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The History of Scottish Theology, Volume ICeltic Origins to Reformed Orthodoxy$
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David Fergusson and Mark W. Elliott

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198759331

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198759331.001.0001

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Federal Theology from the Reformation to c.1677

Federal Theology from the Reformation to c.1677

Chapter:
(p.225) 16 Federal Theology from the Reformation to c.1677
Source:
The History of Scottish Theology, Volume I
Author(s):

David G. Mullan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198759331.003.0016

Calvin’s role as a federal theologian is controversial, but by 1584 federal theology was gaining prominence in the Rhineland, and was soon introduced into Scotland by Robert Rollock. The distinguishing feature of this approach was the positing of a prelapsarian covenant of works whereby Adam was promised eternal life in exchange for obedience to the natural law. When Adam fell, all humanity fell with him, and a new covenant, the covenant of grace, was instituted with sinful man. The first dispensation of this covenant was the covenant of the law while the second dispensation, which fulfilled the Mosaic covenant, was freely given to the elect through the redemptive work of Christ. Theologians such as David Dickson and Samuel Rutherford widely publicized the covenant of grace, and Rutherford was instrumental in preparing the way for personal covenanting whereby an individual, in response to the preaching of the Gospel, made an intimate avowal of Christ and promised obedience to him.

Keywords:   federal theology, covenant of works, covenant of grace, Arminianism, election, personal covenanting, national covenanting

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