Book Club Blog


Will holiness get the last word?

The Presbyterians have decided that “covenant” is out of style.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) decided this week to remove from its by-laws the celibacy clause for unmarried clergy.  The decision “eliminates language in the church constitution requiring that clergy live ‘in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between and man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.’”

How did they get there?  How could 87 “presbyteries” make that kind of decision on behalf of 2.1 million followers of Jesus?  How could that many people agree that the Bible no longer requires us to practice purity, loyalty, faithfulness, holiness, chastity?

I am baffled.  And to be honest, I am not sure which baffles me more:  the decision they made, or the one they didn’t make.

The decision they made was a decision to shrug their collective shoulders at the concept of covenant, a pretty big word in the Christian vocabulary.  The basic word in our whole holy design is covenant.  A covenant is a solemn agreement to either hang onto or step away from something.  In the case of men, women and marriage, that covenant is a solemn agreement to hang onto each other for life, while we forsake all others.  Sex is the sign of that covenant.  Sex without covenant is like putting a BMW emblem on a Ford Pinto.  You may have the symbol but you don’t have the car (and the car you’ve got is likely to blow up).

The difference between covenant and no covenant is the difference between holy and human.  It is the difference between Christianity and secular humanism, a philosophy based on the idea that we can define ourselves without God.  To figure out which camp you're in, ask yourself:  Is sex God’s