:17-19; c.f., John 5:43ff), which was, at least part of, what it meant of Him to keep (perfectly) the Covenant of Works on our behalf (see note). “Sinai,” writes Michael Brown, “gave the Son the opportunity to perform, through His active and passive obedience as a true human being, the righteousness that the original covenant required.” Jeffery Johnson elaborates:
The covenant of grace only exists because the man Christ Jesus has stepped in and fulfilled the covenant of works for those whom He represents. Without the fulfillment of the covenant of works, there can be no covenant of [grace]… The covenant of grace is the covenant of works kept for the elect by Jesus Christ.
For Israel under the Mosaic covenant, all the other unconditional promises took precedence. That is, the Mosaic law, for instance, was not meant to be followed in order to grant eternal life for the Israelites. Rather, the purpose of the law was to (1) be a revival and representation of the covenant of works, (2) To imprison everything under sin (c.f. Gal. 3:22), (3) to increase sin (c.f. Rom. 5:20), (4) to point all to the only remedy, which is faith in Christ (c.f. Gal. 3:24; Rom. 10:4), (5) to illustrate the holiness of God (c.f. Lev. 19:2), (6) to set apart the nation of Israel (c.f. Exo. 19:5), and (7) to provide directions for Israel’s spiritual and physical health (c.f. Exo. 21-23; Deut. 6:4-19; Ps. 119:97-104). The Jews in the New Testament, however, have perverted the original intent of the Mosaic law for Israel. They falsely taught that one must keep the law of Moses in order to “be saved” (Acts 15:1, 5). The apostles have to remind them of the original intent (Acts 15:10-11). This is why Paul combats legalism in much of his epistles.
After Moses, God made a covenant with David (c.f. 2 Sam. 7:9-16; 1 Chron. 17:10-14; Ps. 89:26-36; Isa. 55:3; Acts 2:30). Here again, both conditional and unconditional aspects are present (c.f., Ps. 132:11-12). Regarding the former, David’s descendants had to remain faithful to God’s commands if they wanted to have covenantal blessings, remain on the throne, and defeat Israel’s enemies. But regarding the latter, God’s promise for David’s throne to perpetually exist is unconditional, as it is Jesus who “reigns in righteousness forever, his rule gives stability, peace, justice, and victory to Christian Israel under the new covenant” (c.f. Isa. 9:6-7; Luke 1:32-33; Rom. 1:3).
“Christ,” writes Alan Conner, “is the last physical seed in Abraham’s covenant line to whom the promises were made. There is no other physical seed beyond Christ to whom these promises are directed.” In other words, Christ is the true Israel, and what is in view after Christ is the spiritual seed of Abraham (Rom. 2:28-29; 4:11; Gal. 3:29; 6:16; Phil. 3:3; Rev. 2:9; 3:9), which is the church—the eschatological people of God. Christ’s work brings the New Covenant; what is more, this New Covenant is the Covenant of Grace. The Covenant of Grace is “one covenant revealed progressively and concluded formally under the New Covenant.” But notice that the Covenant of Grace was not necessarily absent in the Old Testament. As Douglas Van Dorn has stated:
What makes Reformed Baptist covenant theology different from its Paedobaptist counterpart is that we view the Covenant of Grace as being that covenant which comes through the person and work of Jesus Christ. All gracious covenants in the OT had this covenant in mind prospectively, meaning God looked into the future and, knowing that Christ was absolutely certain to accomplish the work he was given to do, gave grace to OT saints on Christ’s behalf through means of grace that typified this coming work. These means of grace were always attached to covenants. But because of this, only when we come to the new covenant will we discuss the Covenant of Grace proper, the covenant Christ made with his church.
The substance of the New Covenant is summarized in three blessings: “the Law written on the heart (regeneration), the personal and saving knowledge of God and the forgiveness of sins which constitute the basis of the other two blessings and the whole of the New Covenant.” Everyone who was ever saved was saved because of this covenant. Expounding further, Micah and Samuel Renihan said:
Where do we see the accomplishment of the redemption of the elect in history through the incarnation and death of Christ? It is in the New Covenant, made in the blood of Christ. What is it that Christ claims that he has come to do? He claims that he has come to redeem those whom the Father has given to him. His purpose is to accomplish the pactum salutis in time and history… Proper weight must be given to the newness of the New Covenant by seeing it as something that has not yet come about from the perspective of the Old Testament. This is not merely a scale in which the New Covenant is ‘more of the same.’ It is not merely quantitatively different from the Old Covenant. It is something qualitatively different… The most essential difference between the New Covenant and all the covenant of the Old Testament is that it is made and sealed in the blood of Christ and it is revealed in Christ (Heb. 9:15-16). For this reason, the New Covenant is different in substance from all the Old Testament covenants.
