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Covenantal and Dispensational Theologies: Four Views on the Continuity of Scripture (Spectrum Multiview Books)

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How does the canon of Scripture fit together?

For evangelical Christians, there is no question about the authority of Scripture and its testimony to the centrality of Jesus Christ in God’s salvation plan. But several questions remain: How do the Old Testament and New Testament relate to each other? What is the relationship among the biblical covenants? How should Christians read and interpret Scripture in order to do justice to both its individual parts and its whole message? How does Israel relate to the church?

In this volume in IVP Academic’s Spectrum series, readers will find four contributors who explore these complex questions. The contributors each make a case for their own view—representing two versions of covenantal theology and two versions of dispensational theology—and then respond to the others’ views to offer an animated yet irenic discussion on the continuity of Scripture.

Views and Contributors:

  • Covenant Theology: Michael S. Horton, Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California
  • Progressive Covenantalism: Stephen J. Wellum, professor of Christian theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Progressive Dispensationalism: Darrell L. Bock, Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
  • Traditional Dispensationalism: Mark A. Snoeberger, professor of systematic theology and apologetics, Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

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  • Features two versions of covenantal theology and two versions of dispensational theology
  • Addresses common questions about scripture
  • Provides responses to the others’ views to offer an animated yet irenic discussion on the continuity of Scripture
  • Introduction: Four Views on the Systems of Theology: Brent E. Parker and Richard J. Lucas

Main Essays

  • Covenant Theology: Michael Horton
  • Progressive Covenantalism: Stephen J. Wellum
  • Progressive Dispensationalism: Darrell L. Bock
  • Traditional Dispensationalism: Mark Snoeberger


  • A Covenant Theology Response: Michael Horton
  • A Progressive Covenantalism Response: Stephen J. Wellum
  • A Progressive Dispensationalism Response: Darrell L. Bock
  • A Traditional Dispensationalism Response: Mark Snoeberger

Top Highlights

“All dispensationalists reject what they describe as ‘supersessionism’ or ‘replacement theology.’” (Page 13)

“The question that remained is whether ethnic Israel as a nation had a future role in God’s program. Here is where progressive covenantalists and progressive dispensationalists part company. Progressive covenantalists answer this question no, while progressive dispensationalists answer yes.” (Page 115)

“Traditional dispensationalists also reject inaugurated eschatology and specifically the already‑not yet framework that is affirmed in progressive dispensationalism, covenant theology, and progressive covenantalism.” (Page 16)

“The church does not supersede the nation of Israel, even as they share a similar identity as the people of God. The Israel/church distinction is the defining mark of dispensationalism.” (Page 13)

“There is only one single meaning as that meaning is fixed in the context of its original historical setting, no matter how the NT uses the OT. As a result, normative dispensationalists claim that consistency in utilizing a plain or literal hermeneutic requires the literal fulfillment of Israel’s promises and prophecies be met with Israel’s future possession of the Promised Land and reception of all the national blessings.” (Pages 15–16)

None of us interprets the biblical text in a vacuum. Those who say they interpret the Bible without bringing any theology to the text are mistaken; they are simply unaware of the theology they hold. This work on covenant and dispensational systems helps us to see larger frameworks that are operating when we read the biblical text. We are challenged by this fascinating book to examine the Scriptures to see what is really so (Acts 17:11). We want to be faithful in proclaiming the whole plan of God (Acts 20:27), and grappling with the different views presented in this book will sharpen us all to be more faithful.

—Tom Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

In a day when the air is thick with antagonistic discourse in the broader culture and the church, Brent Parker and Richard Lucas have provided a much-needed breath of fresh air. Despite the differences between covenantal and dispensational theologies, the contributors dialogue and debate over their differences with charity, clarity, and candor. Anyone who wants a better understanding of the various covenantal positions will greatly benefit from this volume. Not only will readers sharpen their understanding of Scripture, they will also learn how to shine light rather than heat into areas of disagreement.

—J. V. Fesko, Harriet Barbour Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary

In an age of social media caricaturing and name-calling, this book represents a more mature, constructive dialogue in place of the shrill voices of modern-day ‘meme theology.’ With straightforward presentations of their views and respectful critiques of other positions, Horton, Wellum, Bock, and Snoeberger rise above tribalistic lambasting. The result is a helpful handbook on differing perspectives as well as an update on the state of the discussion between covenantal and dispensational theologies. Don't let twisted tweets and malicious memes reduce this important conversation to a destructive, fruitless conflict. Give ear to these experts who provide stimulating arguments and irenic rejoinders, demonstrating a zeal for their positions as well as a spirit of grace.

—Michael J. Svigel, chair and professor of theological studies at Dallas Theological Seminary

  • Title: Covenantal and Dispensational Theologies: Four Views on the Continuity of Scripture
  • Authors: Brent E. Parker, Richard J. Lucas
  • Series: Spectrum Multiview Books
  • Publisher: IVP Academic
  • Print Publication Date: 2022
  • Logos Release Date: 2021
  • Pages: 266
  • Era: era:contemporary
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Reader Edition
  • Subjects: Bible › Criticism, interpretation, etc; Covenant theology; Dispensationalism
  • ISBNs: 9781514001134, 9781514001127, 1514001136, 1514001128
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-29T23:06:07Z


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    Digital list price: $29.99
    Save $6.00 (20%)