Saturday, February 25, 2017

Book Review: "The Covenant of Works: Its Confessional and Scriptural Basis" (Recovering Our Confessional Heritage)

Author Richard Barcellos has given us a small, informative primer, The Covenant of Works: Its Confessional and Scriptural Basis. You may already think you have a good theological understanding of the COW however Barcellos brings out numerous historical and theological aspects as they relate to the Second London Confession of Faith of 1689 and as the 2LCF relates to the Westminster Standards (Confession, Larger and Shorter Catechisms).

The author reviews the history of the LCF with a definition of the COW - good stuff.  And though I disagree with some of the content, there is valuable information that can be gleaned and used for further study. At only 137 pages, this could be read quickly and used to kick start a study of the subject.

However, what I thought was going to be an interesting and informational book on the Covenant of Works turned out to be a difficult read. The book is chock full of parenthetical statements and references making the flow difficult and a time consuming read. Though well footnoted, numerous foot notes simply refer to the reader to the author's other books for fuller explanations. At times, as in chapter one, lesser known Latin theological terms are defined as a preface to what follows (well done), other terms are not defined and it leaves me wondering who the intended audience is. It appears to be written for the layperson but with the difficulties outlined above, I'm unsure if a good, introductory grasp of the COW can be obtained. A different,  more helpful approach to the subject could have been taken. A larger, but yet still slim volume eliminating the issues outlined above would have made this a much better read.

My main disagreement with this volume is that I don't believe the author has made a good case for the covenant coming after Adam's creation. I would hold  to the view that Adam was created in covenant. With that statement being made, I'll leave it to the reader to decide.

Perhaps, as the author states in his conclusion, this book can function as a launch pad for further study. I suggest this to be the case as I was left with more questions unanswered rather than answered.

The author has provided a complimentary copy of this book. The views expressed are my own.