Monday, October 28, 2013

Baptist Distinctives (Chapter 1)

After reading Pascal Denault's The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology:  A Comparison Between 17th Century Particular Baptist and Paedobaptist Federalism, I decided to collect my thoughts and make some chapter-by-chapter observations.  You can find my post on the Introduction here.  For a general overview of the covenants found in the Bible, see my post on Redemptive History here.  Now let's look at Chapter 1 called 'The Covenant of Works'.

Because the term 'Covenant of Works' is not explicitly found in the Bible, Mr. Denault makes the argument that the Covenant does exist because of the New Testament parallel between Adam and Christ (see Romans 5 & 1 Corinthians 15) and because of God's promise and accompanying threat found in Genesis 2:16-17 (do this and live).  Therefore, the Covenant of Works was established between God and Adam, but the theological difference between Presbyterians and Baptists comes in to play as we look at what happens to that Covenant after the Fall.

Presbyterians believe that the Covenant of Works ends with the Fall and that the Covenant of Grace begins after the Fall.  Therefore, since the Fall, there is one covenant with two administrations:  one administration of the Covenant of Grace in the Old Covenant for Israel and one administration of the Covenant of Grace in the New Covenant for all nations.  In order to maintain unity and conformity between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, Presbyterians have to reject the unity and continuity between the Covenant of Works and the Old Covenant.

The Baptists believe that the Covenant of Works ends with the Fall of Adam and views the subsequent covenants in the Old Testament (Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, & Davidic) as covenants of works, but not the Covenant of Works.  The Covenant of Works was republished in the Old Covenant, but the Old Covenant for Israel (which progressively reveals the Covenant of Grace) and the New Covenant for all nations (which fully reveals the Covenant of Grace) are distinct, separate covenants.