The 3rd use of the law and "New Covenant Theology" Baptists

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Pergamum, Jan 26, 2013.

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  1. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)


    I am a reformed baptist, but many of my supporting churches are "New Covenant Theology" baptists.

    They seem to mainly speak of the law as a condemning tool instead of acknowledging also a 3rd use (the normative use) of the law as well, and thus reject the Sabbath (I guess because they believe that all those rules are still in effect from Old Testament Israel).

    Help me out.

    I have responded thusly: "Why would 9 of the 10 commandments now still be applicable but not the 4th?"

    He replied thusly:

    "Have you listened to Paul lately concerning that which was written on the tables of stone? "The ministry of death," "the ministry of condemnation," "that which is done away," "that which...had no glory," 2 Cor. 3. The 9 are in play on Christ's authority, as with the marriage ordinance, not Moses."

    Then also he replied:

    "Other than Sabbath keeping, can you name a single moral law incumbent upon the NT believer that is not affirmed clearly in the NT but rests solely on the authority of Moses?"

    and again,

    "Jesus Christ is my Law-Giver. If He comanded it either directly or through one of His apostles, I fully receive it as my duty. If He did not......"

    (p.s. I was going to reply to his question with the answer "bestiality" but maybe you all have better answers).....
  2. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    These people are starting with a bad hermeneutic. It's very difficult to budge them unless you budge the hermeneutic.

    The tables of stone are done away with - the ceremonial and judicial form which the moral law once took - along with the ark of the testimony,etc, but not the moral law that was written on the tables of stone. It is written, and is being written more clearly through the process of sanctification, on the hearts of believers.

    Is he saying that the law is dispensed with along with the tables of stone, including the nine commandments he says he approves of ?
  3. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Freshman

    The argument advanced by the New Covenant Theology adherents, as I see it, is that the New Covenant completely replaces the Old Covenant.

    Nine of the Ten commandments are reiterated in the New Testament, but the Sabbath is not.

    New Covenanters explain that the Sabbath's spiritual function was fulfilled in Christ and we are all now keeping the Sabbath every single day because we all rest in Christ. As I understand it.

    In regards to the "bestiality" comment above, that one is covered under the broad category of the Seventh Commandment.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  4. Petty France

    Petty France Puritan Board Freshman

    One of the important distinctions to be recognized here is that the "Law of Christ" and the "Law of Moses" differ mainly in the "Christ vs. Moses" part, not the law part. In other words, who is delivering the law to you, Moses or Christ? If Moses, it condemns you because he offers you no power to keep it. If Christ, it frees you because it not only directs you in your obedience unto God but power to obey it (not perfectly of course) is supplied.

    The famous "Marrow of Modern Divinity" attributed to Edward Fisher has some good things to say here.

    Nomista: Then, Sir, I pray you proceed to speake of the law of Christ, and first let us heare what the law of Christ is?

    Evangelista: The law of Christ in regard of substance and matter is all one with the law of works, or covenant of works, which matter is scattered through the whole Bible, and summed up in the Decalogue, or ten commandments, commonly called the Morall Law…

    Nomista: But yet, Sir, I conceive, that though (as you say) the law of Christ in regard of substance and matter be all one with the law of works, yet their forms do differ.

    Evangelista: True indeed…Thus you see that both these laws agree in saying (doe this) but here is the difference, The one saith, doe this and live, and the other saith, live and doe this. Wherefore, Neighbour, seeth that you are not in Christ, beware you receive not the ten commandments at the hands of God out of Christ, nor yet at the hands of Moses, but onely at the hands of Christ, and so shall you be sure to receive them as the law of Christ.

    Antinomista: Sir, I like it very well, that you say Christ should be a Christians teacher, and not Moses, but yet I question whether the ten commandments may be called the Law of Christ, for where can you find them repeated either by our Saviour or his Apostles in the whole New Testament.

    Evangelista: Though we finde not that they are repeated in such a method as they are set down in Exodus and Deuteronomy, yet so long as we finde that Christ and his Apostles did require and command those things that are therein commanded, and reprove and condemn those things that are therein forbidden, and that both by their lives and doctrines, it is sufficient to prove them to be the Law of Christ.

