Looking Deeper into the Problems with Covenant Theology
11. CT interprets the Bible from an anthropocentric rather than a Theocentric point of view.
From what has been said before about CT’s redemptive-historical hermeneutic based upon the primacy of the covenant of grace it becomes clear that although it seeks to glorify God in its overall approach, CT comes from a perspective which is man-centered. Because it casts its net around the salvation of the elect and not around God’s broader concerns with creation the point of view tends to be from the ground up, not from heaven down to earth. Although the Bible is written from our earthly starting point, it is a revelation from above and concerns the whole Plan of God in relation to His created sphere.
Furthermore, because the elect are one people of God with no distinction between Israel, the church, and the Nations, this further narrows the lens through which Scripture is understood. Everything must concern the one people of God. This is exacerbated by reading the OT in terms of the NT (especially Paul’s Gospel). The attention is on what Christ has done for us. This leaves us at the cross and empty tomb, which though vital is not the full story. In the OT messianic prophecies the first and second comings are often fused together (e.g., Isa. 9:6-7; 61:1-2; Mic. 5:2; Zech. 9:9-10; Mal. 3:1-3). This ought to alert us to the fact that the passion of Christ and His glorious resurrection are one half of a single work which is to be concluded in His reign over the creation that was gifted to Him (Col. 1:16) and His presentation of this earth back to the Father as something restored for God’s glory (1 Cor. 15:23-28), but not entirely repristinated (see Rev. 21:1 with 22:3).
An anthropocentric perspective looks at the Bible mainly in terms of what God does for humanity. A theological perspective looks at what God is doing, not just with man, but with Satan and the demons, and with the whole creation itself, within which man is a part. Hence, from a God-centered perspective there is a readiness to think in terms of a great program, or what I like to call “the Creation Project.”
Because the redemption of mankind is one aspect of the Bible story (even perhaps the main one) the other parts of the Story should also be given their due, which does not happen when the focus is on our salvation.
Just here, by the way, I should say that Dispensationalism, with its focus upon stewardships given to representative people in various epochs can fall into similar anthropocentric assumptions. The dispensations are often studied in terms of how they are carried out, with the eventual outcome being that men fail.