Paul's Passing Thoughts

New Covenant Theology: How Jon Zens Tried to Save Calvinism

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 27, 2014

tanc-vol-1The title of this post may seem a little strange as it seems hardly the case that Calvinism needs saving; Calvinism has already taken over American evangelicalism lock, stock, and barrel which includes Arminians that function according to Calvinism while denying some elements of its ideology.

But really, Calvinism does need saving. I was made aware last night of yet another New Calvinist mega church in our area that is dying out. In regard to the recent Mark Driscoll fiasco, is he more wily than we give him credit for? Does he see his recent demise as an opportunity to jump a sinking ship? (You might consider the conferences that he is being invited to). What is going to be more ugly and depressing than the slow death of all of these New Calvinist campus infrastructures?

Don’t be mistaken, the goal of this ministry is to educate God’s people in regard to authentic Calvinism so that it can’t make another comeback in the future. The present resurgence movement will die once again, and it’s in the process of doing so presently. Staying at the foot of the cross and not moving on to maturity can only yield one result: little spiritual babies in adult bodies getting run over by real life.

Actually, New Calvinism is a Godsend. It will finally cause God’s people to come to grips with Protestantism in general and the institutional church in particular. Many of us have known for years that there is something fundamentally wrong with church, but have never been able to put our finger on it. Thanks to New Calvinism, that is no longer the case.

When folks once again find themselves in the vicious cycle of the church caultasack called “new” and its false hope of something finally happening in the institutional church, we hope the simple theological math of Protestantism’s false gospel will be apparent. What is that?

It is the idea that the law is the standard for justification. And since that is the case, a perfect keeping of it must be maintained by Jesus THROUGH faith alone by us in sanctification. That’s the simple math of Protestantism’s soteriology of death. Instead of the law being ENDED for justification paving the way for it to be the guiding instruction of the law of the Spirit of life for sanctification, the law is restricted to the single dimension of condemnation, sin, and death.

Hence, sin maintains all of its power over us because its ENDING for justification, or APART from justification, does not exist in Reformed orthodoxy. Clearly, the power of sin and death is the law’s ability to condemn, and “Christians” are kept under that condemnation with the prescription being a COVERING for sin by institutional absolution and the “active obedience” of Christ.

When those who have sense enough to be disillusioned take another look, this simple fact of law and gospel will be obvious to them. And during the resurgence of real Protestantism in the 70’s, a man named Jon Zens knew that this simple math posed a problem for the Resurgence in the future. He was viciously attacked by Reformed Baptists early on like Walter Chantry, but like all of the rest, Chantry was clueless. Zens was only trying to correct the faulty theological math.

What was his solution? It follows: Christ in fact came to end the law, and replaced it with…depending on which New Calvinist theology (NCT) camp you are referring to…the single law of love. Instead of ONE law with two different applications/perspectives/dimensions, NCT is two different laws: one abrogated, one ushered in. A helpful book that explains the many variants of this viewpoint is “All Old Testament Laws Cancelled: 24 Reasons Why All Old Testament Laws Are Cancelled And All New Testament Laws Are for Our Obedience” by Greg Gibson. Like all of the Reformed, Gibson is confused and fundamentally full of it, but he does an excellent job of explaining all of the variant positions of NCT. However, in the final analysis, all of it is the same old progressive justification song and dance.

Let me also add another caveat here, slightly off point: if I correctly understand NT Wright’s New Perspective on Paul, he asserts that when Paul speaks of “justification by the law,” Paul is primarily speaking to the application of the traditions of men added to and taking away from the truth of the law. I agree with that, though Wright is in the Reformed camp and should therefore be dismissed out of hand in most other cases. When the law is still the standard for justification, it must be dumbed down and fulfilled by some kind of ritual. For the Judaizes, that was circumcision and other traditions. For the Reformed, it is…

If you do this, that, or the other, Jesus will keep the law for you.

NCT, in some rare cases among those who are like a nonfunctioning clock that is right twice a day, the following proposition may be presented: “Wait a minute Paul, if some forms of NCT posit the OT law as the law of condemnation, and its ending, while the New Testament is a new law that doesn’t condemn, and we can actually obey it without condemnation, what’s the difference?”

