Echoes of the misled past in modern thought

     I have been inactive in writing for the past couple of years due to several illnesses and the loss of my library but now the Lord has somewhat restored me and I am back in action. I see now that my work on the Covenant of Grace before my long pause cries out to be continued due to new attacks from once Reformed sectors.

     The gospel news of a Covenant of Grace from eternity covering the whole of time has been severely challenged recently by Dispensationist-Neo-Covenant campaigners with their cut-down theology who are quite out of date with their views mainly built on heretical teaching spread by the Marcionites at the beginning of the world-wide Christian outreach and the Catabaptists at the beginning of the Reformation era.1 It appears thus that where truth has to be preached, it is because error is not far away. The views of the NCT seek to destroy the seed, root and branches of the Covenant of Grace which pervades throughout all the Scriptures.

     We still find NCT people extolling Christ as Lord and this convinces many that they are orthodox. However, they have altered the traditional meaning of many theological expressions, cut out much of the gospel in both Testaments and introduced their own NewSpeak to explain away the gospel truths to which they pay lip-service. They separate law from grace in Christ’s Covenant, and rid the Saviour of many of His eternal attributes, thus making Him no Saviour at all. Above all, they split the Bible into multiple parts in Dispensationalist fashion seeing no continuity of revelation from Genesis to Revelation. They also teach that the God of the Old Testament had a lower standard of righteousness than the God of the New Testament. Indeed, they argue that God’s revelations of grace on Mt. Sinai ‘smited’ and ‘imprisoned’ sinners, hiding them from faith through grace instead of turning tghem to God for his mercy.

     This movement has combined the Marcionite and Catabaptist heretical views of the Old Testament with their New Age, New Covenant, New Order and New Law eschatological thinking. They started off by teaching that we are in the Endzeit of ‘realized eschatology’ but in recent years they sweep what they cannot explain under the carpet of a further New Order after the present NCT Covenant and tell us that it will all be revealed at some future date. The Old Testament had opened all this out before them and one must look backwards to move forwards in revelation but the NCT have cut off their Old Testament foundation and thus their own future.

The NCT’s dissipated progress

     In modern times the so-called New Covenant Theology (NCT) argues for two separate Covenants, the one having come after the other since the resurrection of Christ.2 They rightly reject the Presbyterian idea of a separate Covenant of Law (or Works) running parallel with a Covenant of Grace but not merging with it. They, however wrench the Law within the Covenant of Grace out of its Biblical usage and effectual work and replace it with an entirely ‘New Covenant’ which has brought in a ‘New Law’ rendering the supposed ‘Old Law’ obsolete and thus abolished. Obviously the law has no condemning power over believers but it still speaks to the unconverted. The NCT thus often speak of their ‘New Law’ as a synonym for their ‘New Covenant’ so following the Old Testament Scribes and Pharisees whom Christ corrected by teaching the grace of the Law and the Law’s purpose in grace. One can, indeed, use the law unlawfully as well as grace.

     The Catabaptists saw the Jews as being the People of the Old Covenant (within their understanding of the term) but claimed that this Covenant is no longer valid with reference to the gentile churches. New Covenant Theology holds to a similar belief but its followers are prepared to accept certain parts of the OT which fit their system, a system which, however, is being developed and altered continually as we see in their eschatology and their former emphasis on what they termed ‘the moral law’. They have wisely dropped the latter term now and their Ten Commandments have become Nine3 but these they put forward as not being obligatory for believers. The movement is at sixes and sevens concern what else to accept out of the Old Testament. Indeed, their teaching on law and grace is so cut-down that they offer us far less of the gospel than the Old Testament does and reduce the gospel in the New Testament so radically that the Covenant of Grace is hardly recognizable. They are not even of one mind concerning when their ‘New Covenant’ began. Though they at first propagated ‘Realised Eschatology’, they have now placed the ‘Final Days’ forward to an ‘unrealised’ future.

The error of basing Christianity on a reduced law

     The NCT have certainly been led astray here by a small group of protagonists who claimed to be ‘Calvinistic’ whom I have combatted in my writings since the eighties. Then at least three of these ‘Modified or Moderate Calvinists’, denigrated me for objecting to their watering down of Reformed principles as I not only denied that the Ten Commandments were the sole rule of life for Christians but also showed they were never the sole rule of life for the Jews either. Now some of these 10 point Calvinists have come out for NCT’s 9 point Calvinism and are now watering down both Covenant and Law. The so-called ‘Reformed’ or ‘moderate’ Calvinists, led by the Banner of Truth School, began to base Christianity on the Ten Commandments in the late eighties which shocked many. A few, still mixed up through what they had experienced, eventually attached themselves to New Covenant Theology4 It is thus the theological weakness of these so-called Calvinists which has proved an impetus in founding the NC movement.5 The NCT contenders say they have also rejected Dispensationalism but most of their critics, including myself, see Dispensationalism still strongly evident in New Covenant Theology, now wrapped up in a new NCT jargon. A rose by any other name would still be a rose but one can say the same of a thistle.

     Some Presbyterians differ from holders of New Covenant Theology in seeing the Jews as a people representing the Old Testament Church. This is a most dubious position. The NCT people teach that the Old Testament Covenant, or what they call the ‘Sinaiatic Covenant’ or ‘Mosaic Economy’, was one of law only and not grace and this has been succeeded by the New Testament under a New Law. This position is even worse as it robs both the Old Testament and the New of the one gospel and destroys the Father’s Covenant from eternity with His Son on behalf of man. As both the Old Testament and the New Testament clearly distinguish between believing Jews and Jews with no faith, it is strange how the idea of a Church of all Jews, as if all Jews were believers in the Messiah’s salvation, entered Presbyterian heads. It is also very strange that, though the New Covenant was widely preached and believed in the Old Testament, the NCT deny this fact but, oddly enough, base their utterances on Old Testament texts which they claim, nevertheless, are redundant. It is well that the NCT profess they are still working on their system – it is most a most urgent necessity and they, as yet, are only half-way to discovering the full gospel message of the Bible. Our prayer must be that all Christians should keep on expanding their knowledge of the Scriptures, not reducing it, because in them we find Words of Eternal Life.

Blurred Christianity

     The dividing line between Biblical Christianity and the NCT seems to be blurred by them these days. Some NCT people who have recently left other equally questionable ‘positions’ as they term it, such as ex-BOT man David Gay,6 testify that they feel at home amongst the Anabaptists. The outcome of NCT skepticism against the Old Testament is that they will only accept what they feel are Biblical truths if they are stated in the New Testament. However, they have yet to discover the bulk of Old Testament truths which God has revealed to mankind and also the New Testament’s witness to its effectual guiding of Christians. So it is no wonder that many Biblical truths have not yet found access into so-called NC theology with its radical break between the Testaments.

     The modern highly restricted view the NCT has of the Old Testament is totally unconvincing as the New Testament affirms the veracity of the Old from start to finish and builds mostly on truths already revealed in the Old Testament. Furthermore, when modern NCT adherents, such as John Reisinger and Peter Ditzel argue that NCT is a solid Baptist position, this is far from the truth. Some former Fullerite Baptists in league with their Presbyterian and Congregationalist counterparts have lost several men to the NCT but the Old Particular Baptists of the John Gill kind are united against these Catabaptists. Sufficient be it to say here that John Gill’s work on the Covenant of Grace is the very best of Baptist teaching and is fully in line with the very best of Reformed thought. I differ from Gill only in eschatology and in my integrated view of circumcision and baptism within the Covenant of Grace as pointers to God in Christ choosing out Christ’s Bride, the only Church.

     The Banner of Truth Trust are going through a troubled period at present after leaving their former mainly Presbyterian position, and taking a more Wesleyan, Dispensational and Fullerite-Baptist stance. Today, this is challenged by their ex-Banner friends such as Tom Wells and David Gay who now emphasise that the Law and the Covenant in the New Testament are totally different from the Law and the Covenant in the Old.7 It seemed for some time that Walter Chantry would join the NCT but David Gay complains in his You Tube ‘Testimony’ that he had second (better) thoughts. It is good to see that a number of former BOT friends on both sides of the Atlantic and the Australian Continent are now sweeping the dangerous dust of NCT-ism from their clothing and skins.

Flogging the ‘Moral Law’ horse unsaddles many

     When I corresponded with Chantry, he was obviously in his ‘don’t know what to think’ ‘position’. The BOT editorial featured, at David Gay’s prompting, an article claiming that I was an Antinomian and did not believe in preaching the Gospel to sinners. Maurice Roberts called me a Hyper-Calvinist and an Antinomian, though all my publications show how much I abhor such positions. Though he denied ever calling me such, he did not remove his accusations from his internet sermons as requested. When I gave Chantry old BOT definitions of an ‘Antinomian’ and showed that they certainly did not apply to me, he answered that there were different kinds of Antinomianism but refrained from telling me under which he felt I suffered. I explained to him that my theology had not changed since the BOT welcomed my articles in the eighties at Iain Murray’s prompting and great encouragement, but sadly theirs had. My correspondence with Chantry was when the Banner was flogging the dead horse of the ‘moral Law’ as the Christian sole rule of life. This was Antinomianism at its height but the BOT reserved the ‘theological swear word (so John Legg) for those who were not satisfied by this unlawful reduction of the Covenant of Grace. Legalism, according to the Scripture view of law, is always illegal.

     Happily, the younger BOT appear to be coming back to the old paths now save an occasional squint at Dispensationalism. John McArthur, Iain Murray’s new banner-carrier, views Jews as an ethnic, national and religious unity (which they never really were) under one kind of salvation and the Gentiles who are in Christ under another. MacArthur is still unclear about what will happen to unbelieving Jews who have already died as such. He believes that God will finally forgive all Jews living at the end of time. No one would welcome that more than I but would this include all Jews past and now present? His peculiar idea is that the Jews as an ethnic-religious group will be automatically saved without going through the Gentile process of repentance and faith in Christ, the latter view leaving many Gentiles outside Christ’s Fold. This is a clear refutation of John 1:11-13:

‘He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’

     The gospel transforms both Jews who believe and Gentiles who believe and there is no question of ethnic or cultural preference.

      McArthur’s views would abolish the function of both law and grace as radically as is the practice of the NCT. Is the cut-down Christianity of McArthur and the NCT thus a mere Gentile religion? It appears that in our once relatively orthodox evangelical circles we are now finding teaching regarding two peoples of God, two ways of salvation which have been termed ‘by sight’ and ‘by faith’ and two contrary Covenants one of Grace and one of Law. These views really indicate a belief in two ‘gods’ as the Marcionites taught or at least one god of two totally different characters providing two different ways of salvation. The NCT’s exclusion of the Old Testament Jews is purely political and anti-Semitic and has nothing whatsoever to do with Biblical theology.

