To covenant or not to covenant, that is the question?

From Jackie Farmer:


Recently Pastor Sean sent an email basically asking everyone to think on this question. As a member of the pastoral team I have had a little heads up in being able to think about this subject. I came to Berean almost six years ago and in the last few months I have learned that Berean has a covenant already in place. I knew it was there, I have read the constitution, but I did not really think about it as something that needed to be enforced. I find this strange since I have seen so much emphasis be placed upon the constitution. Here is a section of the constitution that is largely ignored. I mostly ignored it because I already practice it in my personal life; this is probably true of most of us. Therefore, when Pastor approached the subject of enforcing it I thought "no problem." I even went as far in my thoughts to say awesome this should put more of us on the same page and accomplish unity on a whole new level. However, this has not been the case, much to the sadness of Christ who prayed that we would be one.

So here are my thoughts on the covenant of Berean Baptist Church and covenants I have lived by in my life.

I have no problem making a pledge to live my life by a standard described in a document. As a member of the US Army I did this everyday for many years. I obeyed Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush as my commander-in-chiefs. I obeyed the officers appointed over me. I gave up some of my personal constitutional rights to defend others ability to live their life in full freedom of those same rights I gave up. I did this because I loved my country, I denied the GI Bill. I do not understand the big deal then about saying to my fellow Berean's I am with you all the way. I will do my best in Christ's power to live my life beside you in a way that is helpful to you and honors God. I am even willing to sacrifice some of my personal preferences in order to show you I love you.


I believe that a covenant is great. I have entered into a verbal covenant with Angela. That verbal covenant is our wedding vows. Whether I perform a wedding or attend a wedding I am reminded of my vows to Angela. If we are attending a wedding we hold hands and as the bride and groom exchange vows we touch each other's rings as a reminder of our covenant. Thus our rings are a reminder that we live in a covenant relationship with God and each other. So what is wrong with pulling out a document and reminding each other this is what we have promised to do unto one another?


Should a covenant be flexible? Sure. Think about the wedding vows again. I promised to love Angela till death do us part but those vows did not define the method of conveying that love. Sometimes I wash the dishes to convey that love. Sometimes I do the laundry to convey that love. Sometimes I take her on a date to convey my love. Sometimes I buy her flowers to convey that love. Sometimes I skip watching the hockey game on TV to show her that love. So what is wrong with saying we will leave some decisions of life up to God and our fellow Berean?

Should a covenant possess hard stances? Sure. Think about the wedding vow to keep myself to Angela and only her till death do we part. This means mentally, emotionally, and physically as I am made in the image of God. This means all of my being is reserved for her alone. No other woman is to have my mind, my heart, my attention, my anything as long as Angela lives. So what is wrong with saying to my fellow Berean's I promise you I will not or I will... whatever?


Pastor Sean is right we need to revive the idea of living by what we promise in our lives and in our church. If our current covenant is too rigid then let wise men and women rise up and declare the wisdom of God that they possess and give input into a covenant that honors God by allowing the body here to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. If it is what it should be, then let us begin to live and be accountable to it. If we believe that we can live without making those promises to one another then so be it. I do however, doubt that the last course of action would benefit or honor God's work here in this church. I mean without my marriage vows being what they are I could easily twist the lives of men like David in the Bible to justify having more than one wife and who could hold me accountable otherwise? The current state of Christianity is adrift and we need to declare what we will live by, document that, and be accountable to it.

To all my fellow Berean's and pastors, I am with you and I pledge to contribute to forming a covenant that we can live with and by, and then allowing you to hold me accountable to that promise for as long as I am a member of Berean.

Covenant III—Who Signs?

The covenant discussions that are happening at Berean are such a good thing. People are digging in the word of God and reading and rereading passages. They are studying. They are looking for themselves and asking questions.

It is reminiscent of the people of Berea in Acts. This is a good thing. Anytime people are studying the Bible the end result will be a stronger church. Mature Spirit-filled people can read the Bible, discuss things and come to reasonable conclusions.

Some are saying we want a covenant that is only Biblical; others are saying we need only the Bible. These two groups can come together very easily if the covenant contains only those things that are Biblical. Then both sides should not have a problem. If the Bible-only person can see Biblical phrases, thoughts, and concepts throughout the covenant, then he or she will be able to support it because it is in fact a compilation of scriptures.

