In Covering Theology several essential elements of our salvation are defined in ways foreign to Protestant and Evangelical Christians.  While the concept of salvation cannot be reduced to a couple of bullet points some aspects are simple and straightforward.

We are saved by grace through faith.

Eph 2:8  For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God;
Eph 2:9  it is not from works, so that no one can boast.

If we add something to faith we fall from that grace

Gal 5:4  You who are trying to be declared righteous by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace!
Gal 5:5  For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait expectantly for the hope of righteousness.

Paul was very concerned that the Galatians who had started well by following the Spirit were reverting to the works of the Law.

Gal 1:6  I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are following a different gospel —
Gal 1:7  not that there really is another gospel, but there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ.
Gal 1:8  But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be condemned to hell!

Bevere directly equates faith with submission to church authority

One of the major errors in covering theology is that it redefines faith to include submission to church leaders.

Bevere equates God’s authority with human authority.

“Since God has appointed all authorities, we refused the authority behind them if we dishonor or refuse to submit to them.  Whether we know it or not we resist the ordinance or the rule of God.  When we oppose God’s delegated authority we oppose God himself.” (88, Bevere)

Bevere believes that the depth of our faith is directly proportional to how much we submit to church authority.

“The authority in which we walk is directly proportional to our submission to authority.  The greater our level of submission, the greater our faith.” (Bevere, 212)

Our faith without submission to church leaders is dead.

“But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without obedient actions is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by obedient actions when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?  Do you see that faith was working together with his obedient actions, and by obedient actions faith was was made perfect.” (Bevere, 217)

Because obedient actions that Bevere refers to could be instructed by God or by God’s delegated authority (church leaders) one must assume that obedience to church leaders is a necessary addition to faith in order to be saved.

Sin is rebellion against authority, even church authority

“Sin reveals its true definition in the parable of the wedding supper as disobedience to God’s authority.” (Bevere, 28).

Because Bevere equates God’s authority with earthly authority we can only logically assume that disobedience to a church leader is considered sin.

If we disobey church leaders Christ’s victory over spiritual darkness is nullified in our life

“This is true because rebellion is witchcraft.  The more they rebel the more they give legal access to demonic powers to influence, control and empower their lives.  By rebelling against the order and the laws of God and His delegated authority, they knowingly grant legal access to the controlling demonic realm.” (Bevere, 68)

Grace redefined

Grace is redefined as well.  It is merely the power of God to live a holy life.  It is not unmerited favour and the idea that Christ’s sacrifice continues to work our lives after the beginning of our salvation is lost.  One act of rebellion can unravel everything and cause terrible distress in our lives.  The benefits of our salvation such as protection from evil or God’s very presence in our life rest perilously on whether we are submitted to God’s “direct authority” and His “delegated authority.”

At what point can we redefine sin, faith and grace and still be following the same gospel?  While some respected evangelicals have investigated this theology and concluded that covering theology isn’t heresy, it certainly charts a course well off the center of Christian orthodox theology. 


Bevere, John. Under Cover. Thomas Nelson: Nashville, 2001.

One comment on “Is covering theology another gospel?

  1. “Grace is redefined as well. It is merely the power of God to live a holy life.”

    Isn’t that what Bill Gothard teaches as well?

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