Covenantal Vs. Dispensational Vs. Dispensational Covenant Theology

Loutzenhiser's picture

A discussion about the systems of God's dealings with man.

Covenantal Theology
Covenantal Theologians organize all history and theology around several covenants, or arrangements between God and humans or the Son. They are:

1. Covenant of Redemption. This covenant is optional. It occurred before creation.
The Son' agreement - perfect obedience in death promised to the Father
The Father' agreement - promised to the Son: 1) all the Son's needs to be met; 2) Holy Spirit given to the Church; 3) salvation to all believers; 4) exaltation of the son.

2. The Covenant of Works: Lasting from creation until the fall.
Man's conditions - Adam must obey God
God rewards obedience with eternal life, punishes disobedience with death

3. The Covenant of Grace: Lasting from the fall until the second advent.
Man's conditions - saving faith issuing in obedience
God's response - salvation in all of its phases

Dispensational Theology
Dispensational theology organizes history and theology around a series of dispensations, which are each different "economies" or arrangements decreed by God. Each dispensation begins with an offer of blessing by God, and ends with failure by man to meet God's conditions and a resulting period of Divine judgement.

1. The Dispensation of Innocence - untested Holiness
Began at Creation and lasted until the fall
People could have direct fellowship with God, but they must not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
Final judgment: People expelled from the Garden

2. The Dispensation of Conscience - Cain & Abel
Began at the time of the fall and lasted until the flood
People were responsible to live according to their God-given conscience
Final judgment: Universal Flood

3. The Dispensation of Government - Noah
Lasted from the time when God offered Noah a covenant with the rainbow until the Tower of Babel
People were to follow God both through their own conscience and by establishing just government
Final judgment: The Tower of Babel - confusion of tongues

4. The Dispensation of Promise - Abraham
From the calling of Abraham (Gen. 12) until the Exodus.
The Covenant People were to remain faithful to Yahweh alone and practice circumcision
Final judgment: slavery in Egypt

5. The Dispensation of Law - Moses
From the giving of the law to Moses until the second advent of Christ.
The Covenant People were to be faithful to Yahweh through obeying the Law
Final judgment: The great tribulation (notice that the church age is inserted as an unforseen haitus in the midst of the dispensation of law. The church is therefore removed in the rapture before things revert to conditions as they were in the Old Testament period.)

6. The Dispensation of Grace or the Church
Lasts from the day of Pentecost until the Rapture
The church is to render saving faith in following Christ
No ending judgment for this dispensation except for the counterfeit church, which goes into the tribulation with the rest of the world

7. The Dispensation of Kingdom
Corresponds roughly to the Millenium
People are to obey Christ who reigns on earth
Great White Throne

Read the second post below to see another view of God's dealings with man (thanks to Fr. Wayne McNamara). Describe your doctrine and present your points using the Hot Topic rules.

Dispensational Covenant Theology by fr_wayne_mcnamara

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