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The Covenant Family (Yoohoo PastorFreud)

Discussion in 'Non-denominational' started by Gabriel, Oct 29, 2002.

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  1. Gabriel

    Gabriel I Once Was Lost, But Now Am Found

    +100
    Calvinist
    Married
    US-Republican
    Genesis 17:9-11  And God said to Abraham: "As for you, you shall keep My conenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.  This is My covenant which you shall keep between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins,  and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you."  This promise extended to Abraham was a promise that God would take care of his family.

    We see this continue in Psalm 103:17 "But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children's children.  Luke 7:11-17 - Christ brings the dead son back to life because He favors the mother. 1Corinthians 7:14- the believing parent sanctifies the child.  Acts 16:5 -  Lydia is saved and her entire household is baptized.

    God's covenant with Abraham was that He would bless and protect ALL his descendants.  We as believers are descendants of Abraham.  Thus the covenant applies to us and our children.  As believers we can be sure that God's protection and blessings are upon our children as well as ourselves.  This does NOT guarantee that our children are among the elect.  Their salvation is not guaranteed because of our belief.  Our part in the covenant is to bring them up in the adminition of the Lord, teaching them both by word and deed the Word of God.

    You said that this is contrary to your belief.  What is your belief on this subject?
     
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  2. PastorFreud

    PastorFreud Lie back on the couch.

    +173
    Protestant
    Just to be clear, I said that this seems to be contrary to my belief.  Until I evaluate what the doctrine is, I am reserving judgment.

    Let's see if I get the argument (or formulation of the doctrine) straight first.

    1.  God made a covenant with Abraham that he would protect and bless his descendants.
    (I would like to clarify protect and bless.  Protect obviously doesn't mean they will never die.  How long does this protection last.  Does bless mean have what is needed as in basics, or material wealth beyond basics?)

    2.  The sign of the covenant was physical circumcision for males.  (Do you see this as a necessary requirement for continuation or not?)

    3.  The Psalmist reports that God's blessing extends for generations.

    4.  Christ shows the principle of blessing a child on the basis of the parent in raising the child from the dead because of the mother.  (I had to reach on this one, I'm not sure I got it right.  The word favor here needs to be clarified for me.)

    5.  Paul says an unbelieving child is sanctified by the parent.  (But I couldn't find a child in this verse.  Also, is sanctified=favor=blessing?)

    6.  The salvation of Lydia's household is effected by her belief. 

    Therefore, (due to these 6 claims), believer can expect God's protection and blessing on our children as well as ourselves.  (And you clarify that protection and blessing are not equal to salvation, though we can expect that if we bring children up properly they will likely be saved.)

    Look this over.  Help me refine and understand this set of propositions.  Then, we can set about evaluating the doctrine.

    I do have another question, what is the benefit of believing this?  Is belief in this doctrine required to receive its benefits?

    Thanks for the new thread.  Doctrine doesn't always go well with salad.
     
  3. PastorFreud

    PastorFreud Lie back on the couch.

    +173
    Protestant
    I'm still interested in trying to understand this. Reformationist, are you able to explain this doctrine and address these questions?
     
  4. Gabriel

    Gabriel I Once Was Lost, But Now Am Found

    +100
    Calvinist
    Married
    US-Republican
    Oh man, I'm sorry to leave you hangin'.  I forgot all about this.  I will address this tonight after the kids are in bed.
     
  5. PastorFreud

    PastorFreud Lie back on the couch.

    +173
    Protestant
    No Problem. I have a busy weekend anyway. Just wanted to check and see if you were still wanting to discuss it.
     
