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
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.
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.