In a nearly 900-page new work that attempts to map an “alternative” to Evangelicalism’s two regnant theological models, Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum “set out to carve a new path between dispensational and covenant theology, having concluded that neither hermeneutical approach is sufficiently informed by biblical theology.” Their remedy takes the sure-to-be controversial form of an attempted synthesis.
Matt Smethurst interviews the two authors on the Gospel Coalition ‘s blog:
Where, most fundamentally, does dispensational theology make a wrong turn? What about covenant theology?
By “wrong” we aren’t thinking of it in the gospel sense. We hold proponents of DT and CT as dear brothers and sisters in Christ. Yet in “putting together” the Bible and considering how the biblical covenants unfold and relate to each other in redemptive history, we contend that both views go “wrong” in two related ways. (1) There is a tendency to privilege different aspects of the Abrahamic covenant while neglecting other aspects. (2) There isn’t enough attention given to the interrelationships between the biblical covenants across redemptive history, how various typological patterns are developed as the one plan of God is progressively revealed through the covenants, and ultimately how all of the covenants find their telos , fulfillment, and consummation in Christ and the new covenant.
So, for example, we argue that DT privileges the land promise of the Abrahamic covenant but doesn’t sufficiently view the land as a pattern/type, rooted in the covenant of creation, that is intertextually and progressively revealed through the biblical covenants and fulfilled in the dawning of the new creation in Christ. CT, on the other hand, privileges the genealogical (“to you and your children”) principle of the Abrahamic covenant and doesn’t sufficiently grasp how that principle is transformed in the promise of the new covenant.
And there’s more to come: “Soon TGC expects to publish a forum featuring responses to this proposal by Darrell Bock, Michael Horton, and Douglas Moo.” Stay tuned.