Recently, in a presentation to a local congregation, a member of the Executive Board of The Covenant Brethren Church (CBC) was asked about the word “covenant” in our name. The word “covenant” denotes an agreement between parties, a promise, a vow. Sometimes marriage is referred to by use of the word “covenant.” In the case of CBC it implies an agreement and accountability to the Word of God (the Bible) and to the CBC organizational documents, “Bylaws,” and “Statement of Faith.” As congregations and individuals in CBC we have entered into a “covenant” together to abide by and be held accountable to the Lord and one another in this way.

“Covenant” is an important word in our Brethren history and has an historical context for us. In describing the foundational moment of the Brethren movement, the August 1708 baptism of eight persons in the Eder River in Schwarzenau, Germany, Brethren leader, Alexander Mack’s son, Alexander Mack Jr. (writing in 1774) describes the moment as follows:

“Finally, in the year 1708, eight persons agreed together to establish a covenant of good conscience with God, to accept all ordinances of Jesus Christ as an easy yoke, and thus to follow after their Lord Jesus – their good and loyal Shepherd – as true sheep in joy or sorrow until the blessed end.” Quoted in European Origins of the Brethren, Donald F. Durnbaugh

We truly see the birth of The Covenant Brethren Church as a reestablishment of that sacred covenant begun in the Eder River in 1708.

Author: Larry M. Dentler