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October 04, 2020 Book Review

Foundations of Covenant Theology

Foundations of Covenant Theology

Lane G. Tipton

Reviewed by: C. Adam Ostella

Foundations of Covenant Theology, video series, by Lane G. Tipton. Reformed Forum, 2019. Digital download from reformedforum.org, $40.00. Reviewed by OP pastor C. Adam Ostella.

Insofar as the union of theological insight and religious devotion is a jewel, Foundations of Covenant Theology is a diamond. In this twelve-part video series taught by the Rev. Dr. Lane G. Tipton and produced by Reformed Forum, Tipton reads Genesis 1–3 with other passages, drawing from them God’s ultimate plan with respect to creation. He presents an eschatology of creation wherein the eternal Creator God has determined to make his glory uniquely visible in the realm of heaven, his temple dwelling place. God will bring into heaven his people, made in his image, who will worship him forever there, and he will do so by way of covenant. Formatted for adult Sunday school, each video is around thirty minutes in length and is accompanied by a PDF handout.

The foundations of covenant theology are theological, historical, and redemptive in character. The most basic foundation for covenant theology is God himself. As Tipton teaches us, Scripture roots covenant in the plan God has to bring glory to himself. A God-centered focus, that is, a theological rather than an anthropological or soteriological focus, is evident throughout the series. Covenant theology is ultimately about the glory of God.

Tipton shows how Scripture roots covenant in God’s creation of Adam in history. While Adam was created in the image of God in true knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, these qualities that Adam possessed before the Fall were designed to serve the higher end of fellowship and communion with God. This communion would consummate by means of the covenant of works. Adam was created to be oriented in the whole of his existence toward God and to demonstrate that orientation by obedience to God’s Word. As God’s glory dwells uniquely in heaven, the place of God’s eternal rest, so Adam was from the beginning oriented toward the heavenly place. Entrance into the heavenly dwelling place of God was set before Adam as reward for his obedience on earth.

Tipton also shows how Scripture roots covenant in God’s redemptive work of graciously bringing sinners to eternal life in heaven after Adam forfeited the offer through disobedience. He delves into Luke 4, highlighting how Jesus is the second and last Adam, the obedient Son of God. Through the obedience of Jesus Christ in his life, death, and resurrection, God brings his people to everlasting life in heaven.

Those interested in this delightful video series should note the title, Foundations of Covenant Theology. While suited for both corporate and personal Christian education, this series is not designed to be an exhaustive treatment of all covenants in Scripture. Rather, Tipton carefully charts the biblical and theological foundations for a proper understanding of covenant, and in doing so sets out an eschatology of creation. God himself and his creative activity are the ultimate foundations for covenant theology. God created a heavenly tabernacle of his glory and entering this place was the goal of all human activity from the very beginning, a goal to be attained by way of covenant obedience. This glory comes to its ultimate expression in Christ, who by obedience secured eternal life in heaven for all God’s people. By a close reading of the absolute beginning, Tipton points us to the ultimate end: the glory of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Creator and Redeemer God!

 

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