Is your church asking you to sign a covenant? I certainly hope not because being required to sign a covenant in your church is supported no where
in scripture. As a matter of fact it is forbidden. This saddens me because my former church is now requiring those involved in ministry to sign a covenant if they want to continue to be involved in any ministry. This is a covenant between man (the church member) and man (the church leadership)
, not between man and God as are the covenants conducted in the bible.
Needless to say a lot of the members of this church are very
upset with this, and rightly so. I thank God for that. However, many others have no idea that doing something like this is forbidden in the bible––James 5:12
. As a matter of fact some people will say something like..."it's no big deal, just sign it, I did. I didn't even read it".
Contained in some of the sections of the church's covenant are things such as:#4. "To work towards the fulfillment of the purpose and vision of the church"
. –– So if you do not agree with the purpose or the vision of this particular church then too bad, you must not speak out or oppose their direction since you signed this covenant stating you would not do that. What if the leadership starts teaching heretical doctrines? You signed a document agreeing to work toward their
goals and vision. At that point your signed agreement with them and scripture would be in conflict.
Just what does this mean "to work towards the fulfillment of the purpose and vision of the church"? Is this something other than how the bible defines the purpose of the church? Does this church have a vision other than that of the bible? If not then why make a distinction to the purpose and vision of the church? Or, I have to wonder, does this really
mean to work towards the purpose and the vision of the leaders of the church? What if the purpose and vision of the leaders of the church is not in agreement with God's purpose? Do you as a member have any recourse after having signed such an agreement if you happen to feel convicted that the church is not
following God's purposes?
I guess the next obvious question is 'what is God's purpose for the church
#5 of the covenant states:"To guard the peace and unity of the church"
.––No where in scripture does God choose unity over truth. If this were true, then God would never
send anyone to hell since this would cause disunity. He maintains His standard of holiness, purity and truth over unity. If unity were His goal then Lucifer would still be in his heavenly choir singing the songs the way he wanted to and God would just have to accept it for the sake of unity. If unity were the goal, the Reformation would not have occurred. A christian in obedience to Christ will not set out to cause disunity in the body of Christ, however sometimes it is a result of defending God's truth, honor, purity of His Word and proclaiming His true gospel of repentance (Luke 12:51-53
). How can a believer guarantee in the form of written oath that he will always be able to guard unity?
#5 of the covenant, the signer would also agree to: "abstaining from gossip, lying, and unresolved conflict within the body...."
––Now what does "abstaining from gossip" mean? Does that mean the members can't talk about what's going on in the church and wonder, amongst other believers, why the church leadership is doing what they're doing? Is that considered gossip? What do they mean by "...unresolved conflict within the body..."? Many churches are filled with unresolved conflict. Isn't this why we need to resolve our offense with our brother before we offer our gift to God before his alter (Matthew 5:23-24
)? Doing this would prepare believers for corporate prayer where they could, as a unified body, approach the throne of God seeking mercy and grace in time of need seeking his will for the church. That looks like a pretty good picture of unity to me.
#6 of the covenant requires of the signer:"To honor the leadership of the church through Christlike submission"
It makes one wonder why leaders of a church feel like they need to require their members in ministry to sign a document stating they will submit to the leaders. If a christian is rightly related to God, they will have a spirit of submission to biblical spiritual authority, but it will not be to a leader who is not following the Holy Spirit's lead. It will not be to a minister or a church leader who does not follow the Word of God. And it should not be to leaders who replace the leading of the Holy Spirit for man-centered pragmatic techniques and the latest trends in church-growth methodology. This is not a leader submitting to the Holy Spirit. This is a leader instead going to Egypt for help
. This is a leader building a cart for the Ark
because in his eyes it would be so much easier to carry.
Before you're confronted to sign a covenant ask yourself this question––Why does a christian need to make an additional commitment to another man to abstain from sin and remain obedient to God when he has already committed his whole life in submission to Jesus Christ and to sanctification by his Truth which is His Word? (John 17:17
)––all this without
signing any paper?
Who will give an account for your life before God on judgment day? Will your pastor who asked you to sign a covenant?
How does a signed covenant from the church leaders to the church members in ministry serve as a "guardrail for the spiritual and moral health" of the church when we have the bible as our standard for living holy? Do we need an additional set of rules and regulations added to the bible? This sounds like very dangerous stuff.
These are some questions which come to my mind when I am made aware of a church requiring it's members in ministry to sign a covenant. However, THIS ARTICLE
explains how signing covenants is unbiblical and should not be done, along with some background information on the origins of this trend in churches today.
Submission to God through His Word should be our only guide.
Check out this quote from this MUST READ
article:"previously the Ten Commandments would have been taught, now they are replaced by new church laws which are subjective and potentially heretical. Previously these churches would have taught that Christ won on the cross liberty from the laws of men, and that the conscience is subject to God alone. The Reformed church used to teach that man lives by faith, and through His strength man is able to keep His commands. Now a new structure has been erected, with man-made laws, and man-directed accountability....."
"Oaths and covenants are a new form of legalism entering the church like a flood. They require more of us than Scripture requires. It is a horrible new form of bondage, accomplished in the name of a new church for the 21st century. This is a “transformation” not a “reformation.” ....This movement did not arise from God, but from the rapacious desires of evil men."