This thesis explores the history, theology and practical application of the Reformed covenantal theological heritage, with both its legacy and future in the Anglican and Episcopal tradition. It will survey both the centrality of covenant in scripture and the development of Covenant Theology in the history of the church, especially in the Reformation period in England of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in which the theology of Covenant grew into maturity.
A survey of the covenant motif in special revelation will argue that though the theology of the covenant matures at a very late stage in church history, its merits are no less valid. It will be demonstrated that the covenant concept is central because God deals with his creatures by way of Covenant. It is an expression of his relationship to the world.
Close attention will then be paid to the organic and providential way in which the ideas of the Reformation moved back and forth from the Continent to the British Isles, along with its polarizing affect during the very contentious days of the Reformation.
A close-up on several English Puritan divines will demonstrate the commitment to Reformed theology in the tumultuous days of the English Reformation. Though the Puritan vision did not win the day, nevertheless, its theological distinctives and persuasion made
an indelible impression that never went away. Though Covenant Theologians emphasize different aspects of the motif, they all share a common agreement of God's commitment to redeem by way of covenantal administration.
Further, an examination of the practice of infant baptism as a necessary fruit of covenant theology, will be argued. The necessity of a covenant framework in the practice of paedo-baptism will be argued and defended. Covenant nurture will be explored as an
integral aspect of infant baptism as a crucial pedagogical paradigm from scripture, not to be neglected. We will examine an example of how Covenant nurture was downgraded in Colonial America, changing the trajectory of ministry emphasis and practice in the church for decades. The revivalist, conversion paradigm introduced in the American Colonies served to shift the ministry emphasis in the church from covenant nurture to dramatic conversion in adulthood. The baptismal rite of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer will be examined as an expression of a winsome covenantal theology hermeneutic.
Finally, consideration will be made regarding the future of Covenant in the Anglican and Episcopal tradition. It will be argued, persuasively that covenant theology is right at home with the expression of the 1979 Prayer Book. The future of Covenant Theology is unclear, but the need for a winsome covenant theology in the Episcopal tradition has never been greater. Our current cultural moment and the inter-connectivity create an opportunity to present a gospel-shaped Anglican ethos that is informed by a winsome
reformed theology, reinforced by the drama of its liturgy, contextualized and delivered for the sake of a new generation.