The contribution of Scottish covenant thought to the discussions of the Westminster Assembly (1643-1648) and its continuing significance to the Marrow controversy (1717-1723)
This dissertation aims to examine the development and significance of covenant doctrine in the Scottish Church during the struggles of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This development is examined in its political, historical, social, theological and ecclesiastical context. The idea of covenant is central in both the Old and New Testaments; it mostly denotes God's relationship with his people as distinct from his relationship to the world. For the Covenanters, it became the central hermeneutical key for interpreting Scripture. Covenant theology had been familiar to the Church of Scotland for some time; the Scottish Covenanters adopted and applied it rigorously to their lives and situation they confronted. They believed on the basis of covenant that Scotland should be free in matters both religious and political; church leaders sought to place the whole nation under a covenant relationship to God. The covenant concept was the central concern of Scottish theology from 1643 to 1723 and was a theme zealously preached during the century after John Knox's Reformation of Scotland in 1560. It had a powerful impact in promoting and consolidating the Protestant cause. Unfortunately, covenant thought also gave rise to conflict within the Church of Scotland.