I am not going to go into much detail on the fifth point of Covenantalism. I am interested to see how the 5 Points of Covenantalism match up with the horribly-named 5 Points of Calvinism. This is important because too many people, both friend and critic, reduce all of Reformed theology to the TULIP. Orthodox Bridge is terrible about this from a critical standpoint, and Together4Gospel is bad about it from a friendly standpoint. I’ve already given ample reasons why Reformed thought should not be identified with TULIP (however much I may agree with the individual propositions in TULIP). This post will explore how the Covenant Model maintains the essence of TULIP but does so in a more concrete and biblical-historical way.
Transcendence OR Total Depravity?
The two terms aren’t synonymous, which makes a 1:1 switch problematic. God’s transcendence doesn’t change either before or after the Fall. I think “Total Depravity” might be one of the worst terms of theology ever invented. I challenged Orthodox Bridge guys on this point. My comments still haven’t been approved. I have no problem with Total Depravity, but this isn’t the best model to begin theology with.
Hierarchy or Unconditional Election?
This one is easier. We are elected in Christ. Christ is mediator. There is no such thing as election in the abstract Godhead. God establishes intermediaries, but because of the rich, earthy Hebraism these mediators aren’t seen in a chain of being continuum.
Ethical Law or Limited Atonement
Despite surface appearances, this is easy too. Christ fulfilled the law and died the covenantal death. You get the same thing as limited atonement but it is seen in a more concrete way. You get the same thing if you add point two of the covenantal model.
Sanctions or Irresistible Grace?
Irresistible grace is about as bad as any on the term (for we all know people who’ve resisted the grace of God). Effectual calling is superior. But I think “Covenantal Sanctions” is even better. Covenantal sanctions deal with blessings and cursings, which call to mind “oaths and witnesses.” Someone is a Christian because God marks him out as one. We don’t “make” ourselves Christian. This means that any talk of calling must be done in the context of the covenant. Granted, we need to flesh this out more, but I think it has promise. I think this is better than irresistible language.
Continuity or Perseverance?
This one is easy. These two are almost synonymous.