The New Covenant and New Covenant Theology

Larry D. Pettegrew | August 25, 2009

On a spectrum of continuity and discontinuity, New Covenant Theology lies between Covenant Theology and Progressive Dispensationalism and shows a number of improvements over Covenant Theology in such matters as emphasizing exegetical and biblical theology as a basis for systematic theology. Jeremiah 31:31-34 and several other passages state provisions of the New Covenant in the OT. The NT mentions the New Covenant in Luke 22:20, 1 Cor 11:25, and 2 Cor 3:6, among other places, indicating that the death of Christ marked the inauguration of the New Covenant. Traditional Covenant Theology sees the New Covenant as merely an updating of the Old Covenant and sees it as fulfilled in the church. New Covenant Theology sees the New Covenant as something new and not just a redoing of the Mosaic Covenant, but still thinks the New Covenant is being fulfilled in the church. Though some Dispensationalists disagree, most Dispensationalists understand that the New Covenant was inaugurated with the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ and the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost. Dispensationalism sees the New Covenant as something new, but in agreement with early Christian tradition, furnishes a fuller explanation of the New Covenant in regard to Israel’s future regathering and restoration. Covenant Theology and New Covenant Theology agree that the OT is to be read through the lens of the NT, but Dispensationalism is alone in insisting that the OT should be given its full weight in light of historical-grammatical principles of hermeneutics.

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