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.


Ground Zero for Understanding the Biblical Counseling Movement

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 18, 2013

CWW 4“I believe this will go down in church history as one of the most grotesque betrayals ever perpetrated on a man in the name of friendship and the gospel.” 

A Chapter Theses for Clouds Without Water: The Biblical Counseling Movement; It’s True History and Doctrine


In the Beginning, Plato, and then Augustine.

During the first century, the upstart assemblies of the risen Christ suffered a viral affront from Gnostic sects. The first century church was made up of people from all socioeconomic strata, and the Gnostics infiltrated Christianity for that purpose. Those in the first century church well-endowed with money were a valuable resource, and this is who the Gnostic sects primarily targeted with their false doctrine.

Gnosticism has always been about elitism, power, and money. If you want to see an immaculate mural of the American church, read Philip J. Lee’s “Against the Protestant Gnostics.”

Gnosticism finds its roots in the philosophy of Plato. Every American born into the world should be thoroughly apprised of Plato the man and his philosophy. To understand Plato is to understand Western culture politically and spiritually. All the philosophers agree on this point. From there, the math is easy: Augustine was the father of Reformation doctrine, and a rabid follower of Plato. Augustine had little use for the Bible without Platonist insight, and considered Plato a Pre-Christianity Christian.

Of course, the favorite red herring is that Plato is not agreed with on every point, but the fact remains that his primary construct founded Reformed theology: the incompetence of man, and the need for a select few (the enlightened) to rule over the masses. Those with gnosis know how society best functions, and they know how the masses can find individual peace from the desires that rule over them.

The Age of Enlightenment (circa 1630) produced men who were the first to confront Plato’s construct successfully. The most formidable product of that movement was the American experiment which obviously turned out quite well. It was founded on the competence of the individual. The competition was the Platonist Puritans who unfortunately survived the voyage from Europe and wreaked havoc on the East coast. But fortunately, their worldview kept them from settling further inland. “Go west young man!” is hardly the motivational words of competence found among the purer forms of Reformed thought.

Let there be no doubt about it, the idea of merging church and state is grounded in the religion of man’s incompetence. The masses need the state to take care of them. Plato’s philosopher kings contrive orthodoxy, and the soldiers enforce it. This concept did not find its way into the Westminster Confession by accident.  Even those who think the state should be separate from the church think a utopia would arise if the church ran the state. “Separation of church and state” doesn’t mean no theocracy, theocracy would be a good thing, supposedly. The state has always had an interest in ruling over religion because ideas are dangerous, and the church has always been a willing participant if the state agrees to enforce their orthodoxy. The battle between the two for the upper hand of control is the political intrigue that is European history in a nutshell. And that is how the world as we know it will end: the zenith of church statecraft as described in the book of Revelation.

This is Western history, and the  children of the enlightenment would have no part of it on American soil. Ten years after the Declaration of Independence, James Madison successfully stopped a European style push for a church state in A Memorial in Remonstance Against Religious Assessments. For all practical purposes, it was an indictment against the fruits of European Reformed doctrine.

The Reformation’s Historical Cycle of Social Death and Resurgence

The Reformers, being children of Plato, didn’t interpret reality with a normative epistemology. Plato’s Achilles’ heel has always been the application of Eastern mysticism. Instead of reality being interpreted empirically, and a course of action being determined by discovery, conclusions are drawn by using interpretive gateways to the “pure” form of reality that is hopefully good. Plato thought it was good, but his interpretive gateway to reality rejected the five senses out of hand. Gnosis was the key.

The Reformers merely replaced gnosis with the personhood of Christ as a sort of stargate to reality. That reality was predicated on the difference between the unchangeable pure form of Christ, and the inherent evil of man dwelling in a world that constantly changes. Plato equated the pure forms with immutable objectivity, and evil matter with mutable subjectivity. Hence, today’s Platonist Reformers speak of the “objective gospel experienced subjectively.”  This is clearly Plato’s metaphysical construct based on the incompetence of man in regard to interpreting reality. Like Plato, the Reformers of old and new alike bemoan man’s attempt to understand reality “in the shadows” of all matters that “eclipse Christ.” While donning the persona of Biblicism, pastors like Steve Lawson call for pastors to “come out from the shadows.”

