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The Troubles with Church Covenants

A Warning Twelve Years Ago


The following article was originally published in a 2003 Discernment Ministries Newsletter. Due to a series of moves, computer crashes, and website changes the original article had been lost. It has been archived on Berit Kjos’s Crossroad.to website for many years, and we thank her for preserving it.


Recently, with the rise of investigative reports on the aftermath of Mark Driscoll and the Mars Hill Church debacle, this 2003 article has gained renewed importance. This article is a “snapshot in time.” It represents what was going on twelve years ago when the covenant-signing movement was charging full steam ahead.


Why did we write this? We had experienced this type of church structure earlier, in its formative and experimental years during the late 1970s and early 1980s. At that time it was known as “heavy shepherding,” a top-down leadership wielding control over the congregation. This movement was abusive and left many damaged sheep in its wake. During the next few decades we witnessed firsthand the adverse effects as Leadership Network was putting its hierarchical networks into place and developing prototypes for its obscurantist operations for megachurches.


The fallout of this church covenant agenda can now be seen in the deluge of post-Mars Hill disaster reports. High-demand church organizations, with their excessive pressures to conform, have left in their wake much collateral damage. Women, mothers, the handicapped, the infirm, and elderly have particularly suffered under this systemic transformation. They cannot measure up to the “Missional” Type A personality- and performance-driven church standards. Many experienced shunning, or worse, and many have left the faith entirely. Yet there are many saints who kept their faith, quietly serving the Lord far away from the limelights of “healthy, wealthy and hip.”


For twelve years now we have listened to the stories of hundreds of disenfranchised and disheveled sheep who were tossed under the bus. Their heart-rending tales motivated us to continue writing from our unique perspective, standing outside of what is now called the “evangelical industrial complex.” In 2004 we published a sequel to this report, a monograph, The Pied Pipers of Purpose. Shortly thereafter we began publishing articles on this blog recounting Leadership Network and its pivotal role (see a few links at the bottom of this article). What follows is our original 2003 article, still warning about this movement.

