Sunday, March 15, 2009

On Covenants and Covenanters

I've been teaching on Covenant Theology in Sunday School these past three months or so. It's been very eye-opening to me to study this topic and I would encourage others in the same. The most helpful book has been the very readable The Christ of the Covenants.

In my research I've come across various websites for and against Covenant Theology. Sadly, many use terms like obvious, clearly, ignore, etc. implying the other side isn't doing its homework. It is in our nature to believe we are right about everything. For Calvinists like me, this includes that we're Totally Depraved, but I'm right about that part...

Anyway, the rancor in what is an intramural debate among believers concerns me. I would much rather see us exhibit the unity Christ prays for in John 17 and debate at least in love rather than accusation and attributing the worst possible motives you can.

These thoughts on research on the covenants leads me to the Covenanters. You can get lots more information on them from Wikipedia, but there are remnants of the movement today, and that is what I would comment on. There are apparently some groups (micro-denominations really, a topic for another post) that claim that since the USA and Canada were part of Great Britain at the time the Solemn League and Covenant was made, that it still applies to our soil. Essentially, we're living in a sinful country under covenant curse because we are not obedient to the covenant.

A few thoughts on this:
  • I hope no one is surprised that humans are unable to keep a covenant. Only God can do that, which is the point of Genesis 15.
  • In scripture, covenants with God are initiated by God OR were reaffirmations of a covenant God sovereignly made with man. I don't know that there is a category in Scripture for what the Covenanters made. (I'm ready to stand corrected on this one)
  • Christ's kingdom is not of this world - not that it is not active in this world, but it doesn't have geographic boundaries. I just don't see how that squares with saying a particular patch of soil is special and that people living on it must adhere to a covenant forever even if there are no longer any Christians there.
In short: I just don't get this position.

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