I began reading the recent three views book published by Regular Baptist Press, Dispensational Understanding of the New Covenant. Though there are three views there are six authors and an editor: John Master, Dave Fredrickson, Roy E. Beacham, Elliott Johnson, Rodney Decker, and Bruce Compton; editor Mike Stallard. This morning I read pages 29-44 from the first chapter is “Which are the New Covenant Passages in the Bible” and it was written by Dave Fredrickson.
I can remember back to some of my first attempts at Bible study, twenty years ago, done with the goal of teaching. It seemed to me that mining the truths of the Scriptures was beyond me. With a computer science, and math background it was very unsatisfying to have “good men” take disparate views on a passage. Little did I know, and looking back how naive I was. In this chapter the author details various models that have been employed to determine what passages are referring to the New Covenant (NC). The naive me, and I’m sure many others suffering from the same ignorance, would have been unsettled by such a discussion. How does one have a debate over the NC if there is so much disagreement over something so fundamental as what passages are in view? In answering the question–“Which OT texts refer to the New Covenant” the agreement begins and ends with Jeremiah 31:31. Beyond that one passage, that contains the sole explicit reference to the NC, there are varying opinions. I’ll write more on my own opinion when I complete the chapter.
What was interesting in this passage this morning was the approach that these very well trained, conservative, dispensational, Bible scholars took at answer this question. Five different approaches are detailed in this chapter. Generally, each takes Jer 31:31 (a solid starting place), and then distill aspects of that passage into clues that they then use to identify other passages. Some identify different clues and some apply those clues in different ways; hence the range of views. The hermenutical and exegetical exercise is very interesting (though I would hardly say captivating).
Dr. Kevin Bauder reviews this book in his Nick of Time Series. He is also writing an extended series on “The People of God” that discusses the church and its relationship to Israel that is pertinent to anyone interested in this topic.