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God of Promise: Introducing Covenant Theology [Hardcover]

By Michael Horton (Author)
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Item Number 51048  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   208
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.2" Width: 6.7" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   1.04 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2006
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
ISBN  0801012899  
EAN  9780801012891  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
This introduction to covenant theology contends that the framework for understanding theology is covenant theology, emphasizing covenant as the organizing structure of scripture.

Publishers Description
Since biblical times, history is replete with promises made and promises broken. Pastors and teachers know the power of the covenant, and they know that understanding the concept of covenant is crucial to understanding Scripture. They also know that covenant theology provides the foundation for core Christian beliefs and that covenants in their historical context hold significance even today. But to laypeople and new Christians, the eternal implications of "cutting" a covenant with God can be complicating. God of Promise unwinds the intricacies of covenant theology, making the complex surprisingly simple and accessible to every reader. With keen understanding, careful scholarship, and insight, Michael Horton leads all believers toward a deeper understanding of crucial covenant concepts.

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More About Michael Horton

Michael Horton Michael Horton (PhD, University of Coventry and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford) is J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California. He hosts The White Horse Inn radio broadcast and is editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine. He is the author/editor of more than twenty books, including Christless Christianity, The Gospel-Driven Life, and The Gospel Commission.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Theology > General   [4167  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General   [8607  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Poor Writing; But Valuable Ideas  Mar 14, 2007
Horton is not a great writer. By that, I mean that the flow is quite arduous to follow and you find your mind wandering a lot as you read. A lot of sentences seem randomly placed. And sometimes, the EXACT SAME sentence will appear in two different places. Case in point:

in page 22 it reads - "It was chiefly the concept of covenant (with
its corollary, election) that guarded against a civil religion and
made Yahweh's will rather than national aspirations the basis for

then, in page 30 (in an altogether different chapter), it reads - "It
was chiefly the concept of covenant (with its corollary, election)
that guarded against a civil religion and made Yahweh's will rather
than national aspirations the basis for life."

I'm not kidding. The context of each sentence was completely different, and yet, the same sentence appears. (Interestingly, both sentences have a different footnote.) Basically, it's as if Horton randomly threw in sentences, without caring about logical flow, and once in awhile, he'll throw in the same sentence in two completely different contexts.

Writing aside, Horton does have a lot of valuable things to say in this book. Chapter 3 on the difference between the Mosaic and Abrahamic covenants was illuminating. But again, difficult prose made it hard to track.

For instance, in page 43, Horton argues that there is hope embedded in the Mosaic Covenant and he quotes Deut. 4:30-31. Fair enough. But then, the very next paragraph (pg. 44), Horton writes, "Remarkably, the rise of the monarchy is anticipated here." What is Horton talking about? Deut. 4:30-31 says nothing about kings. Ah, but you later find out, by reading further along, that he was talking about Deut. 17:14-20. But the logical flow doesn't make any sense. Horton basically makes you struggle and juggle all sorts of random sentences before somehow, he pulls it all together after several paragraphs. It's like reading the thoughts of an ADHD kid.

To sum it up, valuable information, but poor, convoluted prose.
Finally a Readable Exposition of Classic Covenant Theology  Feb 2, 2007
After years of telling parishioners that there is no succinct, readable survey of classic Reformed covenant theology (not having the heart to tell them to buy and read Herman Witsius, On the Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man!), I finally have a book I can whole-heartedly endorse and be confident that any layperson can read with profit.

In God of Promise, Horton confidently asserts the convoction of so many of us "modern reformational" pastors that Reformed theology is covenant theology, that is, a way of reading the Bible and expressing our faith, and not a reductionistic "5-points" (11). Horton says this in chapter 1, "The Big Idea?" In fact, he illustrates this by saying covenant theology is not even the central doctrine of the Reformed faith, but is like the structure of a house, within which our doctrine lives and moves (13).

In chapter 2, "God and Foreign Relations" (a double entendre--the covenant idea comes from foreign treaty documents and God uses this treaty structure to relate to a people that were foreigners to him because of sin), Dr. Horton surveys the ancient Near Eastern (ANE) treaty structure, which illumines for us biblical covenantal relationships. ANE treaties had 1) a preamble, in which the Great King identified himself ("I am the LORD your God...") 2) an historical prologue, in which the King chronicled what he had doned for his servant ("...who brought you up out of the land of Egypt...), 3) stipulations, explaining what the servant was to do ( shall not...), 4) sanctions, in which blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience were made clear (cf. Deut. 28; Lev. 26), as well as the deposit of the treaty document, one copy went in the temple of the King and another in the temple of the servant (think, the copy in the ark of the covenant) These treaties were called Suzerainty treaties, which were covenants of law (Eden with Adam, Sinai with Israel).

