New Covenant Theology

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by RLBosley, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. RLBosley

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    So I rarely come on here anymore but I thought this would be (hopefully) a good place to get some input.

    Anyone familiar with New Covenant Theology? I've been looking into lately and it seems to best fit my understanding of scripture. However I am not a Calvinist (not Arminian either) and this theology seems to tend more towards Calvinism.

    So basically I'm just interested in peoples thoughts on NCT and wondering if anyone has heard/read of a non-Cal theologian that adheres to NCT.

    And please try to resist the urge to turn this into another cal v arm dogfight... It's too early in the week for that...:smilewinkgrin:
     
  2. preachinjesus

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    There are some good articles (dismissing it) from the Master's Seminary theological journal that should be available online for free. They do a good job pointing one towards the basic reading for the view. There are a couple of books (I'm on the go right now and don't have time to post the requisite info) which are venturing into the category.

    In a brief evaluation, I think it is closer to what is accomplished with Progressive Dispensationalism sans the eschatological commitments than anything else. The whole things seems like a minor semantic move at points imho. Anyhoo, that's a brief assessment.
     
  3. Greektim

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    It's not so much a calvie vs armie debate. It is just that reformed baptist lean that way.

    Easiest way to summarize NCT is to see it similar to Covenant Theology (at least in its outworkings) without the theological covenants of works and grace (and redemption). That may be overly simplistic, but it gets the job done. In the end, there is not much that separates NCT and CT in many respects. They tend to lead to the same place.

    These articles from TMSJ should help: http://www.tms.edu/JournalIssue.aspx?year=2007 (particularly the one by Vlach which compares CT w/ NCT)
     
    #3 Greektim, Feb 26, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 26, 2013
  4. Earth Wind and Fire

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    From what Ive been able to understand, Its a dumbed down version of Covenant Theology ment more to get new people interested in christianity into the church. We have a guy who attempts to appeal to Roman Catholics pushin NCT. See he wants to take people who dont know escatholigy from soterology & groom them on something easy....thats what NCT represents.
     
  5. preachinjesus

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    In general, its never a good thing to call something a "dumbed down version" of anything when discussing emerging fields of thought and theory. We might disagree with NCT and its method, but there are better ways to go about these conversations. :)
     
  6. Earth Wind and Fire

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    I call them as I see them.
     
  7. Yeshua1

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    My understanding of NCT is that it is classic calvinism in regards to sotierology model, how God saves a sinner, but that unlike classical cals, they hold to us NOT being still under the OT law, but under the NT law of Christ, basically loving God and love others in the Spirit of Christ!
     
  8. Earth Wind and Fire

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    essentially a hug fest..... you know what though. Try privately writing "The Archangel" he is a SBC Pastor down in Maryland (and a Calvinist). I know he is a NCT guy.
     
    #8 Earth Wind and Fire, Feb 26, 2013
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  9. Iconoclast

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    Here is Sam Waldron and Rich Barcellos on this-
    http://thereformedbaptistthinker.blogspot.com/2006/01/new-critique-of-new-covenant-theology.html

    Greg Welty;
    http://www.proginosko.com/welty/adams.htm



    New Covenant Theology is a technical term referring to a theological view of redemptive history primarily found in Baptist circles and contrasted with Covenant theology and Dispensationalism. It has been assumed that one has only two primary options in understanding the structure of the Bible in evangelical Christianity -- Covenant Theology (coming out of the Reformation) or Dispensationalism. However, proponents see what has come to be called New Covenant Theology as middle ground with a biblical basis of understanding.

    Proponents maintain that the primary thrust of New Covenant Theology is the recognition of a promise-fulfillment understanding of Scripture. They suggest that whereas “Dispensationalism cannot get Israel and the church together in any sense whatsoever, and Covenant Theology cannot get them apart” (Reisinger, 19), New Covenant Theology finds the realization of all that the Old Covenant typified in the New Testament church (Covenant Theology, in contrast, merely levels the playing field and identifies them for all intents and purposes). The Mosaic economy is viewed as a temporal, conditional covenant that has been forever replaced by the glory of the New Covenant (2 Corinthians 3).

    History

    Despite its seemingly recent representation in modern theological discussions, today's proponents of New Covenant Theology (NCT) see roots extending back to the post-Reformation theological developments. Baptist history, especially the Reformed variety, is rooted in the basic tenets of New Covenant Theology. Much of its primary teaching is reflected in the influential First London Baptist Confession of Faith, especially in its 1646 edition (which is held by many New Covenant Theology churches today). However, in the historical whirlwind of this period, Calvinistic (Particular) Baptists felt a need to show close alignment with their Reformed brethren^[citations\ needed]^ in the Congregationalist and Presbyterian churches in order to avoid persecution and thus adopted the Second London Confession in 1689, a virtual restatement of the famous Westminster Confession with slight modifications, especially, of course, in the area of baptism. This move left an indelible mark of "covenant theology" in the Particular Baptists from that point forward.

