414 617-0347
8556 W National Ave
West Allis, Wi  53227
Statement of Faith
 

RISEN SAVIOR BIBLE CHURCH DOCTRINAL STATEMENT

 

 

 

1.         We believe that "all" Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, is inspired by God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men and the Divine and final authority for Christian faith, life, and practice.

 

 

2.         We believe in one God, creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three distinct persons:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

 

3.         We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (God the Son), in His virgin birth, sinless life, and miracles; in His vicarious and atoning death on the cross, His bodily resurrection from the dead, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father where He is now our High Priest and Advocate.

 

 

4.         We believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and during this age to convict men of their sin, regenerate the believing sinner, indwell, seal, comfort, guide, instruct, intercede for, and empower the believer for godly living and service

 

 

5.         We believe in the bodily second coming of Jesus Christ to set up a literal kingdom on earth which will last for one thousand years and will be followed by the eternal state and the new heavens and earth.

 

 

6.         We believe in the personal, pre-tribulational, and imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ for his Church (the Rapture), and that this "Blessed Hope" has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer.

 

 

7.         We believe that man was created in the image of God but fell into sin and is, therefore, lost and that only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained.  We believe that the shed blood of Jesus Christ on Calvary, His burial, and His resurrection provide the only grounds for justification and salvation for all who believe, and only such as receive Jesus Christ are born of the Holy Spirit (regeneration) and, thus become the children of God.  We believe that this salvation has been provided by the grace of God, through faith in the person and work of Christ on the cross, apart from any works of man. 

 

 

8.         We believe that the Holy Bible clearly teaches that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God's power and are safe and secure in Christ forever.  Therefore, it is impossible for a born again child of God to lose his salvation.  On the other hand, the person whose life is devoid of Christian character ought to make certain of his calling and election and should examine himself to see whether he is in the faith.  The question therefore, is not whether a saved person can be lost (which is impossible) but whether one who professes belief is truly saved.

 

 

9.         We believe that the Church, which is the body and the bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born again persons of this present age.  The Church Age began on the Day of Pentecost and will be concluded at the rapture of the Church at which time the spiritual building will be complete.  Jesus Christ is the Head of the universal Church and of our local church.  We believe that every local church has the right under Christ, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to decide and govern its own affairs.  We are members of Christ and members of each other therefore, we seek to exalt Christ in every ministry and activity of our church, and we are to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  False teaching and division are to be handled by church discipline, balancing truth and mercy.  As believers, we are to love (in truth) each other fervently.  We believe that only those who are members of the universal church shall be eligible for membership in this local church.

 

 

10.       We believe that water baptism and the Lord's Supper (Communion) are ordinances to be observed by the Church during this present age.  They are, however, not to be regarded as a means of salvation.

 

 

11.       We believe that at death, the believer goes immediately to be with Christ.  He is absent from the body but face to face with the Lord.  There, in conscious joy, the believer awaits the rapture of the church when he will be reunited with his resurrected body, to be glorified forever with the Lord.  At death, unbelievers go to be in conscious misery until the second resurrection when they shall be reunited with their resurrected bodies to appear before Christ at the Great White Throne Judgment.  They will not be annihilated but will suffer everlasting conscious punishment under the wrath of God.

 

 

12.       We believe that God has revealed His will to mankind in progressive stages through the different periods of history.  These historical periods are called dispensations.  In each dispensation God called upon mankind to believe in Him and to obey His Word.  In each dispensation people were saved by grace through faith in God's promises.  The content of God's revelation, however, has progressively expanded in each dispensation.  We further believe that the promises that God made to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament will be literally fulfilled to Israel in a future Kingdom.  We reject covenant theology, new covenant theology, and hyper-dispensationalism as valid theological systems.

  


A DETAILED EXPLANATION OF OUR STATEMENT OF FAITH

 

 

 

The "Fundamentals of the Faith" are:

 

 

1.         The Inerrancy of Scripture

2.         The Deity and Virgin Birth of Christ

3.         The Substitutionary Atonement of Christ

4.         The Bodily Resurrection of Christ

5.         The Second Coming of Christ

 

 

1.         We believe that "all" Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, is inspired by God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men and the Divine and final authority for Christian faith, life, and practice. 

