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Thread: New Covenant/Body of Christ!

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    Moderator Eileen's Avatar
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    New Covenant/Body of Christ!

    The teaching of ‘New Covenant Theology” (i.e. J. Reisinger) is that the Body of Christ was not established until Pentecost, the advent of the Holy Spirit and that OT believers were not a part of the Body of Christ until that time. His reasoning:

    1. A believer ‘gets’ into the Body of Christ by being baptized into it by the Holy Spirit and that couldn’t have happened until the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost.

    2. An OC believer was a “minority child under the Law Covenant” (immature heirs-in-waiting) and were still under the OC until the day of Pentecost, when they came into full sonship as the Gentiles. (in other words they were waiting for Christ to come before they could receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and Gentile received the Holy Spirit immediately because they were never under the OC)

    3. He says that being ‘in Christ’ and being a part of the Body of Christ are the same thing (which I believe is true)

    I know that in MCT we hold to the same as CT where we believe the Holy Spirit has indwelt believers of all ages and I’m wondering what the distinctions are in looking at this subject.

    I wonder if part of the difference might be in our views of the eternal vs. time issue…i.e, eternal justification. I’ve always thought that a part of the eternal is the fact that the Body of Christ was ‘in Christ’ from eternity, being chosen and elect and given to the Son before time began.

    Any direction would be helpful, this subject has come about because there is a New Covenant group of believers nearby and I’d like to sharpen my thinking before I read their material. Thanks!


    Eileen~
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    Administrator Brandan's Avatar
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    Re: New Covenant/Body of Christ!

    New Covenant Theology I believe borrows from dispensationalism on this particular subject. It's something that I am not fond of at all. To claim that OT believers were not a part of the "body of Christ" is just ridiculous. Christ died for them just as much as He died for NC believers. In fact, I would go further and say that you are a part of the "Body of Christ" BEFORE you believe the Gospel. You are part of the group of people that Christ died for (the Body of Christ). It's only when you are baptized by the Holy Spirit (believe the Gospel by faith) DO YOU realize that you've always been a part of it. If you more than likely know another believer with whom you can rejoice with in the Gospel, you are now part of an ekklessia.
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    Re: New Covenant/Body of Christ!

    An OC believer was a “minority child under the Law Covenant” (immature heirs-in-waiting) and were still under the OC until the day of Pentecost, when they came into full sonship as the Gentiles.

    This is absolutely untrue and reveals the problem with Reisinger and other New Covenant Theology proponents.

    When Paul refers to those in waiting under the Old Covenant, he is not talking about ONLY the elect in the covenant with Israel but also the non-elect. In other words, he is referring to ALL included in the former covenant with Israel. This is where NCT makes its fundamental mistake.

    The element of truth in NCT with respect to Old Testament elect believers is that they lived in the age of Messianic expectation and did not know the fullness of the gospel yet. But they knew the gospel in its infancy and youthful stages. In all stages the gospel is still the gospel; Holy Spirit regeneration is still H.S. regeneration. The BAPTISM of the Holy Spirit did not come until Pentecost, very true. This refers to an intensification of the work of the Holy Spirit in conjunction with the full-corn gospel of the New Testament of Jesus Christ.

    Old Testament elect believers were not 'under' the Sinai covenant (destined for damnation) because they were included in the former covenant of promise given to Abraham. Non-elect members of Israel were under the Sinai covenant and not included in the Abrahamic.

    The New Covenant is in reality an everlasting Covenant of Grace. On this point Covenant theologians are correct and NCT teachers are wrong. But CT theologians are wrong on their teaching of a Covenant of Redemption cut among the Triune God (separate from the New and Everlasting Covenant of Grace), which is purely a notion of Tritheism and process theology. God does not need to work out a covenant agreement with Himself; His purposes are everlasting and transcendent of all time. The Trinity did not need to agree on a plan of salvation in a bond of friendship 'over lunch'.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Administrator Brandan's Avatar
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    Re: New Covenant/Body of Christ!

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert R. Higby View Post
    God does not need to work out a covenant agreement with Himself; His purposes are everlasting and transcendent of all time. The Trinity did not need to agree on a plan of salvation in a bond of friendship 'over lunch'.
    Bob, that has not been my understanding of the covenant of redemption. I really don't believe it should be called that though. The covenant of redemption really is a part of the covenant of Grace. It is the unified purpose of God on the assignment of roles within the Godhead in the redemption of man. In other words, it was the eternal plan of God on what roles the members of the trinity would be in the plan of salvation.

