First Free Wichita just had a membership class recently. This 9 Marks EFCA Church is a firm believer in membership covenants. This is a brief post explaining why people should not enter into covenant membership at First Free Wichita. Not only is covenant membership a form of modern slavery, but the leadership at First Free will never be subjected to church discipline. Church discipline is for the members in the pews.
“Where Slavery is there Liberty cannot be; and where Liberty is there Slavery cannot be.”
“The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall. Freedom and slavery are mental states.”
But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?
Galatians 4:9 ESV
Sanctuary of First Free Wichita
First Free Wichita is a Neo-Calvinist, 9 Marks Evangelical Free church in Wichita, Kansas. Its led by Josh Black and this blog has written quite a bit about this church. You can go into the blog archives and see all the posts about Josh Black, Mike Andrus and First Free Wichita. First Free is pushing its membership covenant again. They recently had an exploring membership class. No doubt a push for those to enter into a membership covenant was made. The point person at First Free is Jordan Green who takes all questions about church membership. Usually and from what I have been told by many people in differing churches covenant membership can either be a formal document or done in a verbal way. I have written about the issues and problems in Matt Chandler’s The Village Church down in Dallas/Fort Worth and also the Acts 29 Network. You can see other examples of membership covenants in the following posts. “Preserving Matt Chandler’s The Village Church’s Bylaws and Membership Covenants from 2009 and 2014 Respectively” and “Remnant Church in Richmond, Virginia’s Membership Covenant and Packet.” Below is how First Free Wichita describes its membership covenant on the church website.
As believers in the gospel of Jesus Christ, we gladly covenant with God and fellow members in the mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ who glorify God as the grace of the gospel grows deep in God’s people and goes wide to all peoples.
As disciples we will love one another and live in a manner worthy of the gospel:
– We will build one another up with the Word.
– We will pray with and for one another.
– We will gather with one another regularly to worship.
– We will give generously to care for one another’s needs and support our mission.
– We will serve and care for one another using our spiritual gifts.
– We will partner with one another to show compassion for the lost.
– We will partner with one another in evangelism and missions.
– We will submit to one another and the authority and discipline of the church.
While this sounds innocent and encouraging The Wondering Eagle is concerned with membership covenants being pushed in many totalitarian churches in evangelicalism and especially inside the EFCA.
Membership Covenants are Modern Slavery
Membership covenants are in reality are a form of slavery. Here is something I don’t understand. Jesus came to break the bondage and set people free. If Jesus wants you to be free, then why submit to bondage at First Free Wichita? Membership covenants are really a way to control people and manipulate them. That is what I observe as I research and write about these kinds of churches. Why would you enter into a covenant that states that you will support the needs of the church if the leadership hasn’t opened their financial books to the congregation? Everyone who attends First Free should be able to know what the salary of Josh Black and the leaders of this EFCA church are. In our society today from education, to military to local, state and federal government people can inquire and know what those individuals are making. Why can’t a church be as transparent about salaries and more? This is one of the reasons why membership covenants should be rejected. You are supporting something that is not transparent. Honestly I am amazed that Christians can buy into this theology. From my perspective its another indicator that Mark Noll is correct about the scandal of the evangelical mind.
Josh Black and the Leaders of First Free Wichita Will Never Face Church Discipline. The Rules Do Not Apply to Them
But the main reason you should reject membership covenant and First Free Wichita is because Josh Black and the leadership of First Free Wichita will never face church discipline. Don’t for a second believe that because there are elders that Josh and more are accountable to the people in the pews. Often times what I have discovered in researching churches like this is that pastors can shift, work behind the scenes and give their blessing before someone is nominated to the elder board.
At First Free Wichita Josh Black will never be subjected to church discipline. That is the reality of the situation and how the system functions. In the tyranny that it First Free the rules do not apply to Josh Black or the leadership. Church discipline is only ofr those who sit in the pews. That is what it is designed for and that is how it will be used. If you are reading this and you live in Wichita and are contemplating joining and becoming a covenant membership you should be forewarned. If problems develop down the road after you commit one can’t say they were never warned. This blog has worked hard in doing its due diligence in informing the community of Wichita about the problems at First Free. That is it for the day First Free.