Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Brief but Solid Introduction to Covenant Theology


Gordon J. Keddie, Christ’s Covenant and Your Life (Pittsburgh: Crown and Covenant, 2011), 132pp. $7.00.

Reviewed by Ryan McGraw

This book is simple in its presentation and highly condensed in its subject matter. Keddie’s covenant theology is thoroughly in accord with Reformed orthodox theology and refreshingly lacks many of the strange nuances that modern authors have introduced into the covenant. He holds to a clear view of the covenant of redemption as well as the covenant of works, both of which are often distorted or dismissed in contemporary treatments. 

The upsides to this work are that it is a faithful introduction to the covenant of grace and that it is intensely practical and personal. One highlight that is much needed is the chapter on “Church Membership and the Covenant.” 

The downside to the book is that its brevity prevents thorough interaction with biblical texts. Certain aspects of Reformed covenant theology such as the covenant of works are biblical and essential, but they do not easily admit of proof-texting. The danger is that those who are introduced to covenant theology through this work will find out later that there is more to be considered in the texts Keddie uses than first met the eye. 

In short, this book is a valuable introduction to Reformed covenant theology that is delightfully conservative and eminently practical, yet it needs a more fleshed-out biblical foundation. This book would be ideal for a group study in which the teacher is adequately familiar with the material and in which the biblical texts could be discussed in more detail.

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This review first appeared in The Banner of Truth, February 2012.