 

 

Supporting Passages:  2 Tim. 3: 15 - 17; 2 Peter 1: 19 - 21; 1 Cor. 2: 6 - 16; Matt 5: 18; John 17: 17; Luke 24: 27, 44; John 5: 39; Acts 17: 2, 3; Rom. 15: 4; 1 Cor. 10: 11; John 14: 26; Psalm 19: 7 - 11; Acts 1: 16; John 10: 34 - 36; John 16: 13, 14; 1 John 2: 27; John 6: 66 - 68; Rom 10: 17; Joshua 1: 8; Psa. 1: 1 - 3; Prov. 2: 1 - 6; Heb 4: 12

 

 

In the above statement the phrase: "all Scripture, both Old and New Testaments," refers to the extent of the canon.  We accept the 66 books that comprise the Holy Bible; 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament.  We reject the books of the Apocrypha or any other writings such as the pseudepigrapha that claim divine authority or apostolic authorship.  When we say that the Holy Bible is inspired by God we are referring to the method of conveyance of God's truth to man.  We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures, that is, all of Scripture is inspired down to the very words chosen by the human authors of the Holy Bible.  In the writing of Scripture, God so superintended the process that He used men (with their unique and distinct personalities and writing styles) to write His truth, preserving them from error in the process.  Regarding interpretation of the Scriptures, we believe in the literal, grammatical, historical method of interpretation.  When studying the Scriptures for preaching, teaching, or developing doctrine the study must be inductive, paying attention to grammar, context, history of the period, and figures of speech.  We recognize that the Bibles we hold in our hands today are translations of the original autographs.  We also recognize that we do not have the original autographs, however through study of the extant copies of the Scriptures; we believe that the translations we hold in our hands do not differ from the original autographs in any significant doctrinal teaching and are the complete and sufficient revelation of the will of God for mankind.  We also recognize that over time men have written translations of the Scriptures, such as "The Message," that grossly distort the teachings of the original autographs and we reject all such efforts.  We recognize that the degree to which a translation is true to the original autographs determines it's profitableness for use in the Church.  We believe that the Holy Bible is "THE" Divine and "THE" final authority for Christian faith, life, and practice.  Because we believe the Holy Bible to be inspired by God, we also believe it to be inerrant.  Since the Holy Bible is inerrant, we believe that the TRUTH taught in the Scriptures is binding upon all mankind, i.e. the Scriptures are AUTHORITATIVE.  We recognize no other authority in this world, such as the traditions of the church or the teachings of man (whatever the form) to be equal to or greater than the authority of the Holy Bible.   We believe that it is the Holy Bible that establishes the normative truth that determines how one is to be saved, how one is to live his or her life, and the practices that are to be adopted within the lives of individual believers and the Church of Jesus Christ.

 

 

2.         We believe in one God, creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three distinct persons:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

 

 

Supporting Passages:  Deut. 4: 35; Deut. 6: 4; 1 Kings 8: 60; Isa. 45: 5; Psa. 83: 18, 90: 1 - 2, 147: 5; Jer. 10: 10; John 4: 24; Eph. 4: 1 - 6; Matt 3: 16 - 17, 17: 1 – 5, 28: 19; Mark 9: 1 – 7; 2 Cor. 13: 14; John 5: 17 - 19, 10: 30, 15: 26, 17: 3; Rom. 8: 28 - 30; 1 Cor. 6: 11; 1 Tim 2: 5; Heb. 11: 6; Col. 1: 15 - 17; Heb. 1: 1 – 4; John 1: 29 - 34

 

 

When we say that we believe in one God, creator of all things it means that there is but one God, eternally existing in three persons and that the divine nature is undivided and indivisible.  God is not merely one, He is the only God; as such, He is unique.  There can be only one infinite and perfect being.  God does not consist of parts nor can he be divided into parts.  His being is simple, numerically one, free from composition.  The unity of God allows for the existence of personal distinctions in the divine nature, while at the same time recognizing that the divine nature is numerically and eternally one.  We believe that God is the creator and sustainer of all things, and therefore reject any teaching of man (such as evolution in any of its forms) to the contrary.

