Church Covenants: Yes or no?

Some issues have arisen of late regarding a new-but-not-new church covenant practice. I phrased it like that because though the discussion is fairly new, the practice of church covenants is not new. But of late church covenants are re-gaining popularity, and with the wider exposure, come the discussions about whether church covenants are biblical and if they are, if they are profitable. defines church covenants, or ecclesiastical covenants as-
-a solemn agreement between the members of a church to act together in harmony with the precepts of the gospel.
FYI, if you want or need to go back a few steps to the foundation, at Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, Matt Slick defines covenants and the ratification of covenants.

Some say that church covenants are not necessary nor are found anywhere in the Bible. Others say that they are implied and very necessary, as church history shows. Some say that church covenants help solidify one's commitment to the church as a Godly member, others say church covenants are a breeding ground for spiritual abuse. Some say church covenants are wise and necessary, others say they propel members toward idolatry of their church instead of submission to Jesus.

When the Courageous movie and all its associated merchandising came out, I wrote about oaths. The movie people had asked Priscilla Shirer to write an oath, or a resolution, to be sold so that dads who had seen the movie could swear the oath and resolve to be better dads. And then hang it up on the wall of their home, or something. I was against this, because in my opinion it was biblically unnecessary.

In the piece, I said that I was cautious overall about swearing to anything, whether you call it an oath or a resolution or a vow. It's always serious when you swear to something and you sign your name. Covenants are serious serious, though.
Lifeway sells a
Church Covenant card

I've read the pieces linked below. I cannot make up my mind yet as to whether a church covenant is necessary and good or superfluous and unbiblical. I go back and forth. In these articles, covenants are defined and discussed, pro and con. On the YES side, we have Thabiti Anyabwile and Justin Taylor at The Gospel Coalition, as well as John Piper. On the NO side, I found one from Tim Fall. I don't know who Tim Fall is, other than having come across his essay on church covenants, but I found his site by a tweet from someone I trust. As for Wade Burleson, his piece seems biased and I find him liberal, but I link him to offer a balance of opinions from the entire spectrum.


Thabiti Anyabwile: Strengths We've Lost: Church Covenants

The Gospel Coalition/Justin Taylor/John Piper in an essay interview: Why a Church Covenant?

Desiring God/John Piper: sermon title Why a Church Covenant?


Tim Fall:  The Problem with Church Membership Covenants – bad doctrine hurts God’s people

Wade Burleson: Five reasons to Say No to Church Covenants

~~~~~~~~EXAMPLES of Modern Church Covenants~~~~~~~~

The Good: The Village Church (Pastor Matt Chandler)

The Bad: Church Covenants: Are they Biblical and Sensible? A point-by-point refutation of a sample church covenant by Don Koenig

The Ugly: Mars Hill (Ex-Pastor of defunct Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll), actual covenant archived at Joyful Exiles.


1940 Vienna Baptist Church, West Virginia

F1630 First Church Cambridge Massachusetts, "Our Living and Historical Covenants"

Church Covenants: An Annotated Collection


  1. Easy: NO.


  2. This is the first I have heard if a church covenant. No way!

  3. I will read the essays but I have to say no. It's not a biblical view. We as a body no matter where we are located are accountable to Christ. When we live the gospel we are in fellowship with Christ and the body. And when we are not a convenate will not help. Just my opinion.


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