    The Trinity did not need to agree on a plan of salvation in a bond of friendship over lunch. But the Scriptures do in my opinion point to planning and declaration on the part of God. The covenant of redemption in my opinion only makes sense when you have a proper understanding of eternity and its transcendence of time. Most forms of covenant theology and new covenant theology are lacking this. So it would make sense that most "covenant theologians" see the covenant of redemption as a meeting over lunch. However, with a proper understanding of eternity, there is nothing wrong with saying there IS an agreement between all three members of the triune God regarding the redemption of the elect. There is nothing wrong with saying God is in agreement with Himself, and in my opinion a proper understanding of the the covenant of redemption emphasizes the fact that our God is ONE - and is not tri-theistic.
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    Re: New Covenant/Body of Christ!

    Thanks Brandan and Bob, I appreciate your responses. I’ve not spent much time in dispensational thought but realized that their way of looking at the Body of Christ/ Jew believer/Gentile believer distinction was surely dispensational somehow.

    But I know that I have made the statement that Holy Spirit Baptism is when we are placed into the Body of Christ and I really don’t have a clue as to why I’ve said/or think that, perhaps my several years in an Arminian church. Would that be dispensational thinking on my part then and a statement/teaching that isn’t biblical?

    Anyway, just needed some direction and I received it so thanks!

    Eileen~
    "To those who have no works-phobia, I will state that you are not trembling before the gospel" Robert R. Higby

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    Re: New Covenant/Body of Christ!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    ...we believe the Holy Spirit has indwelt believers of all ages...
    While it might be true that some hold to this teaching, I am strongly opposed to it. This particular teaching is based in theological musings more than biblical truth.

    I have yet to find a single instance in the Old Testament where people were indwelt by the Holy Spirit in the same manner as the Saints of the New Testament community. One minor example, not every member of the Nation of Israel were part of a "royal priesthood of believers".

    However, I do acknowledge that the Holy Spirit came upon men to imbue them with graces such as wisdom, strength and prophecy - that they may facilitate specific offices among the Nation of Israel. Offices such as Prophet, Judge, Priest and King. Such offices being a shadow and type of Christ.
    (Jer 31:29-34) In those days they shall no longer say: "'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.' But everyone shall die for his own sin. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.

    "Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.

    But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

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    Re: New Covenant/Body of Christ!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ugly_Gaunt_Cow View Post
    While it might be true that some hold to this teaching, I am strongly opposed to it. This particular teaching is based in theological musings more than biblical truth.

    I have yet to find a single instance in the Old Testament where people were indwelt by the Holy Spirit in the same manner as the Saints of the New Testament community. One minor example, not every member of the Nation of Israel were part of a "royal priesthood of believers".

    However, I do acknowledge that the Holy Spirit came upon men to imbue them with graces such as wisdom, strength and prophecy - that they may facilitate specific offices among the Nation of Israel. Offices such as Prophet, Judge, Priest and King. Such offices being a shadow and type of Christ.
    Would you want to give an example of what manner the Holy Spirit indwells a NT saint in a different manner than an OT saint? The Holy Spirit’s work in any saint of any age is the same don’t you think; convicting of sin, regeneration, the giving of faith, leading into all truth, etc. Wouldn’t it be by the Spirit’s work within them (not just on them) that they had faith to believe the promises? How would His work be any different in the OT saint?

    In an epistemological (knowledge) sense certainly the Holy Spirit has imparted more knowledge to the NT saint but not because He works differently or indwells differently. To me it would be because we live after the full revelation of Christ and His work in the NT age (the cross, the resurrection)

    To me the use of Jer 31:29-34 doesn’t really address the issue. While it is true that we live after the fulfillment of the promissory covenants in the New Covenant I believe the OT saints had the same promises that we do and actually possessed them as well. King David said in Psalm 51:11 “Do not cast me away from your presence and do not take your Holy Spirit from me”.

    How wonderful that an OT saint such as King David would also know the blessing of the verses in Jer 31:29-34. He KNEW the Lord, he knew that his sins were forgiven and the Lord remembered them no more for he also penned Psalm 32: 1-2:

    “How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven. Whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!”