This is the theme of books like “Uneclipsing the Son” by John MacArthur confidant Rick Holland. In his book, he hints at why purest Reformed theology gets lost in the minds of Christians from time to time and therefore needs periodic resurgences and rediscoveries. He notes in his book that good grammar makes bad theology. The mystic heretic Paul David Tripp makes the same assertion in “How People Change,” noting that a literal interpretation of Scripture circumvents the personhood of Christ and His saving work. What’s in an interpretation method? According to Tripp—your salvation.

This is the paramount point at hand: the Reformers did not interpret the Bible grammatically, objectively, exegetically, or literally at any point; they interpreted the Bible through the dual prism of  “reality” seen in God’s holiness and our evil. The only objective truth is the person of Christ leading to a mere subjective experience of His power and  grace manifestations. Hence, many Reformed purists in our day embodied in the New Calvinist movement speak of, “spiritual growth in seeing our own evil as set against the holiness of God.” Therefore, commands in the Bible become part of the narrative that helps us see what we are unable to do rather than commands to be obeyed. We merely seek to see, and wait for the subjective experience of “vivification.” The seeing is the “mortification.” Reformed theologians like Michael Horton explain this as a continual re-experience of our original baptism as we perpetually revisit the same gospel that saved us “afresh.”

This reduces the Christian life to experiences of perpetual rebirth found in Eastern concepts Plato borrowed for “practical life application.”  This is the foundation of Historical Redemptive hermeneutics born of Reformed purism.  This is also the interpretive method that is all of the rage in our day through programs like BibleMesh.

This is not the natural bent towards interpreting truth. We are wired to interpret truth objectively, and grammatically—tools like allegory and parables notwithstanding. This is why Reformed purism dies a social death from time to time throughout history. Thus, this metaphysical anomaly experiences “rediscovery” and “resurgence” movements. Be certain of the following: this is the New Calvinist movement in our day, and in essence, a return to the exact same viral Gnosticism that plagued the New Testament church with this caveat added: we by no means possess the doctrinal intestinal fortitude of the first century church.

Ground Zero: The 1970 Resurgence

1970 is ground zero for the present landscape of American Christianity.  In that year, two movements emerged. Since colonial times, the third resurgence of Reformed purism was born through a project called the Australian Forum. In that same year, Dr. Jay E. Adams, a hybrid of Calvinism and Historical Grammatical interpretation, launched the biblical counseling movement. His movement was predicated on the competence of enabled congregants to counsel each other through the deepest of human problems. Adams also recognized the simple concept of anthropology and its relationship to helping people. Because all humans are created by God, what works well for the unsaved should work even better for the saved. If unsaved people who don’t violate their consciences are happier, this should also aid Christians in their walk with God. Bad ideas are simply bad for everyone, the ultimate need for eternal salvation notwithstanding. But that doesn’t mean you throw out the unsaved baby with the bath water of practicality. And in addition, does practicality show forth the wisdom of God and thereby point people to God? Should God not know what makes people tick? Moreover, what is the authority for interpreting human existence? Philosophy,  or the Bible?

Adams’ biblical construct produced astounding conclusions, especially in areas where a medical model covered for escape mechanisms that create another reality for realties one may not like. If Bob is in big trouble, he merely becomes Ted, or maybe even Jane. This is a bad idea for Christians. Adams created a dichotomy between salvation and the Christian life. He believed in the utter incompetence of man to save himself, but abundant competence in colaboring with God for a victorious life over sin. With Adams, it is about CHANGE for the glory of God and the happiness of His people.

Thus, with the resurgence of Reformed purism at the same time, the battle lines were drawn, and a confusion of conflict emerged in the biblical counseling movement. The one predicated on the utter incompetence of man whether saved or unsaved, and the other predicated on the competence of the Spirit-filled Christian. The one predicated on Christians only being righteous positionally, and the other predicated on the idea that Christians are also practically righteous. The one predicated on contemplationism, the other predicated on obedience. This is the civil war that has raged in the biblical counseling movement from its conception until this day. It is for the most part a civil war of servility, lest two different gospels be separate, and careerism maimed.