 

 

3.         We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (God the Son), in His virgin birth, sinless life, and miracles; in His vicarious and atoning death on the cross, His bodily resurrection from the dead, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father where He is now our High Priest and Advocate. 

 

 

Supporting Passages:  John 1: 1, 14; Phil. 2: 5 - 8; Heb. 1: 1 – 4, 2: 9 - 18, 4: 15; Matt. 1: 18 - 23; Luke 1: 26 - 35; Micah 5: 2; Isa. 7: 14, 9: 6; Matt. 16: 16; Gal. 4: 4; Titus 2: 13; 2 Peter 1: 1; 1 John 5: 20; 1 Peter 3: 18 Rom. 5: 8; 1 Cor. 15: 3; 2 Cor. 5: 21; 1 Peter 2: 24; Luke 22: 19; 1 Peter 1: 18, 19; Matt. 26: 27, 28; Eph. 1: 7; Col. 2: 13; John 1: 29 – 34; Gal. 2: 16 - 21

 

 

We believe that Jesus Christ is TRUE God and TRUE Man and as such He is unique.  He is never to be thought of or referred to in terms that reduce Him to mere mortality.  We believe that He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and physically born of the Virgin Mary, this is called the INCARNATION.  As a result of the incarnation, Jesus was born into a sinless body.  Because Jesus was without sin at birth and throughout His entire earthly existence, He was an acceptable sacrifice for sin in accordance with Old Testament Law.  We believe that Jesus died on the cross as a substitute for sinners and that His death on the cross was sufficient payment for the sin debt for all mankind.  Jesus' sacrifice of Himself on the cross brought PROPITIATION (satisfaction of the wrath of God for the punishment of sin), REDEMPTION (the buying back of the repentant sinner to God), and ATONEMENT (the bringing of a believer back into a right relationship with God).  We believe that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of mankind, was buried, and was bodily raised from the dead by God the Father for the JUSTIFICATION (the act whereby God declares a man to be righteous) of the believer.  We believe that Jesus ascended into heaven after spending time with his disciples after his resurrection.  In Heaven He is seated at the right hand of the Father, this position being the place of power and privilege.  During the age of the Church we believe that Jesus is our advocate and our High Priest.  As advocate He defends us against the accuser of the brethren, Satan.  As our High Priest he ever lives to make intercession for us.

 

 

4.         We believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and during this age to convict men of their sin, regenerate the believing sinner, indwell, seal, comfort, guide, instruct, intercede for, and empower the believer for godly living and service. 

 

 

Supporting Passages:  Gen. 6: 3; Matt. 28: 19; John 14: 16 - 20, 15: 26, 27, 16: 7 - 16; Acts 5: 3, 4; John 3: 5 - 6, 14: 26; Rom. 8: 9, 14 - 16, 26 - 27; 1 Cor. 2: 9 - 12, 6: 19 - 20; Eph. 1: 13 – 14, 2: 1, 5: 18; Titus 3: 5; 2 Thess. 2: 7; Heb. 9: 14; Gal. 5: 16, 25; Rom 6, 8, & 12: 3 - 8; Eph 4: 7 - 16

 

 

We believe that during the church age, the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Jesus Christ and not Himself.  During this age, it is God’s will that Christ be preeminent in all things.  We believe it was the Spirit who enabled the Apostles to recall all the teachings of Jesus.  In the process of evangelism, it is the Spirit that convicts men of their sin and their need of Christ as savior.  It is the Spirit that imparts eternal life to the sinner when he repents and accepts Jesus as his savior.  It is the Spirit who restrains the growth of sin in the world. We believe the Spirit came on Pentecost to live in the hearts of all believers.  This indwelling ministry is for the purposes of guiding, sealing, comforting, interceding in prayer for, instructing (through illumination of the Scriptures), and empowering the believer (through filling) to live in victory over the flesh.  We believe that it is the Spirit who gives the gifts, according to His will, for service in the church and that each believer has at least one gift.

 

 

5.         We believe in the bodily second coming of Jesus Christ to set up a literal kingdom on earth which will last for one thousand years and will be followed by the eternal state and the new heavens and earth.