NCT Christianity is Neonomianism

     Our NCT friends, on the whole, do not see a Covenant of Grace in the Old Testament and view their idea of the New Covenant in terms of new legislation laid down by Christ. They now claim they have an easier law which is not binding. Exactly what this New Law is supposed to be, I have never understood from the scanty and contradictory information culled from NCT books and my personal talks and correspondence with professing NCT holders. They preach a law which they never spell out, so what use is such preaching to sinners? The NT’s Nine Commandments will, most likely, never save them but we must always be open to God’s grace in salvation. Many reviewers of NC books have complained of this lack of clarity.

     In order to hear what NT writers are saying on Law some years ago, I consulted John Reisinger’s booklet Christ: Lord and Lawgiver over the Church. This lecture, as the Introduction shows, was addressed to Baptists whom Reisinger sees as being at the height of Reformed Theology and only need to take on his NC re-construction to become perfect in their teaching.8 Sound Baptists will laugh at this affront. David Gay professes to be a Baptist but the church ‘pedigree’ he gives us bears no relationship to that of traditional Baptist doctrines. He always mixed with ‘outsiders’. It appears that he has run amok through deviations must Baptist churches would seek to avoid. Yet is Reisinger preaching the whole gospel when he emphasises a New Lordship and a New Lawgiver only? Is he really exalting the Lord of Righteousness as so often emphasized in the Old Testament? I miss very much the ‘repent and believe’ of Christ’s ministry with its combination of Law and Grace. The Old Testament people were often admonished to repent and believe why is this not an essential part of the NCT ministry based on the New Testament only which, by the way, emphasizes repenting and believing strongly? One can only repent if one has been shown that one has broken God’s Law. NCT is all about Law for saints who, they stress, are not obliged to keep them, but what about Law for sinners which condemns them? Are the wages of sin no longer death? True, Reisinger’s subject is law in the Church and not the Law which condemns sinners but I miss the emphasis on soul-winning in all NCT works. Reisinger and his NCT followers, like Marcion, belittle the righteousness demanded by their Old Testament ‘God’. Arguing from page 14 on that the OT Law under the Old Covenant was not stringent enough to combat sin, Reisinger sees this as proof that we need a much higher standard of Law which he finds in New Covenant Theology. On page 18 he claims concerning the Two Testaments:

‘There are two different canons of conduct even as there are two distinctly different covenants – and in both cases the one replaces the other.’

NCT writers need to confess what their New-Law-Faith is

     I would like to know what kind of a ‘New Covenant’ Reisinger and his followers really have and what their New Law is but they do not reveal their ideas hidden under their NewSpeak.9 Both the Old Testament and the New are quite in unison regarding God’s righteousness. Indeed, when the New Testament speaks of God’s righteous nature, it leans very much on the Old Testament in doing so. Not only Isaiah and Jeremiah spoke of the Lord being their righteousness but we find this truth engraved in the Old Testament from start to finish. Paul said, ‘What sayeth the Scriptures?’ meaning the Old Testament Scriptures, and gives the answer himself, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness’.10 God has not a different righteousness in the New Testament from the righteousness He demanded in the Old as NCT leaders claim. We have noted that John Gill, when speaking about the Covenant of Grace took at least half of his proof-texts from the Old Testament. Good, so, because that is where the gospel of redemption began.

     This writer takes the position that the Covenant of Grace is not only an essential ingredient of Reformed doctrine but it is the central doctrine of the Christian Church whether we are thinking of former Jews or former Gentiles. God’s righteousness is so great that Two Testaments were needed to extoll it! The old ‘Wall of Partition’ has been done away with in Christ. Christ’s salvation is complete for all His Church and is as timeless as His own righteous Person. I mean by that, Christ has been the Author and Finisher of His Covenant from the foundation of the World and since then He has been calling out a people for Himself throughout both Testament times.

Peter Ditzel’s dubious New Laws

     Peter Ditzel like most Neonomians is very sensitive about Antinomian charges against the NCT and complains that he does not enforce new laws as ‘Law is not for the righteous’. This is a misuse of Timothy’s words in I Tim 1:8-9, which reads:

‘But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; knowing this that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers etc.’

     Here Paul is speaking of the one law which was revealed in Old Testament times which is good in the hands of believers but horrible in unbelieving hands until grace comes into their lives as Paul witnessed himself.

     One would think it obvious that Christ fulfilled the Law to make people righteous. It is good for the redeemed but bad for those still in their sins. There is no New Law here. However, Ditzel, in spite of his misquote of Paul’s teaching to Timothy, wishes to usher in a New Law which is binding, oddly enough, neither for sinners nor saints. He gives Christ the responsibility for this! I would have expected him to come up with a definition of what this law entails as a condemning factor, but sinners are left out of his scope. He opens his lecture entitled New Covenant Theology: Must We Obey a New Law?[11. Wordofhisgrace. org website (30. Jan. 2017). by stating: ‘New Covenant Theology teaches that Jesus Christ fulfilled the law, and that by fulfilling it, He ended it.’ And goes on to say under the heading ‘New Laws’:

     ‘One of the reasons New Covenant Theologians are accused of being neonomian is simply because we teach that Jesus Christ did, indeed, give us new laws. Our detractors believe that the New Covenant is merely a new administration of the Old Covenant, and that, instead of giving new laws, Jesus only corrected the Pharisees’ misinterpretation of the Old Covenant law. Their position is a curious one, since we can find where Jesus quoted the Old Covenant law and then said, “But I tell you.” Plainly, Jesus was giving new law, new commandments (see “The Sermon on the Mount“). In John 13:34, Jesus explicitly states, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also love one another.” Since Jesus said this, it is bizarre for someone to criticize me for repeating it.’

     We must remember that neonomianism isn’t just believing that the New Covenant has new laws. By this definition, the Bible itself would be neonomian. Neonomianism is believing that keeping the new laws is necessary for any part of our salvation. New Covenant Theology believes that the New Covenant contains new laws, but it teaches that God does not require us to keep the new laws for our salvation. Our salvation is entirely gracious and Jesus Christ has accomplished it.’

Ditzel’s odd idea that NCT people are not obliged to keep his New Law

     So Ditzel is arguing in naïve self-contradiction that though Christ placed believers under new laws, which is the normal meaning of Neonomianism, Ditzel is not a Neonomian in believing this. He also argues that we are not required to believe the new laws for our salvation. Again, we must ask but why then preach ‘repent and believe’? What ‘New Law’ has Ditzel for sinners if neither the Old Law is for him, nor the New Law? Present day NCT have scolded me in their early development for not emphasizing the evangelical pan-Biblical command ‘Repent and believe’ enough, though it was in all my works and sermons. I now see that their idea of ‘repentance’ and ‘belief’ is totally different from mine. They criticize such as myself for preaching repentance and faith because they feel we are under the Old Law seeing repentance and faith as law-bound duties. This, Ditzel says, would be preaching that we are saved by law. He can only argue this because he denies that law is an integral part of the Covenant of Grace. However, though Ditzel believes that salvation through the law is the position of his critics, I have only come across this view in NCT literature as a mockery of their ‘detractors’ as they call them. However, Ditzel comes very near saying that his New Law saves. Nevertheless, and in contradiction to other strong statements which come from him, Ditzel’s new gospel appears to be that the NCT has a New Law but their adherents are not obliged to keep it. New Law-keeping is for Christ only. Again, this ignores the perilous plight of sinners and the onus of ‘repent and believe’ is taken from them. Likewise, he argues that his ‘detractors’ believe that they are merely under ‘a new administration of the Old Covenant’. What he means by that I really do not know. I always thought we had one Covenant continually administrated by Christ. Within this Covenant the law still plays its part in comforting, condemning and leading. I would think introducing two administrations would be the same as introducing two laws and two Covenants which the NCT appears to favour and then we have no Covenant of Grace at all. Furthermore, Christ in the Sermon on the Mount expounds the One Law as He meant it to be and His sayings are part of the continuing testimony of the Covenant. Christ is not merely a lawgiver and fulfiller in the New Testament but the Old Testament clearly testified to this, too, as Christ so often explains. True, Jesus sums up the Law, which somehow the NCT take for a new law, but it was the Mosaic Law, that is Christ’s law, that He was summing up. For the NCT it is all ‘New’ because they have rejected the first revelations concerning the position of the Messiah in the Covenant and His use of the Law. They look upon the law as an evil ‘imprisonment’ as we shall see when we consider David Gay’s new-fangled ideas, thus challenging God’s integrity as well as His righteousness. I must ask why the NCT paint the Father’s and the Son’s gracious law in such dark colours as if it were meant merely as an evil to enslave sinners and not as Christ’s well-ment instrument of grace. This is also Marcionism resurrected. I have also often wondered why the NCT misunderstands the entire gospel in Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, including the Beatitudes and speak only of law there.

David Gay’s pilgrim’s progress

     I have again, after writing the above paragraph, listened to new NCT convert David Gay’s explanations in a series of You Tube talks as to why he has once again changed his theological position in his quest, as he says, of recognizing that God’s Word is true and everyone else a liar. Brother Gay starts of by erecting straw arguments which he says represent non-NCT believers. This is chiefly the idea that the so-called ‘Moral Law’ is the sole rule of life for Christians. We see that Gay has a BOT hangover here which is spoiling his vision. What Gay says is certainly not the stance of the vast majority of Christians but was indeed the very stance the NCT took in their early years. They have now rejected what the vast body of Christians never held, apart from a few modern so-called ‘Reformed’ men of the Fullerite school, a few of whom, like Gay, have now gone the whole hog and embraced NCT teaching. Fuller had one foot in Biblical theology as he had witnessed God’s grace in Christ deeply but his head quarreled with his heart and he had his right foot in rationalism and a trust in Natural Law. He was a great springboard in effecting the NCT’s leap in the dark. It appears that Gay has only researched the Reformed view of the Covenant within this narrow group of Neonomians and was rightly appalled by their teaching but when I tackled Gay on the subject of his shallow view of the Reformed faith a good number of years ago, he reacted by writing two books against me which showed that he had researched my theology as little as he had researched Reformed Theology. At that time, Gay was deeply into Fuller as were most of the BOT people with whom he affiliated himself in the eighties and nineties right into the new Millenium. There are two great weaknesses in Fuller’s system which pave the way for so-called New Covenant Theology. He is very weak on the Covenant and rejects God’s revealed Law as a permanent display of God’s character, regarding it as being arbitrary and of a temporary nature. I can say this after studying Fuller intensively for very many years after which I published my findings. Fuller went further than the NCT are prepared to go today as he argued that all God’s revelation would disappear and all, starting with God, will eventually bow to Natural Law as if this were something outside of God. However, who knows what the NCT will be doing tomorrow?

Old Testament law according to Gay

     After much argumentation concerning the Mosaic law, Gay outlines his new faith in his ‘testimony’ and then tells us that there is another law, other than the ‘Jewish’ one, but leaves this confession merely in the air. In further You-Tube lectures on the subject termed ‘New Covenant Theology Simply Explained’, Gay links Moses with what he calls ‘the pagan philosophers, mentioning as an example Francis Bacon, which rather surprised me as Bacon was orthodox and fervent in his faith, a faith which Gay has obviously as little researched as Moses’ faith. I have found Bacon’s books and essays a delight and strength to my soul. Naturally, Bacon clothed much of what he said with references to ancient Greek philosophers and strange cultures but it was the required method of scholars in those days.