The Forum doctrine quickly found footing at Westminster Seminary in Pennsylvania where Adams was a professor. The initial vestige of relevant infection was found in Dr. John “Jack” Miller, also a professor at Westminster Seminary. True, Westminster was founded by Reformed purists that believed the many acts of Christ’s righteousness were part of the atonement, not just His one act of death on the cross, but for the most part, the Reformation’s metaphysical anomalies had reduced Westminster to moderate Reformed ideology. If you will, a hybrid Calvinism that interpreted reality grammatically.

Miller changed that. While the doctrine was in the process of suffering a brutal death in Reformed Baptist circles by moderate Calvinists, being labeled as antinomianism, it found resurgent life at Westminster in Miller’s Sonship Theology incubator. The forerunner of this doctrine in Reformed Baptist circles, Jon Zens, discovered the doctrine  in the early years of the Forum while he was a student at Westminster. He actually became heavily involved with the Forum in the 70’s, convincing them that everyday Covenant Theology would be a hindrance to infecting Christianity with the newly rediscovered disease. From that conversation came the birth of New Covenant Theology circa 1981. It was a significant addition to the present repertoire of elements that confuse the real crux of the issue. Till this day, few moderate Calvinists make this historical connection between New Covenant Theology and New Calvinism.

But it was a particular mentoree of Miller’s that saw Adam’s construct as a threat to the successful spread of the Forum’s rediscovery: Dr. David Powlison. Powlison, working closely with Miller, developed the Dynamics of Biblical Change which is a counseling construct based on Reformation purism. This became the counseling model for Westminster’s biblical counseling wing known as The Christian Counseling & Education Foundation (CCEF). Later, there was a proposal for an organization that would certify counselors for CCEF. Adams was opposed to it as it smacked of the kind of elitism that he was trying to avoid. Remember, Adams was all about the competence of the average congregant to counsel. But Purist Reformed ideology is all about elitism because Gnosticism is all about elitism; the two go hand in glove.

Show Me the Money

Gnosticism rejects the average man’s ability to understand reality. So, assimilation for purposes of functionality is the main concern; ie., that the masses are controlled by indoctrination that is not necessarily understood, but invokes behavioral goals. But another primary goal is the spiritual caste system that provides millions of dollars for elitist educators. In essence, these are the professional Sophists produced by Platonism. This is why Gnosticism always dwells in the upper socioeconomic strata, as Phillip J. Lee notes in the aforementioned book, Gnosticism is a rich man’s game. CCEF certified counselors are extremely rare in zip codes of average incomes less than $80,000 per year, and nowhere to found in zip codes of $50,000 or less. This of course, is very telling. Their conferences require registration fees of  $300.00 per person or more.

Meanwhile, NANC Happens

Powlison followed a classic mode of Gnostic deception by seeking to be identified with the persona of Adams’ successful counseling construct while despising the doctrine as a supposed false gospel. To be more specific, he wanted to gain ground by being identified with Adams’ success, and with a deliberate long-term goal of destroying the historical grammatical approach to biblical counseling.

Unfortunately, and to the chagrin of Adams, the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors was born (NANC). “Nouthetic” counseling was a Greek term introduced by Adams and often associated with him. Therefore, Powlison et al were able to be identified with the tsunami like personal transformations of the Adams reformation as a jump start for their own construct, and with a long-term goal of destroying the competition. They did this so effectively that Adams was often thought of as the founder of NANC, which was never true.

Consequently, Adams experienced an increased persecution from within the contemporary biblical counseling movement that he founded. His counseling was dubbed “first generation” biblical counseling and referred to as nothing more than “producing better Pharisees.” I believe this will go down in church history as one of the most grotesque betrayals ever perpetrated on a man in the name of friendship and the gospel.

The fallout in our day is indicative of the spiritual carnage that has always been left in the path of Gnosticism. While the spiritual peasantry cries out in hopes that the elite will police their own, the Nicolaitans of our day laugh all the way to the bank. After all, subjective reality is messy business and peasants just don’t understand. The biblical counseling community has founded organizations who seek to keep them out of court and prevent the obscuring of cash flow. The New Calvinism movement is intrinsically connected by a complicated and massive network of  associations—in many cases disagreeing with each other on “secondary issues.” A prime example is the G.R.A.C.E mediatory organization headed by Boz Tchividjian.  While playing the part of advocates for the spiritually abused, they are professionally networked with serial abusers of the worst sort.