  6. Gabriel

    Gabriel I Once Was Lost, But Now Am Found

    +100
    Calvinist
    Married
    US-Republican


    The Covenant Family
    <P align=justify>We live in an age of individualism. More than ever in the history of mankind are the rights of individuals exalted above their responsibilities to their families and to society. This has directly resulted in the ever increasing number of family break-ups and delinquent children whose parents have given-up all attempts to control. Sadly, the problem has affected not only non-Christian families, but also a great number of church-going families—with the poignant result that many children in such families have grown up in unbelief. This problem may indeed be consistent with Paul’s warning of perilous times when self-centred-ness will reign supreme even among professing believers (2Tim 3:1-5), but is there not a reason why the Christian family could be so infected though in days past they have been much more resilient? May I suggest that one of the major cause of the problem is that many families claiming to be Christians today are not really Christian in the manner they function. But how should the Christian family rightly function? May I suggest that it should function as a covenant family.
    <P align=justify>God always deals with man according to a covenantal family relationship with a covenant head. When Adam was created, God entered into a Covenant of Works with him. Adam was our covenant family head, and when Adam fell, he involved his entire posterity in sin and guilt. And because man is now incapable of life by that covenant, God instituted the Covenant of Grace wherein life is made available by grace through faith in Christ. Christ is therefore the covenant family head of the elect: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor 15:22; cf. Rom 5:12-21).
    <P align=justify>We see immediately, that God does not relate to man individually but covenantally. We are either covenantally under Adam, or under Christ. All under Adam perishes, all under Christ lives. Not only so, but under the umbrella of the Covenant of Grace, God also relates to us as covenant families. Thus when God establish-ed His covenant with Abraham, He says "I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant" (Gen 17:7a). This does not mean that all who descended from Abraham would be saved as is the case with all who are in Christ’s family. But it means that God is concerned with Abraham’s posterity. This concern for the families of His people is eventually reflected in the annex of the second commandment (Ex 20:5-6) and in Moses’ instructions to the Israelites concerning the importance of godly education in the home (Deut 6:3-9).
    <P align=justify>This same covenant family concept is carried into the New Testament. Christ crowned it by His ministry. He raised Jairus’ daughter, the epileptic boy as well as the son of the official of Capernaum, all on account of their fathers’ faith; and when He came to stay with Zacchaeus, He pronounced that salvation is come to his house on account of his faith. Later, Peter in his inaugural sermon reminds us that the Covenant of Grace is made not only with us individually but with our children too: "for the promise is unto you, and to your children" (Acts 2:38-39; cf. Gal 3:13-14; 3:29). Similarly, Paul would tell the Philippian Jailer: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:31).
    <P align=justify>So then, God does deal with us as covenant families. Though He does not promise that every child born in a Christian family will be saved, we may be certain that "children of the promise" (Rom 9:8; Gal 4:28) will be found in every generation of a believer—beginning from Adam. In other words, there will be believers in every generation of a believer’s seed. So, though Ishmael was not a child of promise, Isaac was; though Esau was not, Jacob was; and though Amnon, Absalom and Adonijah were not, Solomon was. It is on account of the parent’s standing with God, and the children of the promise that God requires every Christian family to function as covenant families under the administration of the Covenant of Grace.
    <P align=justify>But how should a covenant family function? Manifestly, in such a family the father or husband is head of the house just as Christ is the head of the Church. This being so, every member of the family must willingly and respectfully submit to him as the leader of the family (Eph 5:22-23, 6:1). Moreover, as covenant head, the father is responsible to instruct the family in all spiritual matters.
    <P align=justify>Moses was addressing the fathers in Deut 6:3-9 (as seen in the masculine pronoun in the Hebrew). Similarly, Paul puts it in no uncertain terms that it is primarily the father’s responsibility to bring up the children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph 6:4). The father, as such, is supremely concerned about the spiritual welfare of his children (Job 1:5). He realises that his covenant children are not necessarily regenerate and he exhorts them to repentance and belief. He does not delegate the instruction of his children to the Sunday School or to anyone else. He guards his God-given obligation jealously and diligently. He takes time to catechise his family (Deut 6:7) and to lead them in family worship each day.
    <P align=justify>Such, I submit to you is the covenant family. Such ought to be every Christian family. Without the emphasis on religion in the home the professedly Christian family is functioning as a pagan family at best. And how great a guilt lies upon the breast of the negligent covenant head of house! Listen to the lament of Thomas Manton in his <I>Epistle to the Reader</I> of the Westminster Confession &amp; Catechisms:
    <DIR><I>
    <P align=justify>Families are societies that must be sanctified to God as well as churches; and the governors of them have as truly a charge of the souls that are therein, as pastors have of the churches. But alas, how little is this considered or regarded! But while negligent ministers are (deservedly) cast out of their places, the negligent masters of families take themselves to be almost blameless. They offer their children to God in baptism, and there they promise to teach them the doctrine of the Gospel, and bring them up in the nurture of the Lord; but they easily promise, and easily break it; and educate their children for the world and the flesh although they have renounced these, and dedicated them to God. This covenant-breaking with God, and betraying the souls of their children to the devil, must lie heavy on them here or hereafter. </DIR></I>
    <P align=justify>Let us seek the Lord’s help, therefore, to rebuild or maintain our families according to our covenant obligations. Only then, can we expect to resist the tide of individualism and unbelief that is sweeping across not only our nation but our church.
    <P align=justify>&nbsp;
     
  7. PastorFreud

    PastorFreud Lie back on the couch.

    +173
    Protestant
    You are right. I do not agree with this doctrine. I'll post a fuller reply later.
     
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