    The last twenty-five years have seen a great resurgence of Reformed theology in Baptist circles. As a result, many within this camp have sought to develop a more clarified system of the covenants that relate back to older thought. Leaders of this movement include such theologians as John Reisinger, Jon Zens, Peter Ditzel, Fred Zaspel, Tom Wells, Gary Long, Geoff Volker and Steve Lehrer. The writings of Douglas Moo, Tom Schreiner, and D.A. Carson on the relation of the Christian to the law reveal their sympathies with NCT. However they have not wanted themselves to be so labeled.^[citations\ needed]^ John Piper also has many points of contact with this movement, but an article at Desiring God carefully distinguishes his position from the Covenant, New Covenant and Dispensational theological systems. [1]
    Contrasted with Covenant Theology

    New Covenant Theology, while having some similarities to Progressive Dispensationalism has more in common with classic Covenant Theology, in particular in how Israel and the Church are viewed. Both sides do not see an absolute distinction between the Old Testament people of God (Israel) and the Church as Dispensationalism does. They also are similar in their soteriology and eschatology (some see literal millennium and some don't, but neither would hold to a future millennium for the reinstatement of Israel as in dispensationalism).

    There are points of contention however. New Covenant Theology has more in common with Dispensationalism than Covenant Theology in terms of the relation of the Mosaic Law to the New Covenant economy.
    Agreement

    The Church has become “spiritual Israel.”
    Gentiles are heirs to the Abrahamic Covenant (Gal 3:8–9; Eph 2:11ff; Rom 4:1–13; Rev 5:9).
    Acknowledges the redemptive-historical hermeneutic.
    Calvinistic in soteriology.
    The Old Testament does have prophecies of the Church age (Jer 31:31–34; cf. Heb 8).
    God’s main purpose in history is Christ and His Church (elect throughout all ages).
    Everyone ever saved is saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (Rom 4).
    Christ offered a spiritual kingdom to ethnic Israel but was rejected. Spiritual Israel, however, accepted and continues to accept the kingdom.
    Inaugurated eschatology.

    Disagreement

    The Church started at Pentecost, and there is therefore no “Church” as such in the Old Testament/Covenant.
    Rejects the three “theological covenants” often espoused (with some variation) in Covenant Theology, viz. the covenants of redemption, works, grace.
    Sees the Mosaic Law as only a means of blessing in Canaan.
    The Mosaic Law is fulfilled with the advent of Christ and the New Covenant; New Covenant believers are under the Law of Christ (1 Cor 9:21).
    All hold to credobaptism.
    The Holy Spirit worked differently in the Old Covenant than in the New (the Spirit now indwells believers).

    Law/Gospel

    The biggest difference between classical Covenant Theology and New Covenant Theology is how they view the Mosaic Law. Covenant Theology sees the Mosaic Law as divided into civil, ceremonial, and moral, with only the moral law remaining in effect. New Covenant Theology sees the New Testament writers as referring to the Mosaic Law in its totality (in other words all 613 laws, not only the Ten Commandments). Therefore, when Paul says that "we are no longer under a tutor" (Gal 3:25) he is saying that the Mosaic Law en toto has passed away.

    There is still a Law in the New Testament however. Paul says that he is "under the law of Christ" (1 Cor 9:21), and he is therefore still responsible to Law. The eternal, unchanging moral law is expressed in both the New and Old Law, but the Old Law doesn't itself carry over. The Law of Christ are the moral commands given by the writers of the New Testament (Jesus and his apostles). As Moses went to a mountain to get the Law, so Christ went up into a mountain to give the new Law (Mat 5-7; cf. 2 Cor 3).
    Criticisms

    Detractors, like Reformed Baptist Sam Waldron, see New Covenant Theology deviating from the traditional Reformed hermeneutic of the law which argues that whatever is not abolished in Christ continues. For example, in Waldron's assessment "New Covenant Theology says that the entire Law of Moses has passed away and only remains in so far as it passes through the hands of Christ. According to Wells and Zaspel, prior to Christ’s actual teaching in the New Testament one simply cannot be sure what He will do with the law of the Old Testament. Thus, none of the Law of Moses or even the Ten Commandments remain binding for us unless Christ hands it on to us in the New Testament." [2]
    Further reading

    Reisinger, John G., Abraham’s Four Seeds, (Frederick, MD: New Covenant Media, 1998).
    Tom Wells and Fred Zaspel, New Covenant Theology: Description, Definition, Defense, (Frederick, MD: New Covenant Media, 2002).
    Wayne G. Strickland (editor), Five Views of Law and Gospel, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993).
    Richard C. Barcellos, In Defense of the Decalogue: A Critique of New Covenant Theology, (Winepress Publishing, 2001).

