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NCT alternative to Dispensationalism and Covenant theology

Discussion in 'Baptists' started by ChaseWind, May 16, 2013.

  1. ChaseWind

    ChaseWind Guest

    There is a 3rd perspective on how to view the Scripture overall and systematize it for better understanding. There is a series of lectures online done very well that can be listened to at your leisure. This is called New Covenant Theology and it is compatible with the First London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1644/1646...

    New Covenant Theology Series - SermonAudio.com
  2. JM

    JM Precisionist, Puritan & Predestinarian Supporter

    NCT reads into the First London Baptist Confession what isn't there.

    The Second Confession (1689) was framed and signed by some of the believers that signed the First so it is difficult to believe they held to NCT and changed to full blown covenant theology (CT) in the 1689.

    That doesn't mean the CT of 1689 is exactly the same as the CT of the Westminster (WCF), it isn't. The 17th century Particular Baptists held to a minority view concerning the Mosaic or Siniatic covenant, they believed it was a covenant of works and not of grace like WCF CT. The Baptists also view the covenant of grace as being progressively revealed in time finding fulfillment in the death of the testator Jesus Christ. The new covenant is the covenant of grace.

    In Dr. Beeke and Jones' work on Puritan Theology they outline John Owen's theology in a chapter titled, 'The Minority Report,' Nehemiah Coxe tells us he is in agree with Owen's view based on his comments on Hebrews 8.


  3. ChaseWind

    ChaseWind Guest

    I can only go on what I read in the 1646 Confession as I compare it to the 1689 Confession. The 1646 is not the same as 1689 concerning law and is more in line with NCT.

    From the 1646 First London Confession of Baptists

    "XXV THE preaching of the gospel to the conversion of sinners, is absolutely free; no way requiring as absolutely necessary, any qualifications, preparations, or terrors of the law, or preceding ministry of the law, but only and alone the naked soul, a sinner and ungodly, to receive Christ crucified, dead and buried, and risen again; who is made a prince and a Saviour for such sinners as through the gospel shall be brought to believe on Him."
    "XXXVIII THE ministers of Christ ought to have whatsoever they shall need, supplied freely by the church, that according to Christ's ordinance they that preach the Gospel should live of the gospel by the law of Christ."
    "XLVIII(from note) ...concerning the worship of God; there is but one lawgiver, which is able to save and destroy, James 4;12; which is Jesus Christ, who hath given laws and rules sufficient in His word for His worship; and for any to make more, were to charge Christ with want of wisdom, or faithfulness, or both, in not making laws enough, or not good enough for His house: Surely it is our wisdom, duty, and privilege, to observe Christ's laws only, Ps. 2:6,9,10,12..."

    From the 1689 Second London Confession of Baptists

    "19.2 The same law that was first written in the heart of man continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness after the Fall, and was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai in the ten commandments, and written in two tables, the first four containing our duty towards God, and the other six, our duty to man."
    "19.3 Besides this law, commonly called the moral law..."
    "19.5 The moral law ever binds to obedience everyone, justified people as well as others, and not only out of regard for the matter contained in it, but also out of respect for the authority of God the Creator, Who gave the law. Nor does Christ in the Gospel dissolve this law in any way, but He considerably strengthens our obligation to obey it."
    "19.6 Although true believers are not under the law as a covenant of works, to be justified or condemned by it, yet it is of great use to them as well as to others, because as a rule of life it informs them of the will of God and their duty and directs and binds them to walk accordingly. It also reveals and exposes the sinful pollutions of their natures, hearts and lives, and using it for self-examination they may come to greater conviction of sin, greater humility and greater hatred of their sin. They will also gain a clearer sight of their need of Christ and the perfection of His own obedience. It is of further use to regenerate people to restrain their corruptions, because of the way in which it forbids sin..."

    The confusion comes from the invention of the term "moral law" for the Ten Commandments, which term "moral law" is not found in any English translation that I know. The Ten Commandments were never given to the Gentiles and never placed upon the Gentiles in the NT.
  4. JM

    JM Precisionist, Puritan & Predestinarian Supporter

    Hi ChaseWind,

    This is an issue I struggle with for a few years and agree, on the surface it would appear they are different but I would ask you to consider the primary sources, the sources written by the framers of the First Confession and what they latter said about the Moral Law of God in the Second Confession. The Primitive Baptists (sometimes called Regular, Old Line, Old School, Hard Shell) and NCT Baptists do us a disservice when they post on the internet material that places emphasis on what they believe are the differences. It really just muddies the water. The First used a lot of non-theological language and the Second adopted almost completely the theological language of the Savoy and Westminster Confessions.

