A Barthian Critique of the Covenant of Redemption


R. Keith Loftin, "A Barthian Critique of the Covenant of Redemption," Trinity Journal 38, 2 (2017) 203-222


Loftin, R. Keith. "A Barthian Critique of the Covenant of Redemption." Trinity Journal 38, 2 (2017) 203-222

Publication life cycle / General notes

Interacts briefly with TFT and JBT.


The federal theological construct has been subjected to exegetical, methodological, hermeneutical, and theological critiques. This article develops a theological critique of this construct by developing the rejection of the covenant of redemption suggested in Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics: first, that no such pact is necessary in order to "establish the unity of the righteousness and mercy of God in relation to man," and second, that the very notion of such an intra- trinitarian foedus is untenable. Barth does advance a third objection, arguing that a pactum salutis entails a "covenantal dualism," which itself rests upon an (allegedly) flawed doctrine of the logos asarkos} It seems to me, though, that in denying the logos asarkos, it is Barth who attenuates the doctrine of the incarnation. Criticism shall therefore be focused on his first two contentions. It will be argued that Barth's objections yield theological insights that subvert the covenant of redemption, not only jeopardizing the federal construct but also undercutting a theologoumenon often used to infer a limited view of Christ's atonement.