By Angus Harley

In recent days, I have summarized two contemporary views of Progressive Covenantalism (PC), both of which said that PC was super-close to Reformed Baptist (RB) theology, to the point where one writer said that PC was a form of RB, and the other said that RB was a form of PC.[1] Neither writer claimed he spoke for the whole of PC or RB. Nonetheless, both wrote their pieces whilst studying at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), a PC seminary. It is most likely that the writings of both men were influenced, to some degree, by Dr. Stephen Wellum, who teaches at SBTS.

In this article, I follow through on the connection between PC and RB. This time, I will cite the material found on the PC website Christ Over All (COA). My main focus is the section called “Confessional Heritage”, but I will briefly comment on other parts of the site.

Confessional heritage

Here is the full comment by COA concerning the theme of a confessional heritage:

Confessional Heritage

As Orthodox Protestants, we affirm the theological heritage of the following creeds and historic commitments: the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Definition of Chalcedon, the Five Solas of the Protestant Reformation.

As Reformed Baptists, we broadly affirm the Second London Baptist Confession (1689). As an editorial team, we are persuaded that progressive covenantalism provides a more exact reading of Scripture than any other system of interpretation. That said, as beneficiaries of many Reformed and Protestant traditions, we will publish authors whose articles do not directly contradict our Reformed Baptist and Progressive Covenantal convictions.[2]

As they say in Scotland, ‘Your start off as you mean to go on’. It is evident that, above all things, COA wishes to be taken as Confessional, for the above is the first sub-section under the section “Our beliefs”. More specifically, the editors wish to be identified as “Protestant”. “As Orthodox Protestants” is the first phrase, of the first line. The term “Protestant” is again repeated at the end of the first paragraph, “Protestant Reformation”, indicating that “Protestant” is a kind of inclusio, or controlling theme, of the paragraph. Patently, the writers are placing PC within the rich history of historic Christianity, and, more pointedly, within historic Protestantism and the Reformation.

The purpose for the double reference, or control, of “Protestantism” becomes clear in the second paragraph. It states that COA members are “Reformed Baptists”. This is confirmed by referencing ‘the’ RB confessional document, the Second London Baptist Confession (1689). It is only then that the “editorial team” refers to being persuaded by “progressive covenantalism”. Note how it is not capitalized. The reason for this is because the uncapitalized phrase is necessary to connect RB to PC; for COA is implying that both perspectives have in common the doctrine of progressive covenantalism. Once again, the writers appeal to “Protestant” and “Reformed” “traditions”. The ecumenical magnaminimity of COA is seen in that they will publish writings from other theologies that do not contradict their RB and PC convictions.

My observations

It was Greg Gibson who pointed out COA to me, and its comments about its Confessional Heritage. I had just finished the second of my PC summaries (as mentioned above). I had concluded then- without knowledge of COA- that if both RB and PC were to figure out a mutual agreement over the phrase ‘covenant of grace’ that “the door would open for a potential union.”[3] It would seem, then, that this union materialized due to a mutual agreement based on “progressive covenantalism”.

            A member of the editorial board, and main theologian, of COA is Dr. Stephen Wellum, professor at SBTS, and writer of PC’s flagship tome, Kingdom Through Covenant. I think few today would question that he is ‘the’ leader of PC. That being so, there can be no doubt that PC has fully embraced RB, especially as Wellum is accompanied by an array of PC scholars on the editorial board.

            It is not without significance that COA did not mention “New Covenant Theology”, as far as I could determine. It is not found in its section “Our beliefs”, nor in Wellum’s document “Progressive Covenantalism: Key Points of Definition”. Thus, it would seem, too, that Johnson was correct to state PC advocates were working to distance themselves from the broad-umbrella understanding of NCT.[4]

            If one follows through on the trajectory of PC’s growth, it would be but a matter of time before PC entirely distances itself from NCT; and, second, now that PC has embraced RB, the door is open for PC to investigate some form of union with Covenant Theology.

[1] J. Angus Harley, “Daniel Scheiderer’s View of Progressive Covenantalism”, All Things New Covenant, February 16, 2023,; “Summary of Blake Wade Johnson’s views of Progressive Covenantalism”, All Things New Covenant, February 18, 2023,  

[2] Editorial team, “Our Beliefs”, Christ Over All, accessed February 25, 2023,

[3] Harley, “Blake Wade Johnson’s View”.

[4] Ibid.