I was sent what he called a ‘blog’ recently by a person who neither addressed me by name, nor introduced himself. It read:

     ‘There ought to be a fine for stupidity! There is some clown named George M. Ella at http://evangelica.de/articles/covenant-theology-as-seen-by-new-covenant-…whose license to write ought to be rescinded. Oh, that’s right, there is no license for writing, but their ought to be. Before writing about another person’s views, a person should have to prove he has the ability to read and rightly interpret those views. If he can’t do that, he should be forbidden to write. This guy claims to be a Doctor of some type–perhaps he is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine I don’t know. For all I know, he suffers from senile dementia. What I do know is that he suffers for terminal stupidity. He has written that I claim OT saints had no actual faith. Here is the quote,“Yet in his overview of Hebrews 11, Seiver claims that the OT saints had no actual saving faith. All they looked for was earthly enjoyment in Canaan because they could not see the fulfilment of the promises.” He cites pp. 96-97 of my book, In These Last Days. I dare anyone to produce anything from those pages that remotely resembles that claim. This is what I actually wrote, “Even those Israelites who, through faith, enjoyed some blessings promised in the new covenant, e.g., justification, [a person cannot be justified without actual faith can he?] were not permitted, during the old covenant period, to enjoy the full inheritance of eternal blessings.” This I wrote based on Heb. 11:39-40. “These all died in faith, not having received the promise. . . ” How can a person die believing if he doesn’t have actual faith?

     Let’s let everyone know it is time to start being honest about other people’s views. And, if you know this loon, please tell him it is time to hang up the ole keyboard.’

     This ‘blog’ was followed by seven others of like description. It turned out that my anonymous blogger was Randy Seiver, author of In These Last Days which continues the eschatological speculations of New Covenant Theology (NCT), Seiver’s version having departed radically from the ideas, methods and language of their founding fathers. The latter blogs demanded, ‘Repent of your evil’, and informed me that Seiver would drop some of his abusive language (some only) if I repented and apologised. I replied but Seiver rejected my explanation, or rather said he would not read it and told me he would never read anything from my pen again, nor write to me though he did both on the following day. I told Seiver that I would discuss his views with him if he used a more irenic language and approach.

     What has caused this quite extreme reaction on Pastor Seiver’s part? It has all to do with his dispensational covenant theology. The NCT surface teaching would appear to indicate that there are two Covenants, one of Works, which they call the Old Covenant, and one of Grace, which they call the New Covenant. This is simply put. The under-surface teaching is complicated and confusing. The NCT refuses to call the New Covenant a Covenant of Grace, or that it stretches back into OT times, but hold that the Old Covenant is purely a Covenant of Works, which does not stretch into the New Testament. Old Covenant unrepentant sinners died under the Covenant of Works but modern unrepentant sinners die under the New Law of Christ. So, Seiver calls the Old Covenant, which he confuses all the time with the Old Testament, a ‘wrong’ covenant (p.123), leaving us to believe that ‘right’ is only to be found in the New Covenant or New Testament. Seiver’s translation principle is to ignore negations so that ‘not perfect’ becomes ‘wrong’ and ‘without’ becomes ‘with’. With this simple rule, one can rewrite the Bible to make it agree with the NCT. For instance, ‘not perfect’ becomes ‘wrong’ or ‘obsolete’ and where we are told that the Gentiles cannot find salvation without the Jews, he claims that the Jews only find salvation with the Gentiles. What would be the difference in the latter, are not both translations logically the same? No, the first is a correct translation and the second is altered to give the impression that the Jews must wait until the Gentiles are saved to be saved themselves. The true meaning is that the OT saints were saved first and we join them. Seiver thus argues that the Old Covenant, alias Old Testament, knows no realised salvation which can only be found in the New Testament and in our present age.

     Now this would make sense if we believed that the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace were each reserved for a particular time dispensation so that the Old Covenant reigned from Adam until the close of the Old Testament period and the New Covenant, as the NCT argues, started only at Pentecost. Thus, simply put, there would be no ‘right’ salvation in ‘wrong’ OT times as there is only salvation in post-Pentecostal NT times. However, as Seiver’s most self-contradictory utterances show, he is most uncomfortable with this concept as it would mean that there were men and women of God who had some form of faith in the Old Testament but the salvation which goes with true faith could not be theirs in OT times. To get over this difficulty, the NCT postulate a salvation suspended in the OT until the time of the Gentiles when OT believers catch up time-wise with NT believers. The argument is that Abraham never actually experienced what he believed in as the grounds for that belief had not yet occurred. Christ’s atoning death and glorious resurrection had not yet happened. All they had was the promises of an eternal city but not that city itself. But is this not the state of all Christians? Do not we all in faith look to that eternal city? Paul tells us in Romans 13:11 that our salvation is getting nearer as life goes on. The writer to the Hebrews preaches in Chapter 11:1 that ‘faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’. We all desire a better country and thus God is not ashamed to be our God. Here the author is clearly encouraging Christians to stick to the witness of their great crowd of OT brethren and keep looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of their faith.

