NCTer

Monday, January 01, 2007

Principles of Faith of The Sandy Creek Association-1816

1. We believe that there is only one true and living God; the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. equal in essence, power and glory; and yet there are not three Gods but one God.

2. That Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God, and only rule of faith and practice.

3. That Adam fell from his original state of purity, and that his sin is imputed to his posterity; that human nature is corrupt, and that man, of his own free will and ability, is impotent to regain the state in which he was primarily placed.

4. We believe in election from eternity, effectual calling by the Holy Spirit, and justification in his sight only by imputation of Christ righteousness. And we believe that they who are thus elected, effectually called, and justified, will perservere through grace to the end, that none of them be lost.

5. We believe that there will be a resurrection from the dead, and a general judgment, and that the happiness of the righteous and punishment of the wicked will be eternal.

6. The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful persons, who have obtained fellowship with each other, and have given themselves up to the Lord and one another; having agreed to keep up a godly discipline, according to the rules of the Gospel.

7. That Jesus Christ is the great head of the church and that the government thereof is with the body.

8. That baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of the Lord, and to be continued by his church until his second coming.

9. That true believers are the only fit subjects of baptism; and that immersion is the only mode.

10. That the church has no right to admit any but regular baptized church members to communion at the Lord’s table.

Monday, March 20, 2006

NCT Explained Through Football Imagery (part 3)

sorry for the wait. Here is the 3rd and final part.


A short time after the start of the second half, someone comes to your seat and gives you one final addition to the program. It is only after you receive this final addition that you fully understand how the game is being played (Galatians 3:15-16). Without this final addition, your knowledge of the game was incomplete and you understood it in a limited way. What you understood in a limited way prior to receiving the final addition, you now understand fully and are able to make sense of both how the game is played and it’s intent. Now as you read the program in its fullness, you realize that the game is being played in two halves. The first half is finished and the second half is now underway. Now you understand that the first half only
begins the game; it’s not the entire game as you initially assumed. In fact, the first half is incomplete without the second half. Now it is clear to you that the first half cannot be understood correctly without the final addition to the program provided during the second half. It is the second half brings the game (redemptive history) to its conclusion.

Looking back, you remember that as the first half drew to a close, you began to wonder if the game was over because God was already faithful making a physical people and bringing them into a physical land. Then, as the second half of the game started and you received more information, it became clear to you that the first half was only a physical picture of what God was going to do in the second half. Prior to the commencement of the second half and its subsequent addition to the program, you were unable to clearly understand the meaning of the game. Now that you have all of the additions to the program that are to be given, you understand that the first half was an illustration of the second half. What was written in the program initially (God's intention to save a people and bring them into a land) ultimately applies to a spiritual people – the church – in a spiritual land – heaven (Hebrews 4:1-11; 11:40). This wasn't fully revealed until the second half began and you were given additional information. It's only after the second half began that you understood the true spiritual fulfillment of what was only pictured in a physical way during the first half. In our analogy, the additions to the program given in the second half of the game represent the scriptures of the New Covenant era, the New Testament. Without them, the game cannot be correctly understood (Romans 16:25-27; Ephesians 3:2-6; Hebrews 1:1-2; 1 Peter 1:10-12). Only after receiving them, do you realize that God’s plan to save a people and bring them into a land (the Abrahamic covenant) contains both the Old and New Covenants and one is a picture of the other.

In our analogy the first half of the game is the Old Covenant; the second half is the New Covenant. The first half of the game is what God did in the Old Covenant era. The second half is what God is doing in the New Covenant era. The Old Covenant is not the New and the New is not the Old, but understanding how they fit together is crucial to understanding the game. The Old isn’t called “Old” until after halftime and the New begins. While reviewing your completed program (scripture) a second time, you realize that the promise of a field to play on (the Noahic Covenant) came long before the first half of the game started. Historically, it is the “first” covenant given to man, and yet the Old Covenant is referred to in the New Testament as the “first” covenant. Then it dawns on you that the first half of the game is “first” only in relation to the second half. In the unveiling of God’s plan to save a people and bring them into a land (the game in our analogy), the Old Covenant comes “first.” It is not the first covenant ever given, but as far as the game is concerned, it is “first.”

As with any analogy, this one is imperfect and can only be taken so far. Its point is to illustrate how redemptive history fits together. God revealed His plan to save a people and bring them into a land in the Abrahamic Covenant. The Noahic Covenant is God’s guarantee that the earth will be there as redemptive history unfolds. What the writer of Hebrews calls the “first” or Old Covenant is not first historically or chronologically, but it is first in reference to God carrying out His plan to save a people and bring them into a land. In the book of Genesis we see God sovereignly moving the players of our analogy into position in order to inaugurate the start of the game, the Old Covenant. While it is imperfect, I think it goes a long way in helping to explain how Scripture fits together.

