New Covenant Theology
New Covenant Theology (NCT) is a biblical approach to understanding God's unfolding plan of salvation. The focus of this approach is the work and person of Jesus Christ with emphasis on what God has accomplished and fulfilled in Christ for the elect. The Lord Jesus is the grand theme of both the New and Old Testament Scriptures which unifies all of the Bible (Eph. 1:9,10).
The primary premise of NCT is that the New Covenant as mediated by Christ is a brand NEW covenant which totally replaces the Old Covenant (Heb. 8:6-13). The Old Covenant was a covenant which God established with the Nation of Israel only. The terms of this covenant were the Ten Commandments or Tables of Stone (Exodus 34:27-28; Dt. 5:1-3). Thus, the Ten Commandments were only the essence of the Old Covenant (or first covenant) and Not the essence of all of God's law.
In addition, the Old Covenant was a legal covenant with Israel that demanded perfect obedience in order to receive the promised blessings (Ex. 19:3-6). The primary function of the Old Covenant was a ministry of death (2 Cor. 3:6-9) and was a tutor to lead the Israelites to Christ (Gal. 3:24,25).
The New Covenant is a new and better covenant. Jesus Christ is the mediator of the New Covenant which is founded on better promises (Heb. 8:6). The New Covenant is made up of totally regenerate membership since Christ has died only for His people who receive the complete benefits of His reconciling work (Heb. 8:10-12; Heb. 7:25). Jesus Christ, then, kept the terms of the Old Covenant perfectly and earned all the blessings for His people.
Since Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant, He is the new Lawgiver and Lord of the church (Heb. 1:1-3; Heb.7:12). Thus, all Christians are under the authority of the New Covenant which is governed by the New Testament Scriptures (Eph. 2:19,20). The Old Covenant has been perfectly fulfilled in Christ and done away. God's law is still binding on the believer but God's righteous standards are contained in the Law of Christ (Gal.6:2; 1 Cor.9:21). The people of God in the New Covenant era are motivated internally to obey the Law of Christ.
NCT as seen above does differ from Covenant Theology and Historic Dispensationalism. In regards to Covenant Theology, the NCT view asserts that the "Covenant of Works" and "Covenant of Grace" cannot be found in Scripture. We would agree that God had a Gracious Purpose in placing the nation of Israel under the law as a covenant. However, this does not make the Old Covenant a covenant of grace. Scripture indicates that the purpose of the Mosaic Law was to bring deep conviction of sin to those under the covenant to lead them to Christ (Gal 3:23-25).
In addition, NCT views the nation of Israel as a picture of the people of God but not the real people of God (Heb. 8:7-9; Heb. 10:1). Thus, the nation of Israel is mainly the Unbelieving people of God who are rejected by God (Matt. 8:5-12). While a remnant of the nation of Israel were true believers, New Covenant era believers are now the True people of God since Jesus has purchased all those in the New Covenant (1 Pet. 2:4-10). In NCT, the Ten Commandments are NOT the essence of the "Moral Law" but are seen as a Unit applying only as the terms of the Old Covenant with Israel. The Christian, then, is no longer bound by the terms of the Old Covenant. The Law of Christ is the objective standard for the New Covenant believer.
Some of the main adherents for NCT include John Reisinger, Jon Zens, Randy Seiver, Fred Zaspel, and Gary Long. You will also find that John Bunyan's view of God's Law captured the biblical differences between the Old and New Covenant as reflected in NCT. For further information, several NCT books would be helpful to you. Abraham's Four Seeds by John Reisinger (Sound of Grace) and "Tablets of Stone" by John Reisinger would be a good place to start. Also, you will find much information on the Sound of Grace, Searching Together, and Solo Christo web pages.
New Covenant Theology describes how the unfolding plan of salvation in Scripture is to be understood. It differs with both Covenant Theology and Historic Dispensationalism.
Relationship to Covenant Theology
Covenant Theology errs in trying to read the Old Covenant as though it were the New Covenant.
Relationship to Dispensationalism
Dispensationalism errs in reading the Old Covenant without taking into account the New Covenant.
The Old Covenant
The Old Covenant (Mosaic Covenant, also called the First Covenant) is a legal, conditional covenant, not another administration of the Covenant of Grace. Although God had a gracious purpose for giving the Mosaic Covenant the covenant itself is a legal covenant that was intended to show the Israelites their sin.
The Nation of Israel
The nation of Israel is the "unbelieving" people of God. They are only a picture of the real people of God that is revealed in the New Covenant era. Only a remnant of the nation of Israel were believers.
The Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments are the essence or terms of the Old Covenant not the essence of all of God's law. The Ten Commandments as a unit are not brought into the New Covenant era, although the New Covenant era does bring over 9 of the 10 (Sabbath excluded). The essence of all of God's law is found in the 2 great commandments.
The Abrahamic Covenant
The Abrahamic Covenant is a revealing of God's plan of salvation through Abraham and his physical descendants. The true seed of Abraham is Jesus Christ and the believers are the true children of Abraham.
The Law of Christ
The Law of Christ is the law in the New Covenant era. The issue is not whether or not believers in the New Covenant era are under law. The issue is which law are the believers under in this present era.