     Christians believe that Christ died for His Bride past, present and future and this was decreed, worked out and fulfilled in eternity and no believer had to wait any longer for his ‘realised’ salvation than his fellow believers do at death. When they die, as Paul says, they are present with the Lord. Time ends for them. The Great Day of Judgement is not a thing of time but it takes place in eternity and we all get there together.

     Scripture thus clearly teaches that believing Jews, from the point of view of time, were before us and when we believe as Gentiles, we join believing Jews. We are grafted on to an already existing vine (Christ) in the same way that Jews are: the difference being that the OT believers were there, historically speaking, before us. NCT people deny this. Jews must hang on in time after death, somewhere not specified, (Limbo?) until the time of the Gentiles has come and then believing Jews join the believing Gentiles. Thus Seiver denies that the salvation which Abraham gained through his trust in Christ in the OT is the same as that which Seiver experiences himself in post-Pentecostal times. However, Christ’s atonement was before the foundation of the world as He stood before the Judgement seat of God in eternity on our behalf. I feel we should see ‘before’ as a preposition of place not time, as very often used in Scripture as there was no time before time was created for the earth. Christ’s atonement was not demonstrated as a time factor, but in the fullness, the goal, the aim of time when eternity became a reality to time-dwellers in all times and God’s eternal decree to elect a people for himself, as promised to Abraham, was validated for all time, past, present and future. Past believers, present believers and future believers are all secure in God’s single, eternal act of salvation.

     To return to Seiver’s rage. Whilst commenting on very many serious NCT errors, which Seiver leaves uncommented, I mentioned also his idea in a paragraph on p. 97 of his book that begins, ‘The old covenant promised that if the people of Israel obeyed, they would enjoy God’s blessing in the land of Canaan. What it could not promise was the enjoyment of the eternal inheritance.’ He goes on to admit that the OT saints received also some of the blessings promised in the new covenant, e.g justification but they ‘were not permitted to enjoy the full inheritance of eternal blessings. An adequate sacrifice had not yet appeared that could secure the eternal inheritance by appeasing God’s wrath for the mountain of transgression committed under the old covenant.’ So Seiver is arguing that the status of the OT saints was different to that of the NT saints who, according to Seiver, had the ‘full inheritance of eternal blessings, denied to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’. I told Brother Seiver both in my various articles taking up his views and in my three letters to him, that neither Jewish nor Gentile believers live by sight but by faith and that Gentile believers have joined Jewish believers in awaiting the redemption and resurrection which will transform us from mortal men to the immortality resting in us until we all enter into our inheritance reserved in heaven for us.

     Furthermore, Seiver claimed twice in his first attack and in further outbursts that I deny he holds that OT believers had ‘actual faith’, explaining in a following blog that he had cut and pasted the expression from the one work he uses as his platform. He has, indeed, cut out the words from somewhere and pasted the expression to the passage he actually does quote with his interpretation within it but only the one reference to actual saving faith is from me. I never mention merely ‘actual faith’ in my article under discussion. I spoke of saving faith just the once, the subject over which Seiver so strongly disagrees with me. What Seiver means by ‘actual faith’ if it is not the same faith that Paul had, I do not know. I wrote about the saving faith there and then in Abraham as here and now in his children by faith. I was not talking about a pre-faith and a post faith but only saving faith by which faithful Abraham, imputed with righteousness, is our progenitor. I believe in the one saving faith in all time and for eternity. I do not distinguish between different ‘faiths’. The Christian message is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as Abraham did and I trust Seiver does, and all shall be saved. The question here is, ‘Can believers have two different kinds of faith’ I am not talking about degrees of faith, but two different kinds. The NCT says, Yes’. They have what they call ‘suspended faith’ as in the case of Abraham’ and ‘realised faith, as in the case of Seiver. They distinguish between OT faith and NT faith.

     Seiver’s book In These Last Days is subtitled A Biblical-Theological Study of the Epistle to the Hebrews. It is, however, merely an exercise in convincing Seiver’s readers that there has been a great historical shift, breaking the Bible into its ‘wrong’ and right Parts, ushering in a realised eschatology. However, Seiver does not find that all eschatology has been realised as he still longs for his ‘Celestial City’ as he tells us in the final paragraph of his Introduction. Here, we have a starting place for a sensible dialogue with the NCT without all the froth and lather of their heated polemics and rhetoric. Here Old Testament saints, as also their later converts amongst the Gentiles, are one together in their hope of eternity. Our Reformers, and especially Tyndale, argued that God has one Testament for his elect under both Covenants which are merely a continuation of each other both ways, or rather they overlap. There is no ‘redemptive-historical shift’ as per Seiver’s attempt to break the Bible in two in his Introduction. God never shifts or makes a shift at anything. The whole Bible is his account of the ways of one salvation as He keeps his one promise to Abraham, choosing out a people for Himself through all times. Neither God, nor Christ, nor the Holy Spirit do anything ‘wrong’ or change. Christ is the same Mediator in the OT as in the NT and wherever Christ is throughout Biblical times and until Kingdom come, He is choosing out His Bride. Abraham is the father of all the faithful, to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles. Seiver makes of Abraham the offspring of a Gentile movement which has cut off God’s OT by branding it ‘wrong’. This is the Marcionite heresy in modern dress which was condemned by the ancient Church as being contrary to Scripture. It must remain condemned.