Paul's Passing Thoughts

Church Chaos, Andy Stanley, and The Law

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 11, 2019

Front Cover TCLAndy Stanley is a megachurch pastor and the son of iconic Southern Baptist pastor Charles Stanley. I know many gifted teachers who are still involved in church that can’t use their God-given gift because they are divorced. But, of course, there is an exception for Charles Stanley who has had a horrible marriage for many years and as far as I know, is still presently separated from his wife. And so it goes, church just being church in so many different ways.

Let’s discuss another way church is church, not leaving any flat rock overturned in being chaotic in ways not even seen among the pagans. This week’s controversy in the midst of the church celebrity pastor super-cult is something that a pastor said in a message that is, “controversial.” Oh my. Remember, you go to church to sit under “gospel preaching” which is one of the church sacraments or “means of grace [more salvation].” And, that sacrament is oftentimes the source of ongoing church drama.

Per the usual, other “men of gawd” who have authority over us as “under-shepherds” disagree with Stanley, and hence, another controversy trends in church-land. In the same kind of Platonist hierarchal collectivism of the secular realm, we call this “war.” In the church realm it used to be war until Britain took away Puritan authority because they were hanging too many people over political and religious disagreements. However, it was too little too late and the American Revolution ensued. The rest is history. The church can no longer burn you, hang you, or drown you, they can only send you to hell. Though God is “sovereign,” due to John Calvin’s “Power of the Keys” doctrine God must accept all verdicts of the church regardless of how unjust. Being under authority is what saves you, not truth, and megachurches like that of Andy Stanley’s is the proof that people have bought into this hook, line, and sinker.

Point: more than 2000 years later, churches don’t even agree on what the gospel is. In this recent trending controversy, the who’s who of church stardom are bickering back and forth. And this doesn’t bother people? Why? Because when it gets right down to it, submission to some authority is what saves you, not the truth.

But at any rate, what’s going on here? Andy Stanley is advocating for New Covenant Theology. I think Chapter 10 of “Religious Tyranny, A Case Study” speaks to the issue well. It is copied following:

Chapter 10: Clearcreek Chapel’s Super-Charged Tyranny Via New Covenant Theology

In the previous chapter, we examined Protestantism’s law-based gospel in contrast to biblical justification APART from the law. Protestantism’s Covenant Theology is also a backdrop for this law-based gospel as well. The ground of true biblical justification is the new birth (1John, chapter 3).

In keeping with Protestantism’s law-based gospel, Covenant Theology posits the idea that Adam and Eve broke the original law covenant in the garden, and the gospel restores that original covenant. So, the gospel is all about restoring a law covenant between God and man (specifically, a “Covenant of Works”). The vast majority of Bible apologetics refutes this very idea from Genesis to Revelation. It’s almost, as it would seem, too simple; justification is APART from the law. The law is for condemning the world and sanctifying the saints, NOT justification. These are the Spirit’s two uses of the law, but the Spirit justifies through his baptism. (Galatians 3:1,2).

As discussed previously, the Australian Forum led by Adventist theologian Robert Brinsmead rediscovered the lost Protestant gospel of salvation by perpetually returning to the same gospel that saves us in order to keep ourselves saved. In this way, Protestants can claim a salvation by faith alone because the gospel saves by faith alone, but returning perpetually to the gospel to keep ourselves saved merely turns a “faith-alone” act into works. If salvation is not finished, something must be done to maintain it; however, Protestants claim that returning to the same gospel that saved us in order to eventually finish salvation doesn’t count as works because it is a faith-alone re-appropriation of the gospel. Supposedly, our work in returning to the gospel imputes the works of Christ to our account through our faith-alone works. So, Christ is the one working, not us. And of course, this faith-alone work is only effective under the auspices of the institutional church.

Another member of the core four of the Australian Forum, Jon Zens, saw a huge problem with the standard-bearing Covenant Theology. What problem did he see? Basically, the same problem described in chapter nine of this study. In response to his concern, Zens created New Covenant Theology (NCT) which was coined such circa 1981. How does that work? Instead of Christ justifying believers by keeping the law for them, Christ came to end the law completely and usher in a singular law of love.

But is that not what this book advocates as opposed to authentic Protestant orthodoxy? No.

Here is the key: NCT abrogates both biblical perspectives on the law while Covenant Theology maintains a singular perspective on the law that remains unchanged for the lost and saved both. NCT abrogates both of the Spirit’s uses of the law, and adds a third option: revelatory interpretation through the Spirit and confirmed by one’s conscience; i.e., “love.” In other words, Christ not only ended the condemnation of the law, He also ended the law’s use for love and replaced it with one single law: whatever the Spirit reveals to you when you interpret all reality through the gospel.

Let’s put some feet on this. The Bible, according to NCT, has one purpose and one purpose only: to show forth the gospel, or justification. And, all of life is to be interpreted through redemption. If the Bible is used for practical living, that’s a misuse of the Scriptures according to NCT. Guidance for practical living is to come through the elders who are experts at interpreting reality through the gospel. This is known as “Christocentric hermeneutics.”

But don’t miss the cardinal point here: elder imperatives are based on this single law of love that is unwritten and totally subjective. A mandate by the elders might totally contradict the plain sense of Scripture (grammatically), but if the elders agree on a certain course of action and their consciences are clear, that is the final word on the issue and tantamount to God Himself speaking on the issue. And, according to the single law of love.

Not only is the aforementioned Chad Bresson (a former elder at the Chapel) a charter disciple of NCT, but this is the stated Chapel theology. And, this is exactly how they function. Over, and over, and over again the Chapel elders take courses of action that totally contradict the plain grammatical sense of Scripture.