Some are asking: "why do we have to sign it?" You don't! What must happen is: It must be taught, presented, explained, followed, adhered to, lived by, displayed and understood. The point is not the signature; the point is that every member knows the covenant and is striving to live by it because it is Biblical and as a Spirit-filled, follower of Christ our goal is to live by the Bible. It is good for instruction, doctrine, correction and reproof.

I believe that people in leadership positions in the church should have no problems signing a covenant; the signature communicates that you as a director, supervisor, leader, teacher, deacon, pastor understand what is expected and will strive by the Grace of God to meet those expectations. Those expectations may be both Biblical and constitutional.

For example, it is expected that pastors preach with a tie around their necks on Sundays—that is not Biblical just a reasonable cultural expectation—nothing more.

More important expectations that are not defined in the Bible are articulated in the church constitution.

Covenant III

Meetings and personal discussions are great things. It is good to meet with people and get things out in the open. Questions should always be directed to the person who made a conflicting or confusing statement. I love meeting with people.

Seeking understanding from someone else is normally very unproductive and leads to a greater degree of confusion in most cases.

Somehow there may be someone who thinks I wrote the church covenant. This is simply not the case. I did not write the current covenant; the author is anonymous.

You can find the framework of our Baptist covenant as far back as the 1600s. The BBC covenant that I posted on the blog is the covenant that was in existence when I became the pastor.

My point in initiating this dialog is to make the membership aware of the fact that we have a covenant in our constitution and our constitution says that our membership follows the covenant. I thought as a member of the church you would want to know this. It certainly would have been easier on me to simply continue to turn a blind eye and pretend we didn't have one. But I can't do that. That simply isn't in my make-up.

The covenant is a church covenant; not a pastor covenant. The church needs to write the covenant. It is the church, the membership, covenanting one with another.

The church, as a self-governing, autonomous body has the freedom change its covenant as often as it sees fit, provided the majority agree that there needs to be change.

The first thing the church needs to decide is:

1. Do we need a covenant? I believe the answer is yes.

2. If we do does it need to be revised? I believe the answer is yes.

But the decision isn't mine is it OURS!

Taking Church Membership Seriously

Taking Church Membership Seriously
Why it's time to raise the bar.
An interview with Ken Sande

Membership is not all that important at our church, about a third of respondents to a recent Leadership Weekly poll said. While 38 percent said attenders were frequently urged to join, and 34 percent said the membership appeal was occasionally given, the remainder said their church placed little or no emphasis on membership. That trend, according to many experts, is a mistake, the costly result of a casual, come-as-you-are attitude.

The church should be less like a cruise ship and more like a battleship, says Ken Sande of Peacemaker Ministries. Rather than emphasizing their casual atmosphere and fun activities, Sande says it's time for churches to raise the bar, to focus on a serious mission, and ensure that every person aboard serves a vital function. To make the shift, Sande says we must recapture the importance and meaning of church membership. If nothing else, emphasizing membership can protect the church from the growing threat of lawsuits.

Can you give an example of how deemphasizing membership can be perilous for a church?
I counseled a church where an attender used his relationships within the church to persuade people to invest over $2 million with him. The money was never returned to the investors. The church leadership struggled to respond because the man was not a member. If they said something publicly and warned the congregation about his actions, they risked a lawsuit for slander and defamation of character.

The church leaders finally asked the man to leave, but said nothing to the congregation. As a result he continued to scam people in the church for another year. When the victimized members discovered that church leaders knew about the man's actions but failed to publicly warn the congregation, they in turn threatened to sue the church for failing to protect them.

Several courts have ruled that churches may not discipline people who have not specifically consented to discipline. In this case, church leaders could not publicly warn the congregation about the man's actions without threat of a lawsuit because he was not a member, and had not consented to discipline. By not emphasizing membership, the leaders were prevented from fulfilling one of their most important biblical tasks—protecting the flock.

Why are more churches no longer emphasizing the importance of membership?
First, we've given in to our culture's antagonism toward commitment and accountability. Like parents who are afraid to discipline their teenagers, church leaders are afraid they will be unpopular for emphasizing commitment and accountability.

