Monday, January 5, 2009

Discussing New Covenant Theology

12 comments:

Puritan said...

Thanks brother, there are some great points there. I've downloaded the full sermon, plus a few more. New Covenant Theology is definately what I lean closest to.

Do you know if Pastor Jim McLarty holds to some kind of "pre-trib rapture" version of NCT, or am I imagining that from the sermon titles?

Philip@ReformedVoices said...

Here you go brother, from GCA:

"While not holding to what is known as 'Classic Dispensationalism,' this teaching series does defend the Premillennial / Pre-Tribulational position that results from the most natural reading of the text."

Robert said...

"The Natural reading of the text" Pre Mill trib Rapture, is the most unnatural reading of the text. As for New covenant theology and the Israel of God, I reccomend O P Robertsons book the Israel of God. Lets not rebuild the middle wall of partion Brothers, Christ came a destroyed ethic, social and sexual barriers. Those who have Christ are Abrahams seed, and Heirs according to promise. Jew and Gentile together praise God for his grace. Please remember election is unconditional.

Every Blessing in Christ Robert

Soli Deo Gloria !

Philip@ReformedVoices said...

Hi Robert,

You said
"'The Natural reading of the text' Pre Mill trib Rapture, is the most unnatural reading of the text."

That is certainly debatable as John MacArthur also holds the pre-mil/pre-trib view.

Did you want to address the passage in Romans 11 referring to ISRAEL when it says -

"From the standpoint of the gospel they (Israel) are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers"

So either Israel means Israel, or in a spiritualized way it means the Church. If we take Israel to mean the Church in this passage, then we must explain how the Church can be said to be enemies of the Gospel.

Blessings,
Philip

Robert said...

Hi Phillip, If we read all of Romans 11 in its context as of course we should do, we see Paul arguing that God has not left off dealing with ethic Jews as He himself is proof He hasn't. Paul also shows by contrasting Elijah’s day when the prophet thought he was alone, but God still had His people, who had not bowed the knee. Paul then shows us that Just as in the days of old within the covenant people (Israel) He had a special people called according to the election of grace, known as the remnant, He now in the first century (and praise God also in the 21st) also has a remnant of ethic Israel who are saved. God does not work within one ethic group anymore, and I do not think He will revert back to that way of things, we are all one in Christ, one flock, one shepherd. One bride for one groom, made up of Jew Gentile, Bond free, male female, from all tribes and tongues, the blood bought, the redeemed, the Elect, The Church.

As for
"That is certainly debatable as John MacArthur also holds the pre-mil/pre-trib view."

Since when did what any man has said on a subject, or what view any man holds, hold sway with reformed people? With the greatest respect, Mr Macarthur (A man I have great respect and admiration for)has admittedly been wrong in the past, and I believe wrong now on this very subject.

But if we are to weigh men against each other, we will find that the vast Majority of reformed/Calvinistic commentators and theologians of the past and the present have not seen the pre trib rapture of the church. And this is for good reason it simply is not there!

Regards Robert

Philip@ReformedVoices said...

Hi Robert,

you said
"God does not work within one ethic group anymore, and I do not think He will revert back to that way of things"

In Romans 11, Paul continuously distinguishes between Gentiles and Israelites. The passage below from Rom. 11 plus the preponderance of every Old Testament prophetic books mentions a regathering of national Israel, not just the Jews, but all 12 tribes.

24For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?

25For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery--so that you will not be wise in your own estimation--that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;

26and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,
"THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION,
HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB."
27"THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM,
WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."

Can we follow Paul's train of thought here? What does "a partial hardening until" mean? What is the until?- The fullness of the Gentiles, then all Israel will be saved when the aforementioned hardening is lifted. Two different groups, that is Paul's language, not language created by a system. This audio clip establishes that the 'Israel' in the phrase 'all Israel will be saved' cannot refer to the Church due to Paul's later statement that they are enemies of the Gospel.

The vast majority of reformed/Calvinistic commentators use an allegorized approach to prophetic revelation which reject a regathering of national Israel, despite the overwhelming and clear words of Scripture. Do we follow the majority or are we "reformed and reforming"?

Puritan said...

Thanks Philip, I listened to the full sermon.

I am much closer to the "John Reisinger" type of NCT, like Leiter, Conway, Washer and Piper, which McLarty described as "more Covenantal."

Robert said...

Phillip I did not say there are no distinctions such as Jew, Gentile, male, female. But we are talking about salvific work here, in which God does not work through ethic groups, if he did lets face it how many so called Jews today are really blood relatives of Abraham, I am sure you are aware that a very small percentage are. As I said before Election is unconditional, it is not dependent on race, but on the mere good pleasure of God.

As for allegory, is the Blindness in Romans 11 literal? Or the Hardness ? Or the olive tree? or the branches? Of course not! so lets be consistent.
I really hope there is a future for the ethic people who call themselves Jews (he is not a Jew who is one outwardly) and if there is, it will be through faith in Jesus Christ and entrance into the one body of God's people the Church.

With regards to following the Majority, it was you who mentioned the what a very prominent popular commentator believed brother.

Regards Robert
SDG

Philip@ReformedVoices said...

