[This post is part of the Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe series]
Its been awhile, but I should be back on track to finish up exploring Mark Driscoll’s Doctrine. Chapter 6 picks up with what is basically God’s response to humanity’s plunge into sin. Though nothing particularly new to people in the ANE, covenants are not something we make on a day to day basis with another. The idea is similar to our modern idea of “contracts” but covenants, especially the kind in the Bible that God makes with his people are modeled on the ancient suzerain-vassal treaties that a king would make with sometimes a close friend, or with a conquered people group that has shown loyalty in some way. The book of Deuteronomy is for instance modeled on the Hittite version of this type of agreement.
The concise definition then of a covenant, when discussed in biblical usage is:
“A solemn commitment, guaranteeing promises or obligations undertaken by one or both parties and sealed with an oath.” (Sealed with an Oath by Paul Williamson)
One can see this type of agreement occurring between God and his people throughout the Old Testament, and inaugurated by Christ in the New Testament at passover (see mainly John 14-17). I’ve talked about some of this in other posts in the Adventures in Eschatology series, so if the topic of covenants piques your interest, feel free to check those out. I might though before summers end, add a post to that series on this very topic.
As for Doctrine itself, the rest of the chapter answers the following questions:
- Why does God covenant?
- What is the Noahic covenant?
- What is the Abrahamic covenant?
- What is the Mosaic covenant?
- What is the Davidic covenant?
- What is the New covenant?
As you might guess if you are familiar with the biblical idea of covenant, this chapter is very dense. You’ll notice as well that the format is different from the other chapters of Doctrine and is basically just gives a rundown of the main covenants that God has made as part of his one purpose for his people.
As such, Driscoll does a pretty remarkable job in such a short space. For some perspective, we spent the first month and a half of Eschatology covering roughly this same material. You, the reader of Doctrine, can do so in probably under an hour. That being said, there is really not much to touch on, making this probably the shortest review of any chapter of this book.