Yet, there was another type of covenant pattern, the royal grant (Noah, Abraham, David, New Covenant), which were covenants of grace.

Chapter 3, "A Tale of Two Mothers," is an exposition of these two types of covenants in Scripture--covenants ot law and covenants of grace. Horton here gives an amazing description, for example, of the covenant dmade with Abraham in Genesis 15, in which the LORD himself passes through the pieces of animals, personally swearing to uphold everything he has promised! Here is covenant grace that foreshadows the work of our Lord, who is cut off for us, as the animals were cut in two, that we might live.

Chapter 4, " A New Covenant," does deal with some important academic details, yet Horton's point is that while Israel languished because of their sins in an increasingly thorn-filled land and eventually into exile, "East of Eden," the LORD, through his prophets, send word of a covenant to come, in which he would renew his oath sworn to Abraham to save a people for himself. Here Horton begins to explain that the covenant made with Israel at Sinai, while being a continuation of his one covenant of grace to save his elect by grace, it was also a national covenant that promised the blessing of the land and threatened the curse of exile based on the corporate obedience of the people. Thus, in typical Horton brilliance, he says the Sinai covenant was the parentesis, not the Church! (contra Dispensationalism)

In chapter 5, "From Scripture to System," all the details of biblical research are brought together to form the classic presentation of covenant theology: the covenant of redemption between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit from eternity to save a people; the covenant of works with Adam; and the covenant of grace with Christ as Head to save the elect. Through a vast use of the Reformed fathers and a critique of contemporary Reformed authors that divert from this system, Horton shows the biblical as well as historical character of this 3-covenant system.

At this point, I must offer at least one criticism. Chapters 6-7, "Providence and Covenant: Common Grace" and "The Covenant People," were very disappointing. In his presentation of common grace, which I agree with, Horton fails to interact with even one Reformed author that takes issue with this big issue in Reformed circles (e.g., Herman Hoeksema). And, in the chapter on the covenant people, Horton only gives us 7 pages when the issue of Dispensationalism is so rampant in modern American Protestantism.

Nevertheless, the final two chapters, "Signs and Seals of the Covenant" and "New Covenant Obedience," finishes off this work in fine fashion. Of special note is Horton's distillation of Meredith Kline's work on baptism and circumcision (BY OATH CONSIGNED cf. my work, JESUS LOVES THE LITTLE CHILDREN [Reformed Fellowship, 2006], in which I summarize my former Old Testament professor's insights as they relate to issues of infant baptism.).

Overall, then, Horton's book is now the book to read to enter the world of Reformed covenant theology--which I am sure he would agree, is nothing less than the Bible's own way of interpreting itself.
Excellent Resource on God's Covenant  Jan 16, 2007
Michael Horton traces covenant throughout the Bible. I read it while on vacation and having studied Covenant myself found it an excellent resource on how man's covenants throughout history only reflect a more solid and divine covenant that God has made with man in Jesus Christ.
This book is a must that should be studied by every Christian.
THE book on covenants for beginners  Jan 11, 2007
As one from a Baptist background who has been in the reformed tradition for a little over a decade, I've struggled to understand all the distinctions of covenant theology. I've studied many of the Reformed theologies and read other books on covenants. This book has finally given me a framework that pulls it all together, and I am blown away by God's grace.

O. Palmer Robertson's "Christ of the Covenants" may be the classic work on covenant theology, but Horton's is better, in my opinion. Chapter 3, which clearly explains Galatians 4 and Paul's distinction of the Abrahamic covenant from the Mosaic covenant, is alone worth the price of the book. In addition, it has clarified for me so much more regarding various types of covenants in the OT. If you want to understand the importance of covenants (and you do, if you want to understand the Bible better and if you want to understand what grace really means), you must read this.
This is the 1st book I've read on Covenant Theology  Nov 2, 2006
This book was a joy to read. It doesn't get bogged down in hard to understand jargon. Dr Horton has a gift at writing. I look forward to digging deeper into Covenantal theology and all it entails. It is a real joy when we as the body of Christ learn the unity of scripture and not the disunity of dispinsationalism, and all that it teaches.
Thank you Dr Horton for all you do for the body of Christ.

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