May “TT”: What Is the New Covenant Church? Plus Housewife Theologians

What Is the New Covenant Church? by John Tweeddale | Reformed Theology Articles at

TT-May2014As I read a few more articles in my May issue of Tabletalk yesterday, I appreciated this article by pastor John W. Tweeddale (First Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, PA).

Writing in connection with the theme of this issue (“What’s So New About the New Covenant?”), he addresses the nature of the church in the new covenant age. And he presents a solid, Reformed and Biblical understanding of the nature and importance of the church for the NT Christian.

I quote from the beginning of it and encourage you to follow the link above to finish reading it.

A churchless Christian is an oxymoron. As John Calvin famously said, echoing the church father Cyprian, “For those to whom God is Father the church may also be Mother.” While the notion of “mother church” may jolt some readers, a moment’s reflection will demonstrate the biblical rationale behind it. Under the new covenant established by Christ, the church is critical for the Christian life; without it, exhortations to worship, discipleship, missions, and fellowship would be meaningless. Indeed, an individual would be hard pressed to accommodate the gaggle of “one another” passages that populate the pages of the New Testament apart from participation in a local church.

Most importantly, the church is central to the work of Christ. The great mystery of the gospel is that the Son of God left His Father in heaven in order to take for Himself an unworthy bride here on earth. He shed His blood for her. The church is not on the margin of God’s plan of redemption but at the center of it.

Given the importance of the church to the Christian life and the work of Christ, we need to think carefully about the question of who comprises the church. One helpful answer is found in the Westminster Larger Catechism, which states, “The visible church is a society made up of all such as in all ages and places of the world do profess the true religion, and of their children” (Q&A 62). At least three aspects of this definition deserve our consideration.

As an additional note, the ladies will be interested to know that this month’s “TT” interview is with Aimee Byrd, “wife, mom, author (Housewife Theologian), and blogger ( ). You will appreciate her encouraging and challenging thoughts too!

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