 

 

 

Supporting Passages:  Rev. 19: 11 – 21; Rev 20: 6; Daniel 9: 25 – 7; 12: 1 – 13; Rom. 9 - 11; Rev. 21; Rev. 22

 

 

We believe that the church and Israel are two distinct groups that God is dealing with.  We believe that God made unconditional covenants with the nation of Israel in the Old Testament (Abrahamic, Davidic, and Palestinian) that still need to be fulfilled.  We believe that God will fulfill all these covenants literally; therefore Christ will return and establish a literal/physical kingdom, with Jerusalem as its center.  This kingdom will last for 1000 years, after which the final judgment of mankind will occur (the Great White Throne).  After this final judgment, we believe that the believers of all ages will move into the new heavens and earth created by Christ, there to live with Him, and the other members of the Godhead, eternally.

 

 

6.         We believe in the personal, pre-tribulational, and imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ for his Church (the Rapture), and that this "Blessed Hope" has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer.

 

 

 

Supporting Passages:  John 14: 1 – 3; 1 Thess. 4: 13 – 18, 1 Cor. 15: 51 – 58; Matt. 24: 42 – 46; Luke 12: 35 – 40; Heb. 10: 24 – 25; Acts 1: 11; Phil 1: 6, 3: 20; Col. 3: 4; 1 Thess. 1: 10; 1 Tim. 6: 14; James 5: 8; 2 Peter 3: 3 - 4

 

 

We believe that in John 14, Jesus Christ promised His disciples and believers during the church age, His bride, that He would come to get us so that we could be with Him where He is.  We believe that Christ will return for his bride before the start of the Great Tribulation.  We believe that there are no prophetic signs for the church to be looking for prior to the rapture, hence Jesus could come at any time.  Therefore the church should be in a constant state of readiness, occupying the time, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God, until our Lord returns.

 

 

7.         We believe that man was created in the image of God but fell into sin and is, therefore, lost and that only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained.  We believe that the shed blood of Jesus Christ on Calvary, His burial, and His resurrection provide the only grounds for justification and salvation for all who believe, and only such as receive Jesus Christ are born of the Holy Spirit (regeneration) and, thus become the children of God.  We believe that this salvation has been provided by the grace of God, through faith in the person and work of Christ on the cross, apart from any works of man. 

 

 

Supporting Passages:  Eph. 2: 1, 5, 8 - 9; Titus 3: 5; Gal. 2: 20 – 21; Acts 15: 11; Rom. 6: 23; John 1: 12, 5: 24, 3: 16, 6: 47; Acts 16: 31; 1 John 3: 3 – 6, 14, 14: 6; Rom. 5: 1, 21, 10: 9 - 10; Acts 4: 12; Gen 1: 26, 2: 17, 3: 6, 5: 1, 9: 6; Matt. 10: 28, 22: 20 – 21, 25: 41; 1 Cor. 11: 7; James 3: 9; Rom 3: 23, 5: 12, 6: 23, 7: 7 – 11; Num. 27:3; Ezek. 18: 4, 20; 2 Thess. 1: 9; Rev. 14: 11; Rev. 20: 10 – 15; Rom. 8: 12 – 17; 1 Cor. 15: 1 - 6

 

 

We believe that man was created in the image of God and as part of that image had free will.  We believe that Adam and Eve exercised their free will and disobeyed God, thus becoming sinners and plunging all of mankind and creation into sin.  We believe that sin brings death and that death is both physical and spiritual; ultimately if man does not repent death is eternal.  We believe that only through regeneration (the act by which the Holy Spirit imparts eternal life to the believer) can spiritual life be obtained.  The Scriptures teach that it is the Holy Spirit that works godly sorrow in the heart of the unbeliever and that that sorrow will ultimately lead him to repentance.  Once repentance occurs, the unbeliever must believe the Gospel (the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ) and receive Him as savior.  Once having asked Jesus for salvation the unbeliever is given eternal life and adopted into the family of God. We believe that the salvation provided by God the Father is by GRACE, through FAITH, apart from WORKS.  We reject all other teachings regarding the salvation of man that either add or subtract from the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross.

 

 

8.         We believe that the Holy Bible clearly teaches that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God's power and are safe and secure in Christ forever.  Therefore, it is impossible for a born again child of God to lose his salvation.  On the other hand, the person whose life is devoid of Christian character ought to make certain of his calling and election and should examine himself to see whether he is in the faith.  The question therefore, is not whether a saved person can be lost (which is impossible) but whether one who professes belief is truly saved.