The biblical counseling movement embodied in New Calvinism is nothing more or less than a return to the exact same Gnosticism that plagued the first century church. The fact that Eastern mysticism is often the application can be seen by what happened at a Passion Conference where the who’s who of New Calvinism led the audience in a form of Transcendental Meditation. Tim Keller, a co-mentoree of Miller along with David Powlison in the early days, is a staunch advocate of Eastern mysticism as a practical application for Christian living.

CCEF, and NANC are the epitome of false advertising. They advertise the gospel and change, but believe in neither. Like the father of their faith, St. Augustine,  it is Plato they trust. The banner over them is not love, but a sense of elitist entitlement to be paid and supported by the unenlightened masses for their own good. Sheep that don’t get it are more than expendable; the one in 99 is expendable for the 99 who know their place and pay the Shamans their tax deductible dues.

They invent and sell orthodoxy, the layman’s manual for experiencing perpetual rebirth. On the one hand, there is a Christianity that posits the living water that is received once, the onetime washing, and the moving on to maturity from the beginning principles of baptisms, and then there is the gospel of our day that posits the perpetual rebirth of Eastern mysticism.

But this is not a mere disagreement about how to live the Christian life. How we see the Christian life reveals the gospel that we really believe. When our salvation is not a finished work, something must be done by us to finish it—even if that means doing nothing with intentionality. NOT living by a list of do’s and don’ts is the work that keeps us saved. It is playing it safe by hiding our talents in the ground and giving the Lord back what He originally gave.

Christians would do well to choose which gospel they will live by in our day.  At this point, that conversation has not arrived yet. And to be sure, many do not want the conversation to be clarified to that point. The gospel itself has become the elephant in the room.


Robert Brinsmead’s Side of the Family Only Meets in the Desert

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 25, 2011

Why doesn’t Robert Brinsmead’s side of the family ever get invited to the big dances? You know, T4G and TGC. I know, I know, a little too close to the illegitimate Adventist children nobody knows about. But the Emergent Church side of the family gets invited to the big family reunions all the time! You know, Mark Driscol, Darren Patrick, etc. (Dr. John Miller’s chidren). And Geez, some of the Charismatic side of the family are keynote speakers! Yes, yes, I know, they are “Reformed Charismatics” (huh?), but hey, Robert Brinsmead was Reformed too! Not fair, just not fair.


Well, bless DA Carson’s little heart—he is willing to party with Brinsmead’s side of the family now and then. Ya, out in the desert, but it’s a start. He will do a little reunion with Fred Zaspel at “Clarus 12” held annually at Desert Springs Church and sponsored by TGC.









If you examine their family chart below, you only have Zaspel’s daddy, Jon Zens, between the New Covenant Theology clan (Zaspel would fall under “others less relevant” in the NCT box) and granddaddy Brinsmead’s  Australian Forum. Jon Zens is known as the father of New Covenant Theology, and it is a well-documented fact that Brinsmead had a lot of input with Zens in the development of NCT.  In 08, Carson did Clarus with Michael Horton and they discussed the Westminster offspring in a Q and A, but once again forgot to mention daddy Brinsmead. A shame.


NCT is the official position of New Calvinists but they won’t admit it due to the fact that Brinsmead and Zens concocted it. Brinsmead is now, as reported by many, an atheist, and Zens holds to Adventist-like beliefs. Though they put a good face on “all truth is God’s truth” they would rather not go there.


God’s people are not “ready” for that yet—the meeting and inclusion of all the family members.



Gospel Sanctification and Sonship’s Gospel-Driven Genealogy, Part 11: Walter Chantry’s Suffering

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 29, 2011

One day I hope to meet him. Soon, it would be like those meetings we used to see on Oprah where people who have suffered the same type of traumas meet to share their experiences. In fact, there are clubs all over the country where people meet to do just that. It’s like they have always known each other, and the very first meetings are filled with tears and hugging. Whether it’s the My Poodle Was Slain by a Pitbull in Front of My Eyes Club or some other club of trauma, the reunions seem to be a healing balm of some sort.

Chantry and I could start our own club for those who are traumatized by debating proponents of New Covenant Theology. Chantry tried to destroy the evil child soon after it was delivered and wasn’t yet named ( ). Apparently, survivors of Chantry’s onslaught split from Reformed Baptist into a meager fellowship called Continental Baptist. New Covenant Theology (NCT) is based on the Australian Forum’s centrality of the objective gospel (COG) which found new life in Sonship Theology and is now a gargantuan movement known as New Calvinism. Chantry’s bantering back and forth with one of two patriarchs of NCT, Jon Zens, is well documented and exhausting. One example can be seen here: .

Method 1: Annoying, and repetitious oversimplified denial.

Chantry, knowing that NCT hacks like to confuse and wear down their opponents with an endless flogging  of residual issues, rightly focused on the fact that it all boils down to Antinomianism. The very annoying way in which Zens debates can be seen clearly in present-day COG proponents; for example, “Show me one reference where I have ever written that I am an Antinomian you slanderer!” Chantry’s reply usually followed along these lines: “For substantiation of what I have to say, I could quote almost the entirety of the articles that you [Zens] have printed in ‘Baptist Reformation Review.'” Further, he [Chantry] viewed my [Zens] pleas for documentation as “quibbling about words, a mere strife about terminology that has no point to it.”

Method 2: Rewrite traditional meaning.

COG proponents are very sensitive to the Antinomian charge, so they continually attempt to rewrite the English language and church history to avoid the accusation. Recent articles by Tullian Tchividjian and Elyse Fitzpatrick deny that there is any such thing as Antinomianism. They also try to replace the word “antinomianism” with what they call “neonomianism (“new legalism” as opposed to “anti-law”). Likewise, “obedience” (we obey) is replaced with “new obedience” (Jesus obeyed in our place as part of the atonement, and apparently still obeys for us via the imputed active obedience of Christ). Sanctification is now “progressive sanctification” which is nothing more than the unfolding of our justification via John Piper’s “beholding as a way of becoming.” Of course, he includes “….a way….” so if he’s confronted he can say that he’s talking about contemplative spirituality being just one of many avenues while assuring us that he believes in “obedience.” But of course, he’s really talking about “New Obedience.”

Method 3: Fake contentions against supposedly contrary beliefs.

COG proponents contend against many other belief systems as a way to appear like standguards for orthodox truth. Often, the “contrary” beliefs are very similar to their own. An assistant to DA Carson recently wrote a book on Keswick theology, which has many similarities to COG. Carson also disses Keswick theology on a routine bases, but according to one article:

“Beginning in the 1920s, the Keswick Convention’s view of sanctification began to shift from the view promoted by the leaders of the early convention. William Graham Scroggie (1877–1958) led that transformation to a view of sanctification closer to the Reformed view. Today its speakers include people like D. A. Carson and Sinclair Ferguson, whose views on the Christian life differ significantly from the Keswick Convention’s first generation.”

….But apparently, not the second generation of Keswick theology. One of  their (COG proponents) favorite targets is postmodernism or the Emergent Church who they share like philosophies with. I go into detail on this subject here:

Method 4: Quote other leaders who have written against COG-like doctrines.

JC Ryle wrote extensively on doctrines that distorted biblical sanctification, and many of them were very similar to New Calvinism and NCT. In fact, such doctrines that were running about in his day inspired his famous  “Scriptural Holiness” which is considered to be one of the best works on Christian living ever written. The introduction outlines seven elements of Quietist type doctrines that fit Gospel Sanctification to a T. Therefore, COG proponents like Kevin Deyoung now quote Ryle extensively. A proponent of NCT has recently sent me emails that contain excerpts from Scriptural Holiness that seem to indicate Ryle supported a synthesis of justification and sanctification, and asked me to post them. Only problem is, I am very familiar with Ryles writings and find the suggestion preposterous. Knowing what I know about Ryle’s theological positions, I assume the quotes pertain to a contention against those who believe that sanctification is a much lesser concern than justification. This doesn’t mean Ryle believed they are exactly the same in essence as the proponent implied.

Mix those four methods with an attitude that is driven by a belief that God is using them to orchestrate a “second reformation” (I’m not joking), and the same kind of confidence the apostle Paul mentioned about the false teachers he contended with, and what you have is a serious Excedrin headache. With that said, one remembers what Jay Adams said about Quietist type doctrines: they will “ruin people’s lives.” He also said Gospel Sanctification is “dangerous and must be stopped.” No doubt—so the fight continues.


