New Covenant Theology and the Old Testament Covenants

William Barrick | August 25, 2009

Though New Covenant Theology (NCT) has positive aspects such as an insistence on a biblically based theology, several aspects of the system are not so positive. For example, in pursuing a middle course between Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology, its theologians rely on a strained view of Dispensationalism and adopt an interpretive methodology called supersessionism. A noteworthy omission in NCT’s listing of covenants is the Davidic. To a degree, NCT agrees with Dispensationalism on the Noahic and Abrahamic Covenants, but the system fails to grasp the thematic continuity of the OT covenants. Instead, NCT stresses discontinuity as the defining characteristic of a covenant because of the biblical contrast of the Old and New Covenants, and follows a redemption, fulfillment, and kingdom hermeneutic rather that a literal, normal, or plain hermeneutic. NCT and Dispensationalism agree on the centrality of the Abrahamic Covenant in the theology of the OT, but NCT sees one kind of fulfillment of that covenant’s land promises in the days of Joshua. It understands the spiritual aspects of the Abrahamic Covenant as ultimately fulfilled in the Messiah and the possession of the promised land as ultimately fulfilled in a spiritual rest. The system holds that the gospel was not clearly revealed before the coming of Christ. The system takes the Old Covenant as fulfilling the physical parts of the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant as fulfilling the spiritual parts. NCT holds that the Israelites redeemed from Egypt were physically redeemed, but not spiritually redeemed because the MosaicCovenant was based on works. This leads to the strange position that OT saints were not saved until after the death and resurrection of Christ. NCT thinks that the Davidic Covenant was fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Christ and fails to allow for the NT teaching of a future kingdom. With all its positive features, NCT misses vital points featured in the OT covenants.

Read the full article.

William Barrick Faculty Associate, Old Testament B.A., Denver Baptist Bible College M.Div., San Francisco Baptist Theological Seminary Th.M., San Francisco Baptist Theological Seminary Th.D., Grace Theological Seminary Before joining The Master's Seminary faculty in 1997, Dr. Barrick served with the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE). In 1981 he and his family moved to Bangladesh. In that ministry Dr. Barrick served as the Exegetical Consultant for Bible translation projects, theological consultant for the Literature Division, and adjunct faculty member of the Baptist Bible Institute of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Theological Seminary, and Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary Extension Program (Singapore). Prior to joining ABWE in 1979, Dr. Barrick had been Professor and Chairman of the Old Testament Department at Denver Baptist Theological Seminary from 1972 to 1978. Beyond his teaching and Bible translation work, Dr. Barrick has been active in a variety of ministries including three years as Director of Church Planting in Chittagong, Bangladesh. He has also had a varied writing ministry from scholarly journals to adult Sunday School materials. Dr. Barrick has been writing in the areas of Bible and theology for forty years. His writings range from adult Sunday school materials, in-house library publications, and newspaper editorials to technical journal articles in English and a commentary on the book of Daniel in Bengali. In addition, as a result of his fifteen years of Bible translation ministry in Bangladesh, he has participated in the production of Bibles, New Testaments, and Bible sections in six different languages. While in Bangladesh he participated in the editing of over twenty books and tracts, including a Bengali translation of Unger's Bible Handbook. During his doctoral studies he worked as a phototypesetter and proofreader for the first fascicle of The Hittite Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and a number of other major volumes. Dr. Barrick has been involved in writing or contributing to 26 books, and has authored over 125 periodical articles and book reviews. Currently he is the OT editor for the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary (Logos) and will be writing the Genesis commentary in that series. He has also contributed the essay, “A Historical Adam, Young-Earth Creation View” in the recently released book Four Views on the Historical Adam (Zondervan, 2013). Dr. Barrick has been married to his wife Barbara for 48 years. They have four married children and fourteen grandchildren. He is currently Faculty Associate and Director of Th.D. Studies at The Master's Seminary.

Connect With TMS

apply icon
contact icon
visit icon
find a church icon
give icon