The Family Covenant, Part I PDF Print E-mail
Covenantal Families

 

As established in our mission statement many years ago, it is Candy’s and my hope that our families will be the standard bearers for succeeding generations. A standard is the everyday, accepted benchmark, paradigm, and yardstick for which life is measured according to the Creator and Governor of that life. In battle, the standard bearer raises the army’s banner to lead the soldiers, to remind them for whom they fight and whose honor they represent. Throughout history, the standard serves to define the battle and the men who valiantly struggle for the cause that they love. And throughout time, it has been this devotion to the One True God that has spoken volumes to the world at large.

 

The supreme majesty and honor of Jesus Christ should be the driving force in our lives, as we do all for the glory of God. For we serve a mighty God who deserves nothing less than our singular loyalty, yet this loyalty is not limited to our relationship with Him, but must exhibit itself in our relationship to others and to the world at large. However, the method we pursue to reach the world makes all the difference between failure and success, as exhibited by a woman from our church who expressed her joy in learning about the family covenant and the revelation that followed as to why her prior church had failed at producing fruit even though they genuinely desired reaching the lost.

 

It all hinged on the fact that the church had not followed God’s strategy for taking dominion of the culture through strengthening their families, but instead placed their trust in modern evangelistic methods, which only further alienated individual family members from one another to the point of their own destruction. Their goal was to get as many people saved as they could by having them pray the prayer, as if that was some magical key that unlocked the gates as soon as it was repeated.

 

The dichotomy of the dilemma that exists today is obviously evident in the following conversation Candy had with a young man who was pursuing a career in filmmaking. Realizing the significance of a producer’s power to sway his audience, in the course of the conversation, Candy questioned his motive for producing movies. In response, he expressed his belief that life was all about getting people saved, thus his goal was to do just that.

 

“Saved for what?” she asked. He looked at her as if she were from another planet and sat there speechless. Apparently no one had ever confronted his deficient understanding of the great commission and the family covenant. So she continued. “As it is parents’ responsibility to raise their children in the admonition of the Lord, if children are regenerated at a young age, which is when most people are saved, and if the goal is heaven, why would God keep us on this earth for another sixty to seventy years?”

 

He said he had never thought about it in those terms, and so she continued. “First of all we cannot save anyone; only God saves through the hearing of the Word, so we must speak His Word into all areas of life. Secondly, Christ tells us to make disciples, which takes a great amount of time and effort. Finally, God does not save us just so that we are assured of a glorious eternity. From the very beginning, God mandated that we take dominion of this earth for His glory, through our families, by governing our families, our churches, our businesses, and our civil government according to His Word. The Creator of this world did not compartmentalize life into segments of on and off limits; the mystical heavenly for which we wait while the rest of the world operates in the bondage of darkness. He instituted the family, the church, and civil government and laid out very specific guidelines as to how each should be governed.”

 

Man was created in God’s image. God delegates to “them,” meaning the family, the authority over creation and commands the family unit to subdue the earth. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” Genesis 1:26-28

 

Reformation of Our Families, Communities, Nation, and the World Through Biblical Dominion

 

Just yesterday, I spoke with another man who shared about his family’s departure from a church he had previously attended because he felt that their doctrine on dominion was responsible for their members’ self-absorption to the exclusion of evangelism. Of course, I cannot speak for this particular church, but I can clarify what dominion means and qualify what the implementation of biblical dominion looks like. And from what he described, this church’s behavior was totally contrary to the dominion mandate set forth in scripture.

 

On a broader level, many people do not understand God’s strategy for bringing the world into submission to Him and therefore reject this biblical mandate, while others possess a myopic focus, resulting in an inability to adapt God’s model to practical execution of this fundamental doctrine in their own lives. Indeed, this often stems from the cultural mandate that God’s Law only applies to the Church, whereby separating the spiritual from the rest of secular life. Yet in spite of man’s failure to carry out God’s mandate to take dominion of all areas of life for His glory, it is still His order, nonetheless, and thus requires adherence.

