By Greg Gibson

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 “24 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:

    1. Abortion?
    2. Po-rn?
    3. Pedophilia?
    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)
    10. Etc.

(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.

Two Assumptions: Explicit and Exhaustive

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.

Majoring on the Minors

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.)

“The 30-Second, Law-Hermeneutic Test”

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.)

“Does New Covenant Theology Allow Beastiality and Incest?” | 2007 | New Covenant Theology | Tags: , , | Comments (2)

2 Responses to ““Does New Covenant Theology Allow Beastiality and Incest?””

  1. Sarai says:

    OT vs NT – problem not considered:
    The orginal writings weren’t divided into old testament & new testament. It was originally ONE complete work of writings.
    The Greeks & Romans decided to make the division thus starting up another bunch of mess to add to the already half witted additions to the true writings (additions of rabbinic laws to the laws G_d gave).

    So, now lets see who can ask questions of relevence applying the truth of the biblical writings. In other words ask questions as you would if the book had not been dimwittedly divided or put together with mans additions and deletions.

  2. Greg Gibson says:

    Hi Sarai,

    Can you please document your claims? I’ll try to document my claims here.

    As you know the Tanakh is synonymous for the Law and Prophets. And obviously, the NC/NT is not part of the Law and Prophets.

    “F.F. Bruce traces the earliest known references to the two parts of the Bible as ‘Old Covenant’ and ‘New Covenant’ to the end of the 2nd century A.D. in ‘The Canon of Scripture’ (Downers Grove, IL; InterVarsity Press, 1988), 21-22 in ‘The Covenantal Context of the Fall’ by Robert Gonzales Jr.

    Ancient near east archaeology has discovered that God Himself designed the the literary structure of the Bible into 2 parts. He structured the OC like an A.N.E. treaty, which is surrounded by a canon of books (the OT). Here is an explanation excerpted from my book “ALL Old Testament Laws Cancelled.”

    “17. Archaeology Testifies That the Bible Contains 2 Separate Canons (Rules)

    Scholars generally agree that archaeology shows God patterned the Old Covenant’s literary structure with several similarities to ancient, near-Eastern treaties.

    Ancient covenants were put into effect with a surrounding body of literature, or canon. (Genesis is structured as the historical introduction to the Old Covenant.) Covenant produces canon.

    Our Bible is made of 2 major covenants, the Old and New Covenants, each surrounded by its own canon, the Old and New Testaments. Meredith Kline sums it up well in The Structure of Biblical Authority…

    Two Covenants Implies 2 Canons

    “In fact, if biblical canon is covenantal canon and there are in the composition of the Bible two covenants, one old and one new, there are also two canons, one old and one new. Instead of speaking of the canon of Scripture, we should then speak of the Old and New Testament canons, or of the canonical covenants which constitute the Scripture…the old and new covenant canons…The identity of the Old and New Testaments as two distinct canons and the integrity of each Testament in itself as a separate canonical whole…the two covenantal canons…”

    Two Testaments Implies 2 Canon Rules

    “…the two Testaments which serve as community rules for the two orders…they are two discrete canons in series…two treaty canons, old and new, within the church’s Scriptures”

    The Old Testament Canon Does Not Govern the Church

    “This is to say that the Old Testament is not the canon of the Christian church…the Old Testament, though possessing the general authority of all the Scriptures, does not possess for the church the more specific authority of canonicity. Under the new covenant, the Old Testament is not the current canon.”

    The New Testament Canon Governs the Church

    “…the treaty canon that governs the Church of the new covenant as a formal community is the New Testament alone, while Scripture is the broader entity…the Old and New Testaments together….the New Testament canon is the currently normative canon for the church…”

    It sounds like he is saying that the New Covenant is not an addendum, codicil, P.S., or rider added onto the Old Covenant. The New Covenant is a separate covenant, with a separate canon (rule).

    “…the New Covenant is not an addendum, codicil, P.S., or rider added onto the Old Covenant.”

    The Old and New Covenants contain contract duties. The old contract was cancelled. The new contract is in force. Our duties are defined by the covenant that we’re under. We’re under the New Covenant, not the Old Covenant. Therefore, our duties are defined by the New Covenant.” (ALL Old Testament Laws Cancelled, pp. 94-95)

    Plus, the 2 articles below suggest 2 things:

    1. The terms OT and NT are found in the Bible itself as valid translations of the Hebrew (Jer. 31) and Greek.

    2. The terms OT and NT were first used ~200 A.D.

    “The term “Old Testament” itself is credited to Melito of Sardis.[1] Tertullian also used the Latin vetus testamentum.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Testament

    “Some believe the English term New Testament ultimately comes from the Hebrew language. New Testament is taken from the Latin Novum Testamentum first coined by Tertullian. Some believe this in turn is a translation of the earlier Koine Greek ????? ??????? (pronounced in postclassical Greek as Keni Dhiathiki). This Greek term is found in the original Greek language of the New Testament, though commonly translated as new covenant, and found even earlier in the Greek translation of the Old Testament that is called the Septuagint. At Jeremiah 31:31, the Septuagint translated this term into Greek from the original Hebrew ???? ???? (berit chadashah). The Hebrew term is usually also translated into English as new covenant.

    As a result, some claim the term was first used by Early Christians to refer to the new covenant that was the basis for their relationship with God. About two centuries later at the time of Tertullian and Lactantius, the phrase was being used to designate a particular collection of books that some believed embodied this new covenant.

    Tertullian, in the 2nd century, is the first currently known to use the terms novum testamentum/new testament and vetus testamentum/old testament. For example, in Against Marcion book 3,[6] chapter 14, he wrote:

    This may be understood to be the Divine Word, who is doubly edged with the two testaments of the law and the gospel

    And in book 4,[7] chapter 6, he wrote:

    For it is certain that the whole aim at which he has strenuously laboured even in the drawing up of his Antitheses, centres in this, that he may establish a diversity between the Old and the New Testaments, so that his own Christ may be separate from the Creator, as belonging to this rival god, and as alien from the law and the prophets.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament#The_history_of_translation_and_usage_of_the_term_New_Testament

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