Covenantal theology

Within the boundaries of "Evangelical theology" there are two frames of interpretation to understand the totality of the bible and Gods dealings with mankind.

  • The first is Covenantal Theology
  • The second is Dispensationalism

Covenantal theology distinguishes itself from the framework of dispensationalism by holding to Gods COVENANTAL FAITHFULNESS walking from Abraham through to Jesus Christ. By this interpretation of a continuing renewing of the covenant, and further perfecting of the conditions, they view Gods people as one entity throughout the centuries. Above that, they hold firm to the interpretation of the Old Testament, as it was held by the apostles. One will be able to clearly draw from the text of this study that dispensationalism makes itself guilty of placing New Testament scriptures in an offside position. This is the reason why we hold to covenantal theology, above the dispensationalism, that has been so strongly supported by the traditional Pentecostal and Charismatic world. The New Covenant counts as an all superlative covenant and is for EVERYONE THAT BELIEVES.

Covenantal theology has been introduced in the Reformed Church by John Calvin and Casper Oliviane. Covenantal theology is not just the official teaching of Reformed Churches. In Holland, and probably in many other nations this has been seen that way. Covenantal theology existed even before that Calvinism existed.

The origin of Covenantal theology is not Calvinism

Covenantal theology is older than Calvinism, and because of this, it should be distinguished from Calvinism. Often people do not realise that Calvinism has only arisen in the beginning of the 17th century in Holland. Incorrectly people see Reformed Churches having its beginning in Calvinism. But the discussion concerning the election of the saints in the beginning of the 17th century has in fact separated the Reformed Church in two groups, that used to be united as being orientated on the person and work of Calvin and Zwingli. The one camp has been justified by the dynasties (of England and the Dutch Republic of that time). In the synod of Dort (a Church assembly in today's Dutch city of Dordrecht, in south-west of Holland) there were deliberately chosen and invited more people that already stood against the doctrines of Arminius and his followers. So by invitation and pressure of European Dynasty's there was chosen to make a doctrine that would end Arminianism forever. The time for such a doctrine was not yet ready, as Reformers of that day lacked vital information. But the pressure of a possible divided nation (especially Holland), was too strong for the Dynasty's. They felt they needed to restore the order. They killed certain high respected Arminians. They stole the right to keep calling themselves by the name of the Reformer. Although this is THEOLOGICALLY NOT ALLOWED for both as well Arminius' followers as the up until today called Calvinists (the name the Contra-Remonstrants stole) have deviated in their teachings from Calvin. Though both initially were his followers.

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Consequently Calvinism has never been established by John Calvin, Calvin (1509-64) had passed for more than half a century when the so-called Calvinism had been defined. The complete definition of so called Calvinism was established in 1618, when a church assembly was held at Dort (Dordrecht in todays Dutch language.) There originated the Canons of Dort. See for more information the Synod of Dort.

Not everyone who believes in Covenantal Theology believes in Calvinism, although this has been assumed by many. It is possible to distinguish different opinions among those that believe Covenantal theology:

  • Calvinists
  • Arminians
  • Evangelicals
  • Credobaptists, those that baptise at an older age, so that an understanding of the comprehension of the gospel of the person being baptised can be checked.
  • Pedobaptists (or Paidobaptists), these are infant baptisers. This group has unfortunately used (I feel misused) Covenantal theology to validate their baptism.
  • And a so called new group that is about to being formed, which belongs in the row of a distinct groups on election (distinct from: Calvinists, Arminians and Evangelicals), whom I like to refer to as the Metechoists.

Israel and Pentecost I

The Pentecostal situation world wide demands emphasizing that there are more forms of Covenantal theology. From the beginning of the year 1948, a group of people in the Pentecostal movement slowly started to shift in their belief system, from believing the new doctrine of Dispensationalism (taught since 1830), towards believing the old doctrine of Covenantal theology. This happened in small steps. The first change was that scriptures from the Old Testament, which had been interpretated as being merely promises for natural Israel only, have been interpretated as for the church as well.

So then those who are of Faith are blessed with believing Abraham. (Galatians 3:9, out of the New King James Version)

So then, those who are people of Faith are blessed [and] made happy [and] favored by God [as partners in fellowship] with the believing [and] trusting Abraham. (Galatians 3:9, out of the Aplified Bible)

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28, out of the New King James Version)

There is [now no distinction], neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28, out of the Aplified Bible)

Since the beginning of the Pentecostal movement and its precursors Dispensationalism was a must. Recognition that Jesus was King over demons and recognition that the Holy Spirit would be poured on all flesh was often how far these Pentecostal would go. Dispensationalism, has been closely related to the development of the Pentecostal movement. So since 1948 it was the Later Rain Movement and the later Kingdom Movement that slowly broke away from the dispensational tradition. Many would now refer to these Movements as being Charismatic as the Latter Rain Movement had great influence on the Charismatic Movement. This is seen especially in the fact that a number of ministers were later involved in the writing and the editing for charismatic magazines and organisations.

The hatred and misunderstanding towards those that preached Covenantal theology is difficult to understand, when people realise this new doctrine of dispensationalism, has only evolved in the church in the twenties of the 19th century. (Their official Jesuitic origin in the 16th century never got recognised by any church, though this origin is related to the start of dispensationalism being thought in Protestantism in the twenties of the 19th century.)

In some nations as Holland, which has known the influence of world wide known, Calvinistic, Covenantal theologians, the idea exists that it is impossible for Baptists, Pentecostals and other credobaptist groups (groups that baptise people after a confession of faith) to hold to Covenantal theology. This viewpoint is incorrect and the result of these theologians is that they made it look like, Covenantal theology is only held to supports infants baptism. Though originally Calvin himself, as the most important advocate of Covenantal Theology into the Reformed Churches, and trying to have influence as well in Britain (where there were forms of baptising adults) as among Ana Baptists, never made any statement concerning the approval of any baptism! This makes it clear that the point, so many try to make, that one should choose for: "either covenantal theology and pedobaptism or dispensationalism and credobaptism" is a fraud.

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