What is a New Covenant Baptist?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Dr. Bob, Mar 5, 2002.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    PastorDave said that was his "niche" and I wonder if he or others who are in the know would share what makes them tick!

    Thanks
     
  2. rlvaughn

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  3. javalady

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  4. PreacherDave

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    Well here is a basic presentation (not at all exhaustive):

    What is New Covenant Theology?
    This page is part of the In-Depth Studies web site!
    New Covenant Theology (NCT) is a biblical approach to understanding God's unfolding plan of salvation. The focus of this approach is the work and person of Jesus Christ with emphasis on what God has accomplished and fulfilled in Christ for the elect. The Lord Jesus is the grand theme of both the New and Old Testament Scriptures which unifies all of the Bible (Eph. 1:9,10).
    The primary premise of NCT is that the New Covenant as mediated by Christ is a brand NEW covenant which totally replaces the Old Covenant (Heb. 8:6-13). The Old Covenant was a covenant which God established with the Nation of Israel only. The terms of this covenant were the Ten Commandments or Tables of Stone (Exodus 34:27-28; Dt. 5:1-3). Thus, the Ten Commandments were only the essence of the Old Covenant (or first covenant) and Not the essence of all of God's law.
    In addition, the Old Covenant was a legal covenant with Israel that demanded perfect obedience in order to receive the promised blessings (Ex. 19:3-6). The primary function of the Old Covenant was a ministry of death (2 Cor. 3:6-9) and was a tutor to lead the Israelites to Christ (Gal. 3:24,25).

    The New Covenant is a new and better covenant.

    Jesus Christ is the mediator of the New Covenant which is founded on better promises (Heb. 8:6). The New Covenant is made up of totally regenerate membership since Christ has died only for His people who receive the complete benefits of His reconciling work (Heb. 8:10-12; Heb. 7:25). Jesus Christ, then, kept the terms of the Old Covenant perfectly and earned all the blessings for His people.
    Since Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant, He is the new Lawgiver and Lord of the church (Heb. 1:1-3; Heb.7:12). Thus, all Christians are under the authority of the New Covenant which is governed by the New Testament Scriptures (Eph. 2:19,20). The Old Covenant has been perfectly fulfilled in Christ and done away. God's law is still binding on the believer but God's righteous standards are contained in the Law of Christ (Gal.6:2; 1 Cor.9:21). The people of God in the New Covenant era are motivated internally to obey the Law of Christ.
    NCT as seen above does differ from Covenant Theology and Historic Dispensationalism. In regards to Covenant Theology, the NCT view asserts that the "Covenant of Works" and "Covenant of Grace" cannot be found in Scripture. We would agree that God had a Gracious Purpose in placing the nation of Israel under the law as a covenant. However, this does not make the Old Covenant a covenant of grace. Scripture indicates that the purpose of the Mosaic Law was to bring deep conviction of sin to those under the covenant to lead them to Christ (Gal 3:23-25).
    In addition, NCT views the nation of Israel as a picture of the people of God but not the real people of God (Heb. 8:7-9; Heb. 10:1). Thus, the nation of Israel is mainly the Unbelieving people of God who are rejected by God (Matt. 8:5-12). While a remnant of the nation of Israel were true believers, New Covenant era believers are now the True people of God since Jesus has purchased all those in the New Covenant (1 Pet. 2:4-10). In NCT, the Ten Commandments are NOT the essence of the "Moral Law" but are seen as a Unit applying only as the terms of the Old Covenant with Israel. The Christian, then, is no longer bound by the terms of the Old Covenant. The Law of Christ is the objective standard for the New Covenant believer.
    Some of the main adherents for NCT include John Reisinger, Jon Zens, Randy Seiver, Fred Zaspel, and Gary Long. You will also find that John Bunyan's view of God's Law captured the biblical differences between the Old and New Covenant as reflected in NCT. For further information, several NCT books would be helpful to you. Abraham's Four Seeds by John Reisinger (Sound of Grace) and "Tablets of Stone" by John Reisinger would be a good place to start. Also, you will find much information on the Sound of Grace, Searching Together, and Solo Christo web pages.

    Summary
    New Covenant Theology describes how the unfolding plan of salvation in Scripture is to be understood. It differs with both Covenant Theology and Historic Dispensationalism.

    Relationship to Covenant Theology

    Covenant Theology errs in trying to read the Old Covenant as though it were the New Covenant.

    Relationship to Dispensationalism

    Dispensationalism errs in reading the Old Covenant without taking into account the New Covenant.

    The Old Covenant

    The Old Covenant (Mosaic Covenant, also called the First Covenant) is a legal, conditional covenant, not another administration of the Covenant of Grace. Although God had a gracious purpose for giving the Mosaic Covenant the covenant itself is a legal covenant that was intended to show the Israelites their sin.

    The Nation of Israel

    The nation of Israel is the "unbelieving" people of God. They are only a picture of the real people of God that is revealed in the New Covenant era. Only a remnant of the nation of Israel were believers.

    The Ten Commandments

    The Ten Commandments are the essence or terms of the Old Covenant not the essence of all of God's law. The Ten Commandments as a unit are not brought into the New Covenant era, although the New Covenant era does bring over 9 of the 10 (Sabbath excluded). The essence of all of God's law is found in the 2 great commandments.

    The Abrahamic Covenant

    The Abrahamic Covenant is a revealing of God's plan of salvation through Abraham and his physical descendants. The true seed of Abraham is Jesus Christ and the believers are the true children of Abraham.

    The Law of Christ

    The Law of Christ is the law in the New Covenant era. The issue is not whether or not believers in the New Covenant era are under law. The issue is which law are the believers under in this present era.
     