That which makes the Bible the Bible is the gospel. That which makes the Bible the Word of God is its witness to Christ. When the Spirit bears witness to our hearts of the truth of the Bible, this is an internal witness concerning the truth of the gospel. We need to be apprehended by the Spirit, who lives in the gospel, and then judge all things by that Spirit even the letter of Scripture (Chad Bresson citing Robert Brinsmead on his blog, “The Vossed World”).

[In other words, the grammatical sense of Scripture is completely irrelevant; true interpretation comes from those “apprehended by the Spirit,” viz, the church elders].

Now consider; in addition to the fundamental Protestant principles already discussed, NCT makes elders a virtual law unto themselves with their self-proclaimed stamp of approval from the Holy Spirit.

Protestant tyranny has persecuting principles in the Westminster Confession to begin with; the addition of NCT supercharges the tyranny, and what does that look like? It looks a lot like Clearcreek Chapel.

Before we move on to the final chapter, this study will add one more perspective and clarify what we have discussed so far. The Bible states two uses of the law by the Holy Spirit. He uses it to condemn the lost and to sanctify the saved as they colabor with the Spirit in loving obedience to the law minus all fear of condemnation. The Spirit’s use of the law has changed in regard to the saved because of the new birth (Romans 8:2). The Spirit justifies apart from the law; the new birth is what justifies the believer.

In Protestantism’s Covenant Theology, the law only condemns, and it is the standard for justification. Because of the law’s “righteous demands” being the standard for justification, and no person lost or saved can keep the law perfectly, the law can only condemn. Hence, Christ came to fulfill the law’s, “righteous demands.” Remember, this is the doctrine of “double imputation.” By the way, this is exactly what the apostle Paul argued against in Galatians, chapter 3. In that chapter, he argues that such a view makes the law an additional life-giving seed, but there is only ONE seed; Christ. Regardless of who obeys the law in order to fulfill its “righteous demands,” it is then the law that gives life. As Paul argues in Galatians, chapter 3, this makes the law an additional member of the Trinity.

In NCT, Christ came to end all aspects of the law…period. Granted, NCT does not make the law a life-giver like Covenant Theology and Protestantism in general. The law was “abrogated” in totality and replaced with the “law of Christ” or the “one law of love.” More like the biblical take on justification, one is justified because the law is gone—there is no law in which to judge or condemn a believer. But here is the huge problem with NCT: according to the Bible, there is no real love apart from the law in sanctification. The NCT concept is nothing new; this is why the Bible also states that one is justified by loving obedience to the law. Believers are not justified by loving obedience as cause and effect, but loving obedience shows that they have been justified through the new birth. In fact, NCT’s rejection of an objective grammatical application of the law as a means of love in the Christian life is the very biblical definition of antinomianism.

So then, it could be said that Covenant Theology necessarily relaxes the law because Jesus keeps it for us, but NCT rejects it altogether for everything. But what is the replacement? Answer: the one, single, “law of love.” What’s that? Whatever the anointed elders say it is at any given time as revealed to them by the Spirit and confirmed by a clear conscience. This is why Clearcreek Chapel is so central to this study; they not only designate NCT as their primary doctrine, this is exactly how they function.

Again, it boils down to salvation by faithfulness to the church and putting yourself “under the authority of godly men.” And what, in reality, defines a “man of God”? Answer: anyone who has the money to get a degree at a Protestant seminary or in some instances, because Protestant elitists confirm someone who may lack formal education. CJ Mahaney would be a good example of that.

Yet, there is one more angle on this that we should consider. Some in the Reformation tradition reject double imputation because of its obvious biblical contradictions, especially in the book of Hebrews. So what do they do with the law? Everything is pretty much the same as Covenant Theology, but the law is defined as a church marriage covenant with Christ. We have all heard this, right? The idea that the church is the “bride of Christ.” Hence, the law is our guide to be faithful to our marriage with Christ which also saves us. If we are not faithful to our marriage covenant with Christ, we are not saved, and again, since the church is Christ’s bride, salvation can only be obtained by faithfulness to the church and membership thereof. Sound familiar?

It’s all the same common denominator; salvation by church membership.

nct chart


5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. lydia00 said, on January 11, 2019 at 8:28 PM

    Read the comments..


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on January 12, 2019 at 3:31 PM

      All from a single perspective on the law. None of them understand at all how the new birth changes the relationship of the law to the believer.


  2. Susan said, on January 12, 2019 at 6:55 PM

    But, Paul, don’t you know that all teaching from the pulpit from these holy Gawdly men is truth that must be obeyed by the sheeple? It doesn’t matter if the supposed shepherds don’t know what the Gospel is anymore. It doesn’t matter that their various “truths” contradict each other.

    We are watching apostasy unfold before our very eyes. We are watching the march toward that one world church in Revelation. There is no need to think for yourself anymore because the “wise men” will tell us what to think, what the Bible says and what we must believe in order to be saved.

    The protestants say there are no sacraments. I disagree. There are three: the sinner’s prayer, the simplicity giving sign up to auto withdrawal funds from your bank account or credit card and membership in their church/ denomination. Is it any wonder true Christians are fleeing (i.e., flee the Church to preserve one’s faith)?

    If the original twelve apostles were to return to earth and were to wander into a modern-day church service, I suspect they would think it was a pagan temple or the showcase of the gods in Athens or a strange new show. The question the Lord asked about whether He would find faith on earth when He returned was not rhetorical.

    The answer: only a remnant of the faithful will be found.


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on January 15, 2019 at 4:46 PM

      Right, the gospel of authority. Will this be the tie that binds? Institutional salvation? All of the bickering and disagreement seems to be fine just so everyone is committed to some authority.


  3. lydia00 said, on January 13, 2019 at 11:55 PM

    Put it this way, Christians follow civil laws everyday that make for more harmonious communities . . But when it comes to scriptures they lose the plot….


Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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