An Introduction to the New Covenant, General Editor, Christopher Cone (Hurst, TX: Tyndale Seminary Press, 2013) 375 pp., paper, $27.00.
This volume, authored by six theologians, is an excellent and important entry into the debate concerning the extent and application of the New Covenant. Depending on how it is approached there are up to five views on the church’s relationship to the New Covenant (see pp. 83, 89, 101, and 204).
· Replacement—The church is entirely fulfilling the New Covenant.
· Partial —The church is partially fulfilling the New Covenant, but complete fulfillment awaits the millennium.
· Participation—The church does not even partially fulfill the New Covenant, but does participate in its spiritual blessings now.
· Two New Covenants—God has made one New Covenant with Israel and another with the church.
· No relationship—The New Covenant was made exclusively with Israel and the church is not directly related to it and is experiencing no spiritual benefits from the New Covenant now.
This book defends the “no relationship” position, even though the majority of dispensationalists today take the participation view. The authors believe however that the participation view is inconsistent hermeneutically and theologically. The argument presented is solid, well-reasoned, and backed by much Scripture. Anyone interested in this subject should read An Introduction to the New Covenant.
The book is well organized and, for a book dealing with relatively difficult theological issues, is easy to read. All the key passages dealing with the New Covenant are addressed in detail as well as the hermeneutics behind the various positions. Chapters nine and ten make application to socio-political implications and the church’s role while awaiting the enactment of the New Covenant. The book lacks indexes or bibliographies, both of which would have been helpful.
Disclaimer: I contributed the first chapter to this book.
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher, Southern View Chapel, Springfield, IL