 

 

Supporting Passages:  2 Peter 1: 3 - 10; 2 Cor. 13: 5; 1 John 2: 4, 6, 9; Rom. 5: 9, 10, 15, 17, 20, 8: 31 - 39; 1 John 5: 13; John 10: 25 – 30; Heb. 7: 24 – 28; Rom. 6: 23; Gal. 3: 3, 18

 

 

9.         We believe that the Church, which is the body and the bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born again persons of this present age.  The Church Age began on the Day of Pentecost and will be concluded at the rapture of the Church at which time the spiritual building will be complete.  Jesus Christ is the Head of the universal Church and of our local church.  We believe that every local church has the right under Christ, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to decide and govern its own affairs.  We are members of Christ and members of each other therefore, we seek to exalt Christ in every ministry and activity of our church, and we are to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  False teaching and division are to be handled by church discipline, balancing truth and mercy.  As believers, we are to love (in truth) each other fervently.  We believe that only those who are members of the universal church shall be eligible for membership in this local church.

 

 

Supporting Passages:  Eph. 1: 22 - 23, 5: 22 - 25; 2 Cor. 11: 2; Acts 2, 11: 15 - 17; 1 Thess. 4: 13 - 18; Eph. 2: 19 - 22; 1 Peter 2: 4 - 7; Rom. 11: 25; Col. 1: 18; Rom. 12: 3 - 8; Eph. 4: 1 - 6; Col. 3: 12 - 17; Gal. 6: 1; Rom. 16: 17; 1 Cor. 1: 10; 2 John; 1 Tim. 3; Eph. 5: 1 - 6; Rom. 14: 13 - 23; 1 John 3: 14; Matt 18: 15 – 17; 1 Tim. 5: 19 - 20

 

 

10.       We believe that water baptism and the Lord's Supper (Communion) are ordinances to be observed by the Church during this present age.  They are, however, not to be regarded as a means of salvation.

 

 

 

Supporting Passages:  Matt. 28: 19 – 20; Mark 16: 15 – 16; Rom. 6: 3; Col. 2: 12; 1 Peter 3: 21; Acts 2: 38; Acts 8: 16; 1 Cor. 11: 23 – 26; Eph. 2: 8 – 9; Titus 3: 5; Gal. 2: 16; Gal. 2: 20 – 21

 

 

We believe that water baptism is an ordinance, not a sacrament, to be observed by the church and through baptism one identifies publicly with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We believe that the preferred method of baptism is immersion (where physical limitation prevents immersion other provisions will be made).   In addition we believe that baptism is for the believer and thus we reject infant baptism.  We also believe communion to be an ordinance commanded by our Lord and that as often as we eat and drink of His cup, we remember His death until He comes again.

 

 

11.       We believe that at death, the believer goes immediately to be with Christ.  He is absent from the body but face to face with the Lord.  There, in conscious joy, the believer awaits the rapture of the church when he will be reunited with his resurrected body, to be glorified forever with the Lord.  At death, unbelievers go to be in conscious misery until the second resurrection when they shall be reunited with their resurrected bodies to appear before Christ at the Great White Throne Judgment.   They will not be annihilated but will suffer everlasting conscious punishment under the wrath of God.

 

 

Supporting Passages:  Phil. 1: 21 - 23; 2 Cor. 5: 6 - 8; 1 Cor. 15: 51 - 55; 1 Thess 4: 13 - 18; Luke 16: 19 - 26; Rev. 20: 15; Matt. 25: 41 - 46; 2 Thess. 1: 7 - 9; Jude 5 - 7; Mark 9: 43 - 48.

 

 

12.       We believe that God has revealed His will to mankind in progressive stages through the different periods of history.  These historical periods are called dispensations.  In each dispensation God called upon mankind to believe in Him and to obey His Word.  In each dispensation people were saved by grace through faith in God's promises.  The content of God's revelation, however, has progressively expanded in each dispensation.  We further believe that the promises that God made to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament will be literally fulfilled to Israel in a future Kingdom.  We therefore reject covenant theology, new covenant theology, and hyper-dispensationalism as valid theological systems.

