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.
As I have been thinking on this topic, I have considered 9 questions.
One question will be offered for comment in the following posts
Consider and respond, or again, if you want to discuss just let me know.
Does Local Church Membership facilitate church discipline effectively?
This might be the most convincing argument for local church membership, if the church is modeled after an organizational structure, but the church is modeled after a family, so this argument is only effective if the premise of organizational church life is considered to be the norm.
Since this is not what the New Testament models the church after, we have to reconsider our thinking.
An example is always helpful for me.
As I have sought to be involved in local churches, being members for many many years, I have seen many families leave the fellowship and move onto other churches. Not so often, I have seen individuals leave on bad terms, (whether under formal discipline or not, I don’t know, even though the Lord says the final step in discipline is to bring the offender before the whole church) These disciplined folk usually end up in either another local fellowship, or end up wandering aimlessly. In my opinion, it seems that the discipline did not have it’s intended effect, that is, the restoration of the believer to the church.
What is the answer?
Make the offender miss the group – that is, reach into the offenders life (prior to any offense) and invest time and effort so that the offender will miss the group. Having a name taken off a list is not that effective!
Most, if not all offenders would admit that the reason they may have considered coming back to the original fellowship is because they missed the people, not the fact that their name was off a list.
So I have to ask you – What is the purpose of the list in relation to the act of discipline?
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Our next post will address a final question concerning the teaching of local church membership. I do hope you will join me in my discussion with Cody, and supply comment or correction from the Word for our mutual edification.
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.