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Pastor Paul’s Review of Christ Covenant Church


A couple of months ago, when church services were finished, many of you walked out to your cars to find a 3-inch by 5-inch postcard on your windshield from a group calling themselves Christ Covenant Church that boldly declared, “Dear Evangelicals, your gospel is false, and we can prove it.”  This obviously left many of you unsettled, somewhat irritated and many of you were looking to me for answers. To be clear, I am not targeting or going after this group.  They came and distributed their propaganda in our parking lot. I am simply responding to their challenge.  After spending some time looking at their website, and listening to one of their sermons, I would finally like to share my thoughts regarding this group. 


On their website they rather than having a “What we believe” page or a “Statement of faith,” they instead have a page titled “New Protestant Manifesto.” They list seven manifestos, none of which I completely agree with but there are four that I found to be very troubling.  It took me several weeks to dig into their manifestos which were poorly written and very confusing. But after careful review I can say, “Dear Christ Covenant Church, Your gospel is false, and this article will prove it.”


Anytime I quote from their Manifesto, I will italicize their words, to help you distinguish between my thoughts and opinions versus their teaching and theology.


For starters, before you even get to their manifestos, they identify the three purposes that this manifesto serves. They say; 


“Similar to Martin Luther’s historical 95 Theses that sparked the Protestant Reformation, the purpose of this manifesto is three-fold: 1) To expose the false gospel and doctrines believed by Evangelicals. 2) To engage in public dialogue with evangelical pastors and theologians. 3) To spark a new protestant movement or reformation, whose author is Jesus (not Paul), whose counselors are the early church (not Martin Luther or the Reformers), and whose soteriology originates with Judaism (not Roman Catholicism).”


Right away, before we even get to their manifestos there’s already a red flag.  Their 3rd Purpose states;


“To spark a new protestant movement or reformation, whose author is Jesus (not Paul)…” 


This seems to imply that they believe that what Jesus taught was greater than the teachings of the apostle Paul.  While it’s true that Jesus Himself was obviously greater than Paul because Jesus was God in the flesh, and Paul was a mere mortal man.  That does not mean that Paul’s writings in the New Testament were any less authoritative.  If they in fact view Paul’s words as being inferior to the Words of Jesus, then that would be an afront to the doctrine of the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. Basically, that would be saying that Paul’s words were not Scripture.  However, the apostle Peter validated Paul’s words as Scripture.  In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter talking about the apostle Paul says, “…Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture…” (NLT)


Now onto the concerns I have with at least four out of their seven Manifestos.


Manifesto 1. Marriage Covenant Gospel and Judgement According to Deeds.


After making a very confusing claim that the way Jesus saves us is through a marriage covenant.  They accuse Evangelicals of having a “works based” theology just like the Catholic church. 


They would say the only difference is that Evangelicals believe “Jesus earned heaven through His perfect obedience for all those who put faith in Him.”  Essentially, they are saying that both Catholics and Evangelicals believe salvation is works based, the only difference is that Evangelicals believe Jesus is the one who did the work, not us.


In response to that, I would say that Evangelicals believe in the “Substitutionary Atonement or Sacrifice of Jesus.” In other words, it was not Jesus’ perfect works and perfect obedience to the Old Testament Law that saved us from our sins.  Rather, it was the fact that Jesus Himself was The Perfect One (1COR 13:10).  He was without sin, a spotless Lamb of God (1PET 1:19 NLT).  For centuries the Jewish people had to offer the sacrifice of the Passover of Lamb.  As you may recall the “Passover Lamb” in Exodus chapter 12 was a lamb without spot or blemish that died as a “substitute” in the place of the firstborn sons of the Israelites.  Anyone who offered this Passover lamb as a sacrifice and then applied its blood to the doorposts of their homes would be spared God’s judgement.  His judgement would literally “Passover” them and instead the unbelieving Egyptians would be judged. Year after year the Jewish people were to continue to offer the sacrifice of the Passover lamb. However, because these sacrifices were not able to cleanse their sins permanently, they had to be offered again and again. The author of the book of Hebrews tells us that the reason Christ came into the world, is because it’s impossible for our sins to cleansed by the blood of these temporary animal sacrifices.  Then Hebrews 10:10 concludes, “For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once and for all time.” Jesus is the final substitutionary sacrifice for our sins, once and for all.  We don’t go to heaven because Jesus earned our salvation, by doing good works and by “obeying” the law.  We go to heaven because Jesus died in our place. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2COR 5:21 NKJV)


But then immediately after accusing those of us who are Evangelical of have a “works based” theology of salvation.  Christ Covenant Church then contradicts themselves by saying; 


“We enter into a saving (marriage) relationship with Christ through faith and we maintain that relationship through obedience to God’s law. As such, two conditions are necessary for the salvation taught in Scripture: faith and faithful obedience to God’s law.”


