COVENANT / IN-COVENANT
1. Is it in the Bible?
2. What do we believe it means?
Every Christian must be "in covenant" with a local church assembly.
3. What does it really mean?
Here is yet another buzzword, which is both "wrong and right". It is wrong to call church attendance a "covenant". the only true covenant (agreement) that Christians are meant to have is the new covenant of the Bible. The fact that many people use this term in reference to church attendance (and particularly to giving to the church) gives away the fact that we operate through human government and human authority. the church the Bible describes (and God works through a nd sees-!) is all believers--everywhere, And When we choose to follow His direct leading and authority, His work is accomplished.
When someone is "in covenant" with a local church and we mean by this fact that one must attend and authoritarian, preordained church service, and contribute money to this purpose, we are wrong. We are accepting something far short of what the Bible describes.
The correct aspect of the idea of the "local covenant" is the idea that christians should work together and do God's will (which would be allowing HIM to be in authority-!) Of course Christians should work together--absolutely a correct Biblical principles. What we seem unaware of is that our traditions and format of human authority, government and function--are incorrect.
Biblically, the church had a non-authoritarian operationally principle. Small groups, in which all may minster. ((1cor 14:26))
"Ministry" the functioning of believers together, not "authority over" others, or a title held by only 1 or 2 in a church.
Absolutely Christians should agree to work together. What we seem we have lost through tradition, is the fact that the new covenant in the Bible gives us a functional plan of working together as equals--brothers and sisters in the Lord. The Biblical covenant makes Christ the only authority
1Ti 6:15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
So--what gives the pastor his authority?
Our agreement--our covenant.
When one "signs up" to be part of a church--by the common rules we have in place--we are making an agreement--a covenant--which says "we are part of the congregation--the lay-people--who have no ministry--who cannot speak in the sanctuary--who agree that the pastor has authority over us"
A covenant is a powerful thing.