Gibson has written this book from the New Covenant Theology position, which lies somewhere between Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism. Its basic creed accepts the five solas of the Reformers (Scripture, grace, faith, Christ and glory to God alone). In addition, it rejects infant baptism and all Old Testament laws as binding on the New Testament believer (p. 7). This particular volume is interested in challenging Covenant Theology’s understanding of the Mosaic Law. The author states his thesis as, “All Old Testament commands are cancelled, and all New Testament commands are for our obedience” (p. 10). He sees Douglas Moo as being in line with this thesis, “The entire Mosaic Law comes to fulfillment in Christ, and this fulfillment means that the Law is no longer a direct and immediate source of, or judge of, the conduct of God’s people. Christian behavior, rather, is now guided directly by ‘the law of Christ’” (p. 11, cf. p. 8).
The rest of the book seeks to support this thesis as contrasted to other theological systems, especially Covenant Theology. Dispensationalism is often left out of Gibson’s comparisons, and when he does refer to Dispensationalism I am not convinced that he always does its position justice (e.g. 66). The volume is abundant with Scripture and supplies numerous charts which are usually, but not always, helpful. Unfortunately there are many typos and grammatical errors which distract from the flow of reading. The author would be helped by a good proofreader.
Nevertheless, All Old Testament Laws Cancelled is a most helpful study and fulfills well the author’s thesis. Gibson successfully challenges many of Covenant Theology’s main tenants including: the Covenant of Grace, dividing the Law of Moses into three parts, its understanding of the eternal nature of the Ten Commandments, Sabbath observance, infant baptism, state-church theocracy and Christians being under the Mosaic Law as a rule of life. He rightly demonstrates that the Old Covenant had a historic beginning and end, was specifically for the people of Israel, was never incumbent upon Gentiles, and is not for the Christian today who is under the New Covenant.
However, while all practices based on the Old Covenant Law have ceased, there still exists application of God’s Law to the church. For example, the Old Testament is still useful for faith/doctrine and instruction and some of the Old Testament commands were transferred to the New Testament (p. 128). In addition, the New Covenant believer is under the “law of Christ” which Gibson believes may be all laws given by Christ and His Apostles in the New Testament coupled with Holy Spirit’s enablement and the motivation of love (pp. 121-127).
While I would take a few exceptions, overall I believe All Old Testament Laws Cancelled to be an extremely helpful volume in understanding the role of the Old Covenant Law in the life of the New Testament believer.