Is it unreasonable for an institution to require expectations of those individuals who would identify with it? Many businesses require their employees to dress a certain way as their employees are their “face” and they want a certain image portrayed.
Does the NT have expectations for those who profess to be believers in Jesus Christ? It sure does! Consider these two verses:
“If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26).
“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3).
How believers live does matter, it is important, and the church covenant is essential in this regard.
What is a Church Covenant?
A church doctrinal statement summarizes what a church believes the Bible teaches. The church covenant summarizes its understanding of how a Christian should live. It does not take the place of the Bible; rather, it spells out the church’s understanding of what the Bible expects a church (a body of believers) to be and look like.
A covenant is a solemn promise. As a church covenant, believers make a solemn promise to God and the local church that they will live the way outlined in that document.
Who Can Enter the Church Covenant?
Membership in a local church – and therefore those who enter the church covenant – is restricted to those who have been born again and baptized by immersion.
Furthermore, one should only enter the covenant of a local church if they agree to be held accountable (responsible for) to that particular body of believers. They should additionally agree to hold that particular body of believers accountable for their entrance into the covenant.
We began looking at points that will characterize our church covenant, which you can access here.