Membership Covenant

15 Oct

Yesterday in worship I shared the membership covenant written by early members of Ebenezer Baptist Church and adopted by the church on January 4, 1823.  Thought I would share it a and a rough modernization of it this morning:

ARTICLE IV – Church Covenant – Adopted by Ebenezer Baptist Church, January 4, 1823.

“…we do solemnly covenant and agree:”

“First, that we will take the only living and true God in three Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – to be our God.

In MODERN ENGLISH:  When we refer to God … and the Trinity … We are talking about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  And we worship Him and Him ALONE.

“Secondly, we unreservedly and solemnly give up ourselves, both soul and body, and all we possess, to Almighty God to be ordered, directed, and disposed of by him, according to the counsel of his holy will.  And this we do in an humble dependence on the grace of the Holy Spirit, to aid and support us in these sacred engagements.

We will give up OURSELVES … EVERYTHING THAT WE ARE AND HAVE … TO BE COMPLETELY CONTROLLED AND DIRECTED BY GOD.  AND WE DEPEND ON THE HOLY SPIRIT TO GUIDE US AND SHOW US.

“Thirdly, we take the scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be our rule of faith and practice, both in the great concerns of religion and the general affairs of life; and particularly for transacting the business of the church.

We believe God’s Word to be our standard of living, both in spiritual matters AND in LIFE and especially when doing the business of the church.

“Fourthly, we promise to maintain communion and fellowship with each other in the public worship of God, according to the various ordinances of the gospel; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but embracing all regular, convenient seasons for this purpose, as the providence of God shall permit.  And that we will exercise Christian forbearance and love, one toward another: praying for, and sympathizing with each order, in the various circumstances of life, and using every laudable endeavor to provoke to love and good works.

We PROMISE that we will WORSHIP TOGETHER as much as God permits us. We will have communion with God and fellowship with each other.  And we will love each other, pray for each other, sympathize with each other, and everything we do will promote LOVE and GOOD WORKS.

“Fifthly, we promise individually, to pay a respectful regard to the advice and admonitions of the church, and to be subject to its discipline as directed by the word of God, and conducted in the Spirit of the gospel.

We will pay respect to the advice and guidance of the church, and will be subject to BIBLICAL DISCIPLINE as the church sees fit.

“Sixthly, we promise to contribute in a reasonable manner, according to our ability, for the support of public worship and the relief of the poor in the church and to use our influence to forward and promote the interest of the Redeemer’s kingdom in the world; that we will be careful to conduct ourselves with uprightness and integrity and in a peaceful and friendly manner toward mankind in general and toward serious Christians of all descriptions, in particular; that we will also pay a conscientious regard to civil government, and give it our support, as an ordinance of God.

We promise to TITHE, to GIVE to efforts of the church, to be people of INTEGRITY, and we will be INVOLVED and SUPPORT civil government, an establishment of God.  And we will work to use our influence to advance the Kingdom of God in this world! 

And this covenant we make, with the free and full consent of our souls, hoping through rich, free and boundless grace we shall therein be accepted of God, unto eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory and majesty, power and dominion, everlasting.  Amen.”

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