Free In Christ

Finding Freedom in the Churches of Christ

Reimagining Church: Spiritual Covering

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The next topic that Frank Viola discusses in Reimagining Church is the topic of “covering”. I really had never heard this term before I started reading Viola but it was very easy to understand. You could call it accountability. Especially in the sense that the “laity” feel they need the covering of the “pastor/preacher” and the “pastor/preacher” needs the covering of the denomination (mother church or some other organization) to avoid any of them slipping into error.

Even coming from a fairly autonomous denomination (church of Christ), I could still see the idea of covering. Many preachers would only read books by certain publishing houses or scholars that went to certain schools. The “members” (laity) acted the same way only trusting preachers that were in the group (who they call “Gospel preachers”)

Frank Viola makes the point that Christians are never told to be accountable to one another in the Scriptures. The Scriptures say that we are accountable to God and to know one else. This is the problem with “covering”. Christ is the head of the Church (all of it, not just the members who are higher up in the hierarchy) and He is to be our guide and the One we are accountable to.

Also, from a pragmatic viewpoint, the concept of “covering” hasn’t really worked that well in keeping people from error. The institutional church is filthy with biblical error and “covering” only solidifies the system so that good-intentioned Christians can’t find their way out of the muck. Some error is probably avoided from the outside but the error on the inside of the system has no way to get out. This means, that the institutional church will always have many errors and no way to get rid of them. Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.

I think God’s way is better. Make everyone accountable to Him.

FTC notice: I received this book for free from Present Testimony Ministries for review. This hasn’t stopped me from saying what I think about the book though.

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Written by freeinchrist

December 18, 2009 at 8:00 am

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