Secondly, there is a concern that if we create a barrier at the front door to the church, not as many people will enter, and the pressure leaders feel to grow the church is enormous today. But what we don't realize is that by not emphasizing membership we may have a wide-open front door, but we also have a wide-open back door. Numerical growth is really not helped by deemphasizing membership.

Many see membership in the church as similar to membership in other community organizations. How do we help people see it differently?
It requires very good teaching, and we need to use the terminology found in the Bible rather than our culture. The Bible speaks of the church as a family, or the household of God. If we emphasize this family language it will help people see that church membership is not like joining a country club, it is about joining an organic family.

The concept of the Body is also very helpful. The church is called the Body of Christ in the New Testament, and you don't just casually amputate a thumb. In fact, if the thumb is hurting the whole body goes to its aid. This metaphor shows the commitment, the accountability, and the interdependence of the church. Church leaders need to draw these concepts from scripture and clearly teach them.

How can leaders ensure that they have protected the church legally through a membership process?
You must achieve what lawyers call "informed consent." If you can show your people know what your church's disciplinary practices are, and that they have consented to them, that is a virtually ironclad defense against lawsuits.

You can achieve informed consent in a few ways. First, maintaining an attendance for the membership class so you can prove who has received the teaching. Second, a higher level of proof is to have new members stand before the church and actually verbalize membership vows and commitments. A third level, which gives you the best protection, is a signed membership covenant.

What should be included in a membership covenant?
The covenant itself can be kept fairly simple. A statement as basic as, "I have received a copy of the church's policies of redemptive discipline, and I consent to be bound by them" is sufficient. The church needs to have their disciplinary policies outlined somewhere and accessible to members, but the covenant only needs to refer to this other document to secure informed consent.

Apart from securing legal protection, what else is vital to include in a membership process?
At my church we have a twelve-week membership course, and our first priority is making sure a person has a credible profession of faith and understands the gospel. We also cover the theology of the church, our polity, our vision, how we handle conflicts, and an understanding of church discipline. Finally, it is helpful to discuss expectations for members regarding giving, respecting leadership, and serving in the community.

The membership process will be different in every church, but it is important to treat it as a significant event. When we treat it casually it sends the message that membership is casual. We highlight membership by having a special service, a membership Sunday. It is a serious ceremony that communicates the importance of membership.

What about retrofitting? How do churches with loose membership expectations, or none at all, begin to change and achieve informed consent?
Retrofitting requires a process that may take one to three years of educating the church to think more biblically about membership. I recommend preaching from Deuteronomy where there is a restatement of the Law.

Our church did this. We said to the congregation, "Times have changed from years ago when you could have a loose relationship with the church. Our society and our laws have changed. It's time for us to renew and tighten up the covenant."

Our people were very responsive to that because we took the time to educate them. We held a congregational meeting where revised bylaws and policies were presented, along with new procedures for accountability and conflict resolution. We met in small groups to talk personally, and over several months there was a lot of dialogue. That culminated in a church meeting where the new policies and bylaws were accepted. At that time we handed out a new membership covenant to be signed.

The last thing we did, to make sure we had informed consent, was send out a letter to everyone who did not sign the covenant. It said, even though we have not received a written covenant from you, we will interpret your continued attendance at our church, beyond a specified date, as your affirmation and consent to these policies. We didn't have a single family leave the church.

An attorney and engineer, Ken Sande is founder of Peacemaker ministries, a mediation and counseling service for churches and couples.

Do you have a question for Ken? Write to us at

Click to read Ken Sande's recent articles on church discipline.

Copyright © 2005 by the author or Christianity Today International/Leadership Journal.
Click here for reprint information on Leadership Journal.
April 18, 2005

Covenant II

What does a church do that has a covenant and is ignoring it? I am looking for some insight from Spirit-filled wise men and women. Send me an email.

There are several courses of action:

1. Ignore the covenant and continue to act like it isn't there.

2. Go with the current covenant and begin presenting it and using it.

3. Revise the present covenant such that it doesn't have unique and individual statements that address gray areas of Christianity. Develop a covenant that any fully devoted follower of Christ would be happy to say is their own. (For example, some would say it is a sin to drink a glass of wine. Others would say," no it is a sin to be drunk." What should a church covenant address? I would say "drunkedness." I would think there would be a little doubt over whether getting drunk is a sin; therefore, asking members to commit to refraining from being drunk is a reasonable request. Certainly, the liberty in Christ does not permit that kind of freedom.

