Covenant Theology (CT) is a title given to a system that officially stems from the post-Reformation period. The system of CT is a very simple system which closely follows the Bible’s teaching regarding the Two Adams (cf. Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15). CT views the whole of history and of man’s relation to God under two covenants, usually called the “Covenant of Works” and the “Covenant of Grace.” The Covenant of Works refers to man’s original relation to God and his obligation to fulfill the Moral Law (which is summarized by our Savior as loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and loving our neighbor as our self (Mark 12:30-31), or as Paul phrased it, “Love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13: 10; Galatians 5:14). Adam failed in this great obligation, casting all of his race into a state of sin and inability to merit righteousness, since all of his posterity sinned in him and fell short of the glory of God. Instead of consigning Adam and his race immediately to hell, God initiated a new covenant, commonly called the “Covenant of Grace.” CT sees all of God’s gracious dealings with fallen man coming under this covenant, which was made with Christ as a new Federal Head. (“Federal Theology” is another name for CT).
It’s important also to recognize what Covenant Theology is not, because in the debate with Dispensational theology, many people get confused on certain points. CT does not dictate a particular view of baptism. Many people wrongly assume that CT forces its adherents to hold to infant baptism. That is not the case. Also, many people wrongly assume that CT demands an amillennial view of the end times. It does not.
Rev. Reggie Kimbro is minister of Grace FPC in Winston Salem, NC