Letters to an English Churchman correspondent defending his own version of New Covenant Theology and attacking traditional Covenant theology as featured in the Covenant of Grace:


Sir:

     Ian Major’s rejection of objective criticism as ‘the wildest accusations’ illustrates his unfamiliarity with NCT’s current teaching. He says he is no theologian but NCT enthusiasts claim this status, so he should let them speak for themselves, especially on ‘Moral Law’. The NCT idea of a developing eschatological ‘Moral Law’ has become such an embarrassment to them, chiefly through Tom Wells’ weird ‘expositions’, that their ‘elders’ have scrapped the term altogether. Mr Major was asked to define his retained ‘Moral Law’ for us, but has merely responded by suggesting what it is not. He links his Moral Law with his New Law but avoids defining this, too, merely claiming that it is heart-felt and for believers only. But where is the law which condemns unbelievers? Regarding Major’s view of the Moral Law, I wrote, “IF Mr Major means the Ten Commandments, then these are an essential part of the Mosaic Law which, according to Major has been abolished.” Major, who appeared to link first nine, then ten Commandments with the Moral Law, finds my statement illogical but naturally, if the Mosaic Law has been fully abrogated, so have its parts, including the Ten Commandments or any unspecified ‘Moral Law’ in it for that matter.

     NCT has no Scriptural doctrine of Christ’s vicarious death under the Mosaic Law as it was ‘rescinded,’ ‘abolished’, ‘dissolved, ‘rendered obsolete’, ‘fully abrogated’ and ‘done away with’ in the Sermon on the Mount. Christ’s death was thus after the New Law was inaugurated and the Old abolished. If Christ died merely to place new laws in new men he did not die for old transgressions in our old Adam. However, when Christ said that not one jot or tittle should pass away from the Law, He was talking about the Mosaic Law under which he placed Himself and not a hitherto unknown New Law which was under Him and which He never fully explained. Anti-Semitic NCT people even tell us that the abolished condemning law was for Jews only!

     When I wrote of those who have joined Reisinger’s isolationism, I thought of a small group of once Reformed men who had taken up their pens in favour of NCT. Now, Major claims that I ‘write off’ and ‘castigate’ all who even talk to Reisinger! I do no such thing and some friends of Reisinger’s are also very good friends of mine. I am also on friendly speaking terms with Major, am I not?

     Brother Major’s brand of Developing-NCT-ism is not shared by Zens, Zaspel, Wells, Reisinger, Seiver, Adams, Lehrer and Volker etc., whose views, too, like Major’s are always changing.



Sir:

     Ian Major defends NCT deviations without apparent knowledge of them. NCT’s dualistic Marcionism provides them with a Dispensationalism which rules out the Covenant of Grace in both Testaments. NCT thus stands for No Covenant Theology. In his works Ekklesia and Abraham’s Four Seeds, Reisinger de-churches the OT saints whom the NT introduces as examples of true faithfulness and introduces a hierarchy of believers from those in a limbus partum, to those who experience ‘hope realised’ (NCT hope?). The NCT robs Christ of His eternal attributes displayed in Scripture, presenting Him as a latter-day eschatological man who has to ‘earn’ His divine Lordship. Major speaks of Eternal Law rather than Eternal Grace. However, NCT law is as lacking in eternity as is their view of grace. Fred Zaspel tells us that his NCT ‘rescinds’ some laws, ‘restricts’ others and ‘extends the requirements’ of what is left. John Reisinger even tells us that the Mosaic Law is ‘done away’. Talk of the ten commandments is thus meaningless. NCT teaches a New Law which is never spelt out and that more laws are to come as their ‘eschatological transcendence’ programme develops. Thus NCT moves from Antinomianism to Neonomianism. Zaspel argues cryptically that there is no form of Old Law any longer but merely what he calls its new effects which he equates with his unspecified New Law.


     Thus, NCT might justly stand for Old Covenant Theology as they reject the New Covenant doctrines of grace propagated since the Fall for a belief in law only. Rather than being mature adults as Major claims, they are immature slaves under law bondage. There is no true atonement in NCT thinking because Christ never placed Himself under the condemning law vicariously for His elect. NCT knows no true sin or righteousness as they reject the imputation of Christ’s so-called passive work (suffering) either way. Furthermore, in concentrating on Christ as an eschatological figure only, Reisinger rejects the Reformed doctrine of Christ’s work in and from eternity.

     Major views the NCT as true Baptists but their doctrines are in stark contrast to Particular Baptists pioneers such as Booth, Gill and Ryland Sen. and modern Baptists such as Walter Chantry. NCT rejects the old Baptist view of the covenant within the Trinity before the foundation of the world and their covenant of promise with man as the scene, setting and venue of grace. They replaces it with a highly sacramental view of ‘immersionism’. NCT leader Reisinger is, however, as severe in his condemnation of Reformed Baptists as he is of Presbyterians. His quip that all those outside of the NCT are “like a blind man, in a dark room, looking for a black cat, that is not there,” is typical of his self-isolationism. To perpetuate this island mentality Reisinger insists that those who enter into dialogue with them use Biblical terms only. The NCT then reserve the sole right to redefine all these terms into a Newspeak gobbledegook which makes dialogue impossible.




Sir:

     Ian Major rejects my refutations of NCT errors, his only defence being to list them again. He confesses that the quotes I gave him were from treatises unknown to him, but now he knows them he still refuses to examine them in depth. How can Mr Major pay lip-service to his Moral Law (a secular Classical term, not a Scriptural one) when NCT people will either not spell out what they mean by it or different NCT writers assume different meanings? If Mr Major means the Ten Commandments, then these are an essential part of the Mosaic Law which, according to Major has been abolished. The ‘Moral Law’ of the NCT, is their New Eschatological Law which is neither an eternal law nor the basis of an eternal covenant. This New Law is a Neonomian rule of obedience and not a rule of grace. Though Major speaks of eternal grace, he denies God’s covenant from eternity which arranges it and Christ’s work in eternity which keeps it. The NCT-believer’s only rule is his New Law, thus they lack not only clear doctrines of faith and grace but also of sin and righteousness. If Christ did not suffer vicariously under the Mosaic Law, where is imputed righteousness? If Christ were not made sin for our sakes under the Mosaic Law, where is Major’s doctrine of imputed sin? Indeed, where is Christ’s pre-existence in NCT teaching that the man Jesus earned his divine offices which were conferred on Him post-mortem? Indeed, in putting mankind under a New Law, NCT still requires the death of Christ to atone for our breaking it. We cannot keep it ourselves.

     Admittedly, the NCT reject ‘historic Dispensationalism’ as they reject historic Christianity, but they have a New Dispensationalist Theology illustrated by their teaching on law, gospel, Christology, ecclesiology, soteriology and history. Reisinger’s Dispensational thinking, shown by his pseudo-linguistic analysis of the supposed Four Seeds of Abraham and his faulty etymology of the Church, robs his theology of any claim to be Biblical and Reformed.

     By redefining Covenant Theology falsely, Reisinger dupes his novices into thinking he is refuting true Covenant Theology as taught by Anglicans, Independents and Reformed Baptists. None of these teach, for instance, that secular Jewry or the nation of Israel is ‘the Body of Christ’. Reisinger uses the same cut and paste methods on the Reformed Creeds as he performs on the Bible, altering their meaning and presenting a faulty picture of his opponents. Major cites a number of names to ‘prove’ that Reisinger is not an isolationist. As these all support Reisinger in some way, they obviously live with him on his island.




Sir:

     After naming and quoting numerous NCT writers, urging Mr Major to do likewise, his only response is to state that the onus probandi lies solely with me. Equally surprising, Major admits that NCT is in confusion regarding doctrine but considers this positive. However, when NCT people who disagree with Major’s own views are refuted, he defends them ardently, putting them above reproach whatever they believe. Major’s claim to be a mainstream NCT-ite is self-deceptive. He still adheres to a Moral Law as an acceptable NCT view but NCT has now thrown out the Moral Law with the Mosaic Law depending alone on their never-defined New Law. Mainstream NCT is consolidating itself into one body with one statement of faith, and with one board of elders.

     In spite of NCT’s contrary statements, Major still maintains paradoxically that Christ lived and died under the law He abolished. Fulfilment by abolishment is his parole. Reisinger’s NCT book ‘But I Say Unto You’, claims that Christ inaugurated a New Law during His earthly preaching. Christ in the Sermon on the Mount neither abolished the Law as Reisinger teaches nor rescinding, altered and extended parts as Zaspel claims. Christ expounded it as the Scribes and Major ought. Major believes the Mosaic Law ‘bound only the conscience of the Jew’ temporally. The Bible teaches that the Mosaic Law condemns Jew and Gentile alike eternally unless Christ fulfilled the Law for both.

     When separating his Moral Law from the tangles of his badly understood Mosaic Law, although still arguing that the latter is altogether abolished, Major’s sole argument is that the entire Mosaic Law cannot be used today as a Moral Law. This was never its purpose, but Major’s arbitrary Neonomian attempts to dissect the Law into its eternal and temporary parts provides no solution, ignores the Gospel, and merely reflects the old legalistic, Fullerite teaching on ‘Eternal Natural Law’ and ‘Temporary Revealed Law’. Major even claims that what God calls eternal in both Testaments is, in fact, only temporary. He gives the Sabbath as ‘proof’ of this although the Sabbath is an institution as old as creation and indeed called ‘a perpetual covenant’ in the Scriptures.

     Major’s final fling is that I must have had ‘second thoughts’ on NCT teaching because I speak to NCT-ites whereas he would not be ‘on friendly terms with perverters of the gospel’. This demonstrates how different we are. My major criticism of Major is not that he is a heretic but that he thinks he has boarded a ship named NCT whilst he is blissfully sailing in another leaky vessel under another flag to an unknown destination. My Christian responsibility is for his welfare, whether he is an NCT man or not, and I want to put him on the right boat.