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Tom
Tom
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Local Church Membership #55248
Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:59 PM
Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:59 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 3,563
Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
Tom Offline OP
Needs to get a Life
Tom  Offline OP
Needs to get a Life
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 3,563
Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
On another Reformed board a conversation came up that quite frankly blind sided me. Especially coming from so called reformed Christians.
The topic was local Church membership. The majority view on the board seems to reflect the following from one man's post.
Quote
Still man's opinion and not scriptural. Church membership is a work of the devil, plain and simple.
Until you can provide reason from Scripture, I will not change my views.

Re: Local Church Membership [Re: Tom] #55249
Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:41 PM
Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:41 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,540
NH, USA
Pilgrim Offline

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Pilgrim  Offline

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There are far too many biblical passages where membership in the Church, both OT and NT is either taught explicitly or implicitly. Even the apostle Paul had to submit to the scrutiny of the disciples in Jerusalem concerning his doctrine before he was given the right-hand of fellowship and accepted as a believer.

Without church membership, the Church could not rightly administer the sacraments to new believers or those who have given a credible profession of faith.
And, without church membership, there could be no discipline by the elders for those who were errant in doctrine of life.

The laity consists of the majority of Christ's visible church, over whom Christ has appointed pastor/teachers to build them up (sanctification) through preaching the word and other instruction. A believer is one who has not only turned to Christ for the remission of sins and the imputation of His perfect righteousness in order to be reconciled to God, but also one who has turned away from the world and joined with the elect, aka: the called out ones, who reject sin and embrace holiness of life. Salvation is NOT simply an individual thing but a corporate joining of believers that share in common a belief in the one true God, in the deity of Christ; God come in the flesh Who lived on this earth witnessed by thousands, was crucified on a cross, was dead and then rose from the grave and Who now sits on the right hand of God, and by His power bringing all things to pass according to His infinite wisdom and power and Who will judge the quick and the dead at the end of the age. This corporate group is called in Scripture the BODY OF CHRIST... it is one!!

Paul puts all these truths together in one magnificent description here:

Quote
Ephesians 4:4-16 (ASV) [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all. But unto each one of us was the grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, And gave gifts unto men. (Now this, He ascended, what is it but that he also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some [to be] apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ: till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, [even] Christ; from whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in [due] measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love.


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Re: Local Church Membership [Re: Pilgrim] #55250
Sat Sep 29, 2018 6:07 PM
Sat Sep 29, 2018 6:07 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 3,563
Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
Tom Offline OP
Needs to get a Life
Tom  Offline OP
Needs to get a Life
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 3,563
Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
Pilgrim
I agree with this, but your points have already made by others and discarded. The argument basically saying it is wrong to say that someone who is not a member of a local Church can not be under their authority. They say it is biblical to say that all believers should be under the authority of the elders, etc... However, to speak about how a Christian needs to be a member of a local Church to be under their authority is simply wrong and unbiblical.
They tried to press the point by saying a local Church that insists on membership for these things has denied God's sovereignty.

I have to admit that when I read that part; it reminded me of a friend of mine years ago who believed it is wrong to have house insurance because it shows a lack of faith in God.
About a year after this, when his wife and him were away they left their teenaged son and daughter home. The teenagers decided to have a small party, and word of the party got out and about a hundred people showed up. My friends teenagers couldn't handle the crowd and as a result a few thousand dollars worth of damage occurred.

It seems to me that if they are consistent, they would just chalk this up to allowing for God's sovereignty.

Tom

Last edited by Tom; Sat Sep 29, 2018 6:18 PM.
Re: Local Church Membership [Re: Tom] #55251
Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:04 AM
Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:04 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,540
NH, USA
Pilgrim Offline

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Pilgrim  Offline

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The argument that a Christian is under the authority of every elder of every church of every denomination in the world is preposterous. Since his view is counter to Scripture (where's the beef?) and contrary to the understanding of the church; across denominational lines btw, throughout history, the onus is upon him to prove his point and not vice versa.

A simple example from the foundation and expansion of the NT church proves him wrong...

JERUSALEM
Quote
Acts 2:41-42 (ASV) "They then that received his word were baptized: and there were added [unto them] in that day about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers."

Acts 2:46-47 (ASV) "And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved."


Every place where a local assembly was formed due to the conversion of sinners, elders were appointed and given charge of THEM... not over every local church.

Quote
Acts 20:28 (ASV) "Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops, to feed the church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood."

Titus 1:5 (ASV) "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city, as I gave thee charge;

1 Peter 1:1; 5:1-3 (ASV) "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,... "The elders among you I exhort, who am a fellow-elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, who am also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Tend the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint, but willingly, according to [the will of] God; nor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves ensamples to the flock."


Elders are under-shepherds who are attend to the flock which Christ has given them (local) to be examples to them both in doctrine and life but not every assembly of the saints throughout the world.


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simul iustus et peccator

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Re: Local Church Membership [Re: Tom] #55256
Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:12 AM
Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:12 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 3,563
Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
Tom Offline OP
Needs to get a Life
Tom  Offline OP
Needs to get a Life
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 3,563
Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
The person is not actually saying we are to be under the authority of every elder of the universal Church. He is saying we are to be under the authorrity of local Church elders. However, one doesn't need to be a member of that local Church to be under the authority of them.
In other words being under the authority of local elders is biblical, but local Church membership is not.
When pressed about how a local Chirch could actually enforce their authority to a non-member. The person says basically that if the person does not submit they are still subject to local Church discipline. They don't actually say how it could be enforced, they just say it is a matter of the sovereignty of God.
Not sure what he means by that.
One person said to him that he is going against a few thousand years of practice in the Church. He said he does not mind because Martin Luther did it, against the Roman Catholic Church.
I had to laugh about the last part, Luther wasn't actually doing anything that they Church didn't believe before. Augustine, Huss and a few others come to mind.

Tom



Last edited by Tom; Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:21 AM.

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