Posts Tagged ‘New Perspectives on Paul’

I call it “a hundred page headache.”

Since my library does not have enough books on the Trinity I was drawn to Eternal Covenant by its subtitle: How the Trinity Reshapes Covenant Theology. Perhaps it should have been entitled how one idea of Meredith Kline’s reshaped some people’s covenant theology. This was tough reading, for me.

I had been wanting to read up on the Federal Vision. I didn’t know I’d bought a book connected to the Federal Vision. The connections to Cannon Press and Peter Leithart were clear. He also offers James Jordan, whom one of my professors called a “hug-able theonomist”, a debt.

The book really centers on the so-called Covenant of Works and in what way the Covenant of Grace is eternal. There is an issue about the nature of that covenant. Reformed theologians have been all over the map on this issue, as Ralph Smith lays out for people at the beginning of the book. He uses this, in part, to illustrate that the Westminster Confession of Faith could use some revision in this matter.


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I’m slowly plugging my way through Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy.  After all the hype, I thought I’d love this book.  As my intern noted, this book is listed by nearly every emerging leader as one of THE books.  But I’m not really loving it.  I think I figured out why.

I am not a dispensationalist, having left that camp in the early 90’s.  It isn’t that he is either.  It is that he is often arguing against many mistaken dispensational notions (without calling them what they are).  He belabors the folly of trying to park the teaching of Jesus in the earthly millennium.  So… I’m not tracking with him, even though, in large part, I agree with him.

But rather than seek to communicate Covenant Theology and/or a Reformed perspective, he seems to be trying to create his own thing.  And that ‘novelty’ sounds alot like the New Perspectives on Paul, which sound alot like the Roman Catholicism of my youth, which I fled for the purity of the Gospel of Jesus.

Hopefully I will change my viewpoint of this book by the time I’m done.  I want for him to affirm the distinctions between justification, sanctification & glorification.  What I see him doing is noticing how dispensational thought often separates them.  He seems to move to the opposite error rather than say they are distinct blessings of the Gospel, but also connected blessings of the Gospel.  They come as a package, but they are not the same.

Or am I just completely missing something here?

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