    Eileen~
    "To those who have no works-phobia, I will state that you are not trembling before the gospel" Robert R. Higby

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    Re: New Covenant/Body of Christ!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ugly_Gaunt_Cow View Post
    While it might be true that some hold to this teaching, I am strongly opposed to it. This particular teaching is based in theological musings more than biblical truth.
    I gotta agree with Eileen on this 100%. How did the Holy Spirit not indwell OT believers? How in the world could OT saints believe the Gospel if it weren't for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit anyway? It's true that NT believers have a GREATER understanding; but this does NOT MEAN that OT saints were not indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It means they didn't see with the clarity of cross.
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    Re: New Covenant/Body of Christ!

    Quote Originally Posted by Psalms 51:11
    Cast me not away from thy presence; And take not thy holy Spirit from me.
    I think this speaks to more than just a "grace".

    Obviously David had the Holy Spirt or why else would he plead for it not to be taken?
    It looks as though that David had an understanding of God's sovereignty though incomplete, and had a very rudimentary understanding of His grace. This was obviously given to him by God. How could he have understood these things without being regenerate?

    I have to agree with Eileen and BK on this one.
    Isaiah 45:7, (KJV), I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

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    Re: New Covenant/Body of Christ!

    I too agree. How can a natural man recieve the things (truth) of the Spirit--in any age-- apart from the testimony of the Spirit with his own--thereby evidencing His presence (regeneracy)?

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    Re: New Covenant/Body of Christ!

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlyfavored View Post
    I think this speaks to more than just a "grace".

    Obviously David had the Holy Spirt or why else would he plead for it not to be taken?
    It looks as though that David had an understanding of God's sovereignty though incomplete, and had a very rudimentary understanding of His grace. This was obviously given to him by God. How could he have understood these things without being regenerate?

    I have to agree with Eileen and BK on this one.
    I'll respond to Greg's post to cut down on time because he provides an excellent example of what I find to be a misquoted verse. Also, it's a perfect fit for the exact point I was making. As I said in my earlier post, there are no evidences to support an 'indwelling' of the Holy Spirit as part of the Mosaic covenant. It just wasn't part of it - which is the reason why I posted the passage from Jeremiah. To demonstrate the uniqueness of the covenant administered by Christ.

    To ask "How was it possible then for the old testament Saints to have faith?" and then respond to one's own questioning based on prejudicial conjecture and statistical likelihood is "theolosophical" in nature. It deviates from following the flow of thought of each book's respective author, and from a sound systematic. Instead, it makes one's own reasoning skills the foundation of knowledge and wisdom, which again deviates from the clear teachings of Scriptures.

    Firstly I'll want to offer a bit of correction on what Greg stated;

    It looks as though that David had an understanding of God's sovereignty though incomplete, and had a very rudimentary understanding of His grace
    This couldn't be further from the truth. It's clear from the intrinsic evidence of the Scriptures themselves that - historically speaking - the Jews attributed to God as the ultimate source of all things. We know this because of the examples provided in writings they preserved which were later handed down to us. Obviously, these writings are what we call the Old Testament. In regards to David specifically - David also knew this very well. So much so, that we can use the analogy of Scripture to prove this.

    Please examine the following commandment given to Moses by God, later brought to the Nation of Israel, whom the lineage of David is to be found;

    Exo 22:28 "You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people"
    David, being a Jew and 'a man after God's own heart' would have understood this precept to be of divine mandate. From other writings attributed to David in the psalms, and accounts of his reverence for the law illustrated by his conduct, we can safely assume David was man who truly possessed a "fear of the Lord". It's obvious from the heritage, and life of David, that he was well versed in the Scriptures also. Aside from the fact he authored some.