The Shepherding Movement Comes of Age

There is a new twist in the old Shepherding Movement and it
is coming soon to your church, if it hasn’t already. This new twist is
presented to pastors wrapped in silver gilding, and looks quite reasonable and
rational. Should a discerning pastor, or one who steeps himself in the Word,
take a second look, the gild disappears and in its place will appear rust and
corrosion.
Across the country, parishioners are now being challenged to
take oaths, perform vows and sign covenants. These things would have been
unheard of in generations past for one simple reason. These things used to be
forbidden, or only permitted under the gravest of circumstances. A few decades
ago churches founded their beliefs sturdily upon the rocks of historical
creeds, documents that have withstood the test of time and human whim, and which
have imparted to each new generation an understanding of the major tenets of
the Gospel faith. Now, in our latter days of dumbed-down Christianity, a
minimal number of people in the pews know the creeds, have studied them, or even
know about them!
And it is no wonder. A few years ago a pastor told a particularly
grievous story. He had attended a meeting with pastors from his conservative denomination.
At the meeting the men were handed paper and pencils and asked to come up with
their own creeds. This pastor was duly horrified! Courageously he stood to
speak against this. The great historical creeds of Christianity, he stated,
were wrought in the fires of persecution, under great seriousness and solemn efforts
to preserve the Truth of the Gospel. Wasn’t this a frivolous, touchy-feely kind
of exercise? Should a handful of men in an auditorium even dare to presume to
be able to come up with such a ponderous document in a few short minutes with
paper and pencil, he asked. His protest, sadly, was greeted with scorn and
ridicule.
The New Covenants
Churches which have come under the influence of Rick Warren,
Lyle Schaller, Bob Buford, or any of the other church growth business-model
experts, have undergone profound changes. They will have adopted a Mission
Statement, Core Values, and Vision, often through a “consensus” and “dialogue”
technique. In order to become a member of these churches, parishioners are
required to sign an oath to uphold their church’s covenant. The word
“covenant,” which used to have biblical significance, is now applied liberally
to this new church structure, apparently to give it credibility.
These churches post their covenants on the Internet,
presumably so that “seekers” will read about their church. Each church which
has adopted this new model of membership is exactly like each other church.
They are all cut from the same mold. “New Age” Unitarian churches have adopted
the same plan as Presbyterian Reformed churches. Baptist, Assembly of God,
Nazarene…. the list could go on and on. The new church structure is
cross-denominational. Everybody’s plan looks exactly like everybody else’s
plan, even though some churches have been led to believe that they had reached
their own “original” or “grassroots” plan. This new plan came from on high, and
it was carefully calculated to lure pastors and leaders into its new system of
church governance.
This emergent church is hierarchical in nature. It is a
top-down management structure, resembling the old shepherding models of the
1970s. There is an over-emphasis on “leaders” and “leadership” and “leadership
potential.” In many of these churches, leaders are given complete authority
over the lives of those in their flocks.
The Valley Church Servant Leader Covenant is a typical
model. The aspiring leader makes a commitment with the church:
As a servant of God in The Valley
Church, I want to unite with my fellow servant leaders at this time to
undertake commitments appropriate for leadership. These commitments are made in
the first place between me and the Lord, and in the second place between me and
this community. Realizing that I may fail at times to fully keep these
commitments, I think it is important that I purpose in my heart and confirm
publicly my desire to keep them. Although this covenant may be changed in
coming years this is where we presently stand as a church.
A list of “Spiritual Commitments” includes a daily prayer
life; regular time in God’s Word; active involvement in a small group (usually
a cell group); responding obediently to God’s discipline; purposing to
discover, develop and use spiritual gifts; living a moral life, maintaining a
healthy family life; attending church services; tithing; and supporting the
leadership. Most church covenants emphasize the word “all” or “everyone” in
their statements such as “Everyone involved in a weekly or ongoing ministry” or
“everyone involved in discipleship experience.” No one is excepted.
Each church covenant includes a section pertaining to resolution
of conflict. These examples are noteworthy in their extreme application of
Matthew 18, in which the parishioner must agree to never speak “evil” of anyone
or any leader in the church, including “negative” or “critical” statements
about church policies or doctrines. Also, the conclusion of any dispute will be
resolved by the leadership of the church, and the parishioner must agree
beforehand to submit to their discipline.
Membership is described as the “gateway to leadership.”
Everyone is presumed a potential leader. Aspiring leaders must make additional
commitments, usually called “responsibilities,” which have to do with
evangelism, promoting church programs, discipling others, agreeing to be held
accountable, and undergoing periodic “continuing education.”
There is a signature line and a date at the bottom of these
covenants for people to sign, indicating their commitment to abide by this new
church structure. Some churches require that their members sign the covenant
yearly. Others only require it upon membership. Some churches require strict
adherence to the oaths, and promise that they will hold the members
accountable. Other churches leave wiggle room for people who fail. One church
states: “While nothing is set in stone, nor do we track your fulfillment of the
covenant items, this Covenant does give you an idea of the level of commitment
we consider membership to be here.” Some churches reveal that their covenants
may change, although it is not specified whether the parishioners will be able
to participate in this process, or be given a chance to re-sign the oath at
that time.
The use of New Age terminology is often mixed with
biblical-sounding language. One church explains why it is necessary for its
parishioners to sign a “pledge”: “…a pledge is a solemn promise (which is an
indication of future excellence) characterized by deep thought. That is exactly
the kind of spiritual practice I would have us engage in! To make a pledge is
to enter into an agreement, and to agree is to be of one mind. A pledge holds
more potential than I ever realized…. Let us consider making and keeping
agreements that express that harmony and oneness.” Another church explains that
their “collective consciousness on social issues” is “not enforced