Difference With Westminster Federalism
There are three big differences to note between Westminster and 1689 Covenant Theology:
First, Westminster federalism believes there is one covenant of grace in two administrations (i.e., in the Old and New Covenants). This allows, for instance, for one to see much continuity with, say, the covenant specific positive laws of the Abrahamic covenant as being applicable for the NC. It is believed, for example, that OT circumcision was replaced (or was fulfilled) by NT baptism. However, the NT teaching is that it was the circumcision of the heart (i.e., regeneration; spiritual circumcision) that replaced (fulfilled) OT physical circumcision (c.f., Col. 2:6-15). 1689 Federalism , furthermore, sees the OC (e.g., Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic), as being a republication of the CoW. The CoG was progressively revealed throughout the OC, but only the NC is the CoG. Samuel Renihan puts it like this:
A positive credobaptist argument asserts that the relevant covenant involved is the new covenant, and that this covenant is distinct from the biblical covenants that preceded it in history, particularly the Abrahamic covenant. Simply put, the Abrahamic covenant promised earthly blessings to an earthly people (Abraham and his offspring) in an earthly land. This covenantal relationship was expanded and developed in the Mosaic covenant and the Davidic covenant (the Mosaic covenant added laws for life in Canaan, and the Davidic covenant provided kings over the people). These three covenants established and governed the kingdom of Israel, comprised of Abraham’s people. The new covenant (i.e., covenant of grace) promises heavenly blessings to a heaven-bound people. Thus the new covenant is established on better promises, different promises. The new covenant alone is the covenant of grace, distinct from the Israelite covenants.
Second, Westminster federalism believes the covenant community is mixed with believers and unbelievers, just as it was under the Abrahamic Covenant. That is, believers and their unbelieving children are part of the covenant community. 1689, however, looks to Jeremiah 31, which says that when the NC comes (v.31)—which will be different from the OC (v. 32)—“all shall know Me” (v.34), says Yahweh. There is an increase in the NC in that now “all Israel is Israel” (i.e., all are believers). We will not have to teach covenant members to believe, because all members will be born again. But notice that it’s not only adults who are in view, but believing children as well. Peter exhorts his listeners to “repent and believe” in the gospel for the forgiveness of sins; it is this promise, he says, which is for us and our believing children: Those “whom the Lord our God calls to Himself” (Acts 2:37-41). This “call” is the effectual call of God whereby he takes away our heart of stone and gives us a heart of flesh.
Thirdly, 1689 Covenant Theology believes that more important than looking to the parent-child paradigm of the Abrahamic Covenant is the issue of covenantal headship. So says Samuel Renihan:
We can add further clarity to the membership of a given covenant by looking at federal headship. God establishes covenants with mankind through federal heads, and designates the offspring they represent. Adam, Noah, and Abraham each represented a group of people, their natural offspring. David represented his natural offspring in the Davidic covenant, and he and his sons represented the nation of Israel in the Mosaic covenant. Christ also represents a group of people, his natural (or supernatural) offspring—the elect…
Christ’s offspring are born by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit and united to Christ by the Spirit and through faith. As Paul says in Romans 8:9, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” For these reasons, we must recognize the seriousness of a claim to Christ and his covenant. It is a claim to the possession of salvation.
Looking to the parent-child relationship is a misdirected attempt to understand covenantal membership. Redirecting our attention to federal headship brings clarity and scriptural precision to the issue. We blame Adam, not our parents, for the curse. The Israelites looked to Abraham, not their parents, for a claim to Canaan and its blessings, and to the conduct of the king, not their parents, for tenure in the land. So also, children must look to Christ, not their parents, for a claim to his covenant. Consequently, there has never been a covenant wherein “believers and their children” constituted the paradigm for covenant membership. The promise (salvation in general, and the indwelling of the Spirit in particular) is proffered to them, just as it is to the whole world (Acts 2:16-41). We are born under Adam’s federal headship, and no one escapes the domain of darkness until God transfers them “to the kingdom of the beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14).
