Pristine Grace

Modified Covenant Thelogy
CT vs. DT vs. NCT vs. MCT
by Brandan Kraft

August 2, 2019

Modified Covenant Thelogy

     I put together my original CT vs. NCT vs. MCT article about 15 years ago, and I originally made some errors in my understanding of Covenant Theology (CT).  I'm publishing a new article today in 2019 so that I can correct my mistakes and give a more accurate presentation of my beliefs today.  I will say that my theology has not changed in over fifteen years.  The things I believe today, I believed in 2004.

Key:

CT = Covenant Theology
DT = Dispensational Thelogy
NCT = New Covenant Theology
MCT = Brandan's Modified Covenant Theology

Introduction:  I hold primarily to Covenant Theology, but I like a lot of what New Covenant Theology has offered, and I've also blended into my theological view some distinctives that I hold.  I do consider Dispensational Theology to be so wrong, and evil, but I include it here only for comparison's sake.  My position is the MCT position.

Adam

CT: Adam was perfectly righteous before the fall.
DT: Same as CT
NCT: Same as CT
MCT: Adam was not righteous.  He was created with a proclivity to sin - meaning he was sinful.  When he sinned in the garden, that was a revealing (to Adam) his sinful nature.  It is impossible for a perfectly righteous person to sin.

CT: Adam represented all people universally in the fall.
DT: Same as CT
NCT: Same as CT
MCT: Adam was only representative of the elect in the garden and in his subsequent fall.

CT: If Adam had kept the law he would have merited eternal life.  This is known as the "covenant of works."  Adam broke the covenant of works and merited eternal death.
DT: There is no "covenant of works."  However, because Adam broke the law not to eat the apple, he lost eternal life and merited eternal death.
NCT: There is no such thing as a "covenant of works."  If Adam had obeyed the laws given to him, he could stay in the garden, but that wouldn't merit eternal life.  He broke the law and merited eternal death.
MCT: There is a "covenant of works", but keeping it would not merit eternal life. Additionally, I would say that the point of this law, this covenant of works, was to reveal the sinful nature of Adam.  Through this, Adam was shown that he was naked, and that he needed an alien righteousness. 

CT: When Adam sinned, all people universally were charged (imputed) with his sin.
DT: Same as CT
NCT: Same as CT
MCT: Adam's sin is not charged to anyone.  All men are born as sinners, but not because of anything Adam did.  God creates all men as sinful. And God does not impute any sin to His elect.  All of their sin is imputed to Christ.

You can read more about Adam and his original sin here: Adam's Original Sin

Moral Law

CT: The decalogue is a summary of the eternal moral law - a summary of the righteousness of Christ.
DT: There isn't a moral law.  Men are responsible for obedience to what has been entrusted to him in whatever particular dispensation in which they live.
NCT: There isn't a moral law.
MCT: All men are cursed by a form of law, not necessarily the law at sinai.  There is a "moral law" that is revealed in nature which all men are obligated to obey.  The OC Decalogue shines further light on this law.

Covenant of Redemption / Covenant of Grace

CT: The three persons of the Trinity covenanted with each other for the purpose of salvation of the elect. Christ agreed to be the surety for His elect people before the foundation of the world.  He fulfilled this work in time.  
DT: God deals with two types of people in different dispensations.  Jews and Christians.  If there is a covenant of grace, it's only for christians.  Some believe that Jews can earn their salvation.  
NCT: There is no covenant of redemption.  There is only an eternal decree.
MCT: Same as CT.  

CT: God made a covenant of grace with Christ and His people.  Christ's people are found in all ages of history including Adam.  The Old Covenant is a dispensation of the covenant of grace.
DT: DT doesn't talk about God's dealing in terms of covenants.  It's only in terms of dispensations.
NCT: There is no covenant of grace.  God redeems His elect from every age; but the Old Covenant was a law covenant; therefore the term "covenant of grace" must not be used to describe these various covenants.
MCT: God made a covenant of grace with Christ and His people.  Christ's people are found in all ages of history including Adam.  All the elect are partakers of the covenant of grace, however, unlike CT, the Old Covenant is not a dispensation of the Covenant of Grace.  The Old Covenant is a covenant of works meant as a curse to increase transgressions and shut the elect up in Christ.

Views of the Different Covenants

CT: The covenant of grace can be found in all covenants (excluding the covenant of works) because they are derived from the covenant of redemption.
DT: There are seven dispensations, each which include a testing of man with respect to obedience to God's revealed law for that dispensation.
NCT: Since there is no covenant of redemption, all covenants are related and culminate in the new covenant.
MCT: The covenant of grace is best understood as the new covenant which is an overarching covenant and represented in all other covenants excluding adminstrations of the covenant of works (eg. Sinai).

Imputed Righteousness

CT: Christ kept the law for His people in the Covenant of Grace thus fulfilling the Covenant of Works which merited for the elect eternal salvation.
DT: It varies.  Some Dispensationalists hold to a governmental view of the atonement and some only see an expiation of sin in the atonement, but not so much an imputed righteousness.
NCT: Christ kept the law for His people to become the perfect sacrifice, but the righteousness wrought through this obedience is not imputed to the elect.  Only Christ's righteousness through "passive obedience / death" is imputed to the elect.   (not all NCT people deny vicarious law keeping.)
MCT: Same as CT.  However, Christ's active obedience involves far more than an outward legal obedience to the the laws at sinai.  Christ was obedient to the Father's will in all things, including the fulfillment of the covenant of redemption and His obedience unto death.   

Note: This isn't an issue to get caught up on in my opinion, however ignore whatever DT says.  All believers are resting in the knowledge that all righteousness necessary for salvation is what is imputed to God's elect. 

