Why Can’t Dispensationalists Agree on the New Covenant?

A large group of dispensationalists gathered together recently in an effort to pound out a definition of the biblical words “new covenant.”   More information about that meeting can be found here:

http://www.baptistbulletin.org/?p=5104

Why is so hard for dispensationalists to define these words that have been in the Bible for two thousand years?

One reason for this difficulty is that they can see the implications of a proper understanding of the new covenant.  Many dispensationalists, if not most,  place the New Covenant:  1)  In the future; and 2) for Jews only.

Now, understanding the New Covenant is not that difficult.  The plain fact is that the new covenant is the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ for all of God’s people, both Jew and Gentile, and the calling of those diverse nations into one body through faith in Jesus.  Even the most casual reading of the Pauline epistles and the book of Hebrews will reveal this.  It seems highly perplexing to me that the dispensationalists like to champion the cause of “plain interpretation” of biblical passages, yet they can’t seem to apply it to passages that are the most plain and easy to understand.

The problem is, this simple definition of the New Covenant crashes many of dispensationalism’s theories.   You see, the dispensationalist MUST find a way to re-divide the Jews from the Gentiles after the “Church Age”.  The dispensationalist MUST find a way that God will some day in the future save people by human DNA instead of by grace.

It is a sad commentary indeed when one attendant pastor admits his ignorance of this crucial New Testament doctrine:

“In two weeks I need to stand before my congregation and lead a communion service,” Workman said. “I need to be able to explain what Christ meant when he said, ‘This is the new covenant in My blood.’” 

Very sad.  O!  If my brethren were to just open to Augustine, or Calvin, or Henry, or the Westminster Divines, or Gill, or the 1689 Baptists – they could save themselves so much time and so many headaches. 

Here is Gill’s comments on Hebrews 8, provided for my dispensational friends:

God promises a “new covenant”; so called, not because newly made; for with respect to its original constitution, it was made from eternity; Christ the Mediator of it, and with whom it was made, was set up from everlasting; and promises and blessings of grace were put into his hands before the world began: nor is it newly revealed, for it was made known to Adam, and in some measure to all the Old Testament saints, though it is more clearly revealed than it was; but it is so called in distinction from the former administration of it, which is waxen old, and vanished away; and with respect to the order of succession, it taking place upon the former being removed; and on account of the time of its more clear revelation and establishment being in the last days; and because of its mode of administration, which is different from the former, in a new way, and by the use of new ordinances; and because it is always new, its vigour and efficacy are perpetual; it will never be antiquated, or give place to another; and it provides for, and promises new things, a new heart, a new spirit, &c. to which may be added, that it is a famous, excellent covenant, there is none like it; just as an excellent song is called a new song. The persons with whom this covenant is promised to be made, are the houses of Israel and Judah; which being literally taken, had its fulfilment in the first times of the Gospel, through the ministry of John the Baptist, Christ, and his apostles, by whom this covenant was made known to God’s elect among the twelve tribes; but being mystically understood, includes both Jews and Gentiles, the whole Israel of God; Israel not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; such as were Jews inwardly; God’s elect of every nation: the word suntelesw, rendered, “I will make”, signifies, I will consummate, or finish, or end, or fulfil it; which shows the perfection of this covenant, and the imperfection of the former; and that what was typified in the first is fulfilled in this; and that it is now established and ratified by Christ; and is so finished, as to the manifestation and administration of it, that there will be no alteration made in it, nor any addition to it: the time of doing all this is called “the days to come”; the last days, the days of the Messiah, which were future in Jeremiah’s time: and a “behold” is prefixed to the whole, as a note of attention, this being an affair of great moment and importance; and as a note of demonstration, or as pointing to something that was desired and expected; and as a note of admiration, it containing things wonderful and marvellous.

So simple.  So plain.  So true.

By the way, please forgive if I seem to be taunting  dispensationalists a little.  No disrespect intended.

 

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3 Responses to “Why Can’t Dispensationalists Agree on the New Covenant?”

  1. john r Says:

    i hate labeling. its shrouded with false witness. what the heck is a dispensationalist?

  2. john r Says:

    i assume you are aware that the new covenant is without regulation as in deut. 28. that under the new covenant there are no unchallengable regulations, such as natural law, women teaching in church, etc.

  3. Joel Says:

    john r: Well, it looks like we’re at a stalemate – I don’t know what you’re talking about, and you don’t know what I’m talking about.

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