Questions about New Covenant Theology
Neither. Although there are adherents to NCT from both camps, we are not the child of either system (neither would claim us). If you listen to their critiques of us, they each assume that we are a subset of the other. That is understandable because we do find ourselves in agreement with each of them on key doctrinal issues. It is the differences between us that are, well, different, and which place us clearly in a unique uniform. To put is simplistically, we disagree with Covenant Theology on the covenants, and with Dispensational Theology on the dispensations.
Absolutely! A Christian should always proceed with caution, whether evaluating something new or old. Yet one of the favorite strategies of established theological kings is to charge any would-be threats with being “novel.” Roman Catholicism did it to the reformers (hence the name Protestant), Reformed Theology did it to Dispensational Theology, and now the latter two are doing it to NCT.
The typical responsive strategy by the newcomer is to try to prove that their ideas have been held by respectable Christian men in ages past. The problem is that the standard for truth is not the words of men but the Word of God. Certainly, we should be thankful for the Holy Spirit’s work in illuminating biblical truth to the Church throughout the ages. Wisdom and humility compel us to learn from the great minds of the past. However, if Church history teaches us anything, it warns that even the most basic and essential doctrines of sacred Scripture can be distorted and imprisoned (for centuries!) by traditionalists. Christ, not Christians, must be our only rule for faith and practice.
By all means, examine NCT with caution. Carefully weigh what we say. But, weigh us against the Bible not against the Westminster Confession or Dallas Theological Seminary. If what we believe is what the Bible teaches, it doesn’t matter who has or has not avowed these beliefs since the closing of the Canon. (Consider NCT as an opportunity for all of those who preach Sola Scriptura! to actually practice what they preach.)
Well, that depends upon how one defines antinomianism. For someone who believes that a rejection of the Ten Commandments as a unit is tantamount to antinomianism, then we are guilty as charged. (Of course, we would then argue that Jesus and Paul and Peter were antinomian in the same way.) However, if by antinomianism we mean something like, a belief that adherents are not obligated to obey any code of law or commandments, then we are certainly not antinomian. We affirm with all the vigor we can muster that Jesus Christ is Lord (and lords issue commands that must be kept by their subjects). Anyone who claims to be a Christian and yet refuses to obey Christ, or regards obedience with a cavalier attitude, would find us questioning (doubting?) whether his faith is genuine. The real question is not if Christians are obligated to obey laws, but which laws are obligatory. Where we provoke the ire of some is in our refusal to accept that the Decalogue is God’s eternal, universal, moral standard for all men everywhere.
Opinions vary. Most folks probably hold the position commonly referred to as amillennialism. Some are pre-mil. And, though we do not know of any who hold it, nothing about our beliefs absolutely rules out post-mil. The only view that would be ruled out is a Jewish-centric tribulation followed by a Jewish-centric millennium.
That depends on who you ask. Most, if not all, would reject the idea that national/political Israel has a part in God’s future plan for redemptive history. That is, we do not expect a rapture of the Church followed by a Jewish-centric tribulation and millennium. This flows from our beliefs that the Old Covenant is over and that the Church is the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel. However, nothing in NCT rules out a future conversion of ethnic Jews to the Church. Many in the NCT camp believe that Romans 11 teaches such a conversion. (For what it’s worth, Doug does not interpret Romans 11 that way, but he admits that it is a reasonable conclusion from the passage.)