In a nutshell, they are saying that you are not saved by faith alone, but by faith plus works. They are the epitome of the pot calling the kettle black, in that they accuse Evangelical Christians of having a “works based” theology of salvation and then in the same breath tell you that works of obedience are necessary for salvation. 


Manifesto 3. Baptismal Regeneration.


Christ Covenant Church spends a paragraph attacking the Evangelical view that Baptism is only a memorial, as many of us would say, “it’s an outward sign of an inward reality.” Then after belittling that view, they then state their own view regarding baptism. 


Essentially, their view of Baptism is that it is necessary for salvation, if you have not been baptized, you are not saved, and will not go to heaven. 


They say, “It (baptism) is the only place God accepts our faith as saving.”


Folks, once again, the group who accuses everyone else of having a “works based” theology, hypocritically believes that the “work” of baptism is necessary for salvation.  


To be clear we as Evangelical Christians view baptism as important, but not necessary for salvation.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” We do not get baptized in order to get saved. Rather, we are saved by grace, by putting our faith in Jesus.  But after we’re saved, we get baptized to publicly demonstrate that as He died for us, we have died to our old life, and as He has risen again, we are rising up to live in the newness of life (RO 6:3-4).  


Regarding baptismal regeneration, or whether or not baptism is necessary for salvation I agree with this quote from the non-denominational apologetics ministry called GotQuestions.Org, when they said,


“Requiring anything in addition to faith in Jesus Christ for salvation is a works-based salvation. To add anything to the gospel is to say that Jesus’ death on the cross was not sufficient to purchase our salvation. To say that baptism is necessary for salvation is to say we must add our own good works and obedience to Christ’s death in order to make it sufficient for salvation. Jesus’ death alone paid for our sins (Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:21).”


Additionally, if baptism was necessary for salvation, then we’re left to wonder why did the apostle Paul say in 1Cornithians 1:14, “I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius”? Then Paul puts an exclamation mark on it adding these words, “For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News…” (1 Corinthians 1:17, NLT).  If baptism is required for salvation, then in effect Paul would’ve been saying, “I thank God that none of you are saved because I didn’t baptize any of you… For Christ didn’t send me to help people get saved, but only to share a wonderful message.”  Certainly, if baptism was a requirement for salvation, the apostle Paul would have chosen his words differently.


Therefore, any group including Christ Covenant Church, who adds the work of baptism as a requirement of salvation is a group that is adding to the gospel.  When you add to the gospel, you are preaching a false gospel.


Manifesto 4. Table Atonement.


In this manifesto Christ Covenant Church criticizes the view that some Evangelicals hold that says that communion is only a memorial.  


In this confusing section they claim that Jesus taught that after we’ve been baptized, we still need to have our “feet washed.”  Essentially the sins that we commit after we’ve been saved still need to be cleansed.  Those sins are cleansed when we take communion.  Which by the way, this is a view very similar to the Catholic Churches understanding of communion.


To reach this conclusion in their manifesto they awkwardly take John 13 a passage that has nothing to do with baptism.  In John 13 before Jesus serves the “Passover” meal, He washed the feet of the disciples. Peter then protests that Jesus would wash his feet to which Jesus replies, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.’ Jesus said to Him, ‘He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” (John 13:8-10 NKJV)


Apparently, they are misinterpreting Jesus’ words when he said, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet,” as if to say “He who is baptized has already had their original sins or sins they committed from birth until the point that they became a Christian forgiven. Now if they sin later on, after they’ve become Christians, they do not need to get baptized again, they just need to have their feet washed.”  But just when you would expect Christ Covenant Church to say that true Christian churches must conduct “foot washing ceremonies.”  


