God’s New Deal – Where I’ve Been Part 1

So I’m finishing a paper today about “subversive biblical leadership” for my MOL601 class. In the process, I have returned to something I’ve found endlessly fascinating and a meaningful spiritual reservoir for a decade now–God’s new deal, or (more precisely in theo-speak) New Covenant. It was my involvement in PCA Presbyterian circles that introduced me to Covenant Theology as opposed to the unconsciously native Dispensationalism of my Baptist and Pentecostal youth….

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7 Responses to “God’s New Deal – Where I’ve Been Part 1”

  1. 1 kevin beck October 8, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    This is something I wrestled with for several years–attempting to lay down and explicate the law of God. My favoriet phrase was “obey the Gospel.”

    “Law of the New Covenant” is a curious phrase too. It does raise several sticky questions, as your friend Seth indicates. Can we do whatever we want with “no law”?

    Yet, I wonder, can’t we do whatever we want with law just as easily? David murdered a man and raped that man’s wife — clearly against the law. I broke the speed limit, clearly against the law.

    I’m asking if the real question behind the question is one of “accountability” and/or enforcement of certain norms. And then I wonder if there is a question behind that one, such as, “What’s so important about accountability? — especially if I take accountability one step beyond accountability to God.”

    Even then, our view of God shapes whether or not we’re concerned with accountability. Jesus stopped calling his disciples “servants” and began calling them “friends.” Perhaps (and I say “perhaps”) if we reconceptualize God and God’s interaction with humanity as a whole and individual persons then we might come up with different answers to the law/no law debate.

    Beyond that, I’ve always been drawn to Galatians 6:2. It seems to me like Paul is saying, “If you really want a law, try this. Bear one another’s burdens. Once you do that, then we can talk some more.” This is brilliant, becuase it takes the focus off of holding others to standards by investing ourselves into their lives by becoming their servant — not their teacher, pastor, mentor, judge, etc.

    It’s really quite a relevant and important conversation for people who have been shaped by Christian teaching. Thanks for bringing it up here.


  2. 2 Lenz October 9, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    “subversive biblical leadership” – you read “Subversive Christianity” by Robert Inchausti, maybe?

  3. 3 zoecarnate October 12, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    Yeah Kevin, ‘law’ is tricky. I tend to think that Jesus fulfilled all law, and agree with your psychological observation that law doesn’t particularly prevent or restrain evil. And yet I recognize that it is human to say “show me how to live,” and desire concrete guidance. And who better to give this, law enthusiasts ask, than God? And of course our pal James talks about a ‘royal law of love,’ which I think I can handle. As I can Jesus’ two great commands of loving God and neighbor. But to think that 600+ specific rules ought to apply to us today (or even the 10 Commandments) ignores their original historical-contextual specificity. As to whether ‘the Beatitudes’ constitute a new kind of law, well, we can certainly treat it that way. I prefer to treat them as achievable high-water marks for humankind, practical descriptions of the new world we inhabit. But the way to actualize these, I’m with Paul, is via Spirit rather than letter. The life of spirit is way more difficult as it is open to constant improvisation and local negotiation, but its way more rewarding I think.

    And Lenz, I am reading Inchausti’s book right now! It’s incredible.

  4. 4 Peter K Bell October 13, 2007 at 9:47 pm

    I can’t resist a confirming reply here too:

    Yes, we can “do what we want,” as long as what we want is radically new and different! And, in Christ, it is.

    Mike, I have to say that I didn’t know this before, but I am finding myself in full agreement with the doctrines you are presenting here, particularly concerning our liberty in Christ. In this liberty [and only in it] we will be able to live the life He died to give us.

    Yours in Jesus,

  1. 1 Implications of Emmanuel - Where I’ve Been Part II « zoecarnate Trackback on October 8, 2007 at 10:50 pm
  2. 2 Covenant Expiration Dates & Perpetual Renewal - Where I’ve Been Part 3 « zoecarnate Trackback on October 11, 2007 at 10:06 pm
  3. 3 Liberating Differences? Where I’ve Been - Final « zoecarnate Trackback on October 12, 2007 at 1:20 pm

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