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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Friday, September 04, 2009
Why I Am Not A "Covenant Theology" Guy... in as few words as possible...
I could have, just as easily, written a post called, "Why I am not, and can never become, Dispensational...", but today I am swinging on the other side, and you, the reader, will just have to put up with that or move on.

<insert non-threatening, non-smug, and entirely warm and engaging smile here>

I will only give two or three reasons, though if I spent a lot of time on it, I would probably give many.

First, I am not convinced that Moses used "covenantal language" to inject a "covenant of works" into the Genesis narrative, just because one (of several) interpretations of Hosea 6:7 has been used to support the premise.

Let's be frank, some spiritual truths are hard to understand - not because they are intellectually complicated, but because our sin makes us unwilling to see the truth for what it is. Like kittens born into blindness, so we as unsanctified babes in Christ begin our walk, and over time mature, and gain sight - so it is with our understanding of scripture - it deepens, not because of our intellect or education, but because the Holy Hill of God is ascended in contrition, and only in contrition.

The idea that scripture is using covenantal language to convey unspoken covenants that would otherwise be "overlooked" is academic speculation at best; and for me, personally, I need something a little more solid than the best academic guess to build my theology upon.

Another reason I give CT (Covenant Theology) a pass is because I think CT theology confuses water baptism and the new birth (the spirit baptism that Christ performs on us the moment we are "born from above").

In the OT, the (male) descendants of Abraham were circumcised in their flesh to indicate that they were descendants of Abraham. Even Ishmael was circumcised, even though he was obviously, and even poignantly outside of God's covenant with Abraham and had been from the very start. Circumcision was certainly a sign of God's covenant with Abraham - but that covenant was directed at Abraham and his Seed (whom Paul explains was Christ). The sign of this covenant was maintained in the flesh of Abraham and his male descendants until the covenant was fulfilled in Abraham's Seed (Christ). The male children of Abraham, became a living canvas, if you will, upon which God recorded the sign of his covenant with Abraham until such time as Christ came, and the promise could be fulfilled.

Paul understood that being circumcised only made you a canvas upon which the covenant was recorded - it didn't mean you were in the covenant, for those who were in the covenant were in the covenant because they were circumcised in their heart - which is to say, as Paul aludes to: circumcision in the flesh didn't make you a Jew, and therefore doesn't make you a partaker of God's covenant to Abraham. It just makes you more guilty because to you and your kindred the oracles of God were delivered.

So how did you enter into God's covenant with Abraham, if not through circumcision in the flesh? I said it already, and Paul said it - through the circumcision that is made without hands - that is, by having your heart circumcised. Paul seemed to think that you were justified in the same way Abraham was justified: by faith.

Circumcision, didn't bring people into the covenant - though that is what the Judaizers thought and taught - it was just a sign written in the flesh of Abraham's male descendants.

In the same way, water baptism is a sign of God's New Covenant. It doesn't bring you into the new covenant any more than circumcision brought you into the old covenant - it merely pictures what -did- bring you into the new covenant: Spiritual Baptism. We don't usually describe justification that way, or being born again that way. But John the Baptist did. He spoke of Christ baptizing with the Holy Spirit, and Paul even writes of this baptism - this spiritual immersion - as the reason why genuine believers to not continue in sin - because they have been baptized into Christ Jesus. Not because they were baptized into water, but into Christ Jesus - a spiritual baptism. It is the spiritual baptism of our new birth that the scriptures refer to as the "one" baptism.

So the one who through faith in Christ has been born again (i.e. baptized spiritually), is a partaker in the new covenant. Water baptism pictures symbolically what has taken place spiritually - and is a public testimony pointing to the moment we entered into the new covenant - the moment (that is) when we were born from above - baptized spiritually - into the new covenant. We don't enter into the new covenant through water baptism any more than the Jews entered into the Old Covenant through circumcision. Rather these signs are there to give testimony to the underlaying spiritual reality they testify to.

So I don't see baptizing infants as biblical, and I don't think I enter into a covenant with God by something my parents did to me as a babe - nor do I believe that I enter into a covenant with God merely by being born to parents who are in a covenant with God. It didn't work for Ishmael, it doesn't work for us.

Now, again, I don't buy the idea of federal headship either. When scripture says that Abraham - the patriarch of all Israel - gave a tenth of the spoils to Melchizedek it proves that those who came out of Abraham are inferior to Him whom Abraham paid homage. That is, when scripture makes the argument that the ministry of Christ is superior to the ministry of the Levitical Priesthood, that's all I am willing to take away from the passage. Yes, scripture uses the phrase "in the loins of" - but (frankly), I find the argument that because scripture uses this kind of language to make point A, we can stretch and augment that idea to make point B.

Here me on this: The person who obeys the Lord is going to have far more in common with others who obey the Lord even if their theologies don't line up perfectly. I am far more impressed by a humble walk in Christ than I am by a well reasoned, and overly detailed eschatological system, and I bet you're like that too. Not that you can't humble and holy and theologically opinionated at the same time - but rather that the cords of fellowship typically bind us together in love rather than in theology.

As I mentioned above - I could probably write a similar post about why I am not dispensational in my theology either. I really don't have a pigeon hole yet, though when and if I find myself in one, I will probably say so.

The main point I want to get across is not CT = BAD, but rather that I am not CT because I am not convinced by the arguments that have convinced others. I am certainly open to change however.


posted by Daniel @ 11:23 AM  
  • At 2:28 PM, September 04, 2009, Blogger Bob Johnson said…

    I'm with you on this one, Daniel. I am so looking forward to seeing how His great redemptive plan unfolds, but not because I want to settle the score about who was more or less "right", but because I long to see the glory that will redound to Him as He shows Himself to be faithful and true.

  • At 3:51 PM, September 04, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    But I baptized my children and they are just such perfect little angels. :)

    Thanks for the meat to chew on.


    btw, my word verification is trier. I visited Trier, Germany once. A beautiful city. Thanks for reminding me! :)

  • At 8:00 PM, September 04, 2009, Blogger David said…

    Hmph. The children we "baptized" are the ones that give us the most trouble. I'm sure that must prove something. Daniel?

  • At 8:09 PM, September 04, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Well David, the children we baptized (half of them actually) are the two oldest, and they are probably the most mature, so it is hard to tell yet. We baptized those ones because it pleased my wife's (then) Lutheran faith. She wasn't saved at the time.

    Jen - you kill me! lol!

  • At 8:09 PM, September 04, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Bob ... me too!

  • At 2:34 PM, September 05, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So, Daniel, are you implying your wife wasn't saved because she was Lutheran? :)


  • At 2:44 PM, September 05, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jen, my wife wasn't saved at the time because even though she was a Lutheran, she had never heard the gospel in her life. She thought she was a Christian because her parents were Lutheran (they weren't saved either btw). I wouldn't say it was because she was a Lutheran so much as because she was allowed to become and remain a Lutheran without ever having received Christ as her Saviour.

    It wasn't the denomination's fault that this particular congregation was slack in this regard, as the same thing happens in every evangelical denomination.

    She thought she was a Christian, right up until she heard the gospel, and then she knew she had never been.

    So, not because of her denomination, but in spite of it.

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