Last week I emailed my friend, Benjamin (the associate pastor of the church I meet with). I emailed him to ask him his position on the subject of church covenants. The bi-vocational pastor of this church just finished up a four week sermon series from the church covenant, and I took issue with it. I ended up having a conversation with Benjamin about church covenants. I asked for his permission to post the emails here and he graciously obliged. I have decided to break up each post into two emails; an email to Benjamin and then his reply. This will lighten the burden of those interested in reading this correspondence. So, without further ado, I give you the first two emails…
From me to Benjamin:
Lee already knows my position on the church covenant thing. I talked to him about it over lunch after the first weekend he taught from the covenant. To catch you up, I think church covenants are adding rules and regulations where God is silent. I sense that using them pretty much goes against what Paul teaches (esp. in Galatians). I also sense that a church covenant is a good way to prevent people from relying on God.
I was curious, what is your position?
From Benjamin to me:
I see your point. Church Cov’s certainly can be adding unnecessary and unhealthy rules. But, I think they are a good thing so long as they serve to reinforce clear Biblical teaching (not dogmatic soapboxes) and not in any way add to it. I really like the way Dr. Hammett explains the importance and proper use of Church Cov’s in his book. He suggests that cov’s should be resigned every year by the congregation as a way of publicly committing oneself annually to the church and its ministry. It also helps with accountability for members who may have gone wayward during the year. According to Hammett, if you don’t sign the covenant, you forfeit your membership. This, I think, falls in line with Baptist teaching of regenerate church membership and Believer’s baptism.Unashamed,BQ2
*NOTE* I have disabled commenting on all but the last in this series of posts. This way comments can be made after reading the entire conversation.