There is an insidious teaching on the rise that says because the New Covenant of Christ was established at the cross (this part is correct, Heb 9:15-17) the teachings of Christ spoken prior to the cross are Old Testament and were done away with the rest of Old Law. It’s correct that the New Covenant went into force at the death of Christ but we can’t agree that all of Jesus’ teachings prior to the cross were therefore only part of the Old Covenant. The false teaching to erase many of Jesus’ teachings is motivated not in the interest of sound exposition, but rather by a desire to strip away the teaching by Jesus on divorce and remarriage – because it falls chronologically before the cross.
This teaching is just one more deception of Satan as there’s no shortage of counterfeits, but there’s but one truth. Dan Billingsly is a champion of this grievous error.
Billingsly pretending to be correcting a Catholic error thrust upon us all, he claims that the New Testament title page is the big problem. If only the title page was at the end of the Gospel at the crucifixion of Christ, all of the confusion would be erased. But this is smoke and mirrors by a talented Sophist.
The graphic below depicts the Biblical view to understand the correct view of the Old and New Law. The Old in effect until the cross. The New being ratified at the cross of Jesus, but it was introduced during the ministry of Jesus. The point we see is that what Jesus introduced concerning the Gospel and His Kingdom is not nullified and made obsolete at the cross. This simple truth is ignored by Mr. Billingsly.
We learn from Jesus’ words that chronology – whatever is before the cross is Old Law teaching and whatever is after the cross is New Testament teaching – is not the only factor for determining what is Old or New Testament teaching. Consider a few important verses that establish that it’s more sophisticated that Billingsley would like to admit:
Hebrews 9:15-17 the covenant or testament of a man is ratified when a man dies, but it is written while he lives – i.e. Jesus’ spoke of New Testament things in the Gospels prior to the cross. This passage alone refutes the premise of the error. True to form, the New Testament of Jesus Christ was being written and communicated during the lifetime ministry of Jesus. This is an inconvenient truth for Billingsly and his handful of defenders.
Consider also Luke 16:16 that says the gospel of the kingdom was being preached from the time of John the Baptist. It would not be ratified until the death of the testator, but it was being proclaimed before the cross.
See also what Jesus said about church discipline before the cross, Mt 18:15-18.
15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. 17 “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” – Mt 18:15-18
Since the church was established after the cross, this passage on church discipline is clearly New Testament teaching smack dab in the middle of the Gospels.
See that in John 3:3-5 the “new birth” was already declared though it is clearly New Covenant teaching being previewed before the cross, see also 1 Pt 1:3, 23.
See also Mt 28:20. Though these words are spoken after the cross and the ratification of Christ’s new covenant, is it reasonable to conclude that disciples only obey Jesus’ words uttered after the cross? I say no.
Though the Gospels do in fact include much exposition on the Old Covenant, they also include teachings by Jesus concerning His New Covenant which was ratified at the cross.
See Luke 10:7 where Jesus teaches the validity of the preacher being supported for his labor. And compare that with 1 Timothy 5:18 where Paul shows that Jesus’ teaching is New Testament teaching.
So we see that the Gospel of the Kingdom of Christ, with particulars of the New Covenant that would be ratified at His death, was being taught and commanded prior to the cross in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Consequence of the truth that the Gospels contain New Testament teachings….
1. Mt 19 teaching on divorce and remarriage is valid – especially since the teaching is based on God’s design and intent from the beginning of creation.
2. Mt 10:24-33 and the command to confess Jesus is valid as New Testament teaching.
3. Mt 16:24 and requirement to take up your cross is valid still.
4. Lk 13:3 and command to repent is valid.
Keep alert for this insidious teaching is spreading. Dan Billingsly is sending his teaching to churches across the country asking church secretaries to pass on his message to the Elders and Preachers. But his teaching is insidious and dangerous. I pray that I do a little to correct this error before it spreads.