Catacomb Resident Blog

Covenant, Not Culture

20 February 2022

The Covenant is not a culture.

Mental experiment: For a moment, strip away all human culture and civilization. Posit a genuine covenant community arising after a total catastrophe that levels civilization. A primary element in the biblical mission of such a community would be to craft a culture for themselves. The whole idea is to build a cultural island that applies biblical moral truth to the context at hand. Traditions and customs would naturally develop from this effort.

People can't simply forget everything they knew before, but they also must adapt to a new context when grace seizes their lives. A genuine covenant body would strive to balance between the two, keeping some things that are familiar and comfortable, but judging and discarding the cultural baggage that fits neither the context nor the call to holiness under the Covenant of Christ.

The Covenant Path is not a religion, per se, but an orientation on faith and conviction. Yes, we do have some rather concrete guidance from the Bible. The Covenant of Christ does raise rather specific behavioral requirements; ignoring them places yourself outside the Covenant blessings. It's not a free-for-all. But the essence of the Covenant is a personal commitment to the Lord as your feudal master, and to learn how to hear His voice through your convictions. You must be led by your heart, and those concrete prescriptions are a guide to what your heart ought to demand of you. Faith does have a distinct appearance in our human existence.

Now bring that back to the current context. If you set your foot on the Covenant Path, you must blend those concrete requirements into your own context. God does not expect you to wipe away all your favorite hymns, for example, but there are some whose words will probably not reflect biblical teaching the way you feel led to verbalize it. Cut out the ones that don't work. The same goes for all your favorite secular music, as well. Some is harmless, but too much is informed by a rejection of the Covenant.

I'm not going to list my music preferences for you. That's not my role on this blog. Rather, I'm here to ask the questions that provoke your faith and convictions to ask the right questions. Once you get used to faith and covenant operations, you shouldn't need me any more. You'll have your own filters in place to keep peace with God.

Then you'll build your own religion. That word "religion" is rightly defined as a personal response to the demands of faith and conviction. My mission here is to help you become acquainted with the ways of faith and Covenant, not give you a packaged religion.

Genuine Christian faith is not a culture war. We cannot take sides in the cultural tensions here in the USA. Both sides in the culture war are based on a rejection of the biblical Hebraic approach to understanding this world. Both sides are rooted in the same mixture of pagan idolatry. They are two halves the exact same thing. Once to two separate from each other, their enclaves will each include yet another generation of left-right conflicts internally. The conflict is built into it. It's all one culture.

And it's not our culture. Whatever it is we should have as our covenant adaptation to the context, it will most certainly not look like any part of America, except perhaps in the most superficial way. We don't need a weird costume, for example, but we are obliged to select carefully from the clothing on the racks at the stores. Yes, as the economy collapses you'll need to consider making your own stuff, but you get the point here. Take it or make it, but stay within the Covenant boundaries. Either way, we cannot echo everything going on around us.

Don't buy into any pre-selected definitions offered by mainstream organized religion. If they are organized enough to have a tax exemption, they have already compromised too much. They have no claim to being a valid covenant body. Taking upon yourselves any existing sectarian identity is a rejection of the Covenant.

What's left for you is to engage what I outlined in the thought experiment above. You need to start from scratch. While it's possible you could get access to a commercial or public facility as a private group, you will most likely start out as a house church. The initial work will include a wealth of consideration on how you'll do things, establish precedents and decide what doesn't really matter. You'll need your own balance of formality and informality. How much ritual do you need to faithful, and what gets ritualized? How much will you echo the stuff in the Bible? Those are valid questions; ritual itself is simply a contextual manifestation of faith. It's part of the process of training the flesh to obey the Spirit.

You don't need my answers. In my role on this blog, I'm not pastoring anyone. I'll pass that buck to my friends at Radix Fidem. They are just one viable answer to those questions. There can be no uniform cultural package for the whole Kingdom of Heaven on this earth. We aren't promoting a religion, but faith and Covenant.

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