Case for Immersion
To describe baptism the NT uses the word baptizo, which literally means “to immerse,” “to dip,” or “to plunge.” Greek has separate words for “sprinkle” and “pour,” but the Holy Spirit inspired “to immerse” (see: Baptist Foundations: Church Government for an Anti-Institutional Age ed. by Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman, 123). In a way, to say “baptism by immersion” is to stutter.
Nevertheless, we have no desire to commit the root fallacy, and we do admit that the semantic domain can be larger than “to immerse.” For example, it has been used to mean “wash” as well. However, the lexical meaning of the word (“to immerse”) is consistent with its usage in the NT. For instance, baptism was done at times in the Jordan River (Mark 1:5). And regardless of where it was done, the concern was that there be “much water” (John 3:23). If sprinkling was in view, this concern would not have been an issue, but because baptism is done by immersion, “much water” was needed. That baptism was done by immersion is also seen in the descriptions, as people “went down” into the water and “came up out of the water” (Matt. 3:16; Acts 8:39). Not only this, but if baptism represents our dying with Christ and being resurrected to a “newness of life,” then immersion is the logical picture of this reality (c.f., Rom. 6:3-4). For this reason, the Baptist Catechism (Q.100) states:
Baptism is rightly administered by immersion, or dipping the whole body of the party in water, into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, according to Christ’s institution, and the practice of the apostles, and not by sprinkling or pouring of water, or dipping some part of the body, after the tradition of men.
This debate between credobaptists and paedobaptists in indeed an old one. Sadly, however, many Reformed Baptists have forgotten this great covenantal heritage. Without this historic mooring, Baptists have adopted dispensationalism, New Covenant Theology, or have tried to amalgamate credobaptism from within Westminster Federalism. The Particular Baptists argued tightly for credobaptism on the basis of (1689) covenant theology. Unfortunately, this is hardly the case anymore. James Renihan recounts the descent in Baptist theology:
Revivalism began the process of turning people from a thoughtful and theological faith to an experience-oriented belief. Modernism brought new ideas into the church. Fundementalism circled the wagons and reduced the faith to a few requisite doctrines. And Dispensationalism swept in to fill the void. In every case, covenantalism was shunted to the side, and Baptists lost their rightful heritage. A beautiful system of faith was exchanged for a novelty.
Because of this shift, many paedobaptists are unaware of the great covenantal arguments from our Particular Baptist forefathers. Many of the great debates of the past have been forgotten. Doubtless, it is also probably forgotten that one of the Puritans at the Westminster Assembly, John Tombes, was a credobaptist. In fact, he was rather staunch and unmovable in his position. Just reading a section from one of his letters illustrates this:
But the pretended Baptism of Infants, as now used slightly and profanely done, quite different from Christ’s Institution and the Apostles practise by Ministers and people in so wholy and carnal manner as that, it is upon and with gross untruths and perverting of holy Scripture, obtruded on unwary souls with a pretence of a Baptismal Vow, which is a meer fiction, and so many ill consequents both in Christian conversation and communion and church-constitution and Government, that were men sensible to their evil as they should be, they would tremble at such mockery of God, and abuse of so holy an Ordinance of God’s worship and men’s souls by it, and with such arrogant presumption in avowing such a manifest invention of men as God’s precept.
In all, I hope that this sketch of 1689 Baptist Covenant Theology will peak your interest, turn you to the Scriptures, and that you will consider the Particular Baptist argument for credobaptism. To be sure, this won’t solve the debate between Baptist and Presbyterians, but hopefully it’s a good foot forward. After all, should a baptist be convinced of peadobaptism, he would be a Congregationalist (c.f., Savoy Declaration), and not necessarily a Presbyterian. A discussion on polity is still needed.