     In his lecture in this series on Colossians 11-14, Gay takes the verses completely out of their context and makes them a criticism of the Old Testament ‘shadows’ and what he calls the ‘Mosaic economy’ but does not see that Paul is addressing both former Jews and Gentiles here with his reference to circumcision and baptism showing what these rites signified and telling both parties who have turned to Christ ‘Ye are complete in Him’. Gay splits this passage into a Jews and Gentiles debate on what he sees as a conflict between the Old Testament and the New but Paul writes his epistle ‘To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse’.

     Gay sows seeds of division even here between the Testaments where absolute harmony is depicted. In his exposition of Matthew 5:17-20 in this You-Tube series we see how weak his arguments are. Gay is quoting Christ’s clear statement ‘Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfil.’ Gay tells us rightly that Christ completed the Law. He seems, however, to be uncertain as to what Law Christ completed. Gay, who always seems to challenge the Greek Text when he does not agree with it, at least in his You-Tube lectures, tells us that the NT uses ‘Law’ without the article but with the article when it is used for ‘the law of Rome’ and ‘the law of faith’. Here, ‘law’ is used with the article though Gay cannot be referring to ‘the law of Faith’ and certainly not to the ‘Law of Rome’ but to the Law outlined in Scripture as depicting God’s righteousness. This is called the Law. This ‘Law’, Gay tells us, with his tongue in his cheek, was not abolished but fulfilled and completed. Gay tells us with the authority of a great scholar that ‘fulfilled’ means ‘rendered obsolete’. In being fulfilled in Christ, Gay tells us, the Law is done away with. So Christ first completes the Law and then tells us it was all a part of ‘the Mosaic economy’ and not part of the Christian life within the Covenant. Why does Gay insult Christ in this way and have Him put Himself under a useless law of whipping and imprisonment (so Gay) and what is now the situation of sinners? Are they, too, not under the Law? Under what Law then are they counted as sinners? Gay seems to teach that they are all set free as there is no Law to condemn them. How sinners would rejoice if this were true!

The discontinuous development of many NCT leaders exemplified

     To show how he has come to entertain his so-called New-Covenant teaching, Gay tells us of his progress through some nine or ten ‘positions’, as he calls them. Most of these ‘positions’ mentioned refer not to sound Biblical theology or a sound Biblical faith, nor a home in a true Christian church but to highly speculative eschatological fantasies and narrow denominational extremes through which our pilgrim made his ‘progress’. We are told how Gay has moved from a ‘secret rapture ‘position’ to a pre-millennial ‘position’, then to an a-millennial ‘position’ and now he is in the ‘realised-eschatology of the NCT-ites ‘New Age’.11 He has tried out Plymouth Brethren, Strict Baptists, Reformed Baptists, Sabbatarians, Anti-Sabbatarians, Anabaptists, Fullerism, a misunderstood Puritanism, a faultily defined Calvinism and Banner-of-Truth-ism. One would think it impossible to develop a sound theological understanding of the Scriptures on this basis. It seems like ‘ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth’.12 Gay tells us, however, that he felt most at home with the Anabaptist position but does not explain what he means. Having followed Gay’s journey into sensationalism for some three Decades, read several of his books and corresponded with him, I found him as extremely certain of himself now in the NCT fold as he was then in his former self-confessed errors. He still, for instance, tells us repeatedly that we must let God be true and every man a liar, as he did in his former enthusiasm for other ‘positions’. All I can say is where will Gay land up next? Being even older than elderly Brother Gay, I have seen so many NCT-ites come and go through various ‘positions’, each with his own additions. All have scolded me, including Gay, for not accepting their notions, but I still do not find their multi-Covenants, multi-Laws, multi ways of salvation, multi views of righteousness, multi-views of God, multi-peoples of God, multi-economies (whatever they mean by that) and multi opposing religions in the Bible and can only conclude with the global churches represented by Marcion’s critics, that the NCT people cut the Bible up with their Marcionite pen-knife.13 The discontinuity and ‘tensions’ they see in the Scriptures are entirely of their own making.

Gay’s NCT version of Galatians Chapter Three

     The Biblical continuity of the Covenant of Grace is clearly expressed throughout Galatians Chapter Three where we are told that Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness’ (v.6) and ‘They which are of the faith, the same are the children of Abraham’ (v. 7). Then we are told that the Spirit preached the gospel to Abraham telling him that God would justify the heathen also through faith so that in Abraham (who believed the gospel) would all nations be blessed. It is understood in the text that these heathen must go the way Abraham went in believing. So, then, as the Scriptures repeatedly teach in the Old Testament ‘the just shall live by faith’ (v.8-9). Then Paul clarifies the matter of the relationship between law and grace in God’s Covenant in the following verses 19-29. This has caused the NCT in recent years to challenge the traditional interpretation strongly by isolating parts of verses 19-25 from the entire text dealing with Abraham, and the relation between law and grace in the Covenant. If ever ‘criticism with a penknife was practiced, it must be here in Galatians Chapter 3 in an attempt to erase Christ’s and the Spirit’s testimony to the Old Testament. I shall quote all the verses under scrutiny from v. 19 to 25 in the A.V. text which comes under heavy fire from David Gay, pondering on why NCT exegetes leave out somu ch that clearly refutes them, including much that supports the A.V. translation which is heavily challenged.

‘Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.’

Galatians 3:19-25 made ‘simple’

     Dealing with verses 19-25, David Gay tells us in his You Tube talk on ‘New Covenant Theology Made Simple’ that no passage of Scripture has suffered so grievously at the hand of translators than this section in Galatians. When one speaks in such terms, one expects a great authority in New Testament Greek behind such words. It is true that several of the A.V. terms have suffered from the modern dumbing down of language but a good pastor is there to teach his flock and they are all explained in less than minutes, so improving the vocabulary of their fold. Gay, however, wishes to rewrite this passage according to the NCT position and asks to be allowed to give his own ‘fair translation and a proper translation’ of Galatians 3:19-25. He tells us that if we cannot take his word for granted we must read the Greek New Testament for ourselves. This, I have done.

     I was very skeptical about Gay’s dogmatic statement concerning his ‘proper translation’ because almost everywhere where Gay appeals to the Greek, he dabbles in speculative mysteries. Where the harmony of the Covenant is stressed and where progression, fulfillment and continuation are emphasized in both Testaments, Gay sees a total break with the past and a new look at the future after Christ’s advent to redeem all His elect past, present and future. I thus approached Brother Gay’s ‘translation’ with much doubt about his abilities to understand New Testament Greek. Gay’s squashed-up ‘translation’ of the six verses quoted reads as follows in his New Age Version:

‘The Law was added because of transgressions until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made. Before the faith came we were made captive under the law, imprisoned until faith would be revealed. So then the law was our guardian of pedagogue until Christ came in order that we might be justified by faith but now that the faith has come, we are no longer under the guardian.’

     Gay goes on to tell us frightening and imaginative tales of Greek guardians and pedagogues. He feels that the term ‘schoolmaster’ is ‘utterly foreign to the text’ and that the guardians mentioned had to whip their boys to their goal (school/faith) but when their pupils came to faith, the Guardian (law) was made ‘redundant and sacked’.14 However, Gay does not follow the original grammatical and lexical structures and gives a different time-line to that of the Bible, departing radically from the original text. He also denies that the law could ‘lead us to Christ’, complaining of the words ‘bring to’ and ‘lead to’ used in other translations as faulty ‘insertions and interjections’ in the text. What he means by ‘interjections’ is difficult to guess. We must look at Gay’s new-fangled approach to God’s Word a little closer to see what his intentions are.

Gay’s alleged ‘fair and proper’ translation

     In his ‘fair and proper’ new translation, Gay erases whole sentences from the original Greek so that his ‘new meaning’ not only destroys the A.V. translations but also alters the old, original meaning which pervades through the original languages. This seems to be NCT procedure throughout the Scriptures. Again, we have Marcion’s ‘criticism with a penknife’ To start with, Gay leaves Paul’s introductory question concerning the being of the law in verse 19 out, though he tells us repeatedly that he has translated it. ‘Translation’ often means ‘omission’ for Gay who then gives a weak part- answer to an unraised question he appears only to have assumed. The wording and grammar of this answer is, however, essential to the meaning both of the question and the answer and the tenses which follow. If the question is erased, an answer is anyone’s guess, so Gay attempts a guess. If one gets the start wrong, one is sure to flounder.

     The opening question in verse 19 is answered using the tense-less 1. Aorist (added) which Gay apparently takes as an imperfect tense. This is followed by a tense-less 2. aorist (come) before arriving at the tense-carrying verb ‘to give’ concerning God’s promise. This verb concerning the promise is in the present perfect tense in the original text indicating an action started in the past and which continuous in the present. The A.V. translators have thus rightly placed the question and the answer in forms relating to the present. Not agreeing with this Biblical timing because it spoils his New Covenant ‘New Break-with-the-Past Theology’, Gay claims that we must alter the original tense to a pluperfect. Gay’s tense refers to a completed action in the distant past before another past event occurred. It is used of things which have come and are long gone. Gay is striving to lead us to his opinion that God’s covenantal provisions regarding the law have come and gone. Unhappily for Gay, Paul’s clear words say exactly the opposite as does the entire NT text.

Wrenching the Law from its Covenant position

     All along Gay will have the reader believe that the text is only concerned with a law which has been abolished. This is quite wrong. The entire context is dealing with the Covenant of Grace in which law and grace have their divine-initiated places, implemented as one gospel. Furthermore, the text is not dealing with a break and discontinuity in this Covenant but demonstrating from the beginning of the chapter on that from ancient Old Testament times, believers have always found their salvation within the Covenant of Grace, in particular as made with Abraham who was pronounced righteous because he believed in Christ. Gay is reading the chapter, as many other chapters, with NCT filter googles blocking his gaze.

     Gay does follow Paul, as the A.V., by saying, ‘It was added because of transgressions’, but Galatians 3 gives us further information so that we might understand the text perfectly. Gay withholds this evidence from us and does not tell us when and how this ‘addition’ took place and what it entails. This is outlined in detail in the context which Gay blots out and it is thus lost in Gay’s cut-out and reduced quotation and his commentary thereto. We have thus NCT dogma with no Biblical explanation. This all reminds me of the Penny Novels of my childhood where authors such as James Fenimore Cooper had Chingachgook saying ‘Ugh! or ‘Howgh’ to mean ‘I have spoken and no discussion is necessary’. It was the silly mistake of such authors to think that the Native Americans jumbled English words in a sentence and spoke them backwards so that the Settlers might understand them. It was never so amongst the tribes and bands of the American Indians and has no place amongst English ‘Pale-Faces’ either, though Gay might think otherwise.