 

 

 

 

Supporting Passages:  Eph. 1: 10, 3: 1 - 12; Col. 1: 24 - 27; Heb. 1: 1, 2; John 1: 17

 

 

Covenant Theology, also known as Covenantalism or Federal theology, is a conceptual overview and interpretive framework for understanding the overall flow of the Bible.  Covenantalism uses the theological concept of “Covenant” as an organizing principle for Christian theology and it views the history of mankind’s redemption from sin under the framework of three over-arching theological covenants: 1) the Covenant of Redemption, 2) the Covenant of Works, and 3) the Covenant of Grace.  These three covenants are called “theological covenants” because they are not explicitly presented as such in the Bible.  Regarding frameworks for viewing the Bible, Covenantalism stands in direct contrast to Dispensationalism.  Regarding the theological status of modern day Jewish people Covenantalism is often called “Supersessionism or Replacement Theology.”  Supersessionism is the traditional Christian belief that Christianity is the fulfillment of Old Testament Judaism, and therefore the Jews who deny that Jesus is the Messiah fall short of their calling as God’s chosen people.  Thus, according to supersessionism, the Jews are either no longer considered to be God’s chosen people, or their proper calling is frustrated pending their acceptance of Jesus as the promised Messiah.  Question:  "What is Covenant Theology and is it Biblical?"  Answer:  Those who hold to Covenant Theology believe that there is and has always been only one people of God. They believe that Israel was the Church in the Old Testament, and the Church is Israel in the New Testament. What were promises of land, many descendants, and blessing in the Old Testament to Israel has been converted to spiritual blessings for the Church in the New Testament. Those who hold to Covenant Theology also do not interpret prophecy in a normal sense. As an example, in Revelation 20, the thousand year reign of Christ is spoken of. Covenant Theology would say that the number 1,000 is symbolic and really does not mean a literal 1,000 years. They would say that we are in the millennium right now, that the reign of Christ with his saints is going on in heaven right now, and that the 1,000 year period is symbolic, beginning with the first coming of Christ and ending when he returns.  Covenant Theology is wrong in both how Israel is viewed and how prophecy is interpreted. The proper method for interpreting Scripture is to read it in a normal sense. Unless the text indicates that it is using some kind of figurative language, it should be taken literally. When Scripture speaks of Israel, it is not referring to the Church, and when the Church is spoken of, it is not referring to Israel. God has a plan for Israel and another for the Church. Also, with reference to prophecy, all prophecies that have been fulfilled were fulfilled literally, not in a figurative sense. When in the Old Testament it speaks of the coming of the Messiah, Christ literally fulfilled those prophecies when He came 2,000 years ago. There is no reason to think that unfulfilled prophecies are to be understood in a figurative sense. They will be fulfilled literally in the future.

New Covenant Theology 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 primary premise of NCT is that the New Covenant as mediated by Christ is a brand NEW covenant, which totally replaces the Old Covenant.  The Old Covenant was a covenant that God established with the ancient Nation of Israel only.  The Ten Commandments were the essence of the Old (or first) Covenant only and Not the essence of all of God's law in every era. As the essence of the Old Covenant, the Ten Commandments function as its representative.  In addition, the Old Covenant was a legal, conditional covenant with Israel that demanded perfect obedience in order to receive the promised blessings.  The primary function of the Old Covenant was a ministry of death.  The Old Covenant was historically time-bound and was a Pedagogue that the Israelites were obligated to obey perfectly until the promised seed of Abraham (Jesus Christ) would arrive.  The New Covenant is a new and better covenant. Jesus Christ is the mediator of the New Covenant, which is founded on better promises.   The New Covenant is made up of a totally regenerate membership since Christ has died only for His people (the elect) who receive the complete benefits of His reconciling work (Heb. 8:10-12; Heb. 7:25). Jesus Christ 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.  Thus, all Christians are under the authority of the New Covenant which is governed by the New Testament Scriptures.   The Old Covenant has been perfectly fulfilled in Christ and done away. God's law is still binding on the believer in the New Covenant era, but God’s righteous standards are contained in the Law of Christ, not the Law of Moses.  NCT 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 Old Covenant.  In addition, NCT views the nation of Israel as a picture of the people of God but not the real people of God.  Thus, the nation of Israel is mainly the Unbelieving people of God who are rejected by God as a covenant nation.  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.  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 entire 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.