Well, by far, this is the least egregious of all Reformed heresy. In this construct, justification can also be separate from sanctification making us true colaborers with the Holy Spirit. The problem is that it eradicates half of the law for sanctification and proffers a New Testament only approach to the law; that’s a really, really big no, no.

How Jon Zens Tried to Save CalvinismFurthermore, it denies an interpretive cooperation between the OT and NT other than the NT interprets the OT hermeneutic. Moreover, that assertion invariably leads back to the same progressive justification of Reformed orthodoxy. In the final analysis, it should not surprise us that NCT has demonstrated the Reformed camp’s uncanny ability to add confusion upon more confusion. At last count according to the NCT think tank, The Earth Stove Society, NCT has 82 tenets. Count them: 82.  Also note that the first tenet states that ALL reality is interpreted through redemption; i.e., the same old-same old redemptive historical hermeneutic of Reformed theology.

As we will discuss in this Friday’s Gnostic Watch Weekly, the Reformation was just another player in the field of world philosophy with its interpretation of reality. NCT is an attempt to reconcile the glaring contradiction in the theological math for those who have not yet been fully assimilated into seeing reality in an anti-normative Protestant way.


From the Antinomian’s Own Mouth: What is New Covenant Theology? Part 2; Covenants

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 30, 2010

“In my estimation, his view of Scripture is Antinomian heresy.”

“The apostle Paul refers to the previous state of regenerate Gentiles as synonymous with being ‘alienated’ from the ‘covenants of promise'”

This continues the series from part one on New Covenant Theology: The introduction to the series can be read there.


16. God’s redemption of his people is revealed and administered through the unfolding of God’s redemption of his people is revealed and administered through the unfolding of biblical covenants in the flow of redemptive history.

[Though I would not contend with this statement on face value, inherent in NCT is Replacement Theology and Supercessionism. I am not going to take space here to contend with those either, but would mention that NC theologians are normally not forthcoming in regard to their position on Israel. Whenever Bresson uses the term “his people,” understand that he is excluding any, and all redemptive-historical uniqueness in regard to Israel.]

17. God’s promise of the New Covenant was that the Messiah would be Himself the embodiment of an everlasting covenant with His people. This promise, typified in the covenants, is fulfilled in Christ. (Is. 42:6-9; 43:19; 45:21-25; 46:9-13).

[Bresson excludes the fact that the New Covenant was a promise to Israel specifically (Jeremiah 31). Also, notice Bresson’s use of the term “embodiment” that he uses to personify propositional truth and textual ideas (i.e., “the word of God is a person,” “God is not a cognitive concept, He’s a person,” etc, etc). When you establish a prism (which seems to be a lofty endeavor to enhance intimacy) that focuses on God as a person, rather than what He says, God’s authority is diminished in exchange for all kinds of nebulous concepts, and NCT is in no short supply thereof accordingly.]

18. The Old and New Covenants are two different covenants in terms of both form and function. The one is an administration of death, and the other is an administration of life (2 Cor. 3:6-8).

[2 Corinthians refers to the Law’s role in exposing sin and the folly of those who would try to be justified by it. NCT takes that a step further and uses this text to say the upholding of the Law by believers is also a ministry of death / legalism / salvation by works. Hence, biblical instruction for believers is said to be “the letter of the Law” and a ministry of death. NCT teaches that the Holy Spirit only sanctifies when Scripture is seen through the prism of the gospel (the works of Christ and His personhood) for the purpose of gazing on its glory only. Looking to the Scriptures for instruction by believers is likened to law-keeping for the purpose of being justified under the Old Covenant. Bresson’s view on this is made absolutely clear in his post, “The Word of God is a Person.” I address Bresson’s post in detail here: In my estimation, his view of Scripture is Antinomian heresy.]

19. The New Covenant is distinct from, while typified by, previous covenants in the Old Testament. The New Covenant, personified by and incarnated in Christ, fulfills all previous covenants making them obsolete, including the Abrahamic and Sinaitic Covenants.

