Explanation. Since the 1980’s I have pursued within New Covenant Theology (NCT) circles a more perfect understanding of the teaching of God’s word pertaining to the New Covenant. Little has changed since 2012 when I first put my thoughts together here at CMC with regards to the future of New Covenant Theology. It is now 2018 and I remain a skeptic for the following frustrating reasons:.
- There is no common agreement within NCT as to how to apply God’s word and for that reason there is no agreement on the newness/nature of the new covenant itself.
- There is no common agreement as to what constitutes the Law of Christ
- Some struggle with the application of commands derived from the Old Testament scriptures (ie., What commands remain applicable from the Old Testament in the New Covenant?)
- Others see all of the Decalogue binding (albeit in a non-covenantal sense), with the exception of a no longer binding Sabbath command.
- Some see only New Testament commands as binding.
- Some seek to replace Reformed Theology’s “rule of life” and “third use of the Law” with a new code derived from the New Testament scriptures.
- There is little to no agreement as to what constitutes the content of the law written upon the heart.
- There is no common ground with respect to typology and eschatological fulfillment.
- There is no common agreement with regards to future things (eschatology).
- Some believe there is no special future relationship for saved Jews within a Millennial kingdom under the rule of Messiah.
- Others believe all of the saved in the New Covenant are true Jews who share a common inheritance with saved Gentiles and not one without the other. (This group believes in “one people of God” made up of saved Jews and Gentiles joined together in Christ.)
- Yet, others do not hold to a specific view of future things.
- While others, espouse a Preterist or partial-Preterist view.
- There is little agreement as to the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
- As unbelievable as this is, little to no consideration is given to the nuts and bolts of the new covenant of the Spirit and the Holy Spirit’s relationship to the promise made to Abraham (Gal 3:14; 2Corinthians 3).
- There remains a lack of emphasis on the role of the Spirit of God in sanctification, both positional and progressive.
- Obedience is rightfully emphasized while enablement by the Spirit to obey is neglected.
- Some advocates of NCT hold to Cessationism while others to Continuationism.
- Perhaps most tragic is how some deny the importance and necessity of the indwelling Spirit by flattening the old and new covenants.
- There is little to no agreement with regards to the differences between regeneration (new birth) and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
- Few advocates understand the “Letter / Spirit” contrast as defined Paul in 2 Corinthians 3 and Romans 7:1-6. A right understanding of the way of the Spirit is an essential for agreement.But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. (Romans 7:6 ESV)
- Though almost all advocates of NCT are Baptist in name not all are congregationalist with regards to church polity.
- Some hold to the strong pastor model while others insist more or less upon eldership rule and the equality of elders.
- Others insist on a “hire and fire” model of professional ministry. (This statement is not to be construed as opposition to compensation for those who teach.)
Going forward it remains my intention to gain by God’s grace a greater and more perfect understanding of the New Covenant. A mature theology of the New Covenant is most desirable. That much has not changed. If the last 30 years have shown me anything it is this. New Covenant Theology (NCT) has a long way to go if it is to go beyond the law and grace controversy that gave NCT its birth among the Reformed & Sovereign Grace Baptists in the last half of the last century. There remains much to think about and prayerfully consider.
Presently, I am encouraged by the more recent and robust theological movement known as “Progressive Covenantalism“.
The above is to be considered a work in progress. I have not composed the above with the intent to divide. Revisions will be published as needed.
In His love,
About our publisher: At the present time Moe serves on the pastoral team of Sovereign Grace Fellowship located in Boscawen, New Hampshire. For fourteen years he served as pastor for Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Salem, NH. He has also enjoyed speaking engagements at numerous churches and conference venues in the North East United States and the Virgin Islands. As a Christian Internet pioneer he established the original online sermon library for Dr. John Piper.