legalistically but members agree to embrace them….” Yet another church states
that a “membership covenant implies a clear ownership of the core values,
beliefs, vision, and mission that function as the DNA of congregational life
embedded into every leader” for a “shared identity.”
A few churches, which were originally founded upon a
congregational model, give slightly more freedom to lay people in leadership
and decision-making roles. However, this new church structure is markedly
characterized by the demise of congregational forms of church governance. In
fact, some churches have re-written their bylaws, and make them part of the
actual church covenant which must be signed. In these cases the parishioner is
then signing a legal contract as well as joining a church body.
ThatChurch! is probably the scariest example of the new
covenant, found on a brief Internet search. “Congregational members do not have
the right to vote in business matters of the church…. All governmental authority
in the church shall be vested in the Director of Ministries, the Board of
Directors, and the Leadership Team as set forth in the Articles of
Incorporation and Bylaws of the Church.” The leaders can prescribe that members
take any courses of study at any time. Members are accepted into the church at
the sole discretion of the “Director of Ministries” and must fulfill
“responsibilities” such as “follow and support the leadership of this church as
they follow the Lord.” In exchange they are offered “rights and privileges”
which include permission to attend worship services; entitlement to receive
Christian teaching, personal pastoral care, and prayer support; and
opportunities to grow in the Lord.
In an ominous revivification of the shepherding movement,
ThatChurch!’s bylaws indicate, “Grounds for discipline will be determined by
the leadership of the church.” Many paragraphs later, after incredibly detailed
explanations of how disciplinary functions will be carried out, it becomes evident
that the church leaders retain the right to bar members from the “rights and
privileges” listed earlier in their bylaws. But, it isn’t over yet. Each member
must consent in advance “to the
exclusive jurisdiction of the church in resolving any matter involving church
discipline.” Further, there is an elaborate explanation of
mediation/arbitration and “outcome” of such discipline, including agreeing to
“specifically and expressly [waive] any right to sue in a civil court on any
matter covered herein.”
Rick Warren Driving
the Church
Dr. Robert Klenck, an orthopedic surgeon, has been speaking
out at conferences around the country about the origination of this new
covenant agenda. He explains that Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose-Driven Church, has sold over a million copies and that
over 150,000 pastors and church leaders have been trained in his model.1
Rick Warren was mentored by Peter Drucker, a corporate management guru with
strong ties to the New Age/New World Order. Drucker “influenced the start and growth
of Saddleback Church.”2
Drucker has dedicated much effort into bringing the church
into conformance with the “systems” model of governance, which is known as
Total Quality Management in the corporate world. In this model, parishioners
are “customers.” The focus shifts to “outcomes” which means that people will
have to be held “accountable” for “performance.” Certain rewards (“rights”) and
“responsibilities” accompany these outcomes, and a small group structure like
cell groups is a perfect way to ensure that people are meeting these
“outcomes.” These “outcomes” or expectations are driven by people, not by the
Lord or His Word. By implication, if one doesn’t meet the “outcomes,” there may
be “penalties” such as the ones prescribed by ThatChurch!
According to Klenck there are rapidly developing networks
for “21st century churches” and “best practice churches.” These
networks are databasing churches and parishioners. Chief among the
organizations spearheading this change is the Leadership Network, which
provides “technical assistance” for orchestrated “continuous” change in
churches, fitting churches neatly into the business model.
Peter Drucker grew up under the influence of the German philosophies
of the 1800s. His “systems” theories are based on “General Systems Theory”
(GST) which is esoteric, derived from a merger of social Darwinism and eastern
mysticism. GST believes that man is evolving to a higher-order. In order for
this to occur, man must become unified and of one consciousness. Drucker developed
the theory of a 3-legged stool – Corporate, State and “private sector” (Church).
The first half of his long life (he is 94 years old) was devoted to merging
Corporate and State into one “system.” The second half of his life has been
devoted to merging Church with Corporate, and Church with State into one
comprehensive system. He has been wildly successful.
Drucker is a communitarian, which is a modern “communist”
who has effectually distanced their views from the old communists. In his communitarian
model of governance, the State is in reality the only leg of the stool. The
Corporate and the Church subsume their identities and comfortably merge with
State into one comprehensive “system” of governance for mankind. Drucker’s
ideas gave rise to the faith-based institution movement of the last decade.
Indeed, it is noteworthy that the highest concentration of
the new “covenant” style churches can be found in the faith-based arena. The
federal bills in Washington that originally began dispersing funds to churches
that were doing welfare reform, job training, etc. required that these churches
exhibit “ecumenicity.” Churches receiving federal dollars must be held
“accountable” One significant way to achieve this goal is to transform the
churches into the Corporate/State mode of governance, using the “systems”
model.
It is not uncommon, therefore, to find that faith-based, government-financed
“covenant” churches are requiring even more of their members. Members at one such
church in Pennsylvania must participate in daily e-mails from the pastor,
evening worship several nights a week, daily intercession activities, cell
group activities, and up to 5 hours per week of “community service” in any of
over a dozen state-funded, community-based “ministries.” Churches like this one
have become “centers” for State charity work. They then become “accountable” to
the “State” for the monies that they receive. When one signs an oath to uphold
the covenant of this type of church, they are also agreeing to uphold the
State/Church relationship!
What Does God’s Word
Say?
Again, ye have heard that it hath been said
by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto
the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven;
for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by
Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by
thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your
communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh
of evil.
(Matthew 5:33-37)
But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven,
neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into
condemnation.