     The first time-less aorist in the text, also called an ‘aspect’ in grammar, is from a verb translated ‘added’ which means to add to by laying side by side or to adjoin. Now we must ask, added to or adjoined to what? Paul is speaking of the Covenant of Grace to which the Law has been adjoined as part of it, not in opposition to it. The Law part of the Covenant is to make man aware of His transgressions and the grace part is to offer him forgiveness in Christ. Furthermore, Christ, in fulfilling what man has failed to do, has combined all the elements of the Covenant in Himself and for His people. The NCT people simply wish to eradicate this blessed merger by a make-believe process of cancelling the Law for all mankind, sinners and saints alike, so creating a new Half-Covenant which caters for grace for the saved, but not for the Law under which unbeliever’s are still placed.

Juggling with tenses to rob the Bible of its continuity

     We read on ‘till the seed should come to whom the promise was made.’ Here Gay jumps from a tenseless aorist to a pluperfect tense, saying that the promise ‘had been made’. This does not work because there is only one tense in this sentence and that is the present perfect. Thus, if the promise had been annulled so had the seed. The seed are the promise-carriers. The seed here mentioned takes us back to the opening sentences to which Gay does not refer. Here we see that the promise is fulfilled in Abraham’s seed but the harvest is going on until Kingdom come. Naturally, Gay would argue that ‘the seed’ refers solely to Christ who has come in person and thus all prophesies regarding His coming have been fulfilled. This is, however, not what the text says. The text is dealing with Christ as Mediator and the promises are to those who believe in Christ vs 19-22. Christ is not only the Mediator of the Covenant but He represents all that believe in Him. Here we have John 1:11-12 again. Believers are thus taken up in the ‘seed’ mentioned. Gay has left all this out of his NCT A.V. (Altered Version).

Gay skips over passages uncomfortable for him

     Having badly translated the first part of verse 19 and skipped over the essential meaning embedded in it, Gay now jumps suddenly to verse 23 ignoring the important teaching in the verses between. Now, the ‘translator’ goes into much complaining detail because the A. V. and other good translations speak of ‘But before faith came.’ We must read ‘the faith’, Gay claims and although he has not noticed the bulk of the Greek words in verses 19-25, he has spotted a definite article in the Greek. Yes, it is there in the Greek but abstract nouns in English do not take a definite article because they are self-defining. In English, we say ‘Through courage he gained honour’. We do not say ‘Through the courage he gained the honour.’ In the early decades of the 20th century, pupils still learnt to write all abstract nouns beginning with a capital so that they would remember that they did not carry an article. A pity this method is not used today. Old letters from my parents still testify to this wise usage.

     So we note that the A.V. uses abstract nouns where no article is needed but when they translate abstract nouns which need to be defined further as something special and particular, they do so as in Galatians 3:23, ‘But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed’ Concentrating so much on trying to understand the Greek, Gay quite loses his English in this verse, which he renders, ‘Before the faith came we were made captive under the law, imprisoned until faith would be revealed.’ What is strange here is that Gay has omitted the article before the word ‘faith’ in the second instance where an article is needed because it is defined by a present participle (mellousan) referring to ‘the faith near at hand’ to be revealed. The A.V. has ‘afterwards’ instead of ‘near at hand’ but both mean that it has not happened yet but will shortly. Gay just omits the word, probably because it spoils his timing. Gay complains that Gill leaves out a ‘now’ some people add to a text when it is not there in the Greek but Gay removes words which are essential to the meaning! Nowadays it is common for people to mix up ‘shall’ and ‘will’ and their imperfect and conditional forms ‘should’ and ‘would’, yet here the verb ‘to reveal’ is a first aorist infinitive passive form guided by the ‘faith near at hand’ clause. The revelation thus seems to be in the certain immediate future so the use of ‘should’, as the A.V. has it, would appear less conditional than ‘would’. To alter ‘should’ to ‘would’ is obviously merely to stress that Gay is paraphrasing independently. Gay does not explain why he has opted for ‘would’. Then, moved more by his faulty understanding of the Covenant than what the text says, Gay speaks about being imprisoned by the law. This is quite foreign to the Greek.

     Having lived almost ten years in Sweden and some forty-nine years in Germany immediately after that, my Bible has not been the A.V. for a good number of decades, though I still find it the best English translation going. The gist of my Swedish versions of verse 23 is ‘But before faith came, we were under the oversight of the law, kept until the revelation of the expected faith.’15 The gist of my German versions is, ‘Before this faith could come we were under the oversight of the law and were kept in its care until the coming revelation of faith.’16 These translations all look upon the law positively as a Guardian who kept us especially with a view to the reception of faith from ancient times on (see context). Thus Gay’s words in his alleged translation of Galatians 3:23 ‘we were made captive under the law, imprisoned until faith would be revealed’ are quite irresponsible. For the record, the old meaning of the A.V.’s ‘shut up’ was ‘enclosed’; ‘guarded’; ‘kept secure’; ‘restrained’, looked after’. This is the exact meaning of the word Paul uses. Nowadays we hardly ever use the term ‘shut up’ outside of its rather brusque meaning of ‘Be quiet!’ This is my advice to those who claim knowledge to which they have never attained.

Guardian and Pedagogue

     Gay criticizes harshly the use of the term ‘schoolmaster’ which he says is ‘utterly foreign to the text’ and wishes to substitute it by ‘Guardian’ or ‘Pedagogue’. These were, he tells us, smiters of boys, signifying how the law imprisons us. However, the term ‘guardian’ which Gay suggest is a better translation for these boy-smiters than ‘schoolmaster’ has none of the evil connotations which Gay gives the term. Furthermore, if Gay uses the word ‘pedagogue’, he is immediately in difficulties. This is not a common word in normal parlance and does not contain the meaning Gay gives it at all. Anyone unfamiliar with teaching methods will be forgiven for looking up the word in the dictionary. He will invariably find that the meaning is given as ‘schoolmaster’ and/or ‘teacher’. Gay, in his linguistic disabilities has thrown out one English word as ‘utterly foreign’ and replaced it with a ‘foreign’ Greek synonym which means exactly the same. So what has Gay gained? Nothing whatsoever!

Gay has a ‘translator’s surprise’ up his sleeve

     Furthermore, Gay will have no translation which refers to the law bringing or leading anyone to Christ, as stated in the original text, yet the word used in the Greek which the A.V, translate as ‘schoolteacher’ means one who leads boys or brings boys to (eis) Christ. So how does Gay get out of this difficulty exegetically? In his lecture on making Galatians simple, Gay comes up with his big surprise. He tells us that the entire passage has nothing to do with bringing people to Christ at all. It means that the ‘epoch’ or ‘age’ of the law ends and the ‘epoch’ or ‘ages’ of Christ begin. ‘Law’ signifies the Old Testament and New Law the New Testament. Apparently where the text speaks of ‘faith’ which is the substance of things hoped for, according to Hebrews 11:1, Gay’s filter goggles make him read ‘New Law’. How can Gay thus alter a chapter so radically where Paul describes faith within the Covenant God made with Abraham embracing all peoples throughout all times? Abraham believed and this made him righteous. It does not say ‘Abraham believed a New Law’ and this made him righteous. Faith does not come by the Law but through our place in the Covenant of Grace, which is with our father Abraham in the bosom of Christ! We were enabled to believe in the same Christ as Abraham, our Father in the faith, because Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.

     Gay’s statements are thus astonishingly un-Scriptural and makes one wonder that the NCT are so imprisoned by their own system that they can ignore entire chapters of holy writ in the search for a verse here or there which might be bent to New Age NCT specifications. I do not charge them with conscious dupery but they are so lost in their system that they think they have the authority of their New Age God behind them to play havoc with the Scriptures. If ever a chapter had to do with individual Christians who did not know where they stood regarding salvation by grace given faith or through law-works then Galatians 3 must be it, yet Gay claims here that it has nothing to do with individual sinners coming to faith but with the entrance into the New Age Epoch of the NCT’s invention, which I presume, from Gay’s testimony, will be a legal ‘New Faith’ with a ‘New Scripture’ under a dormant inactive ‘New Law’.

The NCT false prophets are over four thousand years out of date

     The widespread Biblical New Covenant teaching (in stark contrast to the NCT garbled version) from Genesis on shows how thoroughly out of date the NCT people are with their understanding of New Covenant literature to the tune of some four thousand years. The whole Bible teaches that the New Covenant was ever there since the old covenant with the man Adam failed because he broke it. Fallen man was revealed as not of the right upright stature to enter into a pact with God. The ever-new Covenant refers to the Covenant with Christ which came into being when man showed his inability to keep God’s Covenant. The first Covenant between God and man was broken by Adam’s sin. The ever New-Covenant between The Father and the Son cannot be broken. The New Covenant with Christ was not a post-lapsarian thought with God as He acts from eternity where the New Covenant was, so-to-say, written down, signed, sealed and delivered. This is why Hosea and Jeremiah could cry out in righteous anger against Israel because they had altered God’s Covenant of Grace and knowledge of God and followed symbols and shadows and not the reality to which they testified.17 Our NCT ‘prophets’ see the Law only in its abused state. This Old Testament correction is taken up in the New Testament. Many Old Testament unbelievers, like modern NCT Bible-critics, did not see that God was using His revelations in the Old Testament to bring them to Himself but misused God’s ordinances as a kind of magic as if making sacrifices etc. automatically brought forgiveness by the very act. Thus we hear Hosea preaching to the Israelites in Chapter 6:6 that God ‘desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings’. This was an Old Testament B.C. truth and not a truth which was first revealed many hundreds of years later to the recently emerged NCT. Hosea sees this ‘letter faith’ and not ‘spirit faith’ as a breaking of the Covenant of Grace whereby the Jews have dealt treacherously with God. Right at the start of His ministry, Jesus pointed the Pharisees back to Hosea to show that He still gave and required such mercy.18

     When I read what the NCT says of the Old Testament being ruled by a letter-law it appears that they have taken this abuse as the Covenant itself and thus followed the path of unbelieving Israelites. They belittle Moses by reducing his message merely to a law covenant and they belittle Christ by making him merely the Lawgiver of a New, post-Old Testament Covenant for Christians only. They forget that Moses in his pleadings with God wished to place the law within the Covenant with Abraham where it would be merged with grace. This the OT saints accepted but sadly the alleged New Covenant people reject God’s gracious undertaking.

Invalid claims of a ‘new discovery’ leading to a ‘new covenantal order’ of salvation

     The New Covenant of mercy, grace and peace is made with Christ in eternity and is always at work. It was not made with sinners but made for them. They rejected it at their peril. So, all the ideas the NCT people have concerning what they call the ‘New Covenant’ are taken out of the Old Testament where they were general knowledge from Adam on. The NCT brings nothing new as it was all arranged from eternity as Christ’s design in choosing out a People for Himself from all ages. The NCT react to this news by saying that this would make the New Testament superfluous. Their orthodox critics, however, maintain that the Covenant of Grace is upheld and sealed in the whole Bible and if one rejects either the Old Testament or the New one has only half of God’s revelation in one’s hand. The two Testaments stand together as one. This we see in the way the Old Testament prepares us for the New. In rejecting the Old, the NCT people are in the same category as those unbelieving Jews who reject the New so we neglect either part at our peril.