    I will admit that some Baptists were antinomian and others were neonomian but most agreed with the 1689 on the Moral Law which is why it was signed and used by so many churches. It is anachronistic to view the First Confession as antinomian when the Second so clearly agrees with the third use of the Law. Dr. Renihan has written a short article explaining some of the details.

    Confessing the Faith in 1644 and 1689, James M. Renihan | The Reformed Reader

    This quote from John Gill (1697 - 1771) might be helpful in explain the Moral Law, the Law of Christ and the Terror of the Law,

    “The law is in the hands of Christ as a rule of walk and conversation, directing believers how to conduct and behave themselves under his influence. The whole scripture, given by inspiration of God, is the standard of faith and practice, and the rule of both; the gospel-part of it is profitable for doctrine, and is the test of that; and the law-part of it respects duty, and points to that; wherefore to the law and to the testimony; if men speak not, and act not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isai. 8:20)Christ is king and lawgiver in his house and kingdom, the church and besides some positive commands which he has delivered out, there is a repetition of the law in the New Testament; a new edition of it, published under the authority and sanction of Christ; so that we are now under the law to him, (1 Cor. 9:21)and under new obligations to obey it, as held forth by him. And it is to be obeyed from love, in faith, and to the glory of God, without any sinister, selfish, mercenary ends and views.

    It is to he obeyed from love to God and Christ; the end of the commandment is charity, or love; out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and faith unfeigned: (1 Tim. 1:5) not the terrors of the law, but the love of Christ constrains believers in him to yield a cheerful obedience to it: which they do through faith in him, depending on him for grace and strength to serve him in it. Of all men in the world none are under greater obligations to be careful to maintain good works than believers, and none so capable of performing them as they, and none so ready to do them; and in doing which they seek not themselves, but the glory of God; and which, as it should be, they make their chief end, as in civil things, so much more in religious duties; and when they have done all they can, and are assisted to do, they own they are but unprofitable servants; do not and cannot merit any thing at the hands of God, but expect eternal life and salvation as the free gift of God through Christ.

    And now, true believers, who behold the law in the hand of Christ, and as fulfilled by him, delight in it, after the inward man; and though with the flesh they serve the law of sin, to the grief and distress of their souls, yet with the mind the law of God. (Rom. 7:22, 25)"

    PS: Theological terms such as 'Moral Law' are used to sum up theological ideas contained in scripture. Like saying 'Holy Trinity' or eschatology, supralapsarianism or reprobation...they all have biblical meaning and used to convey biblical ideas.
  5. ChaseWind

    ChaseWind Guest

    Hello JM,
    You seem to be well read and I cannot compete there. But I've read through theology texts in the past; but, more and more, the "thus saith the Lord" came to be more important to me. I do not follow your thinking on Primitive Baptists, of which there are rather orthodox as well as fatalists; and you connecting them to NCT. I have encountered more former Covenant men among the NCT group, and also some former dispensationalists, but I do not remember any Primitives. I am curious what you mean by, "do us a disservice when they post on the internet" the differences. The differences about what and among whom? You know how we Baptists are, 'soul liberty' and openness to discussion, even on the Internet in this day.

    As to the history of the two confessions and the men involved, I'll stay with what was produced in 1644/1646 in comparison with 1689 and let the documents speak for themselves rather than trying to read their minds or intentions, written by others. You mention antinomian teachings and again, you are using theological terms not in Scripture, at least in the English translations I use. To teach the Ten Commandments itself is not for the New Covenant is not antinomian, since we do hold to the law of God, and the Appendix to the 1646 Confession shows this. Now, all of my favorites, Poole, Gill, etc., use those terms and Dr. Gill first speaks of the moral, ceremonial and civil law at Gen. 26:5; but, I do not follow these fine men on this. When the words in Eph. 2:15 are evaded by introducing a non-biblical terminology such as "ceremonial" and "moral" law I opt out and take the verse just as it stands.

    Sure, we use terms not found in Scripture, but if I do not see the word or term so clearly taught in Scripture or more importantly, if it seems to contradict Scripture, I adhere to the older translations of Isa. 8:20 on it. I bet if I come back and tell you the "secret rapture" is one of these theological terms you mention, you'd set that one aside, correct? :D

    There was an Appendix to the 1644 Confession which addressed some of these questions brought up by godly persons such as you. You no doubt have read it, but for others, the link is:
    Appendix to the First Baptist Confession of Faith 1646
  6. JM

    JM Precisionist, Puritan & Predestinarian Supporter

    Hi ChaseWind,

    I mention the Primitive Baptists because they believe the First Confession teaches antinomianism just like the NCT.

    Without a historical context it is only a pretext.