Hi Robert,

You said
"But we are talking about salvific work here, in which God does not work through ethic groups"

I have yet to see this assertion substantiated by Scripture. What do you do with the overwhelming language in the Old Testament that says God does work through ethnic groups (Israel) and that He will regather Israel? And that after the fullness of the Gentiles, all Israel will be saved.

you said
"As I said before Election is unconditional, it is not dependent on race, but on the mere good pleasure of God."
Your right, it is unconditional. So when God makes unconditional promises to do things to certain people, they are not based on the people but on God's purpose. Guess what, He made many unconditional promises to Israel.

you said,
"As for allegory, is the Blindness in Romans 11 literal? Or the Hardness ? Or the olive tree? or the branches? Of course not! so lets be consistent."

Are you serious?
Why not let the context explain the hardening and blindness? Perhaps we should go the extra mile and spiritualize the clear explanation too?

Rom 11
7What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, 8as it is written:
"God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes so that they could not see
and ears so that they could not hear,
to this very day." 9And David says:
"May their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
10May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
and their backs be bent
forever."


you said,
"I really hope there is a future for the ethic people who call themselves Jews"
The Bible is clear that there is, not for the Jews only, but for all 12 tribes. Have you ever read about Ezekiel's two sticks in Ezekiel 37?

you said,
"and if there is, it will be through faith in Jesus Christ and entrance into the one body of God's people the Church."

Yes, it will be by faith in Jesus Christ, I have not offered any other way by which Israel will be saved but by God's grace through Jesus.

The promise of Ezekiel 36 is given to... guess who? The house of Israel.

24 " 'For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from all your uncleanness. -Ezekiel 36

Blessings,
Philip

Robert said...

I have been alluding to scripture all along, but maybe with your premill tinted glasses on you did not recognise it.
Galatians 3:28
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:11-16 it doesn’t get much clearer, count the reference two become one, one body

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called "the uncircumcision"
by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands-- remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostilit by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

Can I ask you brother what have these Ephesians been brought near to in this passage (commonwealth of Israel, the covenants of promise?) who indeed is the both one? What is the one new man in place of the two? What is the one body to which the formerly two have been reconciled through the cross. Call it the church call it the Israel of God call it what you will but it is one body.

By the way brother what is your definition of a Jew? An Israelite? Here is a good one
“For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.
But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

So we see from the above quote a true Jew is someone who is circumcised in heart, not in the flesh, again ethnicity is of no avail.

Brother at the risk of becoming haughty and proud (an all too often danger) this will be my last post for this evening, also it is almost 11pm on this small island, and I have a long GK session tomorrow.

Regards Robert
SDG

ps
With regards to Ezekiel, hadn't the nation already re gathered by the time of Christ? and was not the New covenant in His blood instituted then? and did not thousands of ethic Israelites have their hearts washed and His laws written on their inward parts? (the remnant according to the election of grace) maybe you have never thought in this way before brother, so it is something for you to ponder while I am fast asleep across the pond, dreaming of passing my GK tomorrow.

Philip@ReformedVoices said...

"I have been alluding to scripture all along, but maybe with your premill tinted glasses on you did not recognise it."

Anyone can say this, the same can be said that you read Old Testament Israelite promises through amill glasses.

"Can I ask you brother what have these Ephesians been brought near to in this passage (commonwealth of Israel, the covenants of promise?) who indeed is the both one? What is the one new man in place of the two?"

A member of the same body of Christ. This says nothing of those partially hardened until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. I have no problem with the fact that the Church began with Jews. My main consideration is Old Testament prophecies concerning Israel and the Kingdom.

"What is the one body to which the formerly two have been reconciled through the cross. Call it the church call it the Israel of God call it what you will but it is one body."

The body of Christ.

"By the way brother what is your definition of a Jew? An Israelite? Here is a good one
“For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.
But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God."

This does not fling the door open to start calling gentile believers Jews or Israelites. There is still a differentiation throughout the N.T. as seen in Rom ch 11 specifically.

"So we see from the above quote a true Jew is someone who is circumcised in heart, not in the flesh, again ethnicity is of no avail."

He is speaking to Jews in this passage of Romans. Once again, it does not fling the door open to call gentiles Jews.

"Brother at the risk of becoming haughty and proud (an all too often danger) this will be my last post for this evening, also it is almost 11pm on this small island, and I have a long GK session tomorrow."

No worries

"ps With regards to Ezekiel, hadn't the nation already re gathered by the time of Christ?"

No, The Southern tribes were allowed to return from their Babylonian captivity but the 10 Northern tribes (House of Israel) never resettled in the land, they are sometimes called the lost tribes. This is a simple fact, check out any encyclopedia.

"and was not the New covenant in His blood instituted then? and did not thousands of ethic Israelites have their hearts washed and His laws written on their inward parts? (the remnant according to the election of grace) maybe you have never thought in this way before brother, so it is something for you to ponder while I am fast asleep across the pond, dreaming of passing my GK tomorrow."

The only problem is that part of the promise is to return them to the land, which has not occurred yet.

Ezekiel 36
God speaking to the mountains of Israel

8 " 'But you, O mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home. 9 I am concerned for you and will look on you with favor; you will be plowed and sown, 10 and I will multiply the number of people upon you, even the whole house of Israel. The towns will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. 11 I will increase the number of men and animals upon you, and they will be fruitful and become numerous. I will settle people on you as in the past and will make you prosper more than before. Then you will know that I am the LORD. 12 I will cause people, my people Israel, to walk upon you. They will possess you, and you will be their inheritance; you will never again deprive them of their children.

Blessings,

Philip

Robert said...

Brother as I am very prone to pride (as I am sure you have already noticed) this will be my last post on this thread. with regards the so called lost tribes what about Luke 2:36 does this not prove that people from the northern tribes had indeed returned from their captivity and dispersion to their ancestral homeland ?

Regards