Baptist Church Covenants

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Baptist Church Covenants

Postby Rvaughn » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:46 pm

In another thread, Leland Ross mentioned a church covenant. Thought it might be interesting to look at some historic church covenants used by Baptists, or the church covenant used by your church (if you have one).

The following Church Covenant, or variations of it, have been popular in our area. It originated in the New Hampshire Association in the 1800s, and is believed to be written by J. Newton Brown.

Having been led, as we believe by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and, on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 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 and to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to 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 also engage to maintain family and secret devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale of, and use of, intoxicating drinks as a beverage; to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.

We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it 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.
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Re: Baptist Church Covenants

Postby Haruo » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:58 pm

Yeah, that's very similar to the one recent uncovered at Fremont. Ours was published by Judson Press, the Northern Baptist publishing house, so it's probably not the same edition as whatever circulated where you were, Robert.
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Re: Baptist Church Covenants

Postby KeithE » Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:53 pm

Here is our Covenant established prior to 1987 (when i joined Weatherly Heights Baptist Church)

Having experienced God’s grace, acceptance, forgiveness, redemption, and call to discipleship and united in the faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, revealed in history, disclosed in the Scriptures, and experienced in human life through the Holy Spirit, we do solemnly and joyfully covenant with God and one another to:

Acknowledge Jesus Christ as the head of the church and as the pattern for life and all of its relationships;

Live together in love as He commanded;

Express our oneness in Christ so that our differences do not divide us but rather increase our understanding, broaden our perspectives, and strengthen our love;

Bear one another’s burdens and share each other’s joys;

Pray for one another, encourage one another, and counsel and admonish one another as the occasion may require;

Participate in the regular assemblies of the church for worship, nurture, and fellowship to celebrate God’s glory, remember His grace, and be strengthened for our mission;

Give ourselves to prayer, the study of God’s word, and other means of devotion that we may better discern God’s will and activity in the world;

Be faithful stewards of our time, influence, talents, and possessions offering ourselves and our resources for the support of the church and its ministries and God’s work in the world;

Establish and maintain a Christian atmosphere in our homes and, if we are blessed with children, to teach and nurture them in the faith;

Live an exemplary moral life worthy of our calling, bringing our faith to bear on all our personal and corporate involvements including our vocation, relationships, decisions, and activities;

Minister to human need recognizing the infinite worth of every person and with a concern for the whole person;

Seek to share our faith as opportunities arise and, with God’s help, so live that others, seeing the joy of Christian living, may also seek to know Jesus Christ as Lord.


I like it, although it is challenging. It focuses on what members should do (orthopraxy) together and little about what they should believe (orthodoxy) as I believe a Covenant should do (as does the New Hampshire covenant Rvaughn posted).

Don’t recall in the Gospels Jesus bringing up a lot of doctrinal beliefs one must assent to.
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Re: Baptist Church Covenants

Postby Sandy » Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:13 pm

There is one located at the end of the responsive reading section in the Baptist Hymnal 1957 edition. We always recited it in church once a month when doing communion. It was also framed at the back of the church.

Having been led, as we believe by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour and, on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 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 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 also engage to maintain family and secret devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale of, and use of, intoxicating drinks as a beverage; to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Saviour.

We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Saviour to secure it 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.
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Re: Baptist Church Covenants

Postby Haruo » Fri Aug 16, 2019 5:28 pm

to abstain from the sale of, and use of, intoxicating drinks as a beverage

So, Sandy, was the hypocrisy of allowing retail grocers and waitresses to take communion and/or of their participation in the recitation of the covenant ever brought up? To me, it just seems glaring, and has ever since I first read this sort of thing.
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Re: Baptist Church Covenants

Postby KeithE » Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:00 pm

These 3 covenants pay far more attention to the leading of the Holy Spirit that they do the study of God’s Word.

That’s how it should be, imo.
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Re: Baptist Church Covenants

Postby Tim Bonney » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:13 pm

KeithE wrote:These 3 covenants pay far more attention to the leading of the Holy Spirit that they do the study of God’s Word.

That’s how it should be, imo.


Theological concern: “God’s Word”= Jesus. Particularly when using caps in English. “In the beginning was the Word....” That is Jesus, not the Bible.
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Re: Baptist Church Covenants

Postby KeithE » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:01 pm

Tim Bonney wrote:
KeithE wrote:These 3 covenants pay far more attention to the leading of the Holy Spirit that they do the study of God’s Word.

That’s how it should be, imo.


Theological concern: “God’s Word”= Jesus. Particularly when using caps in English. “In the beginning was the Word....” That is Jesus, not the Bible.


Yeah, but in these Covenants I think it meant the Bible. “ Study of God’s Word”. Now in the Gospel of John it means Jesus.
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Re: Baptist Church Covenants

Postby Sandy » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:41 pm

Haruo wrote:
to abstain from the sale of, and use of, intoxicating drinks as a beverage

So, Sandy, was the hypocrisy of allowing retail grocers and waitresses to take communion and/or of their participation in the recitation of the covenant ever brought up? To me, it just seems glaring, and has ever since I first read this sort of thing.


It wasn't an immediate problem in the community where I grew up in Arizona. That was in the 60's and 70's. There was a large Mormon presence in the community, three grocery stores, two Mormon owned and none that sold alcohol, including beer or wine. There were a lot of restaurants in town, being located along the interstate, but the only ones that served alcohol had separate cocktail lounges and didn't serve in their dining room. So locally, in the SBC church in which I grew up, we never really discussed it much.

When I went to college in Phoenix, I found a great job as a server/bus boy in a steakhouse less than a mile from campus. I avoided the sale of alcohol issue until I turned 21, because if someone at my table ordered a drink, someone over 21 had to bring it to them. I wasn't all that much into the church covenant at that point anyway, and apparently, neither were many of the church members since several of them were regular customers in the steakhouse and regularly ordered drinks. That's a personal choice and based on personal conviction as far as I am concerned.
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Re: Baptist Church Covenants

Postby Tim Bonney » Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:21 am

KeithE wrote:
Yeah, but in these Covenants I think it meant the Bible. “ Study of God’s Word”. Now in the Gospel of John it means Jesus.


Hard to say looking at the Covenant as it doesn't mention study. J. Newton Brown was an American Baptist BTW.

I've seen versions of this covenant without the alcohol prohibition. I assume it was removed. But I don't know for sure which is the original.
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Re: Baptist Church Covenants

Postby Haruo » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:46 am

Tim Bonney wrote:
KeithE wrote:
Yeah, but in these Covenants I think it meant the Bible. “ Study of God’s Word”. Now in the Gospel of John it means Jesus.


Hard to say looking at the Covenant as it doesn't mention study. J. Newton Brown was an American Baptist BTW.

I've seen versions of this covenant without the alcohol prohibition. I assume it was removed. But I don't know for sure which is the original.

{TIC}Idea for a new hymn, that will go nicely to ASSAM: "I have decided to study Jesus /x3/..."{/TIC}

Timothy, when you write "the Covenant" or "this covenant" I'm thinking you mean the one Sandy quoted, and/or the very similar one Robert started the thread off with, whereas when Keith writes "these 3 covenants" he is including the one from Weatherly Heights, which is where he got the "study of God's word" snippet.
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