Paul's Passing Thoughts

Clearcreek Chapel’s “All in the Family”

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 23, 2011

“I gathered up jewels that others here and there had mined, and just put it together in a way that seemed clear and important to me. If I could, it would be easier to reply that I had copied the package from somewhere in particular, but I am not able to do that. What I was on about impacted others and sharpened others up – like Paxton and Goldsworthy – and Jons [as confirmed later: Jon Zens] and a guy called Edward Fudge and others along the way.”   ~ Robert Brinsmead

Clearcreek Chapel in Springboro, Ohio is a good representation of the kinship between all of the elements in our genealogy chart ( http://wp.me/pmd7S-K7 ). One of the joys of this ministry is reconnecting family members with long-lost relatives. It is intriguing to see how remnants of the genealogy chart are all gathered at the bottom—thirty-something years later, but with family members like Robert Brinsmead and Jon Zens (the original patriarchs) missing. Heartbreaking.

Not only that, credit is not being given where credit is due; for example, Jack Miller’s Sonship Theology, which pumped new life into the centrality of the objective gospel (aka Gospel Sanctification and New Covenant Theology) after it received a brutal beating from Walter Chantry and others on the left side of the chart, is never mentioned at T4G, TGC, and SGM gatherings, even though the primary disciples of Jack Miller (Tim Keller and David Powlison) are major players in those movements. Could it be because the Sonship label was shot full of holes by Jay Adams and Chad Van Dixhoorn on the right side of the chart? It would really do my heart good to see the Sonship label proudly displayed at the 2012 T4G. I mean, we’re talking family here.

Though I will be writing about many of these bottom-of-the chart family reunions, Clearcreek Chapel is an excellent specimen. The “elder” in charge of their “adult education” is Christian  radio personality Chad Bresson, who authors a blog dedicated to Geerhardus Vos. Bresson is a member of the Earth Stove Society which promotes New Covenant Theology. Bresson has recently posted a lengthy article on eighty elements of New Covenant Theology followed by four articles on the writings of Graeme Goldsworthy. Also, a post by Bresson that articulates how New Calvinists interpret the Bible using a lengthy excerpt from the writings of Robert Brinsmead  drew a lot of heat from some readers: http://goo.gl/qbeS4 .

Bresson was a recent speaker at the John Bunyan Convention which is a yearly conference that fictitiously uses the name of Bunyan to promote New Covenant Theology (NCT). This year’s conference included two primary figures of NCT, Fred Zaspel and John Reisinger. The conference was held at Reformed Baptist Church in Lewisburg, PA and I have not ascertained whether or not it is a Continental Baptist church which are a small fellowship of NCT churches that split from Reformed Baptist circles over the NCT issue. The debate that fueled the split was primarily between the father of NCT, Jon Zens, and Walter Chantry. Reformed Baptist protestants staunchly proclaimed NCT to be Antinomianism and were not the least bit apologetic about the accusation. Jon Zens is now in the background, probably because of his close association with the likable, but controversial Robert Brinsmead.

While Bresson shows Clearcreek’s kinship with Jon Zens, Brinsmead, and Goldsworthy, the Chapel leadership as a group focuses heavily on David Powlison’s Theology of the Heart ( http://goo.gl/8UnBe ) and John Piper’s Christian Hedonism. In fact, the pastor of Clearcreek is a well known rabid follower of John Piper. It is my understanding that Piper’s Christian Hedonism is presented yearly in the adult Sunday school class. Paul David Tripp is a frequent speaker there and the Chapel was one of the pilot churches that “tested” Tripp’s book How People Change, which is based on Powlison’s Dynamics of Biblical Change.

The common thread that ties all of the family members together is the Australian Forum’s centrality of the objective gospel (COG). This core thread (COG) was primarily developed by Brinsmead and Zens. Though it includes what Brinsmead describes (in our interview) as a collection of jewels, there is no doubt that Brinsmead and Zens formulated the basic systematic theology that makes its present-day life possible. In regard to any such system prior to the Forum, Brinsmead stated: “I gathered up jewels that others here and there had mined, and just put it together in a way that seemed clear and important to me. If I could, it would be easier to reply that I had copied the package from somewhere in particular, but I am not able to do that. What I was on about impacted others and sharpened others up – like Paxton and Goldsworthy – and Jons [as confirmed later: Jon Zens] and a guy called Edward Fudge and others along the way.”

COG states that all spiritual growth comes from contemplating the gospel outside of us. Any truth that is placed in the same priority at any given time is said to eclipse Christ. Inside considerations (the inner us [subjective]) would be included, which relegates the new birth to a position of insignificance—paving the way for the total depravity of the saints, “The same gospel that saved you also sanctifies you,” and “we must preach the gospel to ourselves everyday” (coined by Jack Miller and aped excessively by Jerry Bridges). As this foundational thread (system) has weaved through contemporary church history, it has been endowed with an explanation of how it is experienced (Christian Hedonism); how it applies to life (Heart Theology); its view of covenants (New Covenant Theology); and an interpretive model that enables outcomes that fit together logically  (The Goldsworthy Trilogy [research on how the Dutch Reformed movement and Vos may have influenced Goldsworty is still pending]).

In an introduction to a Christian Hedonism class at Clearcreek Chapel, Chad Bresson said, “This is what makes us unique.” While one wonders why the goal is to be unique, we all can agree that it’s family that makes it all so special.

paul

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. paulspassingthoughts said, on October 15, 2012 at 7:30 AM

    Reblogged this on Clearcreek Chapel Watch.

    Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: