What’s Wrong With New Covenant Theology?

What’s Wrong With New Covenant Theology? March 21, 2019

New Covenant Theology was the “new thing” a few decades ago and many were called heretics for defending and promoting it.

Previously, the two main theologies were Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism.

According to Wikipedia:

“New Covenant Theology (teaches) that the person and work of Jesus Christ is the central focus of the Bible. One distinctive result of this is that Old Testament Laws have been abrogated or cancelled with Jesus’ crucifixion, and replaced with the Law of Christ found in the New Covenant.”
This view also says that:

“The New Testament interpret(s) the Old Testament…when the NT interprets an OT promise differently than the plain reading, then New Covenant Theology concludes that that is how God interprets His promise.” 

“As an example, Amos 9:11-12 is quoted by James in Acts 15 and is interpreted by him to associate the rebuilding of “David’s fallen tent” with the Gentiles’ salvation. This would be a highly surprising interpretation to the Jewish believers, since there is no precedent for it to be interpreted as anything other than a promise to the nation of Israel. (Instead), New Covenant Theology says that God has given us His interpretation of that passage, through James.”

As for me, New Covenant Theology has been my own personal perspective on scripture for a while now. Most of what I have written here on my blog, and in my various books, has been from this perspective.

But lately, my theology has started to progress a bit further than this.

I embraced New Covenant Theology because it affirmed that the Flat Bible perspective is flawed and reorients scripture with Christ as our ultimate authority. But unfortunately it stops short of allowing Jesus to fully reform our ideas about God.

So, while New Covenant Theology (NCT) affirms Christ as the center of scripture, it fails to completely embrace Jesus as our one and only image of who the Father is and what He is really like.

Where NCT falters is in fully admitting that the revelation of the Father found in Jesus is often at odds with what the Old Covenant prophets have to say about Him.

Furthermore, the NCT position also fails to admit that the prophets themselves are often at odds with one another about what God said and what God’s character is like. [See, for example the differing statements made in the OT scriptures about whether God did, or did not, command the Israelites to offer animal sacrifices].

To help explain this, let me borrow an analogy. There are various answers to the question “Where do babies come from?” and someone might say “the stork brings them” and another might say “when mommy and daddy love each other very much the baby starts to grow in her tummy” and still another might say “the male contributes the sperm which he secretes during sexual intercourse to fertilize the egg which the woman provides and in 9 months the embryo matures into a fetus and a child is born.”

Two of those answers might be considered “true”, one of them is obviously a story designed to symbolize the reality without actually addressing any of the mechanics, and yet all of them are still an attempt to answer the question about where babies come from.

This is similar to what we have in the Hebrew Bible when it comes to question of what God is like. Some voices give us the “stork” version of the story, with great symbolism and hyperbole. Some voices give us an approximation of the answer. Other voices may give us more detailed and specific answers that more closely align with reality.

For us, Jesus is the reality. He is “the exact representation” of the Father. He is the one in whom “the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” He is “the Word made flesh who dwelt among us.”

So, the best picture of the Father is found in Christ. If we have “seen Him,” we have truly and accurately “seen the Father” in the most complete and full way possible.

Because “no one has ever seen God” except Jesus and the reason He came was to reveal the Father to us like no one else before ever could, or did.

In our analogy, David the Psalmist might be one who provides the more poetic “stork version” of the Father’s character. Isaiah and Jeremiah might be the “mommy loves daddy” version of the story. But only Christ gives us the version of the story that includes every specific detail we need to fully understand who the Father is and what the Father is like.

As long as we insist upon holding tightly to the rigid inerrancy of the Old Testament scriptures, we will forever be kept from fully embracing the clearest and most accurate portrayal of who God really is.

Until we relax our grip on the idea that the Old Testament prophets were truly seeing God clearly and recognize that the Abba Father we see revealed in Christ overrides those limited and flawed perspectives of God, we will remain confused about who God really is.

As long as we allow the tarnished testimony of Moses to describe God as one who commands His people to slaughter infants and toddlers without showing compassion, we will forever stand in opposition to the testimony of Jesus who showed us an Abba Father God who loves children, cares for His enemies, shows compassion to the broken and commands us to do the same – specifically because this is who He is and what He is like. [See Matt. 5:44-45]

So, even as those who stood up and defended the New Covenant Theology view a few decades ago were considered heretics and false teachers by the Dispensationalists and Covenant Theology teachers of their day, we should not be surprised when the same charge is leveled at those of us who affirm a Jesus-centric perspective of Scripture today.

Ultimately I believe it simply boils down to this: Who is our authority? Is it the Bible? Or is it Christ? Do we center our theology on a book, or on a person who is indeed God Himself incarnate?

The Book, as wonderful as it may be, is imperfect. It contains the testimony of men who sometimes saw clearly and sometimes did not. The Book contains the voices of men who don’t always agree with one another about who God is and what God is like.

Our choice is simple: We either agree with Jesus about who God is, because He is God made flesh, or we side with those Old Testament prophets who were not perfect, not flawless and not Emmanuel [God with us].

I choose Jesus.

**

Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.

His new book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.

He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.

Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. 

BONUS: Want to unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more? Visit my Patreon page.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • John Campbell

    Yes, we read Scripture looking for Jesus Christ. Jesus Word is so we know Jesus. Who IS our New Covenant! ( Isaiah 49:8-9, 42:6-9)
    The New Covenant is Who Jesus Christ is and what He’s done.
    Jesus blood is not generic. Jesus blood is specifically New Covenant blood. ( Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25)
    Until the Church receives New Covenant Biblical revelation there will be a continuing falling away from Jesus as there is really nothing better than Jesus. But one can replace Him and not know the difference. Which is exactly what is presently occurring in the apostolic- prophetic movement; the political gospel and the prosperity gospel. I promise. Most celebritiy leaders here have become bored with Jesus our New Covenant and divorced themselves to Him. It is very clear by the words of the mouth; magnifying self with subtleness in the Name of Jesus.

    For the main message of the Bible is the prophesied, blood bought and glorious New Covenant of grace. Which continuously puts the spotlight on Jesus Christ and who we are in Him. Which is a redeemed and beloved child of God AND Kingdom of priests at New Birth. Whose primary purpose is to minister unto the Lord in the inner court as a priest, to be nearest His presence; thus being empowered as a conduit to present Jesus Himself to others and bring the Kingdom of God to earth!

  • Daphne Posselt Myers

    Keith this is amazing! This is exactly the conclusion I have recently reached, and I was writing about it this morning in my journal. I see at least twelve very great distinctions between the Elohim of the Old Covenant and Abba of the New Covenant. Unless God is totally schizophrenic I don’t see how He can be one and the same person. And I choose Jesus, Abba, the God of Grace and Truth!!

  • John Campbell

    God is One. And all Scripture is valid; In Christ. Everything in the Old needs to be read and understood in the light of Christ Himself. He. Him. Every Old Testament Scripture quoted in the New Testament is support of Jesus Christ.

  • Ed Senter

    Correct me if I am wrong, but have you not confused Jesus’ mission with his Deity? Jesus came as the suffering servant. He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. He came to die. By is Resurrection he returned to the full glory which was his on the throne. If you want to emulate some turn the other cheek passivist, I think you have missed the boat. Jesus put God- the Almighty Supreme Being- on display in the flesh. He fulfilled his purpose as the way to enter the presence of God. But man is man and God is God. All man can do is walk by faith. Jesus promised life eternal and to have it more abundantly if we only trust him.

  • Ed Senter

    What is this “Kingdom of God to earth” of which you speak?

  • From Gal 3:8 (And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.”) I gather that the covenant promises made to Abraham was a declaration of the good news to humanity. The only difference between the Old Covenant and the New is the indwelling Holy Spirit (Jer 31:33). The Old Testament describes what sinful humanity did and said, but Jesus saw it as inspired by God. If Jesus could see the truth in Scripture, we need to strive to learn how to mine its truths. Arguments about inerrancy are besides the point.

  • soter phile

    No matter how frequently you repeat this false dichotomy, Keith, a false dichotomy it remains.

    Nobody quoted the OT more than Jesus. No one had a higher view of the OT.
    He affirmed human authorship while calling it the “Word of God” (Mk.7:10-13).

    The Incarnate Word incessantly quoted the written Word, and constantly gave it the authority which you deny.
    If you claim to follow Jesus, why don’t you share his view of the Scriptures?

  • John Campbell

    “we speak Gods wisdom, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood..( 1 Cor. 2:7-8)
    “For to us God revealed these thoughts through the Holy Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things even the depths of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things FREELY given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in those taught by the Holy Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, for they are spiritually appraised.” ( 1 Cor. 2:10-15)
    Jesus Christ Himself is the wisdom of God. ( 1Cor. 1: 24 + 30)

  • John Campbell

    There are many differences between the old obsolete covenant which Christ fulfilled and the new covenant He inaugurated when He offered His precious perfect new covenant blood in heaven for our eternal redemption. If anyone plans to go to heaven it’s only by the new covenant. Jesus blood is not generic. Jesus blood is specifically New Covenant blood.

  • Ed Senter

    Your comment tells me vaguely “how to bring it”, but what is this “Kingdom of God”? If it is symbolic, symbolic for what?

  • John Campbell

    To be yoked to Jesus Christ….Keeping in step with the Holy Spirit…. Presenting Jesus Himself to others, as a conduit and in doing so bringing His Kingdom to earth. Everything is summed up in Christ. God has made us adequate as servants of the New Covenant with the ministry of reconciliation with God In Christ.

  • rationalobservations?

    Repeating nonsensical garbage fails to make it any less ridiculous.

    There is no need for “interpretation” regarding the almost endless contradictions within and between all the diverse and different versions of human authored bibles that have been fabricated since the 4th century Roman religion they called “christianity” was so brutally imposed upon the world.

    We know that you believe nonsense only because you have been indoctrinated with blind and unquestioning gullibility and have blind and unquestioning gullibility exclusively because you have been brainwashed to believe in bunkum.

    Your sad failure to defend or justify your indoctrinated fantasies is obvious for all to observe. You retain my sincere sympathy but earn no respect.

  • Ed Senter

    1. As a non-Christian, I would not have a clue about what you said, and
    2. As a Christian, it sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo Jesus speak.
    Are you saying Jesus Christ = Kingdom of God?

  • Ed Senter

    The most basic Christian doctrine is “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself”.
    What don’t you understand?

  • rationalobservations?

    I understand that people have written all sorts of fiction.

    I also understand that people have invented millions of undetected and undetectable gods goddesses and god-men.

    I recognise that ignorant and gullible people used to buy into that garbage but few do today.

    What don’t you understand.

  • Ed Senter

    Pay attention!
    First, you accused me of being indoctrinated, then you accused my of failing to defend and justify whatever I have been indoctrinated.
    So, I present the most basic doctrine and asked you what you don’t understand. It is pretty self-evident.

  • rationalobservations?

    All that is self evident is that the Roman “Jesus” cult they called “christianity” was cobbled together and brutally imposed upon the world in the 4th century.

    It is also self evident (from all the evidence) that the first prototype bibles were written in the 4th century to be edited, added to and deleted from then re-written then re-re-re-written into something very different incirvulation today.

    There is no authentic and original evidence otherwise.

  • John Campbell

    “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Holy Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he CANNOT understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” ( 1 Corinthians 2:14)

    “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might NOT see the LIGHT of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” ( 2 Corinthians 4:4)

  • Ed Senter

    Not the “first” bibles, but the oldest. Big difference.
    There is no doubt that what we have are copies of copies. So, I ask, SO WHAT?
    You claim that what bibles that we have today are so “edited, added to, and deleted from” whatever, that the entire Christian religion should be considered nothing but myth, or whatever.
    Your best evidence so far has been that an ending to Mark was added in the 4th century. Yet, that ending does nothing to change anything about the basic doctrines of Christianity. In fact, I exposed you as a liar about what is written.
    You are simply all talk and uneducated opinion, bonzo.

