Review of Neil Cullan McKinlay and D. Rudi Schwartz, The Unfaithful Bride and the Faithful Groom: Covenant Making, Breaking and Renewal, Queensland: Weemac, 2023. For details re. purchasing, write to

Neil McKinlay and Rudi Schwartz have produced a very lively presentation of what is mostly biblical theology, with doses of systematic theology, as they explain the unfolding of God’s covenant promises down through the ages. The tone is not at all flippant, but there is a light touch. Satan, for example, is introduced as Piano Man. The victory of Christ is contrasted with the failure of Adam to carry out the cultural mandate of Genesis 1:28. Theonomy is rejected – the view that the civil laws of Israel apply to the Church – but Christ is portrayed as Lord of all life. That is a difficult subject to navigate, but it is navigated.

At times one might wonder at a point that was being made, such as David Chilton’s view that there is strong evidence that Jesus was crucified on a living tree (p.525), and a rather involved discussion on possible links between Scythians and Scotians (p.434), as well as Galatians, Gauls, and Celts (pp.434-435). Some statements seem too bald: ‘The State has no authority over the Church or the Family’ (p.446). Sphere sovereignty is not the best of terms in my view, as no sphere – church, state or family – has unrivalled sovereignty. A message of Ecclesiastes – that there is something wrong with everything – hovers over all of life in a fallen world. The Christian view of victory is often via defeat (which might modify the claims made on pp.445-446).

This is an unusual work, but there is depth of thought in all this, a multitude of biblical references, apt quotations of other writers, and a clear narrative that many will find very helpful, with good reason.

– Peter Barnes