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    Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    Questions about Convenants


    If you listened to Mark Dever's message (below) you would have heard that Capitol Hill Church reverted back to a church covenant from 1878.

    Why did they do that?

    According to Dever, that particular covenant makes no mention of the use of alcohol. He said in the sermon, that there are differing opinions on the matter and that scripture places no prohibition on consumption (drunkenness yes). I know that Capitol Hill Church actively practices church discipline; not knowing anything other than what I have listened to and read, I suspect their belief in Sola Scriptura dictates that their church's documents line up with the Scriptura.

    (In full disclosure, Dever also said in the message that he personally abstains from the use of alcohol.)

    Now this sparks a couple of questions:

    1) Are church covenants important?

    2) If so, should they only reflect the scripture or should they contain cultural biases and/or particular interpretations of scripture on secondary theological matters?


    I want to know what you think. Comment please! Do so anonymously if you are worried a church deacon or some other busybody may read what you write.


    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 4/25/2006 09:02:00 AM

    13 Comments:

    Anonymous James said...

    Dever's church did the right thing. Covenants should be used to keep members away from sin. They should be based on scripture. I think each point should contain a scriptural reference.

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006 10:02:00 AM  
    Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

    I have no problem with covenants. I don't think I'm to the point of establishing one where I'm at yet... We've got too much else to do.

    The danger in a covenant is it "can" become legalistic. But if it keeps people from sinning, great.

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006 10:19:00 AM  
    Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

    Also,

    I love the Pope BONO picture! That is great!

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006 10:24:00 AM  
    Blogger Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

    Thanks man...I try to be a little on the edge. Randy Savage ain't shabby either!

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006 10:27:00 AM  
    Blogger Wes Kenney said...

    I would say they are important if properly used. The church where I have served for six months has a covenant, and I can probably count on one hand the number of people who are aware even of that fact, much less aware of its contents.

    As instruments of discipline, they absolutely should contain only that for which exclusion from church membership can be justified scripturally.





    All this talk of pictures just shows me that you are all jealous of my hat...

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006 10:29:00 AM  
    Blogger Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

    Wes,

    It's good to see that SBCers have great personalities. Love the hat:)

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006 10:45:00 AM  
    Blogger El Pedro Morrison said...

    I totally agree with the use of church covenants, and they are rooted in Baptist history (as well as pre-Baptist, English Separatist and Anabaptist history). I think Dever did the right thing. The church I am a member of also uses a covenant.

    I think there are two dangers to covenants. To echo Kevin, there can be a danger of legalism. Also, there can be the tendency to treat a covenant as "above Scripture," as some tend to do with confessions. So in both of these dangers, I would just make sure that the covenant is both biblical in what it asserts, and that it is used biblically.

    P.S. Great Bono pic.

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006 11:12:00 AM  
    Blogger Jamie Wootten said...

    As far as the issue of drinking and how that lines up with scripture and covenants, I fully support Dever's opinions. Nevertheless when it comes to holiness Jesus always raised the bar rather than lowering it. Anything that takes us closer to God is a good thing as long as it doesn't spill over into legalism.

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006 1:59:00 PM  
    Blogger Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

    Wootten there is a very, very, very, very good chance that Christ consumed wine. If he had wanted to, he could have purified his water as it rolled down the back of his throat. I'm not sure the bar analogy works. Anyone else??

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006 4:41:00 PM  
    Blogger Dorcas said...

    Howdy Razorbaptist, I said I'd drop by and read your blog. So here I am. Sorry I can't really give input on the church covenant thing as it is not an area in which I have much knowledge. Possibly the fact that I am not a pastor or seminarian. I'll try to stop by more often, and maybe be able to comment on some of the other topics.

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006 6:29:00 PM  
    Blogger Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

    Dorcas,

    I hope visitation went well. Thanks for coming over.

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006 6:51:00 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I think covenants are great as long as they are used as a way to be held accountable... and not some set of man's rules. They should contain the black and white issues and none of the grey.

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006 8:08:00 PM  
    Blogger Kiki Cherry said...

    I agree with those before me who said covenants can be both good and bad.

    One church we were part of had each member sign the covenant upon joining the church. I see some danger in that. Covenants are serious business, and I'm not sure everyone who signed that document fully understood what they were doing. I believe the intent behind it was good, but am not sure about the practical application.

    But all of our PA/SJ staff make a covenant at the beginning of the year. I like those a lot. We're afforded a lot of grace and flexibility within that. Mine are always pretty idealistic--I never accomplish everything that I set out to do. But it gives me some great goals and helps define purpose and balance my life.

    BTW--my family all lives in Arkansas. And they can call the hogs with the best of them. My brother works at Baptist Hospital in Little Rock.

    And we were all Ouachita alumni. So thanks for letting me know about the new Pres. Had not yet heard the news. I love Andy Westmoreland, and was sad to see him move. I'll be interested to see what changes come about at OBU.

    Thursday, April 27, 2006 6:17:00 AM  

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