Four years ago, a friend and I asked ourselves why it was that many professing Christians live in painful relational patterns and suffer from addiction. We also asked why it was so many pastors referred people to secular psychologists for counseling. We asked ourselves, “Does not the gospel of Jesus Christ and historic orthodox theology have answers for people suffering from mental illness?” From these frank discussions we then developed the thesis for our ministry: Sound theology is essential for a sound mind.
With this thesis in mind, we began to examine the state of popular evangelical theology and to consider its role in the spiritual and emotional health of its adherents. These studies have been very revealing. For in our research we discovered that evangelical Christianity is largely defined by two theological traditions: Covenantalism and Dispensationalism. We learned that both of these systems are grounded more in historic, man-made confessions, traditions, and speculation than in Scripture.1 What is more, we discovered main-line Protestant denominations have been decimated by theological liberalism with its denial of original sin, supernatural grace, and the unique place and role of Christ in redemption. These three traditions, Covenantalism, Dispenationalism, and Liberalism, represent 98% of professing Christianity in Western culture.
Our thesis, “Sound theology is essential for a sound mind,” was greatly affirmed in this season of discovery, but only in the negative. If we were going to make a genuine contribution to biblically based counseling and recovery, we had to first “recover” the biblical paradigm of the gospel for a positive message.
Our starting point was to postulate that true recovery occurs only for those in union with Jesus Christ. In other words, to be “in Christ” is to be “in recovery.” This meant, of course, that when it came to the study of the Bible, our hermeneutic must be Christ-centered. After all, every Christian tradition would agree that the Bible is Christ-centered2 whether their system of theology actually bears this out or not. This meant that we had to consider what hermeneutic stood outside those mentioned above, if any. This led us to discover and research the propositions of New Covenant Theology. Here we found the only well-developed theology that was grounded in a truly Christ-centered hermeneutic.
But we discovered New Covenant Theology not to be another systematic theology; rather, it is a biblical theology of fulfillment. This means that Christ and the new covenant are the fulfillment of all of redemptive history. All other covenants meet there fulfillment in the new covenant as inaugurated by Christ’s once for all, perfect, and effectual sacrifice. As the writer of the letter to the Hebrews states: “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days had spoken to us in His Son, who He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Hebrews 1:1-2). The one who places faith in Christ’s finished work alone finds not only justification, but perfect sanctification as well. What is more, such a one is found to be in living union with Christ through the gift of the indwelling Spirit of God (Ezekiel 36: 25-27; John 10:14-15; 16:12-15; Romans 8: 9-17; Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 3:1-4). In short, the new covenant means one is given a new identity in Christ. And it is from here that true recovery begins.
The Center for Biblical Recovery is a registered, tax-exempt non-profit corporation with the State of Washington. The Center for Biblical Recovery is also approved by the IRS as a 501 (c) (3) religious organization. Your donations are welcome.
 John G. Reisinger has written an excellent examination of the suppositions of both of these systems of theology in, Abraham’s Four Seeds (New Covenant Media, 1998).
 “Hermeneutic” is a big word which defines the lens or paradigm through which one interprets Scripture.