This paper analyzes and evaluates two Baptist versions of covenant theology as represented by Samuel Renihan’s The Mystery of Christ, His Covenant, and His Kingdom and Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum’s God’s Kingdom through God’s Covenants. Renihan’s book articulates a contemporary Baptist covenant theology informed by seventeenth-century Baptist covenant theologians and by twentieth century theologian Meredith Kline. This version of covenant theology often goes by the name 1689 Federalism. In 2012 Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary published Kingdom through Covenant to argue for Progressive Covenantalism as an alternative to covenant and dispensational theologies. The covenant theology they critiqued was specifically paedobaptist, and Progressive Covenantalism is a Baptist alternative. This naturally raises the question of the relation of 1689 Federalism and Progressive Covenantalism to one another as well as an evaluation of each.
Comparison between these two Baptist systems demonstrates that while sometimes contemporary theologians, thinking freshly over the Bible, truly advance our understanding of Scripture, at other times old, but forgotten and recovered, formulations provide the best understanding of Scripture. The wise theologian examines treasures new and old, examining them all against the touchstone of Scripture.