28
Dec
17

Covenant Theology vs. New Covenant Theology

The following is a brief answer to a question posed by a man who has recently come to understand Reformed Theology.  He asked me to help him understand the difference between Covenant Theology and New Covenant Theology.  This answer does not by any means exhaust the differences between the two positions but these are perhaps the most salient distinctions. I thought this might be helpful to other readers as well.

Perhaps the most significant difference between CT and NCT is that CT sees more of a physical continuity between the covenants.  Just as the physical offspring of Abraham became members of the covenant community by physical birth, CT sees the children of believers as members of the covenant community so that the church is, by design, made up of believers and unbelievers just as Israel’s community was made up of believers and unbelievers. NCT sees a radical discontinuity between Israel and the church since the church is comprised only of believers.  We recognize that there are unbelievers in the local church but only by default.  Since it is impossible to know for sure if another person is truly born from above, there may be false professors in the church, but only those who have made a credible profession of faith are considered to be members of the covenant community. Jesus told Nicodemus that in order to see the kingdom and be a part of it, one must be born from above. 

Israel stood as a type or foreshadowing of the NC church.  They were chosen, redeemed, called, adopted, received an inheritance etc. but none of those blessings had the same significance for them as they do for us as New Covenant believers.  We are not the Israel of God in the sense that the same relationship with God that existed under the Old Covenant simply continues under the New Covenant. We are the Israel of God in the sense that Jesus, the consummate Israelite, has fulfilled the terms of the conditional covenant God made with Israel and merited for his people spiritual blessings of which the physical and material blessings promised to Israel stood as types and shadows. It is not so much that the church replaces Israel, but that the church is the fulfillment of Israel.

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1 Response to “Covenant Theology vs. New Covenant Theology”


  1. December 28, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    Good summary, my brother. New Covenant is of a different nature, has only the redeemed in it. Old Covenant was a mostly unbelieving people who served as a picture of the true covenant people that Christ would redeem.


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