Christological Reflections In Light Of Scripture’s Covenants -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 16:2 (Summer 2012)
Article: Christological Reflections In Light Of Scripture’s Covenants
Author: Stephen J. Wellum

Christological Reflections In Light Of Scripture’s Covenants

Stephen J. Wellum

Stephen J. Wellum is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In addition to his role on the faculty, Dr. Wellum serves as editor of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. He received the Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and he is the author of numerous essays and articles, as well as the co-author of Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants (Crossway, 2012).

In a newly published work, Kingdom through Covenant, Peter Gentry and I sought to demonstrate how central the concept of “covenant” is the narrative plot structure of the Bible.1 To be sure, this is not a new insight. Almost every variety of Christian theology admits that the biblical covenants establish a central framework that holds the story of the Bible together. In fact, from the coming of Christ and the beginning of the early church, Christians have wrestled with the relationships between the covenants, particularly the old and new covenants. It is almost impossible to discern many of the early church’s struggles apart from covenantal wrestling and debates. For example, think of how important the Jew-Gentile relationship is in the NT (Matt 22:1-14, par.; Acts 10-11; Rom 9-11; Eph 2:11-22; 3:1-13), the claim of the Judaizers which centers on covenantal debates (Gal 2-3), the reason for the calling of the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15), the wrestling with the strong and weak within the church (Rom 14-15), and the implications for the church on how to live in relation to the old covenant now that Christ has come (Matt 5-7; 15:1-20, par.; Acts 7; Rom 4; Heb 7-10). In reality, all of these issues are simply the church wrestling with covenantal shifts—from old covenant to new—and the nature of fulfillment that has occurred in the coming of Christ.

However, our work sought to provide a via media between the current biblical-theological way of “putting together” the biblical covenants, i.e., between the theological systems o...

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