Gerry Stated to Wes,

Quoting Berkhoff back to you with respect to the SUBJECT OF the Covenant of Grace:

The prevailing opinion in Reformed circles is that it is the elect sinner in Christ.

Gerry do you think you may have not given us the complete context of this quote in Part 2, The Doctrine of Man in Relation to God, section 3 of Man in the Covenant, page 273? Berkhof’s complete statement is more expressly stated as,

Berkhof States,

….Consequently, the question arises as to the extent of the limits of the covenant. Reformed theologians are not unanimous in answering this question. Some simply say that God made the covenant with the sinner, but this suggests no limitation whatsoever, and therefore does not satisfy. Others assert that He established it with Abraham and his seed, that is, his natural seed, but especially his spiritual descendants; or, put in more in a more general form, with believers and their seed. The great majority of them, however, maintain that He entered into covenant relationship with the elect or the elect sinner in Christ….But, now the question arises, What induced these theologians to speak of the covenant as made with the elect in spite of all the practical difficulties involved? ....While they understood that others have a place in the covenant in some sense of the word, they nevertheless felt that that it a was subordinate place, and that their relation to it was calculated to be subservient to the full realization of it in a life of friendship with God…..

Now we could go further with the quotes here, but IMHO enough has been shown that the context of your quote is lacking at best. I am sure this was probably a simple oversight on your part, but therein lies the rub. Your quotes are only partial ones and thus your reasoning is faulty. If you would have read a little further into, The Dual Nature of the Covenant (section 4) your assertions would have been disproved. Berkhof after making a defense of adult and infant covenantal relationships, states,

Berkhof States,

From the proceeding it follows that even unregenerate and unconverted person may be in the covenant. Ishmael and Esau were originally in the covenant, the wicked sons of Eli were covenant children, and the great majority of the Jews in the days of Jesus and the apostles belonged to the covenant people and shared in the covenant promises, though they did not follow the faith of their father Abraham. Hence the question arises, in what sense such persons may be regarded as being in the covenant. Dr. Kuyper says that they are not essential participants of the covenant, though they are really in it; and Dr Bavinck says that they are in foedere (in the covenant), but not de foedere (of the covenant). The following may be said regarding their position in the covenant:

  • a. They are in the covenant as far as their responsibility is concerned. Because they stand in the legal covenant relationship to God, they are duty bound to repent and believe….
  • b. They are in the covenant in the sense that they may lay claim to the promises which God gave when He established His covenant with believers and their seed. Paul even says of his wicked kinsmen, whose is the adoption, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises, Rom 9:4…
  • c. They are in the covenant in the sense that they are subject to the administration of the covenant. They are constantly admonished and exhorted to live according to the requirements of the covenant….
  • d. They are in the covenant also as far as the common covenant blessings are concerned. Though they do not experience the regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit, yet they are subject to certain special operations and influences of the Holy Spirit....
Please read Berkhof for the complete text.

Gerry, the Scripture severely severs your argument—Rom 9:1-5, etc.

Reformed and Always Reforming,