The Covenant of Life, Grace and Peace was known in OT times

     Revelation concerning the Covenant of Life, Grace and Peace was emphasised more and more through great reforms and further revelation in God’s mercy in the Old Testament as the bulk of mankind still would not live by faith. It is odd that the NCT believes in progressive revelation in New Testament times but not in Old Testament times though Christ always speaks throughout all times. The NCT get their timing of creation and new creation all wrong as they do not see Christ working from eternity in time all the time. This is why the Old Testament writers and believing prophets denounced the Old Testament peoples more and more sternly for rejecting the Hand that was feeding them. All NCT talk about their new discovery that one will find a way to have the law written on one’s heart through their ministry as if it had never happened before, is taken from the OT prophets who were familiar with the doctrine and certainly applied it in a more New Testament way than the NCT. They did not have the NCT’s cut-down law-faith to hinder them. Indeed, the New Testament writers take this Old Testament doctrine up to show how it points to Christ and is fulfilled in Him and shows His work in history. Isaiah preached these truths as did Jeremiah a hundred years later. They were clear on this point as would be many of their hearers though they preached so many hundreds of years before Christ, showing sinners that they could have these covenant truths written on their hearts.

     Surely we must accept that many in Israel believed this gospel as it was preached by all the major and minor prophets. True, in Jeremiah’s case his hearers were first shocked at the news of their sin and wanted to kill him but Jeremiah stood firm in his preaching and finally, though the wicked priests and false prophets still wanted his death, the princes and the people said, ‘This man is not worthy to die: for he hath spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.’ Thus the idea that all Jeremiah’s hearers either refused to believe this revelation from God or ticked it off for the benefit of future generations only is absurd.19

Randy Seiver as a Greek translator

     We see that like Gay, Seiver in his works such as In these Last Days, quotes Scripture with huge passages removed but at least he gives dots to show his omissions whereas Gay simply writes as if his omissions where never there. Seiver’s words, of course, do not give a fair and full picture of what Jeremiah and the author to the Hebrews have to say and he has cut out the historical facts on which both Jeremiah and Hebrews build their conclusions. This was because the covenant which God made with the children of Israel on the day they left Egypt was immediately broken by them and God thus forbade them to enter the Promised Land just as Adam and Eve broke their Covenant with God and were banned from Eden. The scandal concerning the Golden Calf and the broken law tablets besides the misuse of the ‘types’ give the passage meaning here. Jeremiah was only giving the Israelites, as had many before him, the true gist of God’s Covenant with mankind. Furthermore, neither Jeremiah nor Hebrews go anyway near calling God’s commands here ‘wrong’, though Seiver says that not everything was ‘wrong’ Certainly things went wrong with the unbelieving Children of Israel but Hebrews makes it clear that the new announcement clears up things that the unbelieving Jews had missed. So Jeremiah, says Hebrews, found fault with the unbelieving Israelites (on very good grounds) but he did not say that any part of the initial covenant at the start of the Exodus was ‘wrong’. Seiver writes in his book In These Last Days that Hebrews, and thus Jeremiah, had claimed there was something ‘wrong with the first covenant’ though he does not tell us which covenant he (Seiver) is referring to. I pointed out this oversight to Siever and he at first denied that he had used the word ‘wrong’. On giving him his own chapter and page he replied that when a thing was wrong in part it does not mean it was wrong as a whole. But this was not the point. The question is, ‘Did God ever do anything ‘wrong’? Who can judge God? Neither Jeremiah nor Hebrews suggest such a thing but Hebrews comments by saying ‘if the first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.’ The fault mentioned in Jeremiah is the fact that it did not shut out a Jewish partition in implementing the Covenant radically enough. Hebrews 8-9 and passim thus emphasizes that the Covenant is through Jesus’s mediation only and He is the sole author and finisher of faith. The word ‘covenant’ is not in the original Greek nor in several instances in the following verses where the A.V. uses it. The A.V. translators wisely put it in to remind the readers that they were talking about a covenant given when the pilgrims started off from Egypt. This was during the time of the setting up of the Tabernacle whilst Moses was on the Mount. In Galatians 3 the NCT will not accept the A.V. translators insertions, but here they build their argument on a word which is not in the text. This does not worry me, but it displays the NCT method of merely using the Scripture as a shoe horn to force their feet into their own system. The Book of Hebrews, when commenting on Jeremiah’s example of a covenant which was never ratified, uses the word amemptos which means ‘not faultless’ ‘not without defect’, ‘not perfect’ or ‘needing completion’. Of course any covenant at any time is imperfect when it is imperfectly understood and imperfectly implimenterd. Jeremiah pointed this out to his hearers seven hundred years before Christ. It was the unbelieving Jews, however, whom he was correcting and not God’s Word. The stain, spot, blemish, blot, taint, flaw, defect and fault was man’s misuse. Man is wrong, not God’s actions. The Covenant was to put man right. The NCT’s are carrying on this misuse by arguing that Jeremiah is condemning Old Testament revelation in general and God’s revelation to Moses in particular. Exodus mentions repeatedly that the Lord used his servant Moses in establishing the Old Testament Covenant and Moses argued that he would only act in conjunction with the Covenant of Grace given to Abraham. This was Moses promise in his pleading with God, which God blessed. Sadly, Moses’ positive thinking in seeing law as an integral part of the Covenant does not receive the NCT blessing!

Siever thinks Jeremiah’s preaching merely referred to eschatological events foreign to the people to whom he preached

     Seiver claims indeed that the subject of Jeremiah’s preaching referred to some indefinite ‘new’ time to come. However, Jeremiah is obviously not talking about a distant future but about his contemporary situation and his God-given solution for it which he outlines in several chapters. Notice that both Jeremiah and Hebrews blame the people for this misuse and not God and do not leave their preaching to be explained by some NCT follower two thousand years later. The preached to the people of their day so that the people of their day would believe and live within the Covenant.

      Next, Seiver quotes Hebrews as saying ‘the time is coming’, whereas The A. V. gives ‘the days come’, using the 3. person plural present indicative of the verb ερχομαι, which means either ‘to come’, ‘to go’ or ‘to pass’. So we do not have a future reference of seven hundred years after Jeremiah as Seiver teaches but a reference to the then present time. Indeed, it appears that this verb is never used in the form Seiver gives it in the whole New Testament. Jesus is referred to in Matthew 11:3 as the ερχομενος (nom. sing. masc. part. pres.) or ‘the Coming One’, that is not One who is to come but the One who is always coming’. I see, too, that the Bibles in five other languages I have consulted, all treat the term in Hebrews as a present form and not a future form. Why does Seiver alter this? It is because it contradicts Seiver’s NCT faith. Seiver is doubting both Jeremiah’s and Hebrews words in his preference to the NCT version. So we must ask has Hebrews translated Jeremiah’s term correctly? Well, we believe he has as it is God’s Word whether Hebrews of Jeremiah says it but we nevertheless examine Jeremiah 31:31 for confirmation. Jeremiah uses the word באים, which means the days (are) come. This is why I say the NCT men are centuries out of date with their timing.

Renewing the Covenant.

     Next Seiver refers to Jeremiah’s words quoted by Hebrews ‘when I will make a new covenant’, again taking them from about 700 years BC and placing them in New Testament times. Here Jeremiah’s gospel preaching shows how threadbare is the cloth out of which the whole structure of the NCT is woven. This appears to be the only source in the Bible for the Term ‘new covenant’ and this is taken up twice by the author of the Hebrews in Hebrews chapter 8-9 and chapter 12:24 which follows the authors assertion that New Testament saints are witnessed to by the Old Testament saints and should follow their example. Paul, in accordance with the author of Hebrews takes up the term translated ‘new testament’ by the A.V. in 2 Cor 3:6 obviously with reference to Jeremiah as his gospel is taken up by Paul.

     Apart from Jeremiah 31:31 there is no other reference to a ‘new’ covenant in the Old Testament, though similar words are used such as ‘reformed’, in both Testaments which, as we shall see, Seiver does not like either. Yet Jeremiah is obviously using the Hebrew for ‘new’ in its sense of ‘renewing, refreshing and reforming’. These words are used of the Covenant throughout its history. There is no other comment on a ‘new’ covenant’ in the New Testament but much about it being repeatedly renewed. Indeed, when Hebrews speaks about the Covenant in Chapter 10:29, he refers to the ‘blood of the Covenant’ referring to Christ’s sacrificial death. In Chapter 13:20, he writes of ‘the blood of the everlasting covenant’, a phrase also used often in the Old Testament. Obviously this is the same Covenant, though the NCT writers claim that the Old Testament Covenant was a temporary one and ‘everlasting’ does not mean ‘everlasting’. However the NCT might curb the meaning of ‘everlasting’, it is obvious that ‘everlasting’ means ‘eternal’, however one denies the eternity of Christ’s office. Perhaps it is thus a waste of good time to demolish the vast claims NCT place on their superstructure when it can be so easily shown that their foundation is based on faulty theology, faulty representation of the Old Testament, faulty exegesis, faulty linguistics, faulty logic and faulty common-sense. Thus other references to a ‘New Covenant’ or ‘New Order’ will be shown to be mere inventions of the NCT.

The law written on hearts is an Old Testament truth.

     That the NCT faultily present the testimony of the Old Testament in this multiple way can be clearly seen in Jeremiah 31 and Hebrews 8:8-12. Jeremiah is talking about how the Israelites disobeyed God from the beginning of the Exodus out of Egypt onwards. This was no new declaration as most of the Old Testament emphasizes this fact. So, too, the fact that God would write the law on believers’ hearts is repeated in various forms (to make it stick) throughout the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 29:4, we read how with the advent of the renewing and extension of the Covenant under Moses, God had given the people a heart to perceive and eyes to see, and ears to hear’. This is especially the gospel which Jeremiah preached as in Chapter 24:7 and Ezekiel as in Chapter 11:19. These prophets preached a gospel that the NCT ignores and the emphasis is constantly on God’s giving believers a ‘new’ heart there and then and not merely in times to come. In fact, one might easily say that this theme is far more common in the Old Testament than in the new, bearing in mind also the size of the Old Testament and the perhaps two thousand years it covers. Indeed, when the New Testament speaks of a new heart given to believers, they quote the Old Testament as their authority. As we have seen the letter-law was never meant to make inward faith obsolete but it was the idea of letter-law which was made obsolete with the knowledge of the Covenant of Grace. The NCT cannot or will not distinguish between the letter law and the Spirit-filled law. Besides, the Old Testament continually affirms that a remnant of the Israelites have not bowed their knees to strange gods and a misusing of Law and Grace. Such people, for the NCT believers would only exist in post-Old Testament times.

