A Survey of How Different Systems of Theology Put the Bible Together (Views on Covenantal & Dispensational Theologies with Brent Parker and Richard Lucas, Ep. 1)

How should we interpret the promises made to the people of Israel in the OT — are they being fulfilled in the church? Does God have a distinct plan for the nation of Israel separate from the church? How do Christians relate to the Mosaic Law? What does infant baptism have to do with our understanding of the Biblical Covenants? In short, these are all questions asking, How should we put our Bible’s together — and questions that both covenantal and dispensational theologies answer differently, with wide-ranging implications for how we read our Bibles, how we define the church, what we expect of the future, and how we live our Christian lives.

This episode serves as the first installment of a larger conversation on covenantal and dispensational theologies and their divergent ways of putting the Bible together. In today’s episode, Richard Lucas and Brent Parker lead us through a survey of the various view points that exist. In order of those that stress more continuity to those that stress more discontinuity, we look at:

  • Theonomy / Reconstructionism [3:50]
  • Traditional Covenant Theology [9:13]
  • 20th Century Reformed Baptist Theology [24:02]
  • 1689 Federalism [31:02]
  • Progressive Covenantalism [40:37]
  • New Covenant Theology [55:24]
  • Progressive Dispensationalism [1:04:7]
  • Traditional (or Revised) Dispensationalism [1:18:58]
  • Classic Dispensationalism [1:34:36]

Their book, Covenantal and Dispensational Theologies: Four Views on the Continuity of Scripture (IVP, February 2022), is currently available for pre-order.

Access the episode here. (Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more.)

See all other content in this series.

The Need for “Analog Church” in the Digital Age (with Jay Y. Kim)

Kirk sits down for an interview with Pastor Jay Y. Kim, author of Analog Church: Why We Need Real People, Places, and Things in the Digital AgeThey discuss how the digital age, despite its many advantages and opportunities, also negatively deforms us, and why “analog church” (i.e., real people, places, and things) is needed now as much as ever before.

Access the episode here. (Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more.)

Denominations & Traditions Chart

Below is a basic denominations & traditions chart I made for the residents while working at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. I’m hesitant to share this here because, admittedly, its overly simplistic and I suspect many will find it unsatisfying or maybe even at times misleading for that reason. Nonetheless, for someone who is less familiar and looking simply to get a basic acquaintance with the general landscape, I hope this can provide a helpful starting place, notwithstanding the understandable short comings of something as brief as this.


What the “Social Gospel” & “Christian Nationalism” Both (Ironically) Have in Common

There’s an ironic similarity between (1) “the social gospel” — reducing the gospel and Christian mission to advancing social justice — and (2) “Christian nationalism” — hitching the Christian mission to the church having/maintaining cultural dominance.

Christian cultural and social impact, of course, I believe are good, and flow out of the Christian mission.

But interestingly/ironically, these two socially and politically polar opposite viewpoints — (1) “the social gospel” and (2) “Christian nationalism” — err seemingly in the same way: they misplace the center of the church’s mission with a usurping concern over their social presence.

To the “social gospel” we say, Yes, social justice is a biblical imperative, and its outworking is entailed in Christian mission. But social justice is not itself the gospel, nor should it be equated with biblical “salvation.”

To the “Christian nationalist” we say again, impact on society is admirable. But it’s not the end-all-be-all. Our witness comes first. Cultural domination is not our mission. And when we conceive of it as such, we can find ourselves pursuing it at the expense of our witness.

In short, both (again, ironically) make cultural and social impact paramount at the expense of the soteriological center of our mission.

And ironically both chastise the other for doing what they themselves do: equating their mission with the pursuit of a particular political vision, either the Left’s in the case of the “social gospel,” or the Right’s in the case of “Christian nationalism.”

They’re polar opposite on the political spectrum. But underneath, they share the same warp and woof.