  5. Dr. Bob

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    Appreciate the good definitions. Figured finding out "from the horses mouth" (I said HORSE) [​IMG] was the best way to get a summary.

    Will have to study that one out. I'm an historic dispensationalist (one of the few Reformed Baptists who opts for that) so it will be a B-I-G step to adopt something so radically different.
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    Questions:

    1) Is NCT premillennial?

    2) How does NCT differ from Progressive Dispensationalism? It seems to be the move of CT toward dispensationalsim where PD is a move towards CT.
     
  7. Chris Temple

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    1. It may be, but is usually Amill.
    2. See A Comparison of Three Systems

    This is best discussed under Theology, for it is not a denominational issue.
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    Interesting link on the comparison. Thanks for that. I think that type of comparison would be better written by corporate effort between people who hold the three positions rather than by one person who holds one commenting on the other two. I saw a number of statements about Dispensationalism that I would take issue with. If that was all I knew about DT, I would reject it like the plague. Fortunately, it is not. There are a few things about Covenantalism that it seems many covenantalists would take issue with. As for the NCT, I don't know what they take issue with but as he listed the options, it seemed there were some contradictory views, or at least views in need of clarification. He also points out some of the contradictions within CT.

    [ March 11, 2002, 02:21 PM: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
     
  9. javalady

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    I am not as theological as my husband, but I will attempt to add a little more to New Covenant definitions.
    1. NC agrees with Dispensationalists in that we also believe there are 2 covenants that God established, but expressed differently than DT.
    2. Also with Dispensationalists, we agree that we are no longer under the Law, but under grace. The emphasis of the New Covenant in Christ is one of grace, not of continual comparison with the Law. For example, Sabbath law no longer is required of the believer; for Christ is our Sabbath. The 10 Commandments have been fulfilled by Christ and we are given His new commandments: to love God with all our heart, soul, mind & strength; and love our neighbor as ourselves. (The Beatitudes, 1 Cor. 13, Gal. 5:22,23 help to define what that means.)
    3. Like Covenantal Theology, NC belief believes that God's covenant with Israel has been fulfilled and completed through Jesus Christ.
    4. Like Covenant Theology, NCT is usually amil, or partial-preterist amil.
    So you could say it is seeing the strength of arguments in both, acknowledging them to be true, and finding answers to some of the "lack" of the other 2 theologies. We found it refreshingly straightforward in Scripture; without the problem of spiritualized verses that don't seem to be in context (like we've seen with DT & CT). In fact, after leaving both DT & CT and just reading & comparing the Word with itself, we became convinced of NCT before reading anything about NCT. When we began to read John Reisinger, Huntington & others in the NC circles, we were delighted to find that we weren't creating something ourselves, that we were interpreting the Word properly in an orthodox manner.
    I might add that until recently there weren't as many in-depth theological treatise written as the more popular 2 lines of thinking; aside from the London Baptist Confession, 1644 & William Huntington was a New Covenant Baptist of the (I believe) 1600-1700's who wrote fairly extensively.
    We noticed that many of the "reformed" Baptists before the 1900's were much more New Covenant (versus Covenantal) than today's reformed Baptists. Grace was the constant theme of Spurgeon, Bunyan, etc.
    Many of the reformed Baptists are aligning themselves in many ways to their Presbyterian/Reformed brethren, and standing much more on the Law than in past times.
     
  10. Chris Temple

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    Very good, JL. I am in agreement with you. New Covenant theology comes off the pages of Scripture ;)

    But as with all systems, one must be careful of the "hypers" - in the case of NCT's those who espouse no law at all. [​IMG]
     
  11. PreacherDave

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    I agree completely Chris. God forbid that we should be antinomian. Christ's law is much more binding because it applies the law to the heart. The Old Covenant Law applied to Christ as he walked in perfect obedience, thus meriting righteousness being justified through obedience. Our justification comes by faith in Him then, not of works lest we should boast.

    The administration of the law condemns the sinful flesh. The blood of Christ cleanses us from its sinful stain. Our work is to believe in Christ, doing as He commands (the law of love).

    Consider John 16:8-11, "And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged."

    1. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin because of unbelief in Christ NOT because of disobedience to the law. The reason this is true is because Christ has fulfilled the Old Covenant law. He becomes the focal point of obedience.
    2. Of righteousness because Christ has now stepped into His position as King and Lord of the Covenant. Now we must serve Him, being made in His likeness and conformed to His image. We don't wait for a future reign; He reigns NOW.
    3. Satan is judged as is the works of the flesh. Each man now will be judged by his unbelief of Christ, thus being condemned with the devil's doom. Satan's "short time" is now, awaiting the redemption of all creation.

    So you see NCT is NOT antinomian for the Law of Christ is all pervasive and encompassing.
     
  12. Chris Temple

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    You're right PD. I only mentioned the ever present hyperisms. The opposite of hyper-NCT would be CT Theonomy. :eek:
     
  13. javalady

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    You're right PD. I only mentioned the ever present hyperisms. The opposite of hyper-NCT would be CT Theonomy. :eek: </font>[/QUOTE]"Right on!" as I used to say long ago! :D
    We've seen that obeying the Law of Christ (vs. the 10 Commandments) is quite restrictive of the flesh...not at all antinomian! Jesus pointed out in the Beatitudes, that the 10 Commandments restricts one from adultery; but He also addressed adultery of the heart! (Matt. 5) Much more inclusive of the "whole man."
    We are not desirous to be free to sin, only free of man's traditions. And the opposite is quite chilling: CT Theonomy...burr!...scarey stuff!!
     

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