Challenging NCT expertise

     Exegetically, it is very dangerous to build a new theology on one text when there are literally hundreds of parallel texts in the Old Testament which emphasise, like Jeremiah, what the true Covenant is. This is the advice the NCT gives its critics but we say ‘Physician, heal thyself’. A number of other enlightening OT texts have been mentioned above but I advise NCT ‘scholars’ to do their own homework and study the use of the term ‘new’ and also the use of the term ‘covenant’ in the Old Testament. I have become rather weary of NCT correspondents who tell me what the Greek and Hebrew say with the absolute authority of the NCT behind them but they could not tell a participle or aorist from a main verb and mixed up the imperfect tense with the present perfect. Their Hebrew exegesis is even worse. Their etymologies of words seemed to be pure wishful thinking. I am not saying that the NCT people are absolutely void of Hebrew and Greek scholars but it is clear that most have not yet reached that goal yet profess to be at home in those languages. They remind me of the two so-called Jehovah’s witnesses who came to my door in Saarn. One was the contact man and the other the Bible ‘expert’. The latter began at once to tell me what the Greek said about Jesus so I took out my Novum to follow him. I was, however, not able to follow him, though I knew where he was going so I asked him kindly to explain from the Greek Testament what he meant. The poor fellow looked crest fallen at a text he perhaps saw for the first time in his life but suddenly, he smiled again and said it was his mistake, what he wanted to explain was in the Hebrew. Having my Kittel at hand, I gave the Hebrew Testament to the JW and asked the gentleman to point out to me from the Old Testament what he wished to say. The bluffer browsed through the OT the wrong way round, looked at me and said, ‘We are wasting our time with you.’ They surely were! But what shall we say to NCT purveyors who bluff in the same way? Sadly, they have not the training and discipline of the JWs and usually tell me that I am a moron and a sick man as my correspondence with them published in my website ella.evangelica.de shows. However, all the NCT men I have dealt with have professed to be Greek scholars and many experts in Hebrew.

Deniers of the times of reformation in Old Testament days

     I have challenged several leading NCT men on this issue who believe that they are qualified to re-translate huge passages of Scripture which do not fit their categories. One told me with pride that he had a degree in ‘Ministries’, another said he had studied mathematics but carried no title, another had an M.A. in American Football and another leading NCT man when challenged concerning his public condemnation of my theology confessed that he had never read me. I have pointed out several of Seiver’s guesses at what the Greek and Hebrew teaches and will mention more. Seiver quotes Hebrews Hebrews 9:10 where the author follows the prophets and speaks of ‘the time of reformation’. Seiver begs to differ and tells us that the words καιρου διορθωσεωσ really mean ‘the time of the new order’, thinking in terms of his version of the New Covenant and perhaps David Gay’s ‘new Epoch’. Of course, the word ‘reformation’ fits into Jeremiah’s testimony like a hand in a glove of the right size. My French Bible also reads ‘une époque de réformation’, not a ‘new epoch). Seiver’s translation is quite simply false. Διορθωσεωσ may be used for putting order into something, which Jeremiah strove to do but this is a long way from forming a ‘new order’ as if this were a clean break with divine revelation hitherto and with some sort of new ranking and abrupt cancelling of the past. Then there is Seiver’s most strange ‘howler’ in his translation of Hebrews 9:26 where we read ‘επι συντελεια των αιωνων which Hebrews translates as ‘in the end of the world’, (lit. in the end of ages’. Seiver claims that these words are not as they stand in Hebrews 9:26 but should be substituted in transcribed form by ‘scintilla ton aeonian’ and goes on to say how ‘scintilla is often used in apocalyptic literature’ and dwells at length on ‘scintilla’s’ usage in the Scriptures. This might seem very scintillating, but all three words Seiver substitutes for the original are plain nonsense, given the Greek text. ‘Scintilla’ is neither found in the text nor the critical apparatus. Besides, the word is from the Latin and means a spark, a speck of dust or a crumb. So, too, Seivers’ ‘ton’ is quite false. It is an accusative article in Greek and masculine possessive adjective in French. Hebrews uses των which is a Greek masculine plural article. Instead of αιωνων which is a genitive plural noun Seiver gives a transcription of the singular noun.20

The completely ‘new’ idea in NCT revisionism

     But let us again refer to Seiver’s theory of a non-existent ‘new’ covenant in the Old Testament which Reisinger, Ditzel, Wells, Zaspel, Gay and Seiver claim is a completely ‘new’ idea of the NCT thinkers. Their use of the term ‘new’ reminds me of my weaker students in a trade school where I taught translators for some 15 years alongside other educational tasks. They invariable took the first of many words listed in their dictionary as the only meaning possible and thus came up with hilarious translations. We were confronted with the word ‘dumb-bell’ in English. Some students confessed they were puzzled by their German translation which translated back was ‘a stupid or speechless young beauty’. Thus our NT ‘scholars’ look up ‘new’ in the English dictionary and read ‘Not existing before’ and do not read on to find all the other English meanings of ‘new’ such as ‘renewed’, ‘fresh’, ‘further’, ‘additional’ etc. etc.. If they looked at the meaning of ‘new’ in school dictionaries even in these days of the dumbing down of language, they would find synonyms such as ‘fresh’, ‘discovered anew’, ‘different’ and ‘not previously used’. Indeed, when I looked into my English-German dictionary for a translation of ‘new’, using the same procedure as the NCT writers, i.e. picking the first word, it said ‘frisch’ which is ‘fresh’. If the NCT writers would examine Elizabethan and Jacobian usage, i.e. the language of the A.V., they would be surprised what additional meanings were used such as the term ‘additional’ itself. On examining ‘newe’ in Middle English, they would find even more. But we are not dealing here with the NCT dumbing down of English but the Hebrew word ‘chadash’. Stop, the NCT people tells us. ‘Old’ can only mean ‘done away with’ and ‘New’ means ‘never before in existence’. This is not so. ‘Chadash’ in the Old Testament means ‘refreshed’, ‘renovated’, ‘rejuvinated,’ or even ‘re-applied’ and has many by-meanings such as ‘sweet’ and ‘refreshing’. It is getting back to the roots and the original intended meaning. In the New Testament ‘Palaios’ (old) means also ‘In existence for a long time.’ ‘Neo’ means ‘ever fresh’ and ‘kainos’ used in Hebrews for the Covenant has just the same meaning as chadash used in Jeremiah 31 for the same Covenant. Our old-time, eternal Gospel is ever new and fresh and brings renewal with it like the morning dew. It only makes sense, however, to renewed and restored sinners. A golden rule here in translation work is that:

If we can safely say there was no knowledge of the matter before that which was ‘chadash’, we can use ‘new’ as meaning ‘never before’. If there was something of the kind already in existence, we can translate ‘cadash’ as ‘renewed’ or ‘restored’. If we are referring to something refreshing or sweet, we can translate ‘chasad’ as meaning such.’

     I cannot go into the background of all the mentioning of ‘covenant’ in the Old Testament but the NCT must do the research others have done and where the cap fits, wear it. Our Reformers, however, were adamant in claiming the unity of both Testaments in this matter. God’s Word is ever ‘new’ just as we sing ‘New every morning is His love’. Indeed, Moses referred to his service to God within the Covenant as introducing it as ‘a new thing’.21 Moses was a real New Covenant Theologian! All those who had destroyed the former Covenant in unbelief were tilled from the ground. This is surely what Jeremiah is referring to. Lamentations 3:23 tells us that God’s mercies are new (renewed) every day, so is His Covenant. We declare with Lamentations; Great is His faithfulness!

Exponents of God’s Covenant in both Testaments

     Reformer William Whitacker in his Disputation on Holy Scripture Against the Papists, taught that God’s Covenant is completely revealed in both Testaments which is the full will of God (my italics). He teaches, that whoever adds or rejects any of it or seeks elsewhere for God’s will has still the veil of sin over his eyes. We complain about Islamic women wearing their veils. Are not those Christians who cut up God’s one and only way of salvation until there is little left, as in so much modern Covenant teaching, more guiltily veiled than those Moslem women who do not know Christ? Reformer Roger Hutchinson, author of the famous Image of God insisted that both Testaments are one legacy and the Old is valid in the New as the New is in the Old. This was also Tyndale’s theme. Condemnation through the Law and acquittal in Christ belong to the Covenant rule of the whole Scriptures. This is why Peter in Acts 15, referring to the Old Testament saints, says, ‘We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they,’ because we are under the same Covenant. NCT exegetes forget the gospel went to the Jews first and have them queue up behind the Gentiles in a New Testament age. Hebrews emphasizes that we in this period of gentile evangelism may gain like faith as did the Old Testament Jews.

Replacing the imperfect with the perfect

     Now, let us take a brief look at the supposed novelty of Jeremiah’s covenant teaching. Jeremiah says the covenant he preached replaces the one God made with the Jews on leaving Egypt. Now, of course this was rendered null and void because all those Jews broke the Covenant and none reached the Promise Land, rather these initial Covenant-breakers perished on the spot of their treachery. They preferred to interpret God’s promise as referring to graven images. Jeremiah in Chapter 31 is merely freshly touching on his detailed account of Israel’s rejection of the Covenant in chapter 11:3. f. not mentioned by Seiver. This was a truth Jeremiah preached openly to the people of his day, because they kept forgetting it and kept on losing touch with the Covenant. The Mosaic Covenant is not mentioned negatively in Jeremiah at all but the prophet insists on correcting misunderstandings referring to God’s dealings with man. So we have clear reiterated evidence from the settlement on to the one, true Covenant of Grace not only through the wonderful evidence of David at the founding of the Jewish Kingship when God again confirmed the Covenant for eternity (Long before Jeremiah). David and a remnant of His people did not say all this was ‘pie in the sky’ but they believed it as a remnant of Jews did from the resettlement on. They could say with Jeremiah and almost every book of the Old Testament, that God was willing to forgive and forget their sins.

     So, too the idea that the Law should be written on the hearts of believers was not new to the earlier OT writers and greater and lesser Prophets (see the five hundred or so citations in Cruden’s) as David testifies ‘I delight to do the will of God. Yea, thy law is within my heart’.22 David combined the will of God in His covenant with a knowledge of the law in his heart. A study of David on the Covenant and his heart’s godly experiences is most profitable as I found when tracing all that David has to say about the Covenant in the Hebrew in preparation for an exam. Never was hard work more rewarding!

     The truth also that God would forgive sins and remember them no more which Jeremiah affirmed adorned the entire Old Testament Covenant, as a quick search with a good concordance will soon show.23 One of the first texts I learned of by heart as a tiny tot in Bradford Home Mission Sunday School was Micah 7:19, ‘He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue all our infirmities: and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.’ Is not this a renewal of God’s Covenant? There are dozens of such New Covenants in the OT. Naturally, my Sunday School teacher, Mr Lee, well versed in God’s ways in God’s Kingdom but a lavatory cleaner during his pilgrimage on this earth told us that on the banks of that sea, there was a sign saying ‘No Fishing’. It is an old joke of long standing but ever new.