    ChaseWind, from the First Confession:
    Though we be not now sent to the law as it was in the hand of Moses, to be commanded thereby, yet Christ in His Gospel teacheth and commandeth us to walk in the same way of righteousness and holiness that God by Moses did command the lsraelites to walk in, all the commandments of the Second Table being still delivered unto us by Christ, and all the commandments of the First Table also (as touching the life and spirit of them) in this epitome or brief sum, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, etc.," Matt.22:37,38,39,40; Rom.13:8,9,10.
    Secret rapture...you admit it is a secret! It is so secretive we cannot find it in scripture!


    Yes, I mentioned I struggle to understand the First Confession in light of the Second, etc. The fella who wrote the Appendix was Nehimiah Coxe's father, Nehimiah Coxe was an author of the 1689.

    From the confession, it echos the quote I posted from Gill...it makes the distinctions without mentioning them:

    Though we that believe in Christ, be not under the law, but under grace, Rom.6:14; yet we know that we are not lawless, or left to live without a rule; "not without law to God, but under law to Christ," 1 Cor.9:21. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a law, or commanding rule unto us; whereby, and in obedience whereunto, we are taught to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, Titus 2:11,12; the directions of Christ in His evangelical word guiding us unto, and in this sober, righteous, and godly walking, 1 Tim.1:10,11.
    A. W. Pink explaining further:

    God’s method of salvation by grace has “established the law” in a threefold way.
    First, by Christ, the Surety of God’s elect, being “made under the law” (Gal. 4:4), fulfilling its precepts (Matt. 5:17), suffering its penalty in the stead of His people, and thereby He has “brought everlasting righteousness” (Dan. 9:24).

    Second, by the HolySpirit, for at regeneration He writes the Law on their hearts (Heb. 8:10), drawing out their affections unto it, so that they “delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Rom. 7:22).

    Third, as the fruit of his new nature, the Christian voluntarily and gladly takes the Law for his rule of life, so that he declares, “with the mind I myself serve the law” (Rom. 7:25). Thus is the Law “established” not only in the high court of heaven, but in the souls of the redeemed. So far from law and grace being enemies, they are mutual handmaids: the former reveals the sinner’s need, the latter supplies it; the one makes known God’s requirements, the other enables us to meet them.

    Faith is not opposed to good works, but performs them in obedience to God out of love and gratitude.[end quote]

    NCT is a move in the right direction, toward covenant theology but it is bringing its Dispensational baggage with it.


  7. ChaseWind

    ChaseWind Guest

    I cut this down to one point, antinomianism, since this has come down to disagreement over terms and this is a major one.

    "Antinomianism. From Greek anti (against) and nomos (law), referring to the doctrine that it is not necessary for Christians to preach or obey the moral law of the OT." Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd Ed.

    I have posted in a couple of prior threads the commandments considered as "moral" as they appear in Genesis, prior to Moses or the Ten Commandments. Therefore the "moral law" is not the Ten Commandments OR there was no "moral law" before Moses! The Ten Commandments may contain moral law, but it is not the moral law.

    Those outside the Old Covenant of the Jews, the Gentiles, have always been under the "moral law" of God from creation:

    Rom 2:14-15 NRSV "When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. (15) They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them"

    Here it is made clear that Gentiles, such as I, have never been under the Ten Commandments or the Law of Moses. Yet, we've been under God's moral law. I reject the idea that this is "antinomianism". Yet, even if theology says this is antinomian; since Scripture has no such word or concept, I'll not lose any sleep over it because Scripture clearly states:

    He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.
    (Eph 2:15-16 NRSV)
  8. JM

    JM Precisionist, Puritan & Predestinarian Supporter

    You are playing fast and loose with LAW. But yes, the moral law is universal and I stated why it was given at Sinai in one of the above posts. You must think we have three kinds of law: one previous to the Sinai, one given on Sinai and the law of Christ?
  9. ChaseWind

    ChaseWind Guest

    To me, any command of God the Father or God the Son is LAW to those to whom it is given. Sorry, I do not read long posts on forums so if you wrote a long article style post, I did not read it.

    I generally see 3 dispensations when it comes to God's law:

    "Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring; it does not say, "And to offsprings," as of many; but it says, "And to your offspring," that is, to one person, who is Christ. My point is this: the law, which came four hundred thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise."
    (Gal 3:16-17 NRSV)

    Mosaic Law:
    "These are the commandments that the LORD gave to Moses for the people of Israel on Mount Sinai."
    (Lev 27:34 NRSV)

    Prophecy of the law of Christ:
    "Moses said, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you from your own people a prophet like me. You must listen to whatever he tells you. And it will be that everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be utterly rooted out of the people.'"
    (Act 3:22-23 NRSV)

    The law of Christ:
    "To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law) so that I might win those outside the law."
    (1Co 9:21 NRSV)

    Seems simple enough to me.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 25, 2013