Chapter

Introduction: The Problem Stated

David A. Weir

in The Origins of the Federal Theology in Sixteenth-Century Reformation Thought

Published in print March 1990 | ISBN: 9780198266907
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683107 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198266907.003.0001
Introduction: The Problem Stated

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One of the basic theological shifts during the 16th and 17th centuries was the manner in which Reformed Protestant theologians of northern Europe divided biblical time. Whereas John Calvin, in his Institutes of the Christian Religion, spoke of an Old Covenant which extended from Christ to the Day of Judgement, the Westminster Confession of Faith, written eighty years later, spoke of a covenant of grace. There were basic differences between these two concepts, differences which affected the way Calvinists thought and acted. Thus far, no one has explored thoroughly the origins of the shift from the Old Covenant/New Covenant distinction to the covenant of works/covenant of grace distinction, and where the covenant of works or prelapsarian covenant idea had its origin. This book explores as thoroughly as possible the origin of and the reasons for this transformation in theological thinking, and shows some of the implications it would have for Protestant Reformed thought.

Keywords: John Calvin; Old Covenant; Christ; Day of Judgement; Westminster Confession of Faith; covenant of grace; Calvinists; New Covenant; covenant of works; prelapsarian covenant

Chapter.  23126 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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