Old Job knew the New Covenant

     This morning my wife and I were discussing Handel’s ‘Messiah’. My wife in her lovely voice began to sing ‘I know that my Redeemer Liveth’ in German, Handel’s mother-tongue. She then exclaimed, ‘What a wonderful New Testament Truth that is’ and I agreed. But who first said those words? Well, one of the oldest parts the Bible is the Book of Job whose story, it is often claimed, was written down before the time of Moses. The early affairs of Israel in the Mosaic period are not mentioned in the book which could mean that Job lived before Moses or lived far away from the events of the Exodus. There is no indication in the book at all that Job was a Jew but some claim that he was because he expresses his faith in a similar way to believing Jews. Personally, it would appear to me that Job was not a Jew. If he lived before Moses, then he would certainly be pre-Jewish, if he had witnessed the founding of Israel and were a strong believer in God and of that nation, it is strange that he never mentions their exploits. Many date Job’s testimony from 1,500 years before Christ. What interests us here is that Job was in Covenant with God at a very early stage in the spread of godly truths in the Near East. Yet this man of faith understood divine truths which the NCT people have yet to discover. In the face of ruthless opposition to his standing with God, he could yet declare:

‘I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.: whom I shall see for myself and my eyes shall behold , and not another: though my reins be consumed within me.’24

A closer look at Jeremiah 31

     So let us reexamine Jeremiah 31:31in the light of Jeremiah’s context and the testimonies of God’s People who lived before him such as Job, David and Isaiah. It is perhaps strange that though Jeremiah is the longest book in the Bible he is only referred to some four times in the New Testament. Isaiah, however, who pioneered the Great Prophets a hundred years before Jeremiah is mentioned about 55 times in the New Testament (My rough count, though some say ninety). So, too, Isaiah preached the same truth as Jeremiah a hundred years before him and Isaiah referred constantly back to doctrines long believed before him. Why then is Jeremiah given this preeminence amongst the NCT? It appears to be merely because they think that Jeremiah lends himself best, when taken out of context, to the NCT view of a New Order and a New Law after Christ came which the OT saints knew about but supposedly ignored in their time as if it were too good to believe. Jeremiah uses the word ‘new’ with relationship to the Covenant so that is reason enough for the NCT to build their superstructure on it.

     I learnt in my first Greek lessons in 1959 at London Bible College that when a Greek word has obviously several meanings, we should try to merge all those meanings together instead of cutting them apart. This was also John Gill’s method. But a hundred years before Jeremiah, Isaiah refers to God’s ever-renewed, everlasting Covenant many, many more times than Jeremiah and has a more detailed Messianic thrust in what he says. The idea of a renewed Covenant is prevalent throughout the Old Testament Scriptures. Thus Jeremiah, also walking in Abraham’s and David’s footsteps, held to the everlasting nature of the covenant as he explains in Chapter Chapter 32 and the following chapters. The NCT start and stop with Chapter Thirty-One.

     They have found what they want in their misunderstood little word ‘new’. Any way, if we read the whole story of Jeremiah’s re-emphasising of the Covenant, we see, as Hebrews hints at, that the people of the covenant that never came into being according to Jeremiah were at fault in their part of it but God was not at fault in His part. The Covenant to which Jeremiah particularly quotes as having decayed is certainly the story of the Golden Calf and the breaking of the first tablets and cutting of a calf in two and passing through it to which Jeremiah aludes but seemingly never the NCT. Jeremiah says that this was not done to God’s specifications so that He did not accept such disobedience. In other words, this covenant never actually took place and was never ratified.25 The idea thus that Jeremiah was referring to the annulling of the entire Covenant of Grace here is absurd as Jeremiah immediately outlines the true Covenant of Grace for his contemporaries. Furthermore, the events recorded by Jeremiah refer to the time immediately before the presentation of the renewed Covenant by Moses. Then the Siniatic Covenant was newly introduced after the punishment of the Covenant breakers.

Hebrews follows Jeremiah correctly

     So Hebrews follows Jeremiah 11 and 31 in understanding that the agreement with Israel at the start of the Exodus failed because no one followed it. It had to be renewed. The same Covenant was renewed time and time again because Israel repeatedly broke it, not keeping it through spiritual faith but through letter-obedience which was also too much for them. The author of Hebrews is affirming that whereas Jeremiah and the other prophets he quotes unnamed looked forward to the Messiah in faith but He had now come bodily. He assures us that the Old Testament saints witnessed true faith by spending a whole chapter telling us that these are out mentors in the faith. He mentions many details, reaping his facts from the Old Testament to show that Christ was the One looked forward to by the believing prophets. We know that there were many unbelieving prophets and priests in the Old Testament but faithful men such as Isaiah and Jeremiah were both prophets and priests. Referring back to the ‘new Covenant’ again in Chapter 12, the author again reaffirms that the Old Testament saints believed what had come to pass in his day. Just as we today still, two thousand and more years after Christ’s glorious death and resurrection believe in him by faith.

     The main argument of Hebrews is that what the Old Testament knew, we know ‘much more’26 today. But this is exactly what the prophets said would happen and caused them to admonish the people to believe it there and then. Obviously many did because the author to the Hebrews praises them in setting such a marvelous example before us in chapters 11-12), ending with those wonderful words:

‘Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud (crowd) of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith’.

NCT theology is no ‘new discovery’ but old gospel teaching wrenched from its Biblical context and robbed of its Christo-centric contents

     The New Covenant of mercy, grace and peace is made with Christ in eternity and is always at work. It was not made with the Jews but made for them. They rejected it at their peril. So, all the ideas the NCT people have concerning the New Covenant are taken out of the Old Testament where they were general knowledge from Adam on that the just shall live by faith. This was intensified more and more up to the time of Malachi as the bulk of mankind would not live by faith for which they reaped the prophets rebuke as salvation by grace-given faith was freely preached to them. So we see that there is something radically wrong with Seiver’s translation in Hebrews 8:7-25 where he says:

‘By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.’’

     Here Hebrews is saying that when the new comes the old is πεπαλαιωκενan active perfect indicative, meaning it is out of date, grown old or rendered inactive. It cannot mean ‘obsolete’ as it still stands as a command of God which causes God’s anger when it is misemployed and misapplied. We learn from 1 Timothy that the law is good when used lawfully but bad when used unlawfully. Rightly applied, it seemed a very good thing to me. I believe this is also Hebrews and Jeremiah’s conclusion. Furthermore, Hebrews tell us that even the Tabernacle was put up for divine service. All these rituals were pointers to Christ. All this however, culminating in Aaron’s fall and led to Moses breaking the tablets of stone. Still, I cannot erase this from the Bible’s witness as it an essential part of Scripture teaching us the history of Christ’s salvation. Jesus so often cited Old Testament history when teaching his disciples about Himself. The NCT, especially Tom Wells, have belittled the importance of what they feel is Timothy’s testimony as a Jew for his love for the law. They look upon this as a mere remnant of Jewish believe, now rendered obsolete. However, Tiny Tim, so well cared for by his parents and grandparents as a testimony to all parents and grandparents nowadays, is not the author of the two books bearing his name but it is Big Paul, also a Jew but the apostle to the Gentiles who declares that the law is good when used lawfully, that is within the Covenant of God’s Grace through a life in Christ. It appears, however, that the NCT would erase all teaching concerning the continuation of the Covenant of Grace, including the part law plays in it from their Scriptures.

     I put forward as a solution to the NCT problem that Jeremiah’s first Covenant was the misused rites prior to the second writing of the Tablets. This was, however, all prior to the law given at Sinai and when Hebrews 9:19 arrives and we read of Moses part in the Covenant, we find God emphasising its importance in prophesying Christ. We have thus Christ’s life, sufferings and testimony to His Covenant responsibilities in both Old and New Testament times, radiating out to all times and Christ said that not a jot or tittle of the law would pass away. God’s standard remains even today and was never rendered obsolete.

New Covenant Theology in the Old Testament

     One of the most often used group of words in the Old Testament is that referring to the Covenant (without an epithet); the making of the Covenant; the keeping of the Covenant, the Book of the Covenant, the Everlasting Covenant and also the New Covenant. Sad to say, there are also many references to forgetting and transgressing the Covenant. This abundance of information on the Covenant led me to try to work through the numerous usages of the term for my rigorosum in OT exegesis at Marburg University under Prof. Dr. Christl Meier who chaired the Examination Board. I was quite astonished at what I discovered and had never realized how closely the Old Testament teaching on the Covenant merged with New Testament teaching. Indeed, the step-over from the Old Testament to the New was so well prepared by the Old Testament prophets that when reading through from the Greater to the Lesser Prophets up to Malachi, one was not at all surprised when Matthew turned up as the very next book. John Reisinger questions whether ‘everlasting’ could be truthfully applied to the Covenant, perhaps thinking of Noah where the everlasting Covenant not to flood the whole world again made with him by God was for the whole duration of creation. Reisinger, and those following his teaching, would say, here is proof that ‘everlasting’ does not really mean ‘everlasting’. However, the Covenant was really not with Noah but with creation27 and it is too speculative to try to define how long creation will last. For a person who lives only a few decades on this earth, creation would seem to be of infinite duration and then what about the Renewed Creation? Even the everlasting nature of the covenant expressed through God’s dealings with Abraham cannot be said to be at fault in their infinite application.28 Circumcision, for instance, as baptism, is nowhere said to be an eternal necessity but they were designed to point to God’s eternal purpose in choosing a people for Himself, who will be His for ever and ever. Or does not Reisinger believe in life everlasting? The everlasting nature of the Old Testament is that it points to the everlasting nature and purpose of Christ.

     It was interesting to note, for instance, that from the very start, the Book of the Covenant was associated with the shedding of blood, thus paving the way for belief in the Messiah by whose stripes we are healed.29 We also read in II Kings how a great revival in religion followed the neglected reading of the Book of the Covenant. We note, too, how far the priests had transgressed the Covenant but King Josiah ‘turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and with all his might’.30 The NCT would do the world a favour if instead of ripping the pages of the Book of the Covenant out, they would open God’s Book which they have neglected and preach the whole truth concerning it, and nothing but the truth that sinners might ‘turn to the Lord with all their hearts and souls and with all their might’.

