Tag Archives: Adrio König

Kingdom Theology vs. Covenant Theology

Within the Scriptures there are eight major covenants or contracts between the Creator King and humanity. Of these contracts, six of them are given to thirteen individuals: Adam, Eve, Noah and family, Abraham, Phinehas and David. The remaining two covenants were between God and the people of Israel.  Details about each of these covenants can be seen in the below chart. (This chart is a modified version of the one created by Bill Jackson in his book The Biblical Metanarrative.)

Covenant Type Parties in Covenant with the Creator First Scriptural Reference
Adamic Royal Grant Adam and Eve Genesis 1:26-30
Noahic Royal Grant Noah and every living creature Genesis 9:8-17
Abrahamic A Royal Grant Abraham Genesis 15:9-21
Abrahamic B Suzerain-vassal Abraham Genesis 17
Sinaitic Suzerain-vassal The people of Israel (including the non-Abrahamic descendants who left Egypt with the Israelites) Exodus 18-24
Phinehas Royal Grant Phinehas Numbers 25:10-13
Davidic Royal Grant David 2 Samuel 7:5-16
Messianic Royal Grant The people of Israel and Judah Jeremiah 31:31-34

The reason I’m mentioning these eight covenants is that I want to talk briefly about a theological lens that focuses solely on these covenants. This lens is called Covenant Theology and is practiced by a large portion of Protestants. It first gained popularity during the Protestant Reformation through the teaching of John Calvin (1509-1564) and continues under the Reform or Calvinist movements.

Covenant Theology in its simplest form is a theological lens that sees two overarching theological covenants throughout the Bible, the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. The covenant of works basically states that if humanity obeys God, then God would give them the promised life of his Kingdom. If they did not obey, then humanity would receive punishment for disobedience. A lot of covenant theologians say that the covenant of works started with Adam and Eve and continued after the fall as the moral law engrained within humanity. The covenant of grace, on the other hand, states that humanity is to receive the promises of God through faith in Jesus the Messiah.

Both of these covenants are considered ‘theological’ in the sense that they are not explicitly outlined as such within the Bible. Within the Covenant Theology stream there are many, many variations as different groups seek to focus on certain parts of each covenant. There are also disagreements on how the eight covenants specially mentioned in Scriptures related to each other and/or either they fit within the two larger theological covenant systems. Some theologians will even add a third theological covenant called the covenant of redemption which states that God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit all agreed upon who they would rescue humanity from the bondage of sin, evil and death.

Contract_with-_Seal_XLIn contrast to Covenant Theology, Kingdom Theology is an enacted inaugurated eschatology lens with a focus on the Kingship of Jesus. Within this framework, the present time in which we live is caught between two ages – the Present Evil Age ruled by sin and death and the Age to Come, which is ruled by Jesus Christ into eternity. Through the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus (plus Pentecost) the Age to Come has broken into this Present Evil Age, existing together in a tension that will be removed at that last day when all is set right and God dwells among His people face-to-face.

The South African theologian Adrio König once said that Covenant Theology and Kingdom Theology are two sides of the same coin. And why that may be true from a purely theoretical theological viewpoint, I can’t help but think about how each system is applied to one’s life. With its emphasis on the covenants, it is easy for folks living under a Covenant Theology system to lose focus on the covenant Giver. Instead, people can (and have) become experts at knowing that rights and privileges are granted to them under one of the eight covenants outlined within Scriptures or the two overarching theological covenants. Covenant Theology also has a tendency to create a barrier between the Old and New Testament with the common church goer thinking that salvation in the Old Testament was based upon works (i.e. the covenant of works) while salvation in the New Testament was about grace (i.e. the covenant of grace).

Kingdom Theology, on the other hand, places the focus on the dynamic rule and reign of the Creator King and not so much on the covenant documents themselves. This shift in emphasis pushes one to know Jesus on a personal level rather than just knowing about the contract under which one lives. This personal relationship is, in fact, the core of the Messianic Covenant outlined by the prophet Jeremiah:

“It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” –Jeremiah 31:32-34

Through Jesus, we all have been given a royal grant of knowing the Creator King in an intimate manner. His laws or ways are now within our hearts and minds through the Holy Spirit and we are now his people and he is our God. This was the original goal when the Creator created Adam and Eve and it has continued to be the original goal. Through Jesus, we now have access to the end time reality of a passionate personal relationship with the King while waiting the day when we shall see the Creator face to face on the new earth when all is restored (i.e. the here and not yet of enacted inaugurated eschatology).

