Interviewer: J. Angus Harley
When and how did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?
My parents attended the Open Plymouth Brethren Church. In the 1950s the Brethren held Gospel services every Sunday evening in which the preacher exhorted unbelievers to trust in Christ alone for their salvation. One evening when I was nine, the preacher based his sermon on Matthew 7:13, 14—the broad road to hell and the narrow road to heaven. I was terrified! I repented of my sins and asked Jesus to save me. However, I never told anyone of my decision for two years. I needed to be sure that I was really sorry for my sin. I wondered, “Did I really love Jesus or was I only trying to escape hell?”. At eleven I told my parents and asked to be baptized.
When did you discover NCT?
My husband Barry and I are long time supporters of Toronto Baptist Seminary. One year after I had self-published A Tale of Two Kingdoms, we attended a banquet for the seminary. That evening Jim Parker, a pastor friend of ours, who was a Reformed Baptist, told me that I should go to the John Bunyan Conference in Pennsylvania. Therefore, Barry and I drove to that conference in September 2007. I met John Reisinger and heard the words “new covenant theology” for the first time. I gave him a copy of my book. After he looked it over, he agreed that it followed the progressive storyline of Scripture and was a NCT book. Coming from a dispensational background, I had no knowledge of covenant theology until James Shantz sent me a copy of his Masters thesis shortly after he had bought my book. In his thesis he compared covenant theology, biblical theology, and dispensationalism. Soon after the John Bunyan Conference, I emailed James to tell him that what he called biblical theology was new covenant theology.
How important is NCT to your walk with the Lord?
Very important. I thank the Lord that he saved me because of his sovereign grace. This comforts me because I know he will never let me stray from him. I also thank the Lord that he showed me through biblical history how he always tells the truth and he always keeps his promises. Therefore, I have the confidence to know that Jesus will come back. Then all the redeemed will one day live forever with him in a sin free world—the new heaven and the new earth.
Tell us about you and your family and relate something ‘unique’ about your home life.
For four generations my family has been split between Canada and the United States. In 1965 my parents moved to Michigan with my brother and sister, but I remained behind at university. Both my brother and sister eventually became American citizens. In 1969 I married Barry. Next summer we intend to celebrate our fiftieth wedding anniversary with a river boat cruise in Europe. We have three children: Debra, Stephen and Philip. Debra is single and living in Texas on a temporary visa. She lost her job as a geologist in 2015 because of the downturn of oil. Stephen became an American citizen last year. He is living in southern California with his wife and two children: Isaac (nine) and Ethan (seven). Our youngest son Philip lives one and one-half hours from us in Ontario. He is married with one child Gabriel (four).
Where do you attend church and does it have a NCT emphasis?
We are members of New Life Fellowship Baptist Church in Innisfil. (Lefroy is a postal district in Innisfil.) This church is dispensational. We go there because we want to have fellowship with believers who live close to us. I have been a ladies’ Bible study leader and a teacher of twos and threes at that church for twenty years. Everyone knows what we believe. Anyone who has read A Tale of Two Kingdoms will understand why I left dispensationalism.
How does Canada stand as to NCT?
There are pockets of NCT believers scattered throughout Canada, but we are a minority. For the last few summers, Barry and I have attended the Carey Conference, sponsored by the Sovereign Grace Fellowship. Those pastors believe in NCT but many in their congregations are 1689 Reformed Baptists. A few pastors among the Fellowship Baptists regularly attended the John Bunyan Conference in Pennsylvania. I met a speaker at a homeschooling conference who appreciates and teaches NCT although his website does not use those words. As far as I know, René Frey from Quebec is the only pastor in Canada to hold a conference to teach NCT.
What are your past NCT projects?
Twenty-five years ago, the Lord gave me a U-turn. I was a happy wife and stay-at-home mother. One day in October 1993, I went to church to do something, perhaps practice playing the organ. After visiting my pastor in his office, I left promising to write him an essay. The essay turned into a book, A Tale of Two Kingdoms (2006). Sembeq, the French seminary for the Fellowship Baptists published it in French, Un Conte de Deux Royaumes (2016). God’s Unfolding Story of Salvation: The Christ-Centered Biblical Storyline (2012) consists of thirty-eight lessons on Jesus as the promised seed and traces God’s plan of salvation through the Bible. I finally finished the trilogy this past October with One Greater Than Satan to show Jesus’ sovereignty over Satan (eight lessons). Because I self-published A Tale of Two Kingdoms, the best place to buy a copy is from me. www.tale2k.com. In One Greater Than Moses (2016), I pointed out early glimpses of NCT and reported on present day history. I thought that someone should write about the trials that John Reisinger and others went through in standing up for the progressive storyline of salvation history and for the doctrines of grace.
What are you looking to do for the Lord in this coming new year?
I really thought I had completed the writing task that the Lord had given me to do. But no. Last September two ladies in the Bible study objected to the kind of books we had been using. They thought that too many of the questions were merely personal opinion. I offered to write the questions for the Gospel of Matthew. This means that I am trying to stay one step ahead of the ladies. I have written nine lessons so far; four are on The Sermon on the Mount. This study will take a while to complete! We are only on lesson five. Spending all that time on Jesus’ sermon has clarified some of my thoughts, and I am in the process of writing an article on God’s law.
A couple of years ago I attended a local conference where I met a lady who works at an inner-city church in Barrie with drug addicts and homeless people. She encouraged me to write a timeline of salvation history for them. Therefore, I wrote an accordion style timeline of salvation history. I intend to go to a local printer to make a few copies and have them laminated for durability. However, I am waiting on Debra to finish the art work.
What do you want the NCT community to pray about?
Please pray that Barry and I finish well the tasks that the Lord wants us to complete. After reading The Two Covenants by T. A. Warner (1845), I have been praying for the Holy Spirit to usher in a second Reformation to stop the practice of infant baptism by true believers. Also, please pray for René Frey who is hosting a forum at Sembeq on October 5, 2019, on the relation between the testaments. A covenant theologian and a dispensationalist will be presenting their views also.
What, to you, is currently a huge challenge to the NCT community and theology?
At the end of the John Bunyan Conference in 2011, Fred Zaspel said that new covenant theologians were a small part of Christendom. We need to stick together and not become divided. Since then, the tendency to split has become stronger. In our desire to be biblically accurate, let us not forget our prime calling—to reach out to the unsaved with the Gospel so that the Holy Spirit can draw the elect into Christ’s kingdom.