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    church membership

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    cladius

    Posts : 23
    Join date : 2012-03-03

    church membership

    Post  cladius on Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:41 am

    Hello brother/Dr Kelly. What are the Biblical order, actions or covenants required
    for a local church membership ? Should it look different in each church?

    Thank You,

    Cladius

    birks10

    Posts : 36
    Join date : 2009-02-15

    Re: church membership

    Post  birks10 on Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:38 pm

    Great question, Clad!

    1. A person must make a credible profession that they are believers in Christ's cross work and resurrection for them.
    2. If a church has statement of faith, then the person under consideration for membership should be able to affirm the same things. There may be some tings that are marginal, but that depends on the issue and its biblical standing exegetically.

    3. There must be an understanding of the biblical teaching on the position and authority of the elders ( elders are pastors), and the candidates willingness to submit to them as is biblically proscribed.

    4. In Messiah Church, we also include agreement with the Westminster Confession of Faith (with some exceptions therein),as a "basis" for our standing within the reformed traditions.

    In all of the above, a candidate should be given as much time as he or she needs to go through all of this and to have a reasonable understanding as to it all. Also, a church should have a set of By-Laws that govern them for business purposes, etc that also defines all these issues as well as other functions in the church (like deacons, treasurer's, etc).

    5. A candidate for membership should also be a supporter of the church and its teachers from the standpoint of finances and giving (which can manifest in various ways besides giving money). A willingness to support the efforts of the church in outreach and such.

    At Messiah we follow a Reformed historical format for receiving new members into the church (keeping in mind that if they are believers, then they are already members of the true body of the Lord Jesus in the church general and should have no problem professing as much before the congregation). So, we have them come up before the congregation and affirm the above through asking them questions like, "Do you confess publicly Jesus Christ as you Lord and Savior?" "Are you vowing to submit yourself to the elders of the church biblically?" "Will you commit yourself to the individual members of this church to care for them as scripture teaches?" And then, we have the church body herself commit themselves back to the new member as well. This is all done in the biblical form of vow-taking. So it's quite serious.

    The benefits of an open church membership in this way are that the rest of the folks in the local body KNOW that you are a serious committed member that has made public vows of promise to be so. The peoples confidence in you goes way up when they know that you are not just "visiting" and could be gone any day. Plus , there are the membership meeting benefits that come with membership. At Messiah, only a vowed church member has the right to vote for making decisions that affect the congregation in business meetings. Experiencing the very real "single-mindedness" along with the rest of the members as we seek Gods will on an issue, is very powerful and requires a real responsibility. Non-members can attend a meeting, but they cannot ask questions join in with conversations or vote. And it should be that way for the above reasons.

    What has always been amazing to me when folks blow off becoming formal members and sometimes object to taking a person through all this is that they say, "We're already members of Christ's body, so why do we have to do this?" But, nothing that is required in what I've stated above here is anything more or less than what the NT itself teaches concerning who and what a member of the body of Christ is and does. Why wouldn't you pubicly confess Christ? Why wouldn't you publicly vow to submit to the elders and submit to your brothers and sisters in that body? Etc....

    Not to mention that5 in the NT, there are several examples of individuals who were known to be committed members of local church bodies.

    cladius

    Posts : 23
    Join date : 2012-03-03

    church membership

    Post  cladius on Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:37 am

    Those are some good and simple things. Thank You. One of the fellowship I have been looking at requires water baptism as part of the steps for membership because thats what was practice in the new testament. Is that an accurate new testament interpretation of water baptism being part of the prerequisite for membership?

    birks10

    Posts : 36
    Join date : 2009-02-15

    Re: church membership

    Post  birks10 on Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:11 pm

    My position on "water" baptism relative to church practice, has changed greatly over the years. After doing an intensive study on the subject throughout the NT and researching Jewish and OT teachings concerning water cleansing ceremonies, I am convinced 100% that the "one baptism" that Paul speaks of in Eph. 4:5, is the baptism that only Christ can give with the Holy Spirit and that happens at regeneration. Some time back at Messiah, I gave a 10 part teaching on this subject where i cover every occurrence of "baptism" in the NT and i ask, "Where's the water?" There are only two examples of water baptism in the NT: 1. John the Baptist and 2. The Ethiopian Eunuch. All other references to baptism are without water.

    Dr. B...

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