(James 5:12)
According to Webster’s, a “covenant” is a “binding, and
solemn agreement made by two or more individuals, parties, etc. do to or keep
from doing a specified thing.” Covenants can be legally binding contracts.
“Covenant” can also mean “an agreement among members of a church to defend and
maintain its doctrines, polity, faith, etc.” Covenants are supposed to be
irrevocable, unchanging and binding on those who made it. It is the strongest
expression of a relationship.
An “oath” is a “ritualistic declaration, typically based on
an appeal to God or a god,or to some revered person or object, that one will
speak the truth, keep a promise, remain faithful, etc.” An oath, therefore, is
a sworn promise to keep the terms of a covenant or agreement. The oath is a
verbal statement or pledge to keep the covenant. Related to the word “oath” are
the words “vow” and “pledge.”
The issue of taking oaths came up a few years ago when the
men of Promise Keepers were making seven promises. It is possible that PK broke
the ground on this matter, desensitizing Christians to the whole idea of taking
an oath. On the one hand, the “promises,” like those of PK, seemed like 7
“suggestions” and trivialized the whole idea of keeping commandments. On the
other hand, it is important to realize that in the spirit world there is great
significance to these matters. There are rituals that accompany these
activities, and it is believed that curses accompany broken covenants or
failure to keep an oath or vow. Pagans would invoke the name of a deity to set
evil in motion. Secret societies such as freemasons require oaths. This
explains one major reason why the Lord Himself would state the issue so
strongly in His Sermon on the Mount.
Historically, Christians have agreed with these Scriptures
and opposed oath-taking. These verses from Scripture were considered to be so
vital for a Christian that at the time of the Reformation both the Anabaptist
and Reformed branches of the church addressed them in their creeds. From the
Reformed branch, from which arose churches such as Congregational, Lutheran,
Anglican and Presbyterian, came the Westminster Confession of Faith, Article
22:

Of
Lawful Oaths and Vows.

I. A lawful oath is
a part of religious worship, wherein upon just occasion, the person swearing
solemnly calleth God to witness what he asserteth or promiseth; and to judge
him according to the truth or falsehood of what he sweareth.


II. The name of God
only is that by which men ought to swear, and therein it is to be used with all
holy fear and reverence; therefore to swear vainly or rashly by that glorious
and dreadful name, or to swear at all by any other thing, is sinful, and to be
abhorred. Yet, as, in matters of weight and moment, an oath is warranted by the
Word of God, under the New Testament, as well as under the Old, so a lawful
oath, being imposed by lawful authority, in such matters ought to be taken.


III. Whosoever
taketh an oath ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act, and
therein to avouch nothing but what he is fully persuaded is the truth. Neither
may any man bind himself by oath to any thing but what is good and just, and
what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and resolved to perform. Yet it
is a sin to refuse an oath touching any thing that is good and just, being
imposed by lawful authority.


IV. An oath is to
be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation or
mental reservation. It can not oblige to sin; but in any thing not sinful,
being taken, it binds to performance, although to a man’s own hurt: nor is it
to be violated, although made to heretics or infidels.


V. A vow is of the
like nature with a promissory oath, and ought to be made with the like
religious care, and to be performed with the like faithfulness.


VI. It is not to be
made to any creature, but to God alone: and that it may be accepted, it is to
be made voluntarily, out of faith and conscience of duty, in way of
thankfulness for mercy received, or for obtaining of what we want; whereby we
more strictly bind ourselves to necessary duties, or to other things, so far
and so long as they may fitly conduce thereunto.


VII. No man may vow
to do any thing forbidden in the Word of God, or what would hinder any duty
therein commanded, or which is not in his own power, and for the performance of
which he hath no promise or ability from God. In which respects, monastical
vows of perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular obedience, are so
far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious and
sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself.

Especially note Sections VI and VII, in which oaths were to
be voluntary, a personal matter of conscience, unto God alone, not contrary to
the Word of God, and in utter dependence upon God to keep. Also of relevance is
Article 20, Section II, which pertains to blind obedience, destruction of
liberty of conscience, and loss of reason:
II. God alone is
Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and
commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his Word, or beside it
in matters of faith on worship. So that to believe such doctrines, or to obey
such commandments out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience;
and the requiring an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to
destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.

The new oaths and covenants run counter to the historical
Reformed church on many counts. Whereas previously the Ten Commandments would
have been taught, now they are replaced by new church laws which are subjective
and potentially heretical. Previously these churches would have taught that
Christ won on the cross liberty from the laws of men, and that the conscience
is subject to God alone. The Reformed church used to teach that man lives by
faith, and through His strength man is able to keep His commands. Now a new
structure has been erected, with man-made laws, and man-directed
accountability.
The Anabaptist branch of the Church, from which came
Baptists, the Pentecostals, and modern evangelicals, historically took a
stronger stand and opposed taking oaths altogether. The Anabaptist beliefs can
best be summarized by the Dordrecht Confession of Faith (1632):
XV. Of the Swearing of Oaths
Concerning the swearing of oaths we believe and confess that
the Lord Christ has set aside and forbidden the same to His disciples, that
they should not swear at all, but that yea should be yea, and nay, nay; from
which we understand that all oaths, high and low, are forbidden, and that
instead of them we are to confirm all our promises and obligations, yea, all
our declarations and testimonies of any matter, only with our word yea, in that
which is yea, and with nay, in that which is nay; yet, that we must always, in
all matters, and with everyone, adhere to, keep, follow, and fulfill the same,
as though we had confirmed it with a solemn oath. And if we do this, we trust
that no one, not even the Magistracy itself, will have just reason to lay a
greater burden on our mind and conscience. Matt. 5:34, 35; Jas. 5:12; II Cor.
1:17. 