Gospel Sanctification and Sonship’s Gospel-Driven Genealogy, Part 9: Three Men Who Stood Against New Calvinism

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 3, 2011

“Your writings have pro­voked a new revolt against the very Biblical idea of righteousness and altered the Biblical understanding of the gospel . . . . With complete distaste for controversy, but with greater aversion to your dangerous and confusing novelties,”

 “….they go on like wild bulls propagating their views of classic antinomianism.”

 “This movement runs contrary to the Reformation and the Scriptures. It is dangerous and must be exposed and halted.”


A friend referred me to a lively discussion going on at the Pyro blog concerning John Piper’s (Piper is a New Calvinist) ongoing association with Rick Warren. It’s not about Piper’s theology, it’s about who he associates with. I’m I here right now? What is more obvious than the fact that New Calvinism came forth from the womb crying, “anomia”?  That was the predominant contention of one of the men who stood against New Calvinism. As we work through New Calvinism’s short history using the Gospel Sanctification/Sonship genealogy chart, let it be noted that the movement ran into two major contentions during its development.


Walter J. Chantry


Chantry occupies much of the subject matter of Zens’ historical essay. During New Calvinism’s early development in Reformed Baptist circles, Chantry launched a fervent offensive against Zensology. And most notably—Chantry called it out as being Antinomianism. Chantry’s first sortie came in 1978; Zens writes the following:

“In 1978 and 1979 the opposition to the articles in BRR accelerated (accompanied also by a number of positive encouragements!). Walt Chantry, a leader among the “Reformed Baptists” in the northeast, wrote a brief letter and accused me (without providing any docu­mentation) of propagating “neo-dispensationalism” and “neo-antinomianism” (July, 1978).

I spent hours at the Vanderbilt Library in Nashville researching ‘antinomianism,’ and documented in my lengthy reply to Walt why I repudiated it. I re-sent Walt my articles that disturbed him, and asked him to underline any sentences that bothered him, and told him that I would be glad to consider any points he wished to make (August, 1978). No reply was ever received.”

Chantry’s second sortie, according to Zens, was in 1979:

“At the Summer, 1979, Reformed Baptist Family Conference Walt Chantry delivered some messages on the ‘Kingdom of God.’ In them he attacked the positions of the Reconstructionist movement and BRR. Walt suggested that our position carried with it a denial that there is only one people of God and one way of salvation, a denial that the O.T. is relevant for now, and a denial that the heathen are sinners (because they are not “under law”). While he quoted from the Reconstructionists, he never once cited anything from BRR to document his strong accusations.

In my reply to these tapes (August, 1979), I tried to show Walt that he had totally misconstrued what I believed. Since Al Martin introduced these tapes by announcing that the substance of Walt’s messages would be put into book form, I pleaded with Walt in my reply to not go into print with these misrepresentations of my position.

Walt replied, but still made no attempt to document his allegations (September, 1979). His displeasure was obvious:

‘It is clear that some major shifts have been made. And your

new categories have sown confusion in our churches — not about what we shall call Biblical teachings. Your writings have pro­voked a new revolt against the very Biblical idea of righteousness and altered the Biblical understanding of the gospel . . . . What has been put into print has been damaging to the cause of Christ . . . . With complete distaste for controversy, but with greater aversion to your dangerous and confusing novelties,

Walter J. Chantry, Pastor.’”

Interestingly, Zens’ articles defending his position against Chantry were coincided with a series of articles by Robert Brinsmead in Baptist Reformation Review. Zens’ stated it this way:

“A sort of (unintended) culmination occurred in the Spring, 1981, BRR. There were lengthy review articles of Walt Chantry’s God’s Righteous Kingdom and Robert Brinsmead’s Judged by the Gospel: A Review of Adventism. The dynamic N.T. approach to law and gospel was stated forcefully by RDB [Robert D. Brinsmead]:”

Notice that the foremost figure of the Australian Forum, Robert Brinsmead, was used to defend Zens’ position against Chantry in regard to “The dynamic N.T. approach to law and gospel.” Without a doubt, this phrase later became known as “New Covenant Theology” which was coined by Zens in 1981, according to Dennis Swanson.