The Bible teaches a continuity in Covenant Theology through both Testaments

     Contrary to Gay and Co., we must now closely examine the introductory passages in the New Testament which explain how God’s Covenant, outlined in the Old Testament, is now being continued in the New. In the first chapter of Luke’s epistle to Theophilus, the author repeatedly looks back at the Covenant promises and states that these are ‘those things which are surely believed among us’.31 We do not have a Jew speaking here but a Greek Physician. In this declaration, the Gentile Luke tells us he is relying on eye-witnesses who were there from the beginning of the New Testament era and minsters of the Word. His words refer to writers who start of their theology with the occurrences of the Old Testament and in the Spirit base their belief on the testimony of the Old Testament. He affirms this in his opening words to Theophilus in Acts, claiming as did the Old Testament prophets that God’s Covenant promises are for Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and for ‘the uttermost parts of the earth’. In Luke’s epistle, the author emphasises the continuation of the Covenant by introducing his readers to the Jewish priest Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth who became the parents of John the Baptist. Both, we are told, were blameless in the eyes of the Law. However, Zacharias though not lacking in his understanding of law still lacked faith. Zacharias disbelieved the heavenly revelation that his old wife should conceive through him and bear a child. This seems all the more astonishing as Zacharias had prayed for a son and now doubted that his prayers would be fulfilled. Soon, however, not without Gabriel’s assistance, Zacharias recognised God’s grace with thanksgiving and joined his wife in her faith. An interesting comparison arises here between Zacharias and Elizabeth at the beginning of the Old Testament and Adam and Eve at the beginning of the New. In the Old Testament, Adam followed his wife into breaking God’s Law. In the New Testament, Zacharias followed his wife in believing through Grace.32 We also note that Gabriel, who appeared to Zacharia and Elizabeth as also to Mary, said that many of the Children of Israel would turn to God. He did not say ‘all’. The very fact that Gabriel, the Archangel who appeared in the Old Testament to Daniel, now appeared at the commencement of the New Testament, must be seen as evidence of the continuity between the Testaments.

     The revelation of this vision of judgement and grace and the angel Gabriel’s explanation is very significant concerning the one doctrine of the Covenant which pervades through the entire Bible. In Daniel chapters 8 and 9 Gabriel tells the prophet that the Messiah will come at a certain time, and now, in Luke Chapter One, here is Gabriel again explaining that this great and holy occasion has arrived. Here we have the same Covenant with the same heavenly ambassador overbridging the times with his good news. If this is not continuation, what is? Furthermore, the New Testament pioneer, John the Baptist was at once likened to Elias, having the same spirit and power. There is no sign here of the completely new start to the Covenant that the NCT-ites claim is a New Testament fact. Indeed, Zacharias, now full of the Holy Spirit, saw all this as the fulfilment of the mercy performing Covenant which had been given to his fathers and the holy prophets.33

All Scripture is given on inspiration of God

     In our defence of the correct New Testament understanding of the Old, we must return to Timothy of whom Paul affirms that he was brought up as a child by his family who were Jews and could say of the Old Testament:

‘All Scripture is given on inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.34

     Tom Wells challenges this clear testimony of Paul’s to the efficacy of God’s Word in 2 Tim. 3:14-17 with reference to Timothy’s upbringing,35 arguing that OT Scripture such as Moses Law was merely for a specific people for a specific time but is now redundant so we cannot take Paul’s account of Timothy literally. ‘No Christian believes 2 Timothy 3:16-17’, he says in unbelief. However, Paul’s testimony stays firm in Holy Writ, telling him ‘from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.’ Paul is speaking of the Bible of Christ and the Apostles and the Early Church’s inheritance. This was the Old Testament from which they preached salvation. Wells, however, cannot accept a New Testament salvation preached from the Old Testament. The New Testament reveals that God’s Covenant is at work throughout all times and thus we pray, ‘Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.’36

     The fact is that it is no use appealing to the saving vision of Abraham and the other Patriarchs of the Old Testament when witnessing to the NCT people who have only half a Bible in their hands. Tom Wells, Fred Zaspel and Randy Seiver tell us that Old Testament references to believing patriarchs are merely figurative and whenever the testimony of ‘prophets’ is given in speaking on the foundation of the Church, they tell us we must read ‘New Testament prophets only’.37 So the Church, for these people has no Old Testament because God’s Covenant in that dispensation was only applied to temporary land promises. They thus ban both Jews and Non-Jews from salvation in the OT, claiming pre-Jewish Patriarchs were merely physical pointers to spiritual things to come in a post-Jewish era. Thus the Jewish prophets predicted a salvation which neither they nor their hearers could understand and believe, so Christ had no saving function for them. I have often asked NCT people if they thought there were no members of Christ’s Bride in the Old Testament. Older NCT men told me that Christ went to Hades and preached to the Old Testament people after His crucifixion and the Elect were chosen out then. Modern NCT men indicate honestly that they have not settled that problem unanimously yet.

On the road to Emmaeus

     It is refreshing to look at Luke 24:13 for an account of Christ’s words on our subject. Gentile Luke who has found he is one in the faith with believing Jews begins with his teaching of a continuous Covenant of Mercy and Grace, linking up with Isaiah and Malachi and ends by re-establishing the importance of the Old Testament testimony to a graceful law and a rule of grace. It was a testimony that even Christians were beginning to forget. So the Spirit led author begins his work by showing believers in Him how the New Testament is a continuation of the Old and ends it in the same vein. When the disciples tell Jesus their woeful tale, He responds with emotion and cries ‘O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.’ Naturally here Christ is not speaking of New Testament prophets, as NCT leaders would have us believe, but of Job, Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah and all the other Old Testament writers who believed in Christ. Our Saviour, after rebuking the disciples for still doubting, says, ‘Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?’ Then we read, ‘And beginning at Moses and the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.’ What happened to these doubting disciples? ‘There eyes were opened’. My heartfelt prayers go out to the NCT that they will follow the Lord’s road to Emmaeus, harken to him and experience what His disciples at last found true so that their eyes too might be opened.

  1. The New Covenant was the teaching of both the greater and lesser prophets and believed by the Old Testament saints. NCT teaches that the New Covenant was first preached and believed after Christ’s resurrection. When the NT testify to the ‘Prophets’ knowing the New Covenant, NCT contenders say New Testament Prophets only were meant but they do not specify which.
  2. Here the NCTs are of different opinions as to when the New Covenant took over. Older contenders thought the Sermon on the Mount was the turning point, recent NCT authors say Christ’s death and resurrection.
  3. They now say they are Anti-Sabbatarians concerning resting on the seventh day but profess to honour the Day of the Lord. But this still entails one rest day in seven. The explanation given is that they will not be bound to the OT Law but also will not be bound by their ‘New Law’.
  4. See my writings against this Neonomianism, especially within the Banner of Truth fellowship, from which several prominent NCT men have separated themselves. Many Christians who honoured the Law that exhibits God’s righteousness, including myself, were labelled ‘Antinomians’ by the BOT because they would not accept their watered down ‘mini version’ of the Law. Now the New Covenant people have dropped the Law altogether and become a law unto themselves.
  5. I have published several essays on the BOT’s misuse of the law on this website. See my writings against this Neonomianism, especially within the Banner of Truth fellowship, from which several prominent NCT men have separated themselves. Many Christians who honoured the Law that exhibits God’s righteousness, including myself, were labelled ‘Antinomians’ by the BOT because they would not accept their watered down ‘mini version’ of the Law. Now the New Covenant people with their idea of a voluntary following of the law have, in reality, dropped the Law altogether and become a law unto themselves.
  6. See his You-Tube ‘Testimony’.
  7. See Adam T. Calvert’s excellent review of Wells‘ and Zaspel’s book New Covenant Theology on his blog site Lord of Life, 11.11.2014. One might also consult Thomas R. Schreiner’s review in the Ryan Center for Biblical Studies Journal for July 15, 2004 as also Richard C. Barcellos’ review on the website ‘The Reformedreader’ undated. There is also my own review of Well’s and Zaspel’s book published in ‘New Focus Magazine’ Dec. 26, 2006.
  8. See pages 8-10 (especially 9);19.
  9. The horrific political language of the Government which was not intended to be understood outside that ruling body as outlined in George Orwell’s book 1984.
  10. Romans 4:3. Here, Paul is relying on the testimony of Genesis 15:6 for his gospel teaching, showing that from the beginning of the Bible on, the just lived by faith as Habakkuk still describes in chapter 2:4 at the end of the Old Testament. Look what a vision of Christ Habbakuk had. He was welcoming Christ with open arms!
  11. See In These Last Days by Randy Seiver. See especially his chapter ‘The New Age has Come’. Seiver’s comment on the abolition of the Covenant as outlined in the OT is ‘When the ends (Seiver’s italics) for which God gave it had been realized, it had outlived its usefulness and was ready to pass away (p.22).’
  12. 2. Tim. 3:7.
  13. Marcion was accused, when denounced as a heretic of ‘Criticism with a penknife’.
  14. Americans use the word ‘fired’ which is also good English
  15. See the 1903 translation (my favourite) and 1917 (for me the most accurate). A new translation came out in the late sixties which my professors at Uppsala undertook. I thought it was excellent but I do not have it at hand.
  16. I use mostly the 1964 Luther Bible but a more ‘word for word’ translation is found in the Mülheimer Ausgabe (my copy from 1968). The latter is the one Harald Riesenfeld, my Greek professor at Uppsala, used and recommended that all his students buy it.
  17. Hosea 6:4-7.
  18. Matthew 9:13. For good measure Jesus repeats this in Matthew 12:7.
  19. Read the exciting story of New Covenant preaching in Jeremiah chapters 26, 31, and 36. The idea that the New Covenant is in the distant future contradicts Jeremiah’s word as he says this New Covenant is to replace that not kept when the twelve tribes and their associates left Egypt.
  20. In These Last Days, p. 22.
  21. See Numbers 16:28-30.
  22. Psalm 40:8.
  23. I write this to encourage readers to search the Scriptures where the quotes are many. I have received letters from NCT writers denying what I have resaid above and demanding to know where their New Covenant utterances are common knowledge in the Old Testament. This was because they just do not know the Testament that they would render ‘obsolete’ for faulty reasons, mostly because of plain ignorance. They feel they have the truth before studying what righteous faith is throughout all the Scriptures.
  24. Job 19:25-27, but read to the end of the chapter. That this most ancient text is difficult to translate can be seen from the italic words added by the translators for clarity’s sake but the meaning is very clear. More than one NCT man has told me that such a testimony can only be given in their so-called ‘New Order’, ‘New Covenant’ and ‘New Law’.
  25. It would be better to read all Jeremiah’s arguments in his book but the heart of the matter which led to Jeremiah’s correction is found in Chapter34:18-20. So, too, one should read Exodus so as to fit Jeremiah’s remarks into their historical context.
  26. Hebrews 9:14. Was this not what the prophets said would happen and admonished the people to believe it?
  27. Genesis 9:13
  28. Genesis 17:7
  29. Exodus 24:7-8
  30. II Kings 23:25.
  31. Luke 1:1.
  32. See Luke 1:50;72
  33. Luke 1:68-80.
  34. II Tim. 3: 15-17.
  35. New Covenant Theology, pp. 85, 201.
  36. Ephesians 3:21.
  37. New Covenant Theology, Wells and Zaspel, pp. 52-53.