[1] This analogy of redemptive history to a football game is not original. I first heard it from Geoff Volker and while we were in Minsk, Belarus together in May of 2001, we developed it to the point where I believe it is an effective tool in illustrating what God is doing in redemptive history. It is not without flaw, but I believe it does illustrate God’s plan to save a people as revealed in scripture.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

NCT Explained Through Football Imagery (Part 2)

The game finally begins in earnest and your anticipation soars. As the game progresses, someone comes to your seat from time to time and gives you additions to the program. These additions do not replace your program, but they provide more detailed information as the game progresses and are useful in understanding why things occur in the game the way they do. They help you to see more clearly what is happening at every point of the game; God has made for Himself a physical people, Israel, and is settling them in a physical land, Palestine (Exodus 19:1-8). These additions to the original program are not provided all at once, but are given to you little by little as the game progresses. In our allegory, the additions to the program at this point in the game are the Old Testament scriptures, which are not given to you all at once, but are provided in small portions over time as the game progresses (Hebrews 1:1). Soon, you have in your possession a large number of additions to the original program and as you sort through them, you realize that there has been no activity on the field for quite some time. Likewise, no one has come to your seat with more additions to the program in quite some time. Following a lengthy delay, you begin to wonder if the game is over. While musing over whether or not the game is finished, an announcer comes over the PA system proclaiming the start of the second half of the game. At such an announcement, your interest is peaked because until this point, you had no idea that the game was going to be played in two halves. The additions to the program you’ve received so far haven’t been clear enough to lead you to that conclusion.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

NCT Explained Through Football Imagery (part 1)

Geoff Volker, from the In-depth Studies website, has graciously allowed me to post this. I have found the imagery contained in The Big Picture: How Scipture Fits Together helpful in understanding New Covenant Theology and I want to break it up into different parts. It is written by Geoff Volker and Mike Adams (the "I" in the footnote). Here is part 1.


The Big Picture: How Scripture Fits Together


The Game

It’s game day![1] As you approach the crowded stadium you are handed a program that explains the overall plan for the big game. The program is not exhaustive and it doesn’t provide every detail of the game, but it gives you enough information to understand that there will be a game. In our allegory, the program represents the Abrahamic Covenant and it tells you in very simple terms what God is going to do in the game. He is going to save a people and bring them into a land. In our allegory, the game is redemptive history.

After you have entered the stadium and made your way to your seat, the first thing you notice is the field where the game will be played. In our analogy the field represents the earth. You were guaranteed that the field would be there because of the Noahic Covenant (Genesis 9:8-17), which was God’s guarantee that there would be a place to play the game. The field is intact because God made a covenant with Noah in which He stated that He would never again destroy the earth as long as the game is being played. As you sit in your seat pondering these things, the pre-game preparation begins. The game has not yet begun as outlined in the program, the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 15:1-21), but the pre-game preparation is vital to the success of the game. In our analogy, the pre-game is the book of Genesis. In the pre-game, God is preparing both the field and the players for the game. He is sovereignly moving the players where they need to be in order to fulfill the promise made to Abraham to save a people and bring them into a land. Again, the game is redemptive history as revealed in the program, the Abrahamic covenant.

[1] This analogy of redemptive history to a football game is not original. I first heard it from Geoff Volker and while we were in Minsk, Belarus together in May of 2001, we developed it to the point where I believe it is an effective tool in illustrating what God is doing in redemptive history. It is not without flaw, but I believe it does illustrate God’s plan to save a people as revealed in scripture.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What Should be the Work of a Pastor?

What did the "older" baptists see as the work of a pastor? Was their thinking on this different than ours today or the same? Well, below I give you a list of the work a pastor, bishop, or overseer should do according to Elias Keach (printed in 1697). And this may give us some indication of what some of those older baptists thought about the pastorate. Do you think this list is too short, too long, or just right? Biblical or unbiblical? Are Keach's list and the expectations of members in the church towards their pastor the same? Here's Keach:

I. The work of a Pastor is to preach the Word of Christ, or to feed the Flock and to administer all the ordinances of the Gospel which belong to his Sacred Office, and to be faithful and laborious therein, studying to show himself approved unto God, a Work-man that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. He is a Steward of the Mysteries of God, therefore ought to be a Man of good Understanding and Experience, being found in the Faith, and one that is acquainted with the Mysteries of the Gospel: Because he is to feed the People with Knowledge and Understanding. He must be faithful and skillful to declare the Mind of God, and diligent therein, also to preach in season and out of season; God having committed unto him the Ministry of Reconciliation, a most choice and sacred Trust. What Interest hath God greater in the World which he hath committed unto Men than this? Moreover, he must make known the whole Counsel of God to the People.
II. A Pastor is to visit his Flock, to know their state, and to watch over them, to support the weak, and to strengthen the feeble-minded, and succor the tempted, and to reprove them that are unruly.
III. To pray for them at all times, and with them also when sent for, and desired, and as Opportunity serves; and to sympathize with them in every State and Condition, with all Love and Compassion.
IV. And to show them in all respects, as near as he can, a good Example in Conversation, Charity, Faith and Purity; that his Ministry may be the more acceptable to all, and the Name of God be glorified, and Religion delivered from Reproach.
V. He must see he carries it to all with all Impartiality, not preferring the Rich above the Poor, nor lord it over God’s Heritage, nor assume any greater Power than God hath given him; but to show a humble and meek Spirit, nay to be clothed with Humility.