Old Covenant vs. New Covenant: Membership

“Achan is stoned to death”, illustration by Gustave Dore (Note the absence of the rest of Achan’s household.)

In the previous article, I discussed some basic principles of Reformed covenant theology (Covenant of Works vs. Covenant of Grace, substance vs. administration, etc.). I then provided a summary of how the New Covenant is described in scripture, with a particular emphasis on the times it was mentioned by the Old Testament prophets. To summarize, the New Covenant is new, it is eternal, it is wrapped up in a person, and it involves a true knowledge of God and His Law.

There are several more issues we should consider when attempting to determine if the Old and New Covenants have the same substance. (Here I must remind you that I am typically limiting the description “Old Covenant” in this discussion to the Mosaic Covenant, though I have no intention of ignoring the Abrahamic Covenant.) Today, I will consider another important question. Continue reading

Old Covenant vs. New Covenant: New Covenant Described

Illustration of the erection of the Tabernacle from the 1728 “Figures de la Bible”

The Christmas season is upon us, and it seemed fitting to me to give a gift to all my friends who are theology nerds: twelve days of discussion about the biblical covenants. In my corner of social media, this is without question one of the most debated theological topics, and too often we descend into tribalism, throwing quotations at each other from Spurgeon and Hodge. It is not unlike the scene after all the Christmas gifts have been unwrapped and the young boys build forts from the boxes, lobbing balls of discarded paper and bits of tinsel at one another.

“There has to be a better way,” I said to myself. Thus, an idea was born.

What I am about to release to you has involved a considerable amount of time and research, eating up my limited energies for much of the autumn. I set out with three goals: 1) Gain a better understanding of the biblical covenants. 2) Demonstrate that I have thought through these issues critically. 3) Provide a basis for this debate to continue in a more positive and constructive manner. (An unstated final goal was to create a stockpile of covenant articles equal to that of His Heidelness, which I might subsequently use to bombard unsuspecting Twitter followers.) Continue reading