Applying NCT in church life
Over the past several years, I’ve seen, read, and participated in a lot of discussions about what laws or commandments we need to follow in the New Covenant, what a Biblical Theology of the New Covenant should be, or what the eschatology of NCT adherents should be. (That last one is a particularly volatile one at the moment, with some amills wanting to kick out the premills.)
In other words, there’s a lot of conversation about NCT orthodoxy.
But what about NCT orthopraxy?
What should a church that teaches New Covenant Theology look like? What are its hallmarks?
I’d first point us to Galatians 6:2 (ESV): “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
That’s an application of what Jesus Himself told His disciples.
We can look to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in John’s Gospel for the source of that: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34–35 ESV)
As Charles Leiter writes in his exceptional work from 2012, The Law of Christ:
The Christian’s standard is thus not just any sort of “love,” but Christlike love — love of the same quality and magnitude as Christ Himself demonstrated in His incarnation and death on the cross! By rising to pray and commune with His Father, by walking through jostling crowds in perfect peace and tranquility of heart, by opening His mouth in wisdom and compassion, by washing His disciples’ feet, by forgiving His enemies — by everything He ever said and did, the Lord Jesus gave us the pattern for our conduct. As we indicated earlier, it is the highest, clearest, and brightest revelation of man’s duty that could ever be given to the human race. There can be nothing more exacting, or more demanding, or more wonderful than this — to love God and to love others in the same way and to the same degree that Christ did! No one has ever fathomed the full import of these words, nor has anyone ever begun to fully live up to them.
(Leiter, Charles. The Law of Christ. Hannibal, Mo.: Granted Ministries, 2012. Print. p. 160)
Christlike love should be the hallmark of a Christian; it should be the hallmark of an NCT church.
And I’d add this reminder: “Go (or as you are going) therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19–20a ESV)
What do these point to? Caring for one another sacrificially. Loving one another abundantly. Discipling one another constantly. All while on mission for Jesus.
A true New Covenant Theology-subscribing church must be one of love, discipleship and mission, growing in the image of Christ.
About Our Author: Ed Trefzger, serves as pastor/elder at Evangelical Church of Fairport, near Rochester, N.Y. Ed is the publisher of “This Mystery” blog.