The Schleithheim Confession (1527), Article 7 states, in
part:
Seventh. We are agreed as follows
concerning the oath: The oath is a confirmation among those who are quarreling
or making promises. In the Law it is commanded to be performed in God’s Name,
but only in truth, not falsely. Christ, who teaches the perfection of the Law,
prohibits all swearing to His [followers], whether true or false, — neither by
heaven, nor by the earth, nor by Jerusalem, nor by our head, — and that for
the reason which He shortly thereafter gives, For you are not able to make one
hair white or black. So you see it is for this reason that all swearing is
forbidden: we cannot fulfill that which we promise when we swear, for we cannot
change [even] the very least thing on us.
Even today the conservative Mennonites and Amish descendants
of the original Anabaptists will not take an oath, but will instead “affirm.” Churches
used to teach, even a generation ago, that any words that served no useful
function should not be spoken, that it was wrong to “curse” (oaths, swear
words), and that “minced oaths” were sinful (“Gosh,” “Gee,” “darn,” etc.). It
used to be taught that even portions of oaths, such as “Well, I’ll be…” or “So
help me…” were wrong to speak. In today’s loose climate of speech, action, and
morality it is no wonder that oaths have now gained a foothold. Remember when a
man’s word was “as good as gold”? Few remember or adhere to the old ways of
integrity, honesty and forthrightness.
The Trouble With
Taking Oaths
Shall men take an oath or make a promise that they have no
intention of keeping? Shall they sign on to a covenant that they may break? Not
only is this forbidden by Scripture, but in days past this would have been
dishonorable and disgraceful act. One Christian writer, Paul Shirk, in his
book, Come Out of Her My People, has
expressed it well:
We…however much we swear, can
never guarantee a course of action, therefore we say, “if the Lord will, we
shall live, and do this, or that,” for we know not what may be on the morrow.

Our yes and no should represent
the honest intentions of the heart and will, but above that we risk falling
into condemnation (James 5:12) for our inability to perform an oath. Originally
the oath was used to commit the will to the proper course of action; now, men
that have the Spirit of Truth are to simply affirm it with a “yes” and stand by
their word.
3
Matthew Henry, in his Commentaries,
on James 5:12, addressed this topic:
…those who swear commonly and
profanely the name of God do hereby put Him upon the level with every common
thing. Profane swearing was customary among the Jews. Some of the looser sort
of those who were called Christians might be guilty also of this. But why above
all things is swearing forbidden? Because it strikes most directly at the honor
of God and throws contempt upon His name and authority. …Let it suffice you to
confirm or deny a thing, and stand to your word, and be true to it, so as to
give no occasion for your being suspected of falsehood. Then you will be kept
from the condemnation of backing what you say or promise by rash oaths, and
from profaning the name of God to justify yourselves.
The new oaths and covenants put a pressure on church people –
a pressure that comes, not from God but from man. Peer orientation, fear
factors, and the demands to conform or meet expectations prevail. The focus is
on self-mastery, not God-directed discipline. Some will do the bare minimum
just to “get by.” For others, good deeds that were formerly done in secret,
arising out of love and compassion, are now done openly and boldly so that
leaders will see and approve.
This new “gospel” of “works” requires one to neglect the
unseen duties of life. One must perform visible deeds in order to meet
requirements of “accountability” – even to the detriment of their God-given
responsibilities. Women will especially suffer under this odious system,
developed by corporate businessmen and perpetuated by institutional church men.
Caring for elderly parents, nursing babies, chasing toddlers, raising
handicapped children, homeschooling, or other family-oriented personal deeds of
self-sacrifice and love which are performed on a hourly basis every day of the
week, will go unnoticed and unrewarded in this new “system.” Fulfilling the onerous
requirements and obligations of these types of covenants will be well-nigh
impossible for those who are elderly, infirm, or duty-bound to others. Should
these churches establish two tiers of membership – one for the “do-ers” and the
other for the “be-ers”? Or are those who are less able or unable to meet the
stringent requirements unwelcome?
Indeed there is a certain elitism about the new church
structure. Pastors who are true shepherds, quietly feeding their flocks on the
hillsides of life, ministering to their births, deaths, illnesses and crises,
can’t compete in this new system where everything is “purpose-driven.” This new
style of church is for the Type-A personality who is “driven” by “results.”
Everything is programmed according to modern business methods The little church
in the vale isn’t good enough anymore – everything has turned into a “volunteer
mobilization unit.”
A Still Small Word
There may be a reason for the upsurge in oaths and
covenants. It may have to do with the agenda of Peter Drucker and his
management gurus who wish to transform the Church into the likeness of the
Corporation and the State. Historically, “citizens were required to take an
oath of fealty. Starting from the year 1066, every English male took an oath of
allegiance to the King of England. When the Protestants had established their
power in England in 1688, additional oaths were required denouncing the Pope’s
authority and the doctrine of transubstantiation.”4 In other words,
States have required oaths and the Churches, whenever or wherever they have
reigned supremely, have required oaths.
Wherever the nationally
established Christian religions have taken root they have tried to use
religious oaths as a means to bind the wills and consciences of men to their
own expediency and have used various methods to argue that Christ never meant
what he plainly said concerning the taking of oaths.
5
Oaths and covenants are a new form of legalism entering the
church like a flood. They require more of us than Scripture requires. It is a
horrible new form of bondage, accomplished in the name of a new church for the 21st
century. This is a “transformation” not a “reformation.” It would return the
church to the dark ages of oppressive State Church. This movement did not arise
from God, but from the rapacious desires of evil men.
If you have been caught up in this whole extravaganza, and
are marching in this parade, it is time to slow down, stop and reflect. If you
have taken an oath to one of these new covenants, you can repent. The Gospel of
the Lord Jesus Christ does not require so much of us:
“The Lord do so to me, and more
also,” is God’s form of Old Testament oaths – a binding of judgment upon the
soul. From this shackle the Lord frees us when He asks us to “Swear not at all.”
If free from condemnation, why should we invite the judgment by taking the
oath? (S.F. Coffman)
Come unto me, all ye that
labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you,
and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto
your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