“So those who accepted his message were baptized” – Acts 2:41
“But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.” – Acts 8:12
“And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” – Acts 8:36-38
Recommended Resources (one’s in bold are key texts)
- The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology: A Comparison Between Seventeenth-Century Particular Baptist and Paedobaptist Federalism by Pascal Denault
- The Kingdom of God: A Baptist Expression of Covenant & Biblical Theology by Jeffrey Johnson
- Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ by Nehemiah Coxe and John Owen
- Reformed Baptist Covenant Theology and Biblical Theology by Micah and Samuel Renihan
- The introductory videos and resources found here: http://www.1689federalism.com/
- Recovering a Covenantal Heritage: Essays in Baptist Covenant Theology ed. by Richard Barcellos
- Covenant Theology of the 1689 Confession (RB Seminary) by Pascal Denault
- Short Writings on Covenant Theology by Richard Barcellos
- Covenant Theology and the Church by Pascal Denault
- Paedobaptism Examined: On the Principles, Concessions, and Reasoning of the Most Learned Paedobaptists by Abraham Booth
- Essays on the Kingdom of Christ: To Which is Added, the Doctrine of the Covenants by Abraham Booth
- The Case for Credobaptism by Samuel Renihan
- A.W. Pink on Moses (& Republication)
- Interview with Pascal Denault on Confessing Baptist
- Particular Baptists and the Substance/Administration Distinction (Part One and Two) by Samuel Renihan
- Covenant Theology: A Reformed Baptist Primer by Douglas Van Dorn
© copyright J. Brandon Burks
Pascal Denault, The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology: A Comparison Between Seventeenth-Century Particular Baptist and Paedobaptist Federalism, trans. Mac Wigfield and Elizabeth Wigfield (Birmingham, AL: Solid Ground, 2013), 5.
Nehemiah Coxe and John Owen, Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ, ed. Ronald D. Miller, James M. Renihan, and Francisco Orozco (Palmdale, CA: Refomred Baptists Academic Press, 2005), 45.
Denault, The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology, 121.
Jefferey D. Johnson, The Kingdom of God: A Baptist Expression of Covenant and Biblical Theology (Conway, AR: Free Grace, 2014), 57-58.
Coxe and Owen, Covenant Theology, 130-131.
Denault, The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology, 100, 136-139.
Ibid., 101-102, 106, 109.
Denault, The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology, 130.
Some, however, do not believe that fulfilling the Mosaic Law was, at least, part of what it meant for Jesus to fulfill the CoW. Instead, they think the CoW fulfilled by Christ was rooted in the pactum salutis, since the Mosaic Covenant originally did not operate on an eternal life-meriting principle. While I agree that Jesus’ mission springs out of the pactum salutis, it seems to me that fulfilling the Mosaic terms was at least part of what Christ was tasked to do. When Jesus speaks of “coming” to “fulfill the law” it appears that—given the context of his statements and the understanding of his audience would have—He was speaking of the Mosaic law. Thus, while the eternal life principle was not present with regard to Israel, it pointed forward to a greater fulfillment in Christ on behalf of the elect.
Michael Brown, Christ and the Condition (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage, 2012), 88.
Johnson, The Kingdom of God, 143-144.
John Owen makes these first two points in: Coxe and Owen, Covenant Theology, 192.
Greg Nichols, Covenant Theology: A Reformed and Baptistic Perspective on God’s Covenants (Birmingham, AL: Sold Ground Christian Books, 2011), 255.
Denault, The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology, 131.
Ibid., 63. [Emphasis not mine].
Dougles Van Dorn, Covenant Theology: A Reformed Baptist Primer (Erie, CO: Waters of Creation, 2014), iii.
Denault, The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology, 153.
Micah and Samuel Renihan, “Reformed Baptist Covenant Theology and Biblical Theology,” in Recovering a Covenantal Heritage: Essays in Baptist Covenant Theology, ed. by Richard Barcellos (Palmdale, CA: RBAP, 2014), 476, 499-500.
Samuel Renihan, “The Case for Credobaptism,” in Place For Truth: A Voice of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, 31 October 2014, http://www.alliancenet.org/placefortruth/article/the-case-for-credobaptism.
James M. Renihan, “Introduction,” in Recovering a Covenantal Heritage: Essays in Baptist Covenant Theology, ed. by Richard Barcellos (Palmdale, CA: RBAP, 2014), 17.
Michael T. Renihan, “The Antipaedobaptism of John Tomes,” in Recovering a Covenantal Heritage: Essays in Baptist Covenant Theology, ed. by Richard Barcellos (Palmdale, CA: RBAP, 2014), 133.
© copyright J. Brandon Burks