Covenant theology is the “warp and woof” of Reformed theology, and its development was most seriously worked out during the seventeenth century. In Christ and the Condition, Michael Brown introduces us to an influential Puritan pastor who, though now largely forgotten, was a significant contributor to the covenantal debates of his day. Brown analyzes the covenantal thought of Samuel Petto and reveals a diversity of thought among the Puritans, especially concerning the Mosaic covenant. Brown’s assessment places Petto in the context of the covenantal debates and also demonstrated the implications of covenantal thought on the doctrine of justification.
About the Author
Michael Brown is pastor of Christ United Reformed Church in Santee, California. He is co-editor and contributing author of Called to Serve: Essays for Elders and Deacons, and has published articles in several Reformed and Evangelical periodicals.
Michael Brown provides a comprehensive look at the historic reformed views of God's covenants, zooming in on one particular Puritan Pastor-Theologian, Samuel Petto.
After giving a brief summary of Petto's life and doctrine, he presents a scholarly summary of the reformed perspectives on covenant theology, including the views of Calvin, Turretin, Olevianus, Sibbes, Ursinus, Owen, and many of the Puritans. What really rocked my socks off was how Brown compared and contrasted these diverse views with that of Petto concerning the Mosaic covenant and its relation to the covenant of grace.
Brown's chapter dealing with Petto's view of the Mosaic covenant is alone worth the price of the book. He unpacks very thoroughly and clearly Petto's view of the Mosaic covenant and how it is primarily the legal condition of the covenant of grace that must be fulfilled by the active and passive obedience of Christ in order to secure all of the redemptive blessings for the elect. This emphasis that Petto stresses is incredibly helpful in understanding the purpose of God in giving the Mosaic covenant within the plan of redemption. After this Brown draws out from Petto's view the implications concerning law and gospel and justification by faith alone.
As a beginning seminary student who struggles to put the theological pieces together at times, books like this help unmuddy the waters and provide a scholarly and clear framework for how to understand the bible. Read this book to be edified as you see the Christ centered view of God's covenants through the len's of Samuel Petto.