Summary:  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. It also errs in its view that the Ten Commandments are the essence of all of God's law in every era. 

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. Israel was a picture of the real people of God (the Church) that are fully revealed in the New Covenant era. Only a remnant 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 in every era. Although the New Covenant does restate 9 of the 10 (the Sabbath is excluded) as individual commands, the Ten Commandments as a unit are not brought into the New Covenant era. The essence of all of God's law is found in the 2 great commandments to love the Lord with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself, not in the Ten Commandments: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

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.

 

 

 

Hyperdispensationalism, is characterized by making a sharp division between the ministry of Christ and that of the Apostles, and of further dividing Paul’s teaching from that of Peter and the other apostles. Some of the well-known teachers of hyper- or ultra-dispensationalism are E.W. Bullinger, Cornelius Stam, J.C. O’Hair, Charles Welch, Otis Sellers, A.E. Knoch, and Charles Baker. There are many varieties of hyper-dispensationalism, but the following are some of the characteristics:

(1) The four Gospels are entirely Jewish and contain no direct teaching for the churches. Yet, the writer of Hebrews said that the same gospel of salvation that was preached by the apostles was preached by Christ (Heb. 2:3-4). Though we know that Christ presented Himself to the Jewish nation and we do understand that there are differences between the gospels and the epistles, yet in Hebrews 2 we do not see a sharp delineation between the gospel preached by Christ and that preached by the apostles who followed. In fact, the Gospel of John presents exactly the same gospel as that preached by Paul. Further, 1 Tim. 6:3 shows that Christ spoke directly to the church age.

(2) The book of Acts is also largely Jewish. Hyper-dispensationalists commonly believe that after Christ was rejected by Israel in the Gospels, that they were given a second chance to receive the kingdom in the first part of the book of Acts. Thus, they teach that there are two different churches viewed in the book of Acts, and the true Pauline church only started after Acts 9, 13, or 28. Thus, the church mentioned in the first part of Acts allegedly refers to a different church than that of Paul’s prison epistles. The earlier “church” in Acts is simply an aspect of the kingdom preached in the Gospels. Most of the book of Acts is therefore discounted as a guideline for the churches today. Yet, at the very end of the book of Acts we still find Paul preaching about the kingdom (Acts 28:23). In fact, he was still preaching about it in his epistles! (2 Thess. 1:5; 2 Tim. 4:1). While we can see an obvious transition in the book of Acts, this does not mean that there are different gospels and different churches in various parts of Acts.

(3) The mysteries given to Paul contained a different revelation from that given to Peter and the other Apostles, and only Paul’s writings are for the church today. The other epistles, such as Hebrew, James, 1 and 2 Peter, and the epistles of John are not for us today. Yet, Paul himself said that the church is built upon the “apostles” plural and not merely upon himself (Eph. 2:20). And Peter also referred to the writings of Paul and made no distinction between Paul’s teaching and the teaching of the other apostles (2 Pet. 3:1-2, 15-16). Peter said Paul wrote to the same people and preached the same message.

(4) The gospel preached by Peter in the early part of the book of Acts is different from the gospel preached by Paul. Yet, there is actually no difference between the gospel preached by Peter and that which Paul preached. Peter preached salvation through the blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:2), salvation by God’s free mercy (1 Peter 1:3), the new birth (1 Peter 1:3), eternal security because of the resurrection of Christ (1 Pet. 1:3-4). Further, Acts 15 plainly states that all of the apostles, including Peter and Paul, agreed on the gospel. And Paul states in Galatians 1, that anyone who preached a different gospel was cursed. If Peter were truly preaching a different gospel in those days, he would have fallen under this curse. Paul plainly said in 1 Cor. 15:11-14 that they all preached the same gospel.

(5) Baptism and the Lord’s Supper were given to Paul before he received the church age mysteries; thus they are not for the churches today. Dispensationalists differ about this point. Some accept both baptism and the Lord’s Supper; some reject water baptism and the Lord’s Supper altogether; while others reject only baptism and keep the Lord’s Supper.