A Review Article -- By: Gary D. Long

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 10:4 (Fall 2001)
Article: A Review Article
Author: Gary D. Long


A Review Article

Gary D. Long

In Defense Of The Decalogue: A Critique Of New Covenant Theology, Richard C. Barcellos. Enumclaw, Washington: Wine Press Publishing (2001). 117 pages, paper, $10.95.

This book, as the subtitle states, is a critique of New Covenant Theology. In contrast to the alleged teaching of New Covenant Theology, it presents the Reformed Baptist confessional perspective of the Decalogue contained in the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. It is Doctrinally endorsed by the Founders Ministries, the contemporary Calvinistic wing in the Southern Baptist Conference, and especially by the Reformed Baptist pastors and theologians cited on three unnumbered pages at the beginning of the book.

The purpose of the book is to offer a biblical critique of the “major tenets” of New Covenant Theology that “ends up being defense of the perpetuity of the Decalogue” (7–8). The book purports to be a critique of a number of New Covenant theologians but is limited, focusing almost entirely upon a critique of three writings by two men who have written independently on the subject. Citations/references to these writings occur some thirty times in two books, published in 1989, by John C. Reisinger,1 who is a non-dispensationalist, and some ten times to one 1997

article by Fred G. Zaspel,2 who is allegedly a dispensationalist.

Barcellos’ book consists of an introduction, a preface, eight chapters, a conclusion and a bibliography. It is apparently a book-version stemming from his Master of Theology (Th.M.) degree awarded to him by Whitefield Theological Seminary in Florida for his critique of New Covenant Theology (NCT).

In reviewing Barcellos’ “In Defense of the Decalogue,” I thought about doing a chapter-by-chapter analysis of his eight chapters in which he critiques the “major tenets” of NCT believing that they are not exegetically sound and therefore unbiblical. But upon reflection, I realized that the fundamental issue did not revolve around the perpetuity of the Ten Commandments, but only around the fourth commandment on the Sabbath. Barcellos’ basic presupposition is that God’s eternal “Moral law, is summarily contained in the whole Decalogue and is at the same time common to all men through general revelation” (83). Therefore, since the Decalogue (which includes the Sabbath commandment) is eternal moral law, it functions “outside the Old Covenant as a unit.” This means that the Sabbath commandment (understood as one day of rest in seven) is ethically binding “for all men...

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