 

Allow me to reiterate that this foundational doctrine was given to the first Adam, and subsequently repeated and patterned throughout God’s Word, implemented first in families through fathers’ diligent discipleship of their own children, and their children’s children, to faithfully abide by God’s Word, and then carried out by those families through the dominion mandate by making disciples of everyone everywhere. Conquest was achieved not with physical force but by the sword of the Spirit, which was the Word of God. In practical terms, that meant since the earth is the Lord’s, men were to serve as His representatives to bring fallen culture back into submission to God through His Word.

 

God then reiterated this mandate to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jacob’s sons, the Hebrew nation, until finally, the last Adam, Jesus Christ, summed up this dominion mandate in the Great Commission when He said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

 

Tragically, this noble mission has been subverted, to the extent that our once Christian Republic—which was founded on God’s Law with a vision for His glory—appears to have capitulated to a coup of antagonistic heathen who threaten the very existence of the family—the institution on which the church and civil government rests and the one that blesses the nation. But when we understand that God has always worked through family covenant, we understand why the battle is being waged on that entity.

 

Still, in spite of the carnage we see today, we must realize that this battle did not begin with our present leader’s term or with the leader before him, but commenced many generations ago. Therefore, it is going to take time to restore God’s rightful place. Our family’s desire then is to renew a vision and a commitment to rebuild the foundation by returning to God’s covenant for the family.

 

Although we work towards this goal in everything we pursue, we actually dedicated our entire 2012 CHEF conference to reestablishing this vision of our noble mission with the great speakers of our time—Doug Phillips, Kevin Swanson, Marshall Foster, Dr. Paul Jehle, Dr. Joe Morecraft, Colonel John Eidsmoe, Douglas Bond, Chuck Bentley, Wade Myers and others—confirming the historical and biblical truth of dominion-taking in all areas of life through the family covenant.

 

A Covenant

 

Noah Webster defines covenant as “a mutual consent or agreement of two or more persons, to do or to forbear some act or thing; a contract…A covenant is created by deed in writing, sealed and executed…In theology, the covenant of works, is that implied in the commands, prohibitions, and promises of God; the promise of God to man, that man’s perfect obedience should entitle him to happiness. This do and live; that do and die. The covenant of redemption is the mutual agreement between the Father and Son, respecting the redemption of sinners by Christ. The covenant of grace is that by which God engages to bestow salvation on man, upon the condition that man shall believe in Christ and yield obedience to the terms of the gospel.” Covenant is “a binding and solemn agreement made by two or more individuals, parties, etc. to do or keep from doing a specified thing; compact.” The Hebrew word is berith, which means “to bind or to fetter; a binding obligation.”

 

Simply put, a covenant is a solemn act of commitment that binds individuals together. Throughout history, the men of old thought in terms of biblical covenants as they pertained to marriage, family, business, church, and nation. There was no area of life that was left untouched. It is what bound them together in commitment and trust for the purpose of achieving God’s will as evidenced in such documents as the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. Pledging themselves to one another, they looked to God’s Holy Spirit for help in keeping the covenants in which they entered, for they knew that He alone was faithful, and the only means by which the covenant could be efficaciously executed.

 

In essence, God serves as the Author, the Witness and the Living Spirit that works out the keeping of the oath. Thus, the words, “So help me, God” when giving testimony in a court of law and swearing allegiance to the Constitution for holding public office. This is why, in the early history of our country, only Christians were allowed to serve as civil magistrates. For men understood that only those who were filled with His Holy Spirit were capable of obeying His covenant. Moreover, God not only witnesses the oath but judges those who are unfaithful to their word. This is why a man’s word is as good as a contract, why a breach of contract is punishable, and why divorce is such a grave sin. It is all about being faithful to the contents of the covenant.

 

“In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.” Hebrews 6:17

 

“Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9

 

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle. The LORD performs righteous deeds and judgments for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting  to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them. The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. Bless the LORD, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, obeying the voice of His word! Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you who serve Him, doing His will. Bless the LORD, all you works of His, in all places of His dominion; bless the LORD, O my soul!” Psalm 103

 

“Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and its Holy One, to the despised One, to the One abhorred by the nation, to the Servant of rulers, ‘Kings will see and arise, princes will also bow down, because of the LORD who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You.’” Isaiah 49:7
 

“‘At that time,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.’… ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.’” Jeremiah 31:1,3