Covenant Parallels...

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amishrockstar

Puritan Board Freshman
I was just watching a Debate between James
White and Doug Wilson entitled, Are Roman
Catholics our Brothers and Sisters in Christ?


I have a question that's still lingering though.

I can see (from scripture) that believing and
unbelieving Jews were in a covenant with God
in the O.T. True and false believers were part
of an over-arching covenant.

But I don't see the same thing in the N.T.
I don't see that unbelievers --in the N.T.--
are in a covenant with God in the same way
that believers are (that they both fall under
the same over-arching covenant). As James White
put it, those who are in the New Covenant are ALL
regenerated by God.

Any thoughts (answers) on this?
What scripture would you point to in order to
make the case that unbelievers are part of the
New Covenant, especially in light of passages that
indicate that N.C. members have the law written
on their hearts and put into their minds, that they
will ALL "know me," etc?

Thanks
 

A.J.

Puritan Board Junior
One of the strongest texts (if not the strongest) I can think of that point to the fact that unbelievers do belong to the covenant people of God outwardly is Romans 11. It is in this chapter that Paul speaks of the people of God as an olive tree. In that text, he speaks of Jews who were cut off because of their unbelief and warns his Gentile audience that the same would happen to them if they were to commit the same error. This is consistent with the Bible's overarching idea of the covenant. There are blessings to those who believe and curses to those who don't believe even in the New Covenant. :2cents:

---------- Post added at 11:05 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:53 PM ----------

The "for they shall all know me" part of New Covenant passage of Hebrews is preceded by "they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord’...." As with other texts of Scripture, the tension between the "already" and the "not yet" is at work here. Only in heaven (the "not yet") will there be no need for teachers. But since we are not in heaven yet (the "already"), we will always be in need of pastor-teachers until the Lord comes back (Matt. 28:18-20; Eph. 4:11-12) .
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
For children, see Eph.6:1-3; Col.3:20. For persons generally, see the letter to Hebrews: the warning passages are there for a reason. The church is being addressed there--members, people we know, friends, family, ourselves.

Just because this is the New Covenant Age doesn't mean that we have suddenly lost our connections to the present time, and somehow we can have a covenant community in the world that is idealized, and perfect, comprised solely of the elect. That's a pipe dream. Has God lost interest in persons and all that belongs to them, especially (though not limited to) their families?

The expressions of his interest in our lives, broadly conceived, conveyed to Abraham: statements like "I will be God to you and to your descendants after you," and the mark of his ownership (covenant-sign)--this sort of speech and these concerns we see repeated in the NT. We do not see a wedge being driven between an essentially carnal approach taken with Abraham, and a new "more spiritual" approach taken with the church.

There is a "glory overlay" that was imposed during the Mosaic-era, an enhancement of externals that was used as a "blind" or "veil". However, Paul teaches that this specifically gets removed in Christ. And we see ourselves plainly as Abraham's offspring. It is easier for us (even Gentiles) than it was for the Israelites coming out of Egypt, or living in the land, or even coming back from the exile.

We are situated among the heirs of Abraham, with comparable privileges and duties. He was a sojourner, and so are we. He was looking for heavenly city (not an earthly one); and so are we. The fulfillment of his hopes was in Christ; so are ours. Somehow, this covenant-identity is supposed to be conveyed in a visual, physical manner in this world. If we want to know how we are to do that, we don't try to interpret Jer.31 a-contextually, either in itself or apart from the Scripture as a whole. Gen.12-17 is the place to start, with due consideration for the NT church-setting in which we operate.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
There are different aspects to the Covenant of Grace, as with marriage.

On the one hand there are the internal, life-giving, loving aspects, faith and regeneration and feeding on Christ E.g. Abraham had this before he was circumcised.

There are also the external, visible, legal, bond aspects.

Just as with the sacraments (signs and seals) of the Covenant there is an inner reality that corresponds to an external sign.

This is where the Baptists and others fall down on the sacraments and the Covenant. They fail to properly recognise this duality.

They would have to say that the baptism of a professor was meaningless if he wasn't regenerate. But a proper marriage ceremony isn't meaningless if the couple don't love each other.

It's impossible for the session to infallibly know who are elect or even regenerate. They have to go according to a credible and/or accredited profession of faith.

So it's inevitable that people who eventually show poor signs of conversion are baptised in Credobaptist churches. But baptists are saying that such aren't in the Covenant. This wasn't the case in Genesis 17 with circumcision. If you were circumcised you were in some sense in the Covenant whether you were regenerate or not, or elect or not.

In Covanatal Baptist churches (Presbyterian) we do not try to do the impossible and baptise the elect or even the regenerate, but those that have a credible/accredited profession of faith and their children.

especially in light of passages that
indicate that N.C. members have the law written
on their hearts and put into their minds, that they
will ALL "know me," etc?

Only, and all, true Christians have the law written on their hearts, not those that are merely in the Visible Church and legal bond of the Covenant.

The reference to not having to teach each other may be

(a) A reference to the true Christians who are not only in the Visible Church/Bond of the Covenant.

(b) A reference to better days of a postmillennial Silver Age.

(c) A reference to the fact that in the New Covenant, all God's truly saved people will be spiritually-speaking prophets.

We should remember that God's law was not entirely missing from the hearts of God's true Old Covenant people, but in the New Covenant we have a more complete and disseminated revelation, a greater outpouring of the Spirit, we no longer have the 10C extant in their stony form laid up for us in the Ark of the Covenant, and we are no longer dependent upon much that was external in the Old Covenant.

I was just watching a Debate between James
White and Doug Wilson entitled, Are Roman
Catholics our Brothers and Sisters in Christ?

Just because someone is in some sense in the Covenant and Visible Church, does not mean that we cannot distinguish between the righteous (just/justified) in the Covenant and the wicked that should be under church sanctions, if they're not. Look at what David says in the Psalms. Look at how Christ distinguished between various groups and individuals that were in the bond of the Covenant.

But I don't see the same thing in the N.T.
I don't see that unbelievers --in the N.T.--
are in a covenant with God in the same way
that believers are (that they both fall under
the same over-arching covenant).

Can you tell who are the believers and unbelievers at various stages of their lives? Would you have said that Solomon was a believer when he was worshipping idols? We cannot infallibly tell someone else's election or even regeneration in this life.

The credos seem to forget that the New Covenant is an administration/phase of the Abrahamic Covenant, as was the Old Covenant and they seem to forget that children (visibly) in the Covenant was established before the Old Covenant.
 
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