Though this may be too simple of a sketch of these two complex theological systems, I would like to suggest that the Kingdom Theology worldview does a better job at emphasizing and connecting people to the person of Jesus than Covenant Theology. This, please hear me, does not mean that folks who see the world through a Covenant Theology lens can’t or don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. Far from it! It is just that Kingdom Theology places the emphasis on the relationship with Creator King rather than on the covenants as does Covenant Theology.

The Eclipse of Christ in Eschatology: Toward a Christ-Centred Approach

eclipse of christTo begin with, I am back from conquering the Sawtooth Wilderness (at least the East to West approach) – it was a great trip full of adventures and beautiful scenery. Lord willing I will try to upload some pictures tonight or Saturday at the latest.

Until then, I would like to introduce you to a new friend: Adrio König.

Adrio König was, until his retirement a few years ago, the professor of Systematic Theology at the University of South Africa. He is a member of the Dutch Reformed Church – which made is book The Eclipse of Christ in Eschatology: Toward a Christ-Centred Approach all the more interesting as it looked at the kingdom of God through a different angle or window then American Evangelicalism.

One side note before jumping into the book – I just recently realized the difference between a biblical theologian (like George Ladd) and a systematic theologian (Adrio König). A biblical theologian focuses on the details of biblical exegesis or specific books. A systematic theologian takes a step back from the details and looks at the vast landscape of the Bible and Christian doctrine.

Knowing this, I realized that I tend to lean towards being a systematic theologian vs a biblical theologian (i.e. big picture vs details). This is interesting as I did not enjoy the systematic theology class of VLI nor the systematic theology book we had to read…. Oh well.

Anyway, back to König book The Eclipse of Christ in Eschatology.[@more@]

I wish I could quote some of his words from this book – but I loaned it out already, so I will have to rely on my memory to write this review.  Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It was a bit tough at times to wad through – but not that tough, especially after reading Ladd and other such items.

The main theme or focus on this book was the understanding that Jesus Christ is THE end. In the study of eschatology (literally the “study of the end”) people tend to focus on the second coming of Jesus. What König does is bring eschatology back to the Biblical idea that Jesus is the eschon (Greek for “the end”) – He is the end and the beginning, the first and the last. Therefore a study of end (end of the word, end of this age, etc) is a study of Jesus Christ – His birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension and Pentecost (when His Spirit was given to the church).

Why some of this focus on Jesus may come from König Reform background, I believe most of it comes from a strong Biblical foundation. I mean; does not the Torah and prophets all point towards the person of Jesus Christ? Was not the incarnation or God-in-flesh nature of Jesus an end event?

The Bible says that Jesus came to destroy the works of the evil one, to conqueror death, hell, sin, and to redeem all of creation for the glory of God. Each and ever item listed was prophesied by the prophets of old to happen when the Day of Lord came. If Jesus really was God, then the ‘end’ has already come – yet it is also coming still.

Adrio König describes this tension in three ways: for us, in us and with us.

  • Jesus has destroyed sin and the evil one (“for us”)
  • Through Jesus, we can become the people of God (“in us”)
  • In following Jesus, we can, through His Spirit, join with God in doing His works on this earth at this time (“with us”)

As you can see, König covered a lot of territory in his book The Eclipse of Christ in Eschatology – territory well worth traveling.

It is actually kind of funny that I just so happen to read this book at this time seeing how our church has started studying Revelation. It was not a planned event as I had bought the book about a year ago – but had loaned it out almost immediately to a fellow journeyer. He returned the book just recently and I started reading – all in God’s timing. Smile

The Eclipse of Christ in Eschatology

Heaven is receiving a new book.  In this case, I just received a copy of Adrio Konig’s “The Eclipse of Christ in Eschatology”. This is a book I have been waiting to read ever since I heard Derek Morphew refer to it in his 2006 seminar on the Kingdom of God.

A bit about the author:

Adrio Konig is Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of South Africa, Pretoria. (note that this bio was written in 1989 when the book was written…I don’t know what he is doing now)[@more@]

Since I have not read the book yet (it may be a while as my homework is pilling up…), here is a brief review by Ray S. Anderson of Fuller Theological Seminary:

Konig is persuasive and provocative. His bilibical and historical approach to systematic theology stays close to the pulse beat of the divine heart which we encounter in the Christ for us, in us, and with us. Eschatology has to do not with the last things but with the person of Christ, who is the first and last One.

With this book Konig has pointed the way forward for a whole new generation of theological studies. This book combines critical dogmatic inquiry with careful exegetical work in the finest of the tradition in biblical theology. The result is a book on eschatology which is irenic in tone, relevant to contemporary issues, and surprising in its simplicity. This book will inspire pastors to preach once again with conviction on the eschatological themes essential to Christian life and faith. It might also put eschatology back once again into the theological curriculum.

With a review like that, I can hardly wait to read it!!  Cool