4. Vote to eliminate the covenant and go with the Bible only.

According to our church constitution it is every member's duty do follow the covenant: See the below paragraphs from the constitution:

2. DUTIES OF A MEMBER: On becoming a member of BBC, in addition to the Church Covenant, each one further covenants to love, honor, and esteem the Pastors, to pray for them and to recognize their authority in the spiritual affairs of the church;2 to cherish a brotherly love for all members of the Church; to support the Church in prayer, tithes, offerings and with other financial support as the Lord enables; and, in accordance with Biblical commands, to support through a life-style affirming the beliefs and practices of the Church.

(A) As necessary, the Pastor shall form a Disciplinary Committee consisting of himself and the Board of Deacons. These men shall have sole authority in determining heretical deviations from the Statement of Faith and violations of the Church Covenant. If the Pastor or a deacon is the subject of a disciplinary matter, he shall not be a member of the Discipline Committee.

And I have already posted the current covenant that we present in our constitution as the current covenant, what would you change?

Anything? Nothing?

This is a matter for the church to decide. It is a church covenant. We are a congregationally governed body. Every member gets a vote on critical matters.

My intent is NOT to railroad anything forward—I want to hear from you.

I don't believe for me that "IGNORE" is an option and I am wondering what a DELAYING action will do; certainly, I want to have lots of time to pray and consider that matter—months. I am not in a hurry.

The pastoral staff is going to develop a covenant for the shepherds of the congregation and when that is finished I will post it for your review. Certainly leaders should be held to a higher standard.

Let your voice be heard and your thoughts and input recognized; send me a note.

My primary purpose in sending you this note is to ensure you recognize I am not coming up with this stuff it is already in our constitution. The church has already approved it.

I am just trying to determine how it is supposed to be followed.

Sunday’s Challenge to Christians 100 Years Ago

Have you ever read a biography about Billy Sunday? I have thoroughly enjoyed a great book about Sunday's life. God used Sunday in incredible ways. The campaigns and revivals that America experienced in the 1st decade of the 20th Century were awesome.

The numbers were staggering.

Sunday was quite the preacher. Anything I could write would not give justice to Sunday's entire life. Every Christian needs to read at least one biography on Rev. William A. Sunday's life.

In the Philadelphia Campaign of 1915, 400 churches worked together to promote and participate in the city-wide tabernacle meetings. 400 churches working together—amazing—literally amazing and serves as a clear testimony to the unity Christ can create among born-again believers.

But this paragraph got my attention last night: Lee Thomas writes:

"Many times Billy would challenge the Christians with 'How can we expect the unsaved to come flocking into the kingdom over old, apathetic, critical church members?'"

What a challenge. What a statement. How can we expect the unsaved to come flocking to the house of God—a local church—when it is filled with apathetic, critical church members?

Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines apathetic as: Having no interest, concern, emotion or feelings.

Sunday was concerned that the church rolls were filled with people who were apathetic. Are you apathetic toward the things of God? Are you concerned about your church? Are you interested in the people in the church? Are you doing anything to welcome our newest members and make our guests feel welcome? Are you concerned about building the kingdom of God? If Berean never grew beyond its current size, would that bother you?

Then Sunday said that the church has "critical" members. Critical members are negative and seldom satisfied with anything. These are the members that have a reputation of bringing all the problems to a pastor's attention. If a decision is made, they will be opposed. Very infrequently will you hear an encouraging word from these member's mouths.

If some members are apathetic and other members are critical, this is a killer combination that will surely quench the Spirit's work in a church. This must be why Lee Thomas writes "many times Billy would challenge the Christians." Sunday had to challenge Christians in every city to change.

Sunday knew that no matter how great the revival was in any city, if the church did not change, these new converts would not stand a chance against the world. They needed to be welcomed into a church packed with Spirit-filled believers who were positive and concerned about the Kingdom of God through teaching and growing new believers grounded in the faith.

If Sunday were alive today, would he say the same thing? If Sunday came to Berean, would he be concerned that our rolls are filled with critical, apathetic members who call themselves Christians?






Saying Good Bye

Today a very good friend of mine and a brother in Christ boarded a plane to depart to another duty assignment. I will miss him greatly. Friends are precious.