    Now, the above commandment was given to the Jews, by a Jew under direction from the True Living God whom the Jews worshipped. Needless to say, it was understood by those who entered into covenant with God, that, to deviate from this commandment (or any sin for that matter) would incur curses - as this was the foundational premise of the Mosaic covenant. [Exodus 19-24]

    During Davids reign as King, his life became rather complicated after awhile. Chaos seemed to premiate his life to the point where his own son hunted him. During this period of his reign, David finds himself confronted by a man from the house of Saul named Shimei. Below is the account of what took place;

    [2Sa 16:5-7] When King David came to Bahurim, there came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera, and as he came he cursed continually. And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David, and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And Shimei said as he cursed, "Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man!
    In order to understand where I'm about to go with this, let's extrapolate some information from the above passage;

    a) David was a king, and a Jew.
    b) Shimei was Jew.
    c) Both were under the Mosaic covenant.
    d) Shimei obviously broke the commandment of Exodus 22:28 by "cursing" David the "ruler of his people".

    During this unfortunate event, David's soldier suggested cutting Shimei's head off. Mainly because of his disdain for the King but also because he probably could have made fairly short work of Shimei - as we are told in the following verse;

    2Sa 16:9 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head."
    In contrast to the breaking of the commandment by Shemei, David's response demonstrates an understanding of God's sovereignty superior to to any expositor I've read. In light of Shemei's sinful treatment of 'his ruler', David attributes those sinful actions against him as being rooted in the sovereignty of God.

    [2Sa 16:10-11] But the king said, "What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him, 'Curse David,' who then shall say, 'Why have you done so?' And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, "Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to.
    Not only did David understand Shimei's conduct in light of God's sovereignty, he also looked forward to a future administration of grace - which is the ultimate thrust of the passage!

    2Sa 16:12 It may be that the LORD will look on the wrong done to me, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing today."
    It's clear from this text (and many others) that God's sovereginty was a chief principle doctrine amoung the Old Testament Jews. As far a Davids understanding of grace, one simply has to look to the psalms to glean a view of David's understanding.

    Let's move on...

    Now, to address

    [Psa 51:11] Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
    I'll come back later to address this when I have time. For now, I want those of you who are following this threads to examine the above statement in contrast to the life of Saul, and Saul office in respect to other 'types' of offices held by various people in the Old Testament.

    See ya in a bit.

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    Re: New Covenant/Body of Christ!

    I should make a clarification on something here...

    when Greg said;

    had a very rudimentary understanding of His grace
    I have to agree that the grace to be found in Christ was rudimentary until perhaps the time of the Prophets...

    [1Pe 1:10-11] "Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories."
    Mind you, I might have to eat my words to a degree...

    Did anyone notice;

    the Spirit of Christ IN THEM
    Anywhooo... Aside from this form of theophany, the whole point is that the role of the indwelling Holy Spirit in the New Testament community, the presence of God, is dissimilar from the presence of God in both the tabernacle, and temple. This was stressed by John when he wrote;

    (Joh 1:14) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
    These word "dwelt" literally means "pitched his tent". John was expounding a radical doctrine of God dwelling in man, in opposition to God dwelling in the "tent" or tabernacle of Exodus.

    Anyway, I think we still need to look at Psa 51:11.

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    Re: New Covenant/Body of Christ!

    The Spirit of God in the OT indwells believers (such as David). He indwelt John the Baptist from the womb and John was an Old Covenant, NOT New Covenant believer (though he was the greatest of the OC believers).

    The Spirit of God was present in the souls of unbelievers also; He is said to have worked mightily within Saul the reprobate. The Spirit was striving within mankind prior to the flood.

    The New Covenant indwelling, called the BAPTISM of the Spirit, is a full and close indwelling that no OC believer had experienced. It is unique to the age of grace, everlasting grace that was forever accomplished and realized in the finished work of Christ.

    --Bob
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: New Covenant/Body of Christ!

    BK: The covenant of redemption really is a part of the covenant of Grace. It is the unified purpose of God on the assignment of roles within the Godhead in the redemption of man. In other words, it was the eternal plan of God on what roles the members of the trinity would be in the plan of salvation.

    We don't have significant differences on this one. For me, I actually call the covenant of redemption, the covenant of Grace, and the New Covenant as all the same thing.

    The point I would add is that there are elements in the biblical use of 'covenant' that are not part of the inter-relationship of the Godhead. The elements of bond, friendship, agreement, common purpose, etc. are certainly there. But the elements of oath, promise, sign, and reconciliation are not. These elements are present only in God's relationship to the elect in redeeming them from eternal judgment. So I personally do not call the purpose of salvation in God's self-existent mind (transcendent of His acts in history) a covenant.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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