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What About The Doctrine Of Covering?

Back in the 1970ís we sang a song entitled "Cover Me". We sang this song because it represented something that some of us believed, although I never really embraced the teaching myself. The teaching was concerning being "covered" by your pastor, or by your church, depending on who was doing the teaching.  It meant that the Lord would look after you if you stayed under the covering of a pastor, or church you were a part of.  

One lady recently said that she would not attend a home prayer meeting because she felt she'd be leaving the covering of her pastor and the church, and thus leaving God's blessing.   I guess she didn't understand that what she called the church, wasn't really the whole church, but only part of the church. 

This teaching originates from the book of Ruth, found in the O.T.. You might remember that Ruth was encouraged by her mother-in-law to search out Boaz for a husband. Upon her mother-in-lawís recommendation, Ruth went to the thrashing floor one night while Boaz finished up his work. After eating and drinking Boaz was feeling good and then he laid down and fell asleep. Ruth came to Boaz and laid at his feet, waking him up. He then covered Ruth with part of his blanket.

From this historical event, some have spiritualized and allegorized this into a New Testament principle to live by. They say, as Ruth needed a covering that night, we need a covering as well, and our covering is our pastor, and or our local church, depending on the details of the individual teaching.

I feel that this kind of Biblical exegesis is not good. You cannot take a historical event, make it mean something more than its historical implication, and produce a teaching for us to live by today. If we could do this, we could be taking all sorts of historical events and making all sorts of new meanings out of them to live by.

I acknowledge the point that some of these events found in the O.T. have significance, especially concerning Jesus and His life. These have a theological name, "types and shadows". I also recognize that Paul did some allegorizing in His letters. I do believe Paul had the authority to do this.  I donít believe we do.

I believe that Christian leadership is important. I also believe that this doctrine of covering goes too far beyond N.T. thinking. When someone says that he canít attend a house prayer meeting because he would leave the covering of his church, (I've heard this) this is not N.T. teaching. 

What is more important than the idea of covering is being joined to a few others in the Body of Christ.  This is New Testmatn  thinking. 

One thing that is lacking in our church today is a proper understanding how to interpret the Bible. Taking an O.T. historical event, spiritualizing it, and making a N.T. principle to live by is not good Biblical interpretation in my estimation

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