It is hard to imagine that we will not be running together again on his 4-day weekends. I look forward to the day God brings him back.

But I know that in spite of 1000s of miles of distance today's modern communication devices will allow us to stay in touch and our common love for our King will bind our hearts together in service in to His Kingdom.

He has served our Lord well and His church exceptionally well. He will be missed by all those to whom he taught so very faithfully every week.

I pray our Lord will guide him to his next duty assignment in the kingdom and he will bless another preacher as much as he blessed me.

Reasoner, be faithful and serve our King will all you have and He will reward you beyond your wildest dreams and expectations.



Covenant Discussion II

I want to encourage everyone to give serious consideration to this matter of covenants within the church.

Please don't feel the need to post.

I agree wholeheartedly with the Bible as being our guide, standard and rule by which we apply all things. Therefore, if you have a covenant shouldn't everything in the covenant be easily substantiated from the Bible?

Should we just say I pledge to live by the Bible? The Bible is a large book with much information in it. Some of which isn't very applicable to today—have you read Leviticus lately?

There must a reason why godly preachers of the past and elders of the church drafted and articulated the most important things into paragraphs that could be easily digested and comprehended.

Some of the godliest men in the world have written and pledged to live within the framework of a covenant.

I don't sense any leadership from the Lord just to continue to keep our covenant buried in a pdf file. Pray for me.

Greg Wills writes,

When persons joined a Baptist church, they subscribed to its covenant, which summarized Christ's commission to the churches. In it they declared that they intended together to be church of Christ: "We do voluntarily and jointly separate ourselves from the world, and give ourselves unto the Lord, hold ourselves henceforth his, and no longer our own. We do also voluntarily and mutually give ourselves one to another; and receive one another in the Lord, meaning hereby to become one body, joint to exist and act by bonds and rules of the gospel, each esteeming himself henceforth a member of a spiritual body, accountable to it, subject to its control" (Polity: A Collection of Historic Baptist Documents p. 23).

Why should I assume that in the 18th century it was important but isn't important in the 21st century?

Fundamentalist of the past must have thought it was important.





Covenant Discussion

A covenant is an agreement between two or more parties. It is a formal and binding agreement. If a church has a covenant isn't it reasonable to assume that the party that it applies to is its membership?

If the covenant applies to its membership then the covenant must contain only those things that the church would exclude someone from being a member.

The issue becomes defining these things. This requires a huge degree of spiritual maturity. Obviously, repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ would be absolutely essential. Baptism by immersion after salvation would be another non-negotiable.

Other areas are just as clear. Drunkenness is clearly prohibited in Scripture and a strong case can be made that any consumption of alcohol is a slippery slope; therefore, I choose not to drink and have chosen not to for 20 plus years.

But the difficult issue is do you prohibit alcohol consumption or drunkenness in the covenant?

Which can you most readily identify as completely unacceptable behavior for a Christian? Certainly pastors, deacons, teachers, staff and anyone associated with leadership in a church must be held to a higher standard than the membership, but what are the core expectations of church members.

I submit to you that the reason church covenants are not in practice and have been hidden away in the archives of church libraries and filing cabinets is because of these tough emotional issues.

Would you prohibit someone from becoming a church member because they listened to secular music?

Certainly sexual immorality must be present in a covenant. A man or woman who goes into sexual immorality would not expect to be able to remain a member in good standing with his or her church.

I think that only those areas in which a church (the people) would be willing to raise their hand high and vote someone out of the church would be included in the covenant.

Faithful attendance seems like a reasonable expectation. I met someone in a restaurant who claimed to be a member of Berean and openly stated she had not been in attendance in well over six months—the reality is 6 months was gracious. I remember when this young couple united with Berean and it was well over a year. You don't know them because they never attended church after they united. They have since been voted out of the membership because of their lack of commitment to the church.

I believe there isn't any wrong with having members pledge to be faithful to the church that they are uniting with. Do you?

Why would a church have a covenant if it wasn't going to use it?










BBC Covenant

Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior,

and on profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of our Father, and of the Son, and of the

Holy Ghost, we do now, in the presence of God, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into

covenant with one another as one body in Christ.