Abraham's Seed

CT: The main heir to Abraham is Christ and His Sheep (spiritual Israel).  However some CTers would say that the main heir to Abraham was Israel, the "church" of the Old Covenant.  
DT: The heir to Abraham is the ethnic Hebrews.  The Hebrews are the Apple of God's eye, even today, and at the end of this dispensation God will remove the faithful people of his apostate church.  He will then return his full attention to the Jewish people and fulfill, in a carnal sense, all the promises to Abraham.
NCT: The main heir to Abraham is Christ and His Sheep (spiritual Israel).
MCT: The main heir to Abraham is Christ and His Sheep (spiritual Israel). 

Adam's Two Seeds

CT: The two seeds in Gen 3:15 are the elect and reprobate (along with satan's fallen angels).
DT: Not really sure.  However I'd posit to say that they believe the two seeds are all men universally, and satan's fallen angels.
NCT: Same as CT.
MCT: Same as CT.  However, the elect in Adam (Abraham's seed) are created to sin only for a time whereas the reprobate are of their father the devil and fashioned in eternal sin with no hope for redemption.  The elect experience sinning in the same likeness of Adam and experience redemption in the same manner as Adam. 

You can read more about our view of Adam: Adam's Original Sin, and more on Adam's Two Seeds here:  The Two Seeds

Satan and the Demons

CT: Satan and the Demons fell from heaven.  They were once perfectly righteous beings, and they sinned against God and were cast from heaven to the Earth.
DT: Same as CT
NCT: Same as CT
MCT: Satan did not fall from heaven.  Satan was created evil.  The same is true for demons.  A perfectly righteous person or angel is incapable of evil and sin.  Lucifer in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 26 is a name for the king / kingdom of Babylon - not Satan.

The Holy Spirit

CT: The Holy Spirit has taken up residence in and indwelt believers of all ages.
DT: The Holy Spirit didn't indwell believers until after the cross.
NCT: The Holy Spirit didn't indwell believers until after the cross, however some would affirm agreement with CT.
MCT: Same as CT.

The Law as a Rule for Living

CT: The moral law is a rule for living, and this moral law was summarized at Sinai.   The ceremonial and civil laws at Sinai were abolished and are no longer binding.
DT: There is no moral law.  Believers in this age are only responsible to respond to God's "offer" of grace.  There is no moral law, but smoking, dancing, drinking, and gambling are sins depending on what free-willer DT church you find yourself in!
NCT: All of the OC law was abolished and only the laws of the New Testament apply to the believer.
MCT: The OC law is not a rule for living.  The NC laws are not a rule for living.  The believer's rule for living has always been Christ regardless of what age in which they lived.  The OC law was given to drive the elect to Christ and cause them to rest in His obedience to the Father, including the revealed law because this truly defines righteounses in terms of His life.  Commandments involving timeless principles (from all covenants) are good as a rule of conduct, but the law of God is written on the heart of every believer and thus every believer is motivated to obey the law to Christ out of love and gratitude instead of obligation.  In short, the rule for living for the believer is, "believe in Jesus, and do as you please!"  Of course those who don't believe the Gospel don't understand that sentence at all!

Sign of the New Covenant

CT: The sign of the new covenant is baptism, just like circumcision was in the OC.  Many believe babies ought to be baptized just like babies were circumcised in the OC.
DT: The sign of the new covenant is baptism.  Some DTers are paedo baptists, but most only believe in baptizing believers.
NCT: The sign of the New Covenant is baptism, and only believers ought to be baptized.
MCT: The sign of the covenant of grace is the circumcision of the heart which is the inner testimony commanded by Christ to celebrate the reality of participation in Christ's death, burial, and resurrection through the Holy Spirit regeneration unto belief in the Gospel.  Additionally, baptism in the New Testament is referring to Holy Spirit baptism unless the context explicitly involves water.

To read more about our view of baptism, please read: Baptism : A Four Part Study

"Timing" of Justification

CT: Most CT'ers believe objective justification in the mind of God occurs at the time of faith.  However some affirm justification from eternity.
DT: Same as CT
NCT: Same as CT
MCT: Justification from Eternity is a doctrine that brings much joy to the believer.  It is a very important doctrine that should not be rejected.   It is part of the "glue" so to speak that helps flesh out this system of thought.  Without it, God would not view Adam and Abraham as righteous before faith.  God's elect are always looking to Christ, but have always been judged as righteous in Christ from before the foundation of the world.  God's immanent estimation is in eternity.  God is eternity, and it is from God that the elect were justified. 

Progressive Sanctification

CT: Many adherents believe people become more and more holy in preparation for heaven.    
DT: Same as CT.
NCT: Same as CT.  
MCT: If progressive sanctification means that men become more and more holy over time, then this is wrong.   Sanctification is a continuous process in the regenerate individual.  God's people were perfectly set apart from before the foundation of the world, and they continue to be set apart today.  They are eternally and forever sanctified in God's mind.  Additionally, all of God's people grow in grace and knowledge of the Gospel, but they never become "more holy."

Supralapsarianism

CT: Some are supralapsarians, most are infralapsarians.  Some are even sublapsarians.
DT: Most if not all are sublapsarian.
NCT: Same as CT.  
MCT: This is the only true supralapsarian system.  There are logical consequences of this system of thought that lead one to a true supralapsarian view of Scripture.  To see the differences between true supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism, read Infralapsarianism vs. Suprlalapsarianism : Selection vs. Election.

For more information about my views of Justification, Sanctification, and Supralapsarianism, please read my article, Confession of a Hyper-Calvinist.