Instead, they strangely say that “the reason Jesus immediately institutes the Table (communion) after His teaching on foot-washing” was to show that we “still need our ‘feet’ washed through the regular cleansing of His body and blood found in the Lord’s Table.”


So, in a nutshell, they basically believe that the “work” of baptism saves you. Then the continued work of taking communion regularly keeps you saved.  Which then implies that if you stop taking communion or are unable to take communion, you are no longer saved.


Manifesto 6. Church Authority


In this manifesto is a potentially concerning statement that says,


“Elders have the authority to grant salvation, enforce God’s laws, investigate accusations, seek justice, pass judgment, excommunicate and declare persons apostate…”


The thing that concerns me, is that on the surface this statement appears to be intertwined with two common characteristics found in cult groups. These two are characteristics are;

1.     Authoritarian Leadership

2.     Fear of Being Disfellowshipped


Theologian Andy Naselli provides a good working definition of Authoritarian Leadership when he writes;


“Authoritarianism involves the acceptance of an authority figure who exercises excessive control on cult members. As prophet or founder, this leader’s word is considered ultimate and final…


Often this authoritarianism involves legalistic submission to the rules and regulations of the group as established by the cult leader. Cult members are fully expected to submit, even if they do not agree with the requirements. Unquestioning obedience is compulsory.”


Naselli then defines the Fear of Being Disfellowshipped.


“It is not uncommon in cults that people are urged to remain faithful to avoid being ‘disfellowship,’ or disbarred, from the group.”


Their statement that their “Elders have the authority to grant salvation,” is a dangerous example of their Authoritarian Leadership, in that they claim they have the authority to declare who is saved and who is not. Now Christ Covenant Church doesn’t meet Naselli’s definition of Authoritarianism and the Fear of Being Disfellowshipped to such an alarming degree, that I would go so far as to label them as a cult.  However, there is enough of a hint of Authoritarianism that I would advise you to be highly skeptical of this group. Combine that with their view that they have the authority to declare you as an “apostate” and the authority to excommunicate (which is The Fear of Being Disfellowshipped), I see definite red flags, if not outright “warning signs,” and “danger signs.”


Essentially, this is a group that is claiming that all other Evangelical churches are preaching a “false gospel.” Likewise, they are claiming that they, and they alone have the only “true gospel.”  However, if you disagree with their leadership, you could be declared as an “apostate” and excommunicated from the only church that has the true gospel, and worse than that as an apostate you have lost your salvation and will perish in hell.




In conclusion I would advise you to be highly skeptical of Christ Covenant Church.  At best, they are a misguided fringe Christian group.  At worst, they are a heretical group, with minor cult like characteristics.  The concerns with this group are:


·      They seem to view the apostle Paul’s words as inferior to Jesus’ words, which would contradict the doctrine of the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture.  


·      They teach a “works based” doctrine of salvation by saying, “faith and faithful obedience to God’s law” are necessary for salvation. Among those works is baptism which they say, “is the only place God accepts our faith as saving.” Then they teach that you continue to keep your salvation by regularly doing the work of taking communion.  


·      Lastly, this is a group who uses Authoritarianism and the Fear of Being Disfellowshipped to possibly control its members.


Based upon their statements in their New Protestant Manifesto, the doctrine of Christ Covenant Church does not appear to be in agreement with Biblical Christianity.  However, the one thing I agree with them about, is that the gospel they preach is different than the gospel preached by the apostle Paul.  


Paul said in Galatians 1:7-9; “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (NIV)


This is not a group who is seeking fellowship with you. They do not sincerely want to reason with you.  In their own words they want to “reform” you.  They believe your gospel is false, and that they alone own the corner on the market of truth.  Therefore, rather than trying to engage with them and have a dialogue with them, it’s wiser to avoid them altogether. Let us remember the Bible’s instruction when it comes to how to handle those who are not preaching a Biblical gospel message.  2 John 1:10-11 says, “If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.” (NLT)

The church who originally sent Scott Jarrett to Colorado to start Christ Covenant Church has publicly rescinded their endorsement of Scott Jarrett and Christ Covenant Church stating that he and his church have departed from Christian Orthodoxy. 

Click this link to read their statement:

Caucutt, J. (2024b). GDID5d3XIAAmOOq-1. photograph.


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