Previous posts in this series were based on a pamphlet provided to me in my search for direction regarding local church membership. A brother named Cody sought to help me and I wish him well.
When I replied with the previous responses, I did not hear from him for a period of time. Of course, I feared I may have come off a bit strong, and in the interest of maintaining communication, reached out to him again.
Since we last chatted, I have been thinking about our discussions on the church membership teaching, and in reflection, I fear I have have probably come off as one who only tears something down, and we know that as believers, we need to encourage and exhort one another also. With that in mind, I would like to offer a few positive comments in relation to church membership from the Word of God. Again, if you have any time in the future you would like to discuss these issues, please let me know.
A few additional comments before I begin.
In no way am I suggesting abandoning the gathering of the saints in any act of worship or fellowship. This is not the point of the past posts. The point is that I can not find the added requirement of formal church membership in the Word, and that the concept seems to be actually condemned in the New Testament.
One of the strongest passages that alerted me to this teaching is found in 1 Corinthians 1. Paul is condemning the seeds of denominationalism (what a long word!) and disunity, as believers learn to follow men’s opinions, or separate from other believers, boasting they follow Christ (only?)
1 Corinthians 1:10-1210 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”
At this point, I feel it would be beneficial to take a tour of the New Testament and review passages that actually define church. It is important to understand that the Word defines the Church as One Church.
NEW TESTAMENT TEACHING OF ONE CHURCH
Rom 12:4-54 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
1 Corinthians 10:17
17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.
1 Corinthians 12:12-1312 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit
1 Corinthians 12:20
20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
1 Corinthians 12:25
25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
4 There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call–
15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Would you agree that all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ have already joined the Church? And to join the church has one prerequisite, per Paul in Galations 3:26 (among many other verses)
26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
Our next post will address additional definitions of the church as found in the New Testament. I hope you will join me future posts and supply comment or correction from the Word for our mutual edification. Thanks for visiting and I hope you found some truth that has edified your life today.
If you read something in this discussion that concerns you, please take the time to send me your comments or reply within the post. I look forward to hearing from you.