Are Today’s Churches Truly New Covenant?

By Eric C. Wheeler (

Every church I have visited and/or attended over the past fifty years (including denominations and “non-denominational” churches) have all left me with one burning question in my spirit: Why do they all claim to be New Testament churches, yet structure themselves after the Old Testament model? While professing adherence to the New Covenant, in practice, they are merely resurrecting and repackaging the Old Covenant church system given to ancient Israel. Consider the following.

The Old Testament/Covenant Church model looked like this:

  • All the people looked to a priest/spiritual leader to lead, guide, and teach them.
  • The priest/spiritual leader was responsible for and expected to show them the ways and laws of God.
  • They met weekly in a building and/or at a place (Temple, synagogue, tabernacle/tent, etc.) specifically designed for corporate worship.
  • They heard a prepared message that only a credentialed, professionally trained, paid priest/Rabbi could give.
  • They spoke from a raised platform, lectern, stage (“pulpit”) from which the professionally trained compensated theologian(s) spoke to the laity (the “common people”).
  • There was a clearly defined “clergy/laity” model being utilized with a “pulpit/altar/stage area” for the clergy/theologians; and “pews” (rows of chairs, benches, etc.) where the laity (the common folk/spectators/audience) sat.
  • The laity/common people were expected to financially support the clergy/professional theologians and help pay for the building(s) and places of worship.

This was (and is) clearly the Old Covenant religious “church model” that Jesus came to do away with! Notice what God said regarding the differences between the Old Covenant versus the New:

“The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to My covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put My laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. By calling this covenant ‘new,’ He has made the first one obsolete(Heb. 8:8-13).

Note four specific, unique characteristics of this New Covenant:

  1. This covenant will NOT be modeled after the first one in any way! It will be completely different (“It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers”).
  2. There will no longer be a professional priesthood that people look to and rely on in order to get to know God or to be taught His ways (“No longer will a man teach his neighbor or his brother”). There will be no clergy/laity system or religious hierarchical structure. It will be distinctly personal and relational (“I will be their God, and they will be My people”).
  3. Every individual will have a personal and intimate relationship directly with God (“I will put My laws in their minds and write them on their hearts”); and as a result of this personal relationship, their individual sins will be forgiven (“I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more”). As David foretold, and Paul repeated: “Blessed is that person to whom the Lord shall not impute sin” (Psa. 32:2; Rom. 4:8).
  4. There will not be a consecrated holy place and/or location (building, temple, or altar) where the people of God must attend weekly in order to worship or spiritually cleanse themselves (find atonement). Instead, they – themselves – will individually be those consecrated holy places wherein God dwells. This is the same New Covenant truth Jesus described and revealed to the woman at the well in Samaria (see John 4:21-24).

The New Testament/New Covenant Church model prescribed and described in the New Testament looks like this:

  • Each member of the Church is personally filled and led by the Holy Spirit (see Rom. 8:9-14; II Cor. 13:5).
  • The Holy Spirit will teach and guide everyone individually, leading them to all truth (see John 14:16-17, 26; 16:13; I John 2:27).
  • All will receive a supernatural spiritual gift or gifts to be used for the benefit and edification of the entire Body (see I Cor. 12:7-11; 14:26-40).
  • No single individual or group of individuals are to be referred to as clergy. All members are equal brethren with varying gifts and functions (see Matt. 20:25-28; 23:8-12; I Cor. 12:12-27; 14:31).
  • One does not “go to church;” they are the church. (the Greek word ekklesia from which the English word “church” is derived literally means “called-out ones”). It therefore is something a person is, not a place or building they go to.
  • All members are considered “priests” and are expected to use their spiritual gifts during their get-togethers and gatherings, along with their day-to-day ministering to others. Members spiritually contribute to the edification of all. There are no professionally trained priests or paid clergy (I Pet. 2:5; 2:9-12; Rev. 1:6; 5:10).
  • Members don’t meet only once a week; they get together daily; sometimes formally, but most times casually, while interacting and fellowshipping with one another daily. (see Acts 1:14-15; 2:46-47; 8:3-4).
  • There is no stage, podium, pulpit, special clothing, ornaments, or anything that elevates one member above another. Jesus told His followers that we are all equal brethren (Matt. 23:5-10).
  • They met in private homes, in fields, by rivers, and in courtyards. There were no church-owned properties or buildings, and/or building funds (see Rom. 16:5; I Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Acts 16:13; Heb. 13:12-14).
  • The more mature members willingly, sacrificially, and freely served as elders and leaders shepherding and guiding the younger members to maturity (see Titus 1:5-9; I Pet. 5:1-5; I Tim. 3:1-13; Eph. 4:11-16).

This is what the New Testament churches (congregations) looked like in the Bible and should still look like today. Search the Scriptures, and you’ll see. Where are they? The model currently displayed in today’s churches who call themselves “New Covenant” is definitely not found anywhere in the New Testament. Their entire church model and worship system is (and was) a distinct hallmark and cornerstone of the Old Testament Israelite congregations under the Old Covenant. Where are the true New Covenant churches today??

 [A note from the author: After I penned this article a few weeks ago, I felt from the Holy Spirit that I should wait to publish it. Not understanding why, I simply obeyed and waited on the Lord. Today, I ran across the following YouTube video that I believe covers and explains this topic very well. It’s an excellent confirmation that what I have been feeling in my heart and spirit is the truth and from the Lord.  I feel that I am supposed to attach a link to this video and now publish this article. So here it is. Enjoy! Blessings to you all.]

Exposing the false “church-system”. you NEED to see this… – Bing video


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