Pastor Al Martin


According to Zens:

“In February of 1980, Al Martin presented an emotionally charged message on ‘Law and Gospel’ to a pastor[‘]s’ fellowship in Canada. In it he echoed the charges Wa[lt]if Chantry – ‘neo-antinomianism,’ ‘de facto dispensationalism,’ ‘nothing is regulative for the Christian but the N.T. documents,’ ‘Moses no longer has any valid function in the church of Jesus Christ.’

In my reply to Pastor Martin, I had to ask him just how he would document his sweeping charges, and why he had to resort to such high charged emotionalism (e.g., saying that we encouraged people to ‘stop their ears to Moses,’ and ‘they go on like wild bulls propagating their views of classic antinomianism,’ March 25, 1980). I further said:

As Pastor D.M. Canright said, ‘men who are conscious of being in the right can afford to state the position of their opponents fairly.’ . . . You do your position no help by saying that BRR has put a ‘concrete barrier’ between the two Testaments, and that ‘nothing is carried over.’ No, Pastor Martin, such biased sentiments cannot be documented in BRR. If your position is right, then please manifest a Christian, brotherly approach in stating the position of your opponents fairly (3/25/80). No reply was ever received from Pastor Martin. One of the pastors who attended this presentation in Toronto,

James Shantz, wrote a letter to Al Martin in which he said, ‘I con­tinue to be greatly dismayed by your lecture on Law and Grace, as I have continued to study it on tape. Your declaration that BRR . . . is teaching antinomianism reveals that you yourself have not care­fully studied all the materials.’ Further, Shantz wrote a lengthy paper, ‘The Puritan Giant and the Antinomian Ghost,’ in which he raised a number of questions about traditional Reformed theology.’”


Dr. Jay E. Adams


One must now look to the other side of our genealogy chart ( ). The doctrine cooked-up by Brinsmead and Zens had several points of entry into Westminster Seminary. I am in the midst of the research, but: Zens was a student there; both Present Truth and Baptist Reformation Review had a wide readership at Westminster; Michael Horton was infatuated with the Australian Forum, and at least one writer says the Forum framed much of his theology/ministry; in fact, the Australian Forum formally met with the Westminster Faculty; students from Westminster attended a church where Zens was a Sunday school teacher; it is likely that Westminster’s present infatuation with Geerhardus Vos came via the Australian Forum and Jon Zens.

Jack Miller, a professor of theology at Westminster Seminary, took the basic concept of sanctification by justification alone  and put his own twist on it: Sonship Theology. More research is needed, but it appears that New Covenant Theology was dieing out on the Reformed Baptist side (thanks to Walter Chantry?). Continental Baptist presently have a very small following. However, New Covenant Theology found new life among Presbyterians via Jack Miller and Westminster Seminary. Notwithstanding, the movement encountered fierce opposition in Presbyterian circles, most notably from Dr. Jay Adams who wrote a book in contention against it: Biblical Sonship: An Evaluation of the Sonship Discipleship Course Timeless Text 1999. I must say, the intestinal fortitude of Presbyterians in standing against Sonship Theology is very impressive—if not refreshing.

Which is why the nomenclature was dropped as the movement was forwarded by disciples of Jack Miller: Tim Keller and David Powlison. Therefore, for several years, the movement had no name. Christians knew it was something, and that it was attached to like elements, but there was simply no way to identify it. Worse yet, it seems that “Sonship” nomenclature was replaced with “gospel,” giving it a sort of hands-off protectionism. Finally, the movement was recently named “Gospel Sanctification” by protestants and the label seems to be sticking. The movement itself has recently begun to accept the “New Calvinism” label. But still, identification is a major problem and the movement deliberately hides behind the confusion.

Recently, Jay Adams has added a “Gospel Sanctification” archive to his blog where he writes articles against the movement. In one such article, Adams recently stated: “This movement runs contrary to the Reformation and the Scriptures. It is dangerous and must be exposed and halted.” The fact that Tim Keller and David Powlison are major figures in the New Calvinist / Gospel Sanctification movement speaks for itself. The popular slogans among New Calvinist, “You must preach the gospel to yourself every day,” and, “The same gospel that saves you also sanctifies you” where coined by Jack Miller. But those from the top of the genealogy chart are also present in today’s New Calvinism; for example, G. Goldsworthy, one of the original Australian Three, wrote the “Goldsworthy Trilogy” which is the New Calvinist authority on gospel-centered interpretation.