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A Comparison of Three Systems

Dispensationalism - Covenant Theology - New Covenant Theology

by Donald Hochner

There are three main systems of interpreting Scriptures that are the most prevalant in the Christian Church today: Dispensationalism, Covenant Theology and New Covenant Theology. The most popular today by far is Dispensationalism. However, "popular" does not necessarely mean "Biblically correct"; but just what it says: "popular".

The other two systems have been around much longer than Dispensationalism, and offer a better view of Scriptures than does Dispensationalism, with it's so-called "literalizing" hermeneutics. The author of this comparison wish to state his preference for New Covenant Theology, as being a more balanced system for interpreting Scriptures, and as being more in line with the Historical Baptist Faith.

In Fact, one could say that New Covenant Theology has been a distinctive of the Baptist faith since the Reformation of the 16th century. Many Baptists today consider themselves Reformed, in the sense that they view the New Covenant as the promised "time of reformation" that God had predicted in the Scriptures (Heb 9:10), and as the norm for Christian living, rather than the view that OT Law, Ceremonial-Civil-Sacrificial Law being excepted, is somehow still in effect for Christians today.

Although this author realize that no system has all the correct answers, I feel none-the-less, that New Covenant Theology is closer than the other two systems, especially when considering the fact that Dispensationalism, despite it's popularity, has a tendency when carried to it's logical conclusion, to alter the gospel. This is a most dangerous flaw in this system, and as such this author reject it.

Below are items that have been gathered to show, in very brief form, the main differences between the three systems. Hereafter, the systems will be known as [DISP] for Dispensationalism, [CT] for Covenant Theology and [NCT] for New Covenant Theology. This is by no means an in-depth comparison, but a simple outline of the main differences for information purposes only. Note that the author do not necessarely agree with everything that New Covenant Theology teaches, but that on the whole I am favorable to it's principal tenets.

[NCT] believes that [CT] and [DISP] both have part of the truth, but that they go to the extreme of either separating the OT and NT so much, as with [DISP], that there is almost no relation between the two. As John J. Reisinger so well put it "Dispensationalism separates the OT and NT so effectively, that never the twain shall meet." And [NCT] sees [CT] going to the other extreme of joining the OT and the NT so closely, that there is almost no discernable difference between the two. They believe that they have found the middle road, and we would "basically" agree with that assertion, without being absolutely bound by it, which means we don't necessarely agree with everything that [NCT] says.

NOTE: "A Comparison of Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology" was mostly written by Curt Daniel in "History and Theology of Calvinism." The New Covenant Theology items were mostly written by G. Richard Gaudreau. This short work was edited by Donald Hochner who had the idea for publishing this comparison, and did most of the work in asembling the data in an ordered form; so the credit for this brief comparison rightfully belongs to him. Donald Hochner is the minister of a Deaf Reformed Preterist Church in California. May God bless his work and the congregation there. (G.R.G.)


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