One of the hottest arguments against New Covenant Theology (NCT) in blogs/forums goes something like this:
“Since the New Testament doesn’t explicitly state that beastiality and incest are sins, therefore New Covenant Theology can’t be true.” (Just try to follow the “logic” behind that one!)
(Covenant Theologians might hurl that kind of argument against the New Covenant Theology in “22 Reasons Why All Old Testament Commands Are Cancelled and We Must Obey All New Testament Commands.”)
However, the same type of argument could easily be made against the Old Testament. Where does the Old Testament explicitly state that the following are sins:
4. Being a pimp?
5. Oral s-e-x before marriage?
6. Buying an idol?
7. Trying to buy the power of the Holy Spirit? (Acts 8:20)
8. Lovers of themselves? (2 Tim. 3:2)
9. Lovers of money? (2 Tim. 3:2)
(If you want to reply with the above words, please use the hyphens to avoid the spam filter.)
And, if you put your mind to it, I’m sure you could think of many more examples of so-called “moral sins” that aren’t stated explicitly in the Old Testament.
The problem with the above objection is that it’s dependent on 2 unexamined assumptions:
1. The Old Covenant contains an explicit and exhaustive revelation of “moral law” (I prefer the phrase “law of conscience.”)
2. The New Testament must contain an explicit and exhaustive revelation of “moral law” for New Covenant Theology to be true.
However, I don’t believe that either the Old Testament or New Testament explicitly reveal ALL the laws of conscience. (If they did, the Bible would have to be a lot longer!) We know some things are wrong because “we know that we know” (conscience.)
Although the objections about beastiality and incest are irrelevant to NCT because of the 2 assumptions above, let’s discuss them anyway…
All Christians agree that humans have consciences convicting them of certain “sins.” But, God never defines those sins for us in Scripture. However, He does tell us in certain sin lists the standards by which He will judge men for heaven or hell.
I believe that the sin lists for all humans (including Gentiles) are the most likely definition of the “law of conscience” (Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:8, 22:15.) Notice that Lev. 18:23 (beastiality) and Lev. 18:9 (incest) are part of a list of the sins of the Gentiles (18:3, 24-30.)
Even though the whole law of Moses (including Lev. 18) was cancelled as Old Covenant (but not Old Testament,) the same sins in Lev. 18 may also be recorded in Gentiles’ consciences. So, if a heathen living in a rainforest commits incest, he violates the law of conscience, not Lev. 18:9.
Again, questions about beastiality, incest, etc. are peripheral to NCT because of the 2 assumptions above. Such questions major on the minors. They’re really rabbit trails diverting from the main issues:
1. Are Jer. 31:31-33; Matt. 5:17-18; Rom. 3:31; 2 Tim. 3:16-17 really proof texts for Covenant Theology against New Covenant Theology? (Or, are some of them actually proof texts for New Covenant Theology against Covenant Theology?)
2. Does the Bible teach one Covenant of Grace, or 2 major covenants (structured by one purpose of grace?)
3. How can the law of Moses be divided into 3 parts when it’s one indivisible whole (Gal. 3:10, 5:3; Jas.2:10?)
4. How can the whole Decalogue still be binding when God calls it “the covenant” (which was cancelled?)
5. How can the Sabbath be changed to the first day of the week when the first day is called “one/first from the Sabbath?” (Gk.)
Here’s a simple test to identify anyone’s law hermeneutic in less than 30 seconds. If a Christian child dishonors his parents, which command did he violate?
1. Both Ex. 20:12 and Eph. 6:1 (Covenant Theology)
2. Neither Ex. 20:12 or Eph. 6:1 (Antinomianism)
3. Only Eph. 6:1, not Ex. 20:12 (New Covenant Theology)
That test will clearly and instantly define anyone’s nomology.
Many Covenant Theologians, Seventh Day Adventists, and others are reading the Bible study “22 Reasons Why All Old Testament Commands Are Canceled and We Must Obey All New Testament Commands.” If you have a question about it, please post it publicly here on this blog (rather than privately by email.)
P.S. Here are the next 6 blog posts coming soon…
1. “12 Questions to Ask When Searching for a Church”
2. “How Much of the Bible Should We Preach, Part or All of it?”
3. Book Review of “God’s Big Picture” by Vaughn Roberts
4. “3 Advantages to Preaching From Long Passages Instead of Short Passages”
5. Book Review of “The Reformers and Their Stepchildren” by Leonard Verduin
P.S. See more Bible studies, blogs, and books at JesusSaidFollowMe.org