Unity and Continuity in Covenantal Thought: a Study in the Reformed Tradition to the Westminster Assembly
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Over the years, some scholars have argued for competing streams of covenantal thought within the reformed tradition. For instance, some have pitted Calvin against the Calvinists, some have tried to detect unilateral and bilateral approaches to the covenant, and still others have set federalism against predestinarianism. In this landmark survey of covenant theology, Andrew a. Woolsey assesses the reformed tradition and finds that the development of diverse formulas actually maintained substantial agreement on the basic contours of covenantal thought. Unity and Continuity in Covenantal Thought examines the historiographical problems related to the interpretation of the Westminster Standards, delving into the issue of covenantal thought in the Westminster Standards, followed by an exhaustive analysis of nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholarship on covenant. After surveying patristic and medieval backgrounds, Woolsey’s study looks in detail at a representative list of writers who contributed to the early development of federal thought (Luther, Oecolampadius, Zwingli, Bullinger, Calvin, and Beza). The final part of his study explores the early orthodox approach to covenant and the rise of emphasis on the covenants of works and grace in the thought of Heidelberg theologians (Ursinus and Olevianus), the English Puritans (Cartwright, Fenner, and Perkins), and Scottish divines (Knox, Rollock, and Howie). Here is a substantial contribution to the study of reformed thought on covenant from its reformation origins to the more detailed formulations of the early to mid-seventeenth century.