We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive

for the advancement of this Church in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and

spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to give it a sacred preeminence

over all institutions of human origin, and to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the

ministry, the expenses of the Church, the relief of the poor, and he spread of the Gospel through all


We also engage to maintain family and private devotions; to religiously educate our children;

to seek the salvation of our kindred, acquaintances, and all others; to walk circumspectly in the world;

to be just in our dealings, faithful to our engagements, and Berean Baptist Church's Constitution;to be

exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from worldly

amusements such as gambling, rock music, and the modern dance; to be free from all oath-bound secret

societies and partnerships with unbelievers; to abstain from the sale or use of tobacco in any form, narcotic

drugs, or intoxicating drink as a beverage; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our


We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer;

to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy of speech;

to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior; to

secure reconciliation without delay.

We moreover engage that, when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible, unite with

some other Church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God's Word.

Pastoral Accountability

Have you seen the headlines?

CBS News has learned Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, is investigating six prominent televangelist ministries for possible financial misconduct. The six ministries identified as being under investigation by the committee are led by: Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Eddie Long, Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn. Three of the six - Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland and Creflo Dollar - also sit on the Board of Regents for the Oral Roberts University.

This brings up a very reasonable question:

To whom is the pastor of BBC accountable?

First and foremost, a pastor must fear God and be accountable to Him. When a congregation feels a pastor no longer fears God, he should be voted out of his office.

Second, a pastor must be accountable to his wife if he is married. If a pastor is keeping secrets (other than a surprise birthday party) from his wife, that should be a serious warning sign to the church. No one knows a pastor better than his wife, and she has a responsibility before God and the church to aid her husband in becoming more like Christ day by day in love and respect for him.

Third, as the pastor of Berean, I place myself in a position of accountability to the other pastors in the church. If you are looking for this in the NT—look in Acts and look at the plurality of leadership. Paul told Titus to ordain elders in every city. The pastors of Berean Baptist have demonstrated that they are willing to risk their jobs and do the right thing. They believe that you as a congregation will support them as long as they are following the Bible. A pastor who would knowingly let another pastor remain in the ministry when he is biblically disqualified should lose his ordination as well as the pastor in sin.

Fourth, I am answerable to every member of Berean. Every member of this church has a responsibility to approach me individually when they have a concern, issue, or a belief that I am not in compliance with the Word of God or the Church Constitution. Matthew 18.15, could be written, "Moreover if your pastor sins against you, go and tell him his fault." Read the rest of the chapter for more guidance from our King.

Fifth, I am accountable to the annual budget. The budget is approved by the congregation and provides the parameters within to operate. A need to adjust the budget must be approved by the congregation. The duly elected church treasurer has access to all financial information at his discretion. The church also provides quarterly briefing and reports on the financial condition of the entire ministry.

Sixth, I am responsible to follow the Articles of Faith, the Covenant and Church Constitution.

When a pastor falls into sin, he needs to be quickly disciplined according to the biblical criteria of 1st Timothy 5:19-21.





One Example of a Church Covenant

In my study of church covenants this week I found this covenant:

What do you think of it? Would you sign it?

I believe it is time for me to teach on church covenants.

My thought is simple: Why have a covenant if it is not affirmed by all the members of the church?


Having, as we trust, been brought by Divine Grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to give up ourselves to Him, and having been baptized upon our profession of faith, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, relying on His gracious aid, solemnly and joyfully renew our covenant with each other.

We will work and pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

We will walk together in brotherly love, as becomes the members of a Christian Church; exercise an affectionate care and watchfulness over each other and faithfully admonish and entreat one another as occasion may require.

We will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, nor neglect to pray for ourselves and others.

We will endeavor to bring up such as may at any time be under our care, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and by a pure and loving example to seek the salvation of our family and friends.

We will rejoice at each other's happiness and endeavor with tenderness and sympathy to bear each other's burdens and sorrows.

We will seek, by Divine aid, to live carefully in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and remembering that, as we have been voluntarily buried by baptism and raised again from the symbolic grave, so there is on us a special obligation now to lead a new and holy life.

We will work together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry in this church, as we sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines. We will contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.

We will, when we move from this place, as soon as possible unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God's Word.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.



I certainly appreciate the emphasis upon God's help and grace in this covenant. It also will serve for years to come regardless of the wicked imaginations of man—a holy life describes a prohibition against all that man may devise in the years to come.

What do you think?