(Matthew
11:28-30)

Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself,
and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us
everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and
stablish you in every good word and work.

(2 Thess. 2:16-17)
Endnotes:
  1. For
    solid documentation on Peter Drucker and his work with Rick Warren and
    others in the church growth movement, readers are referred to Readings In the Dialectic: Papers
    Presented at The Institution for Authority Research Diaprax Conferences
    ,
    “How Diaprax Manifests Itself in the Church (Growth Movement),” Dr. Robert
    E. Klenck. This booklet is available for $15 plus shipping from the
    Institution for Authority Research, Box 233, Herndon, KS 67739, iardeangotcher@yahoo.com.
  2. Http://www.fullydevoted.blogspot.com/2002_12_15_fullydevoted_archive.html,
    p. 3.
  3. Come Out of Her My People by Paul
    Shirk, page 164. This book, which is a scholarly apologetic work which
    effectively counters modern dominionist theology, is available from
    Discernment Ministries for $11.00 plus postage.
  4. Ibid,
    page 160.
  5. Ibid,
    page 166.

Original authorship of this article was attributed to Lynn D. and Sarah H. Leslie. Credit must also be given to Susan J. Conway, whose research assistance was invaluable. 

For further information the topics covered in this old article, simply google terms and names with the word “Herescope” and our previous webpages will appear. Also see the Discernment Newsletters webpage which has articles on the shepherding movement dating back to the early 1990s, as well as current articles on these topics.

For our writings on Mars Hill, see: 
The Culture Which Gave Rise to Mark Driscoll
Part 1: “We Are Not ABANDONED”
Part 2: “Under the Bus” and “Off the Map” – The Out-of-Control Bus That Runs Over Sheep
Part 3: The MegaChurch Transit Authority and How it Operates

Part 4: The “Visionpath” Bus Route: The Road Most Traveled

Articles about the use of cultural or Dominionist covenants:
The New Global Civility
Manifestos, Declarations and Covenants
The Manhattan Declaration: Another Dominionist Covenant 
The Baal Covenant: Part 3: Divorcing Baal