    See also

    Covenant theology
    Reformed Baptist

    External links

    Directories:

    newcovenanttheology.info
    NewCovenantTheology.org

    Articles:

    What is New Covenant Theology

    A Brief Explanation of "New Covenant Theology" Fred G. Zaspel

    "But I Say Unto You" John Reisinger

    John Piper's view (Agrees with NCT on Law)]

    History of New Covenant Theology Kevin Hartley

    Law/Gospel

    How Does the Christian Relate to the Law of Moses?

    Comparative Theology:

    A Comparison of Three Systems by Donald Hochner

    "A New Covenant Critique of Dispensationalism" Ragan Ewing

    Covenant Theology vs. New Covenant Theology Tony Warren

    New Covenant Statements of Faith:

    The New Covenant Confession of Faith

    The Statement of Faith for Christ Fellowship of Kansas City

    Critiques of New Covenant Theology

    New Critique of New Covenant Theology

    Responding to Criticism

    In Defense of the New Covenant: A Theological Response to Richard Barcellos’ Book, In Defense of the Decalogue: A Critique of New Covenant Theology
     
    #9 Iconoclast, Feb 26, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 26, 2013
  10. Herald

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    Some Reformed Baptists lean that way, not all; and hopefully the one's that do lean that way will abandon NCT. NCT has been made popular in the Internet age. It has few serious scholars and is rejected by almost all Reformed Baptist theologians of note (James Renihan, Richard Barcellos, Sam Waldron, Paul Tripp, Fred Malone, Thomas Nettles, Robert Gonzales et. al.).
     
  11. Greektim

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    Actually, if you could call Kingdom through Covenant NCT, then I'd say it is on the rise in the SBC.
     
  12. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Well that makes perfect sense...:smilewinkgrin:
     
  13. RLBosley

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    Thanks for the info! I'll check them out.

    Thanks for the link. I can see the similarities to CT but (from my understanding) the major difference is in the cancellation of OT law so that's a pretty big break from CT.

    I would disagree with that. I don't know much about it but I would say it's not a dumbed down anything. Different but not simpler or dumbed down. If anything it's a more complex system that CT.

    True but that shouldn't be confused with anitnomianism. Christ's commands to love God above all else and to love each other as our self is just as high of a standard since "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

    Interesting, I'm also in MD. I'll check him out. Thanks.

    Thank you for all the info and the links. I really appreciate your help and taking the time to give a thorough response.
     
  14. Earth Wind and Fire

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    your right.... I dont see it taking hold amongst the Reformed Baptists. (thats all I care about if truth be told)
     
  15. Greektim

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    Can't tell if you are being sarcastic. The authors are big time profs of SBTS. It is only a matter of time until their book influences the next group of pastors coming out of the flagship seminary (can't believe I said that being a SEBTS student ;)). So, yes, it is on the rise in the SBC. However, their version is not the internet campaigned version. They are utilizing biblical theology to intersect CT and DT. I like their approach since it relies more on biblical theology rather than systematic theology.
     
  16. Earth Wind and Fire

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    My prediction, it wont work because its a big backward hermeneutic....but we will see. Ive got no dog in the race because I dont support either CT or Dispy. When I looked at this NCT I was not impressed..... & the hard line Reformed Baptists honestly view it as a joke. Hopefully they will overhaul the whole bloody thing .... Christianity needs a better formulated one.
     
  17. RLBosley

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    So since you don't support CT or DT or NCT... what exactly is your view?

    Serious question not sarcasm.
     
  18. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Pan Millennial
     
  19. RLBosley

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    :laugh:
    It'll all "pan-out in the end"?

    I get that. It really is frustrating hearing all the bickering and different "proofs." But at the same time Jesus specifically said He didn't want his disciples deceived when it came to the nature of his return. So I study...

    But the theological viewpoints deal with more than just eschatology.
     
  20. Greektim

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    I actually think it will work b/c of its emphasis on biblical theology. That discipline is on the rise and increasing in popularity and validity (and usefulness). The gospel project is an example of that as SS material. So instead of viewing eschatology in a vacuum, it presents the kingdom story of Scripture guided by covenants leading to the end. This method has great value and it pays great dividends. The fact is, they are not offering much that is new. But it is fresh and fast becoming the next great theological movement.

    As for hermeneutics, I'm not sure what you mean by that. Theological interpretation of Scripture is on the rise as well. The literal ,grammatical, historical method is a product of the post-enlightenment thinking. It is modernity doing hermeneutics. Those advocating for a more figural reading are moving back to a pre-modern hermeneutic. We see the apostles do this with the OT and the early church as well. So it is consistent with church history.
     

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