From Calvin to Gillespie on Covenant: Mythological Excess or an Exercise in Doctrinal Development?
Article first published online: 9 SEP 2009
© 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
International Journal of Systematic Theology
Volume 11, Issue 4, pages 378–397, October 2009
How to Cite
TRUEMAN, C. (2009), From Calvin to Gillespie on Covenant: Mythological Excess or an Exercise in Doctrinal Development?. International Journal of Systematic Theology, 11: 378–397. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2400.2009.00471.x
- Issue published online: 9 SEP 2009
- Article first published online: 9 SEP 2009
Much of the discussion about the development of Reformed theology in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries has focused on the elaboration of the covenantal understanding of theology. While the covenant of works has received much attention, the covenant of redemption, a term which emerges in the middle of the seventeenth century, has been comparatively neglected and, when referenced at all, has tended to be dismissed as a highly speculative addition to Reformed theology, a piece of mythology, as Barth famously quipped. In fact, a close examination of the concerns underlying the doctrine, particularly those touching on the Reformed emphasis on Christ as Mediator according to his person (and thus both natures) indicates that this later development stands in positive relation to the earlier work of Calvin and company; and a close examination of the work of its major exponent, Patrick Gillespie, also indicates that it is a great example of how later Reformed theology did not abandon the earlier Protestant concern for connecting exegesis to doctrinal synthesis.