Thoughts on the Way Home

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Covenant Theology Resources


In the comments section of this post, Nathan made some excellent comments and asked some good questions about the relationship between the Old and New Testaments, and how we should approach interpreting the Scriptures. Now, I want to be clear up front that I am not a spokesman for what has come to be called "New Covenant Theology" (NCT). For one thing, there is no single unified definition for what NCT even is. It is simply a catch-all phrase used to refer to those who do not hold to either Covenant Theology (CT) or Dispensational Theology (DT). Many who would be classified as holding to NCT differ over various particulars, some major and some minor. Nevertheless, if I had to categorize myself, I am definitely closest to what has come to be called NCT.

That being said, I wanted to direct our readers to several resources that have been indispensable in terms of my theological development in the areas of Biblical law, the relationship between the testaments, and any of the other issues that flow out of these. This post can be viewed as a preliminary response to Nathan's comments and questions. Rather than simply repeat what others have already said better than I ever could, I wanted to direct Nathan, and others, to the streams from which I have drunk. I will attempt to respond over time to some of the specifics of Nathan's comments, but I hope that anyone interested will first read and listen to as many of the resources as they can that I will list here. There are several, but I consider them to be indispensable in coming to a proper understanding of these issues.

I first want to mention the writings of Jon Zens. For better or worse, NCT today has come to be associated with two groups: John Reisinger and the Sound of Grace people, and the folks at In-Depth Studies. Many have never even heard of Jon Zens, or read much of what he has contributed to this discussion. I find this to be very unfortunate, as I feel Jon has written some of the best, most balanced articles to be found on this subject. Here are three such articles:

An Examination of the Presuppositions of Dispensational and Covenant Theology

Is There a Covenant of Grace?

Crucial Thoughts on "Law" in the New Covenant

Next, I want to mention a few things from my friend and pastor Charles Leiter. To cut right to it, I owe more to Charles than any other single person when it comes to understanding the Bible. Period. Here are a few things from him that have helped me immensely in this area:

The Law - Its Essence vs. Its Implications

The Law of Christ - Part 1

The Law of Christ - Part 2

The Law of Christ - Part 3

Justification & Regeneration

Next, I would mention several articles from various authors:

Can We Reproduce The Exegesis of the New Testament? Why Are We Still Asking? by Scott Swanson

The Hermeneutical Implications of Fulfillment in Matthew 5:17-20 by Kirk Wellum

The Curse of Law by Peter Sanlon

Blessed Is the Man: A Study of the Believer Under the Old Covenant

Lastly, I want to draw your attention to one article and two books that deal specifically with the issue of infant baptism, since this particular issue is so closely bound-up with the relationship between the Biblical covenants, and how we understand redemptive history. The first is The Reformers and Their Stepchildren by Leonard Verduin. If anyone is interested, this book can be ordered from Jon Zens for $10, and the introduction and postscript can be read online HERE. Put simply, this is a devastating book. Be prepared to have your views of the Reformers (Calvin, Luther, Zwingli) and Anabaptists challenged, as well as your understanding of infant baptism. An absolute must-read for anyone interested in church history, and the issue of infant baptism in particular.

Next I would mention Should Babies Be Baptized? by T. E. Watson. This is the best single book I have read refuting paedobaptism. And what makes it so unique is that ONLY paedobaptists are quoted throughout! In the words of the publisher: "
The unique power of this masterful work lies in the fact that only infant-baptist authors are quoted. Mr. Watson then lets them loose on one another and lets them refute their own defense and promotion of this unscriptural practice."

Lastly, I want to provide a link to Stephen J. Wellum's Baptism and the Relationship Between the Covenants. This is actually a chapter from a larger work that was published recently defending the Baptist position on baptism. For those not wanting to purchase either of the above books, this article will provide a very helpful defense of what I consider to be the Biblical position on the subject of baptism. In addition, there is an excellent interview with Wellum on this issue HERE.

Okay, that should be enough to keep people busy for a while :-) Seriously though, there is a lot here, but for anyone who is interested in these issues, I have no doubt that the resources I have provided will help you in coming to a better understanding of these things.