[In other words, previous covenants are only “types” of the New Covenant and not part of it. Therefore, all promises to Israel under the previous covenants are “obsolete,” being fulfilled by their “incarnation” and “personifi[cation]” in Christ via the New Covenant. Said another way: they were only types of the coming Christ, and now that He has come, they have no present or future application. Besides, they were never cognitive concepts anyway, they were always Him (Mysticism that gives permission to interpret the Bible anyway you want to). However, Ephesians 2:12 debunks all of this. The apostle Paul refers to the previous state of regenerate Gentiles as synonymous with being “alienated” from the “covenants of promise” (notice the plural form and the “promise” nomenclature). Furthermore, Paul then validates this idea and the validity of former covenants, and their present / future application by citing Old Testament Law to make a New Testament point, with the added incentive of a promise (Ephesians 6:1-3).]

20. Christ has fulfilled the Adamic, Noaic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Davidic covenants in his life, death, resurrection, and exaltation. While he has completely fulfilled them, they yet will be consummated in him in the New Heavens and New Earth.

[Again, Old Testament covenants are not indicative of anything future, they are only types of Christ and His personhood.]

21. The New Covenant is a new covenant in its own right. The New Covenant is not the Abrahamic Covenant or a recapitulation of the Abrahamic Covenant. The New Covenant is not a new administration of the Mosaic Covenant.

[Though this is true to a point, it does not make the “perfect Law of liberty” (James 1:25) a “ministry of death.”]

22. The New Covenant is not like the covenant made with the people through Moses. Embodied and personified in Christ, the New Covenant brought into existence through the life and cross work of Christ is made with his redeemed people through grace. God’s people do not enter the New Covenant by works, but by grace through faith; it is radically internal, not external; everlasting, not temporary.

[This doesn’t mean that the upholding of the Law by believers is works salvation as NCT teaches.]

23. The tearing in two of the veil in the temple was a decisive, supernatural act that visibly demonstrated the end of the Old Covenant and the establishment of the New. This end of the Old Covenant was consummated in the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple.

[Notice that Bresson doesn’t cite any Scripture on this point.]

24. As the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises of a New Covenant, Jesus Christ personifies, embodies, and incarnates the New Covenant. Thus, he Himself is the New Covenant (Isaiah 42:6, 49:8, Luke 22:20).

[Like I said, under NCT, covenants are made to be a mystical personification of Christ rather than an emphasis on His truth and authority (Matthew 28:19,20).]

25. All of Scripture is to be read, understood, and interpreted in light of the New Covenant, established in Jesus Christ (Matt. 5:17; Luke 10:23-24; 24:27, 44; John 5:46; 8:56; Heb. 10:7). The New Covenant has become the interpretive paradigm for understanding the church’s existence in temporal and redemptive history.

[Again, this idea excludes New Testament instruction (2Timothy 3:16), and exchanges it for a mystical pondering upon the gospel narrative (New Covenant). Notice Bresson says Scripture is to be “read,” “understood,” and “interpreted.” All concepts of obedience and instruction are not missing by accident.]

26. True biblical theology of the New Covenant is the recognition of God’s purpose, unfolding and weaving its way from Genesis to Revelation on the timeline of redemptive history, culminating in Jesus Christ.

[Again, notice what is always missing in Bresson’s verbiage.]

27. Christ’s inauguration of the New Covenant brings in things that are both qualitatively and quantatively “newer,” expressed in developing the theological significance of such basic concepts as new wineskins, new teaching, new commandment, new creation, new man, new name, new song, new Jerusalem and all things new (Rev. 21:5).

[ Much could be said here, but notice Bresson’s reference to a “new commandment” in the singular. This reflects the NCT belief that Christ fulfilled, and actively fulfills for us, the Law, and has exchanged it for a singular “higher law of love.” Hence, believers are only required to obey this one law. In fact, this is how the Clearcreek Chapel elders (where Bresson “serves”), and many other NCT churches function. Parishioners are continually confused by leaders who disregard clear biblical instruction for other courses of action, not understanding the theology behind it. If the motivation is love, that’s the standard. Greg Gibson notes the following on page 112 of his book on NCT: “It’s hard to believe that anyone can read the hundreds of commandments in the New Testament and conclude there’s only one command: Love. Yet, some hold that view based on the following verses…[Romans 13:8-10 and Galatians 5:14].” ]