  • Ed Senter

    What makes you think I am blinded to Christ? I am not.
    What I am asking is what do you mean by “Kingdom of God”? I don’t recall Paul talking about the Kingdom of God as something believers are “to bring to earth”.

  • rationalobservations?

    You have failed before with the copies of copies cop out as there are thousands of differences between the 4th century prototypes and the very different versions in circulation today.

    If you can reference a Bible written before the 4th century and reveal the location in which it’s conserved you may look a little less dishonest and ignorant yourself.

  • Ed Senter

    Again, it is your claim, so what are these “thousands of differences”???
    The only one that you have provided- an alternative ending to Mark- does nothing and I exposed you as a liar.
    Just admit, bonzo, you have nothing!

  • rationalobservations?

    What “claim”, Ed?
    That’s just another of your regular cop out tactics to avoid admitting that there is no evidence of the existence of “Jesus” and no bibles before the 4th century fabricated Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus that are both different from each other and very different from later bibles like those written in more recent times and in circulation today.

    It is calculated by scholars (with more time and patience than me) that there are over 17,000 major and minor differences between Sinaiticus and the KJV.

    The “alternative ending” you reference is not an alternative ending at all. The original ending stops at the discovery of an empty tomb. The more recently forged and interpolated ending was added by later authors.

    That is a minor difference when compared with the omission of two whole books. The oldest / first edition of the New Testament has some very interesting differences. It includes two works which have since been dropped from both Catholic and Protestant Bibles – “The Shepherd of Hermas”, a heavily allegorical work full of visions and parables and “The Epistle of Barnabas”, which contains highly-charged language about the Jews as the killers of “Jesus”. It also includes entire books which, after the Reformation, Protestants decided to drop from their Bibles: the Old Testament books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Maccabbees 1&2 and large chunks of Esther and Daniel. And the running order of the books is different, reflecting subtle shifts in the priorities of the believers over the ages. The Codex omits the words which Protestants add to the end of The Lord’s Prayer, and Catholics omit: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever (Matthew 6:13).

    Other more minor but still significant differences that confound those who claim that modern bibles are the “word of god” include it saying that Jesus was “angry” as he healed a leper, where the modern text says he acted with “compassion”. The story of the stoning of the adulterous woman – “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” is not there and was interpolated later. Nor are Jesus’s words about his executioners from the cross: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. And. as you already recognise, Ed – its Gospel of Mark ends abruptly after Jesus’s disciples discover his empty tomb – omitting the 12 verses on the appearance of the resurrected Christ – and leaving the disciples exiting in fear. The Codex leaves an unusual blank space where the verses “should” be indicating that the omission is not due to any missing pages.

    It is religionists who make unjustified and unsupported claims. I merely confound those claims by presenting the evidence supported facts.

    Rather than persist with your dishonest and ignorance based denial and unsupported evidence devoid claims – please stop embarrassing and humiliating yourself and do some research of your own!

    It is time for you to admit that you “have nothing” but busted myths and debunked bunkum, son.

  • Ed Senter

    I have never claimed that any Bible was “the inerrant word of God”; however, I do claim that the Bible contains God’s Word and is to be rightly divided for our edification just as it teaches.
    Regardless, none of these supposed differences changes anything about the central message and doctrine that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.”
    The difference between you and me, bonzo, is that I research for reasons to believe. You seem to be ignorantly obtuse in your support of meaninglessness and non-existence.

  • rationalobservations?

    I spent decades searching and researching for evidence based reason to believe. I found that there is none and you offer none.

    Your ignorance and gullibility are only exceeded by your arrogance and egotism once again.

  • Ed Senter

    Perhaps you should relax some of your “searching and researching” criteria and ask yourself, why you are doing what you are doing.

  • rationalobservations?

    Perhaps you should try to become better educated rather than wallow in ignorance and superstition.

    Your ignorance and gullibility are only exceeded by your arrogance and egotism once again.

  • “Where NCT falters is in fully admitting that the revelation of the Father found in Jesus is often at odds with what the Old Covenant prophets have to say about Him.”

    No it is not!

  • fractal

    If Jesus shows us “THE FATHER”, who shows us “THE MOTHER”?