Sacred Bond Now Available In Kindle

Sacred Bond Exploring Covenant TheologyI ran into Zach Keele this morning. I mentioned how much I’ve appreciated Sacred Bond and he mentioned this morning and he mentioned that there is now a Kindle version. If you’ve been looking for a clear, simple introduction to traditional Reformed covenant theology, this is the book. Now, at $6.00, it’s almost free and delivered to your mobile device almost immediately.

Here’s an interview I did with Mike and Zach last March.

ps. Amazon tells me the Kindle Version is $6.00


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  1. Finally. I keep on hearing good things about this book.

    Yes, I see it as $6 as well.

    A question for anyone that knows. I’ve heard of Dispensationalism being present among Presbyterians at the beginning of the 20th century; why was that? Did the later Bible Presbyterians and Carl McIntire have anything to do with this?

    Am I correct to think that dispensationalism flourished among Baptists because, as it seems to me, the separating of Israel and the church fits better with certain elements of Baptist theology (as in baptism)? I know not all Baptists are dispensationalist, but dispensational Baptist have the greatest influence, as exhibited within the SBC to individuals like John MacArthur.

  2. Alberto:

    Dispensationalism gained its inroads into Presbyterianism by way of the old Presbyterian Church, U.S. (aka, Southern Presbyterian).
    James H. Brooks, a PCUS pastor in St. Louis, adopted dispensational views and later taught Cyrus I. Scofield. Scofield then popularized it with his annotated Bible. In addition, Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, was originally a Southern Presbyterian.

    The ministers in the Bible Presbyterian Church were mostly historic premillennial, rather than dispensational. But McIntire and company saw the dispensationalists as fellow soldiers in the battle to defend the Scriptures. So they were loathe to criticize them. J. Oliver Buswell, Jr. (another BPC man) did try to privately correct Chafer on some matters, in a series of letters, but was rebuffed by Chafer.

  3. I should also mention that Robert Dick Wilson, the esteemed Princeton professor, taught alongside dispensational men at the Grove City Bible Conference(s). I think some of that same sense of “we’re all in this battle together” was evident among Northern Presbyterian conservatives, at least in the first several decades of the 20th-century.

    Later, in the 1940’s, liberals used opposition to dispensationalism as a wedge to divide and conquer conservatives. See the 1944 PCUS position paper on dispensationalism :

    • Wayne,

      Would you agree, however, that there was a certain price that confessionalists paid for adopting dispensationalists as co-combatants against liberalism? Didn’t we lose our confessional identity to a significant degree because of that strategy?

  4. I used this for a Sunday School series. I eventually strayed more into my own style of presentation but it remained a very useful resource. I used Horton’s more academic work to be aware of some of the disputed issues. His Introducing Covenant Theology is also in Kindle format.

  5. Scott:

    Perhaps, but I would want to reexamine the level or depth of confessional identity in the late 19th and early 20th century. There is the argument that 19th-century Protestant believers were evangelical Christians first, and only denominational second. In the sermon log books of T.D. Witherspoon, you see him filling the pulpits of a number of churches other than Presbyterian, even officiating at the dedication of a Baptist church. I seem to remember that one of his closest friends in Memphis was a Cumberland TE.

    Thus I think I would argue that confessional identity had been at low ebb (or was something other than what we see today), and thus many saw no problem with working alongside dispensationalists as co-laborers or even adopting dispensationalism as a theological grid, since it gave them a system they didn’t already have (or so they thought). In that same vein, as I’ve read through 19th-century Presbyterian newspapers, I’ve seen articles on the Westminster Standards, but don’t remember seeing anything touching on covenant theology.

    Even when Kuiper and Murray begin to critique dispensationalism in 1936, they counter it with amillennialism, not with covenant theology. (I’m certainly open to correction here if I missed something).

    So I would argue that confessionalism, as you and I know it today, wasn’t in evidence for the most part, circa 1900-1925/29, among most Presbyterians. Instead, the modernist controversy becomes a catalyst that causes deeper reflection on the beliefs held. The Dutch (and the Scots) arguably retained a stronger sense of confessionalism, and that’s why Machen and company sought them out, because they had a fuller orbed view of things, which then gave Westminster more tools to fight with. Defending the fundamentals wasn’t cutting it; Machen & Co. finally realized that you had to work from an entire system. To glean from one of the Doctor’s sermons, they had to re-dig the old wells. Instead of just defending the fundamentals, victory would come only by attacking with the promotion of a complete system inclusive of said fundamentals.

    But to approach your question from a different angle, why would working alongside co-belligerants cause us to give up any of our own convictions? Why would it necessarily weaken our hold on confessionalism? The problem only arises when we don’t know who we are as confessionalists–when we don’t know and hold our own convictions, thoroughly and fully.

  6. I was a member of two Reformed Presbyterian Church Evangelical Synod congregations in the late Sixties/early Seventies. As a high school and college student, it was my impression that Modernism (and fellow travelers) and Communism were seen as the greatest threats. (There were no Praise Bands then.)

    1. I observed in 1970 (in Huémoz-sur-Ollon) that Edith Schaeffer carried a well-worn Schofield Bible as her personal Bible.

    2. Wasn’t Barnhouse a dispensationalist?

    3. I was told that some of the friction experienced during the late Sixties in at least one suburban St. Louis RPCES church frequented by, ahem, “hippie” students from Covenant Seminary (who came to Cov Sem after being converted at L’Abri) was “cultural”, but some of it was centered around local church officers (dispensationalist) in conflict with the covenant theology taught by the CS students at Sunday School.

  7. The source of prebyterian dispensationalism is Edward Irving who got it from a layman. He popularised it around 1830 in lectures preceding General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland. As a result it was adopted by the Bonars and M’Cheyne and others. Darby picked up his dispensationalism from this route.

    Others will have to draw the links to US presbyterianism from this origin.

    You can read more on Irving in Dallimore’s Banner biography, and in the a lecture on him in the 2013 Westminster Coference papers (when they are published).

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