In the introduction of the new book Perspectives on Israel and the Church: 4 Views, editor Chad Brand surveys the church’s discussion on the relationship between Israel and the church. In the excerpt below he highlights the more recent view referred to as “new covenant theology.”
Over the past decades, others have joined the effort to carve out a position that is neither covenantal nor dispensational. Sometimes referred to as “new covenant theology” or “progressive covenantalism,” this approach rejects both the land principle and the genealogical principle and asserts that Christ himself is the fulfillment of OT expectations.
Gentry and Wellum, as representatives, forge a via media between covenantal and dispensational theology and stress the unity of the Bible by tracing the redemptive-historical thread through the progressive covenants of Scripture. They view each covenant (Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, new covenant) as progressively building on previous covenants but also as refining (my term) them in certain ways to address what is now new in progressive revelation. This approach is based on the idea that “Jesus and the new covenant must become the hermeneutical lens by which we interpret the fulfillment of the types of the Old Testament.”
For dispensationalism the key terms seem to be Jesus and Israel, for covenantalism the key terms seem to be Jesus and the church, while for “progressive covenantalism” the key term seems to be just Jesus. “The hopes and fears of all the years” are met in him and him alone.
About the Contributors:
Chad O. Brand has served as a pastor and has taught theology and church history for more than twenty years at three Baptist colleges and seminaries.
Tom Pratt Jr. is president of Eagle Rock Ministries and is a Bible teacher, preacher, and freelance writer.
Robert L. Reymond (1932–2013) was professor of theology emeritus at Knox Theological Seminary.
Robert L. Saucy is distinguished professor of systematic theology at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University.
Robert L. Thomas is emeritus professor of New Testament at The Master’s Seminary.
Download a sample chapter here.