    Antinomista: I think, indeed they have done so touching some of the commandments, but not touching all.

    Evangelista: Because you say so, I intreat you consider…Fourthly whether Christ’s rising from the dead the first day of the week, Mark 16:2,9. The disciples assembling, and Christ’s appearing unto them two severall first days of the week, John 20:19,26. And the Disciples coming together, and breaking bread, and preaching afterwards on that day, Acts 20:7, I Cor 16.2. and Johns being in the Spirit on the Lord’s day: I say, consider, whether these things do not prove that the first day of the week is to be kept as the Christians Sabbath.

    In addition, I would direct your attention to this historical data from the Baptists themselves (and more could be provided):
    Baptists expressing their obligation to keep the law:
    New Covenant Theology and the 1644/1646 London Baptist Confession « Particular Voices
    Baptists expressing the clear evidence for the Sabbath:
    Positive law, baptism, and the sabbath « Particular Voices
  5. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Here is another response by them:

    How did the early church treat Sunday?
  6. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    I'm certainly no expert on Church History, Perg. I'll leave that to others. But, it seems to me (and the Confessions!) that if the Lord's Day is to be all about a worship and a joyous festival celebration then we should cease from our labors and ordinary recreations to make the day all about worship. I would challenge him on that, as I was challenged by it when I first considered the Sabbatarian position.
  7. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    There remains therefore the keeping of a Sabbath to the people of God (Heb 4:9)

    We do rest in Christ but we do not yet enjoy the full eschatalogical rest that He enjoys. He has entered into His Father's rest, but we have not. We will not enter God's rest with Christ until we leave this world. The weekly Sabbath remains a type of that until then.

    New Covenant guy
    Are the New Covenant people privy to communications by word or revelation between Christ and His Apostles? Presumably everything else we have from the Apostles - without evidence of command - was also "spontaneous"? Are they saying that the Apostles changed the day and downgraded the commandment "off their own bat"?

    New Covenant guy
    It was always a festival and day of joy in its proper observance, even in the Old Testament. Apparently this guy thinks you can't enjoy a day if you set aside work and worldly pursuits to spend quality time with the Lord. It is difficult in the sense that we remain sinners even after conversion.

    E.g. Isaiah 58:13

    New Covenant guy

    A very mature development in Christian theology and ethics.
  8. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't know whether Pergy is referring to "bestiality" as cruelty or as the sexual offence.
  9. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Freshman

    Understand that I simply mis-numbered my citation.

    I meant the Seventh Commandment. "Thou shalt no commit adultery".

    I place all commandments against sexual immorality under the banner of the Seventh Commandment.
  10. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    None of the commandments under the first table are specifically reiterated in the NT, in the way that the commandments in the second table are. So, while you will find "Thou shalt not kill" in places like Romans 13:9, you will not find "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain." This would seem to expose a fallacy in the NCT position.
  11. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Senior

    I was listening to a sermon in which a baptist minister bemoaned the fact that schools do not teach the moral law. It was only a second's reflection to observe that it was not taught in that particular fellowship either. It was individual members who approached a member living in sin, not the leadership.

    I think the transition from Saturday to Sunday loosened the Baptist idea of the Lord's Day as the Sabbath within the Scottish Baptist Union. Then again when we reject the idea of an exact equivalence between circumcision and baptism it means we have form.

    I would also go back over 1 Corinthians 3. It speaks of salvation by faith a righteousness apart from the law and dating back to Abraham. It predates the law as a means of salvation. I don't think the removal of the law is really implied here, as witnessed by the other nine commandments, rather it is their ability to condemn us. (In my humble opinion)
  12. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Why is this? Is it because sincere and genuine charity includes piety anyway, or because piety alone isn't a very good test of Christianity?

  13. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    That is not what I am driving at. Obviously, I would say that sincere devotion to God ("piety") would include the third use of the law, including following the first table ("If you love me, keep my commandments"). I was merely trying to expose an oft-trumpeted inconsistency in the NCT position.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  14. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes thanks, I realised that. I suppose I was raising another related topic. ;)
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