Few would doubt that the last twenty years has seen a remarkable surge of interest in Reformed Theology. So much so, that many younger evangelicals, as opposed to prior generations, would now be comfortable identifying themselves as reformed (in some way).
Indeed, this has been wonderfully documented in Collin Hansen’s fascinating book, Young, Restless, Reformed (Crossway, 2008).
But, there is still the question about what it exactly means to be “reformed.” Does it just mean one embraces some form of Calvinism? Or it is bigger than that?
As you might imagine, here at Reformed Theological Seminary we get that question a lot. After all, “Reformed” is in our name!
While we are always happy to have more Calvinists around, we are also quick to emphasize that being reformed has historically meant more than that. It’s not just an issue of soteriology (as important as that is), it is also an issue of ecclesiology. What is the church? And how does it relate to the nation of Israel?
In other words, part of being reformed is embracing an overarching view of the Bible known as covenant theology.
And if you are interested in diving deeper into covenant theology, let me point out two wonderful new resources that will be coming out this year.
First, RTS Charlotte’s own Dr. Dick Belcher, Academic Dean and Professor of OT, has written a wonderful introduction to covenant theology entitled: The Fulfillment of the Promises of God: An Introduction to Covenant Theology (Mentor, 2020).
I am particularly excited about this book because I have wanted, for years now, a clear, faithful introduction to covenant theology that I could give to folks who asked. And this is it.
What is unique about Belcher’s book is the degree to which he interacts with the various versions of covenant theology out there—and there are many! He begins with the approach of the Westminster Confession but then explains other approaches, even dealing with Reformed Baptist views. And he does it all with a winsome, gracious spirit.
Second is a volume edited by Guy Waters, Nick Reed, and John Muether, entitled, Covenant Theology: Biblical, Theological and Historical Perspectives (Crossway, 2020). This is a massive volume (672 pages) with contributions from 27 different scholars, all of which are professors at Reformed Theological Seminary (spread across our different campuses).
What is unique about this book is its breadth and depth. I know of no other single volume that covers covenant theology from such different angles—biblical, theological, and historical—and with such academic rigor and theological faithfulness.
I contributed a chapter to this volume entitled, “Covenant in the Gospels” where I trace covenantal themes throughout the four gospels, highlighting the way the redemptive work of Christ is portrayed as a fulfillment of the Abrahamic, Mosaic, and David administrations. It was a joy to write.
So, whether you just want an introduction to covenant theology for the first time, or whether you want to dive deep into the minutia, you will want to check out these two volumes.
Brandon M. says
Hi Dr. Kruger,
Both of these books look interesting. I’ll definitely be adding the Belcher one to my wish list!
Quick question for you, though. You said you often get questions about what Reformed theology actually is; so I’m also imagining you might catch some flak from some godly, ardent supporters of Reformed theology about extending the moniker to some Baptists as well (e.g., those who subscribe to a confession like the 1689 2LBCF).
So, my question for you is, do you think it’s a bit of a misnomer for some Baptists to claim to be Reformed in light of what the entire picture of what it means to be Reformed is (and has historically meant)? Do identifiers such as Particular Baptists or Calvinistic Baptists or Confessional Baptists more accurately describe the theological framework of these dear brothers and sisters?
Not trying to get you in trouble, just would really appreciate your thoughts.
Blessings in Christ,
I noticed you said you didn’t feel there was a book on Covenant Theology you could give to people to introduce them to it if they were interested. I have Dr. Horton’s book God of Promise, which is fairly new, meant as an intro and is fairly short, but covers with depth.
I wondered if there was a reason that Dr. Horton’s book didn’t fit what you were looking for, or whether it was simply you felt Dr. Belcher’s work did a bit of a better job. Would appreciate any insight as buying another introductory work on CT on a limited book budget usually demands a reasonable justification (particularly to my wife!)