church membership and baptism

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by deacon jd, Sep 11, 2006.

  1. deacon jd

    deacon jd
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    I have a question about baptism and church membership. It is the practice of most baptist churches to baptize new converts into the church, and I know many pastors who will not baptize a person unless that person is joining their church, but when I look at scripture have ask, where did that come from? I would like to hear some discussion on this subject from both sides.
     
  2. webdog

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    It comes from man. Baptism follows faith in Christ and should not be left up to the decision of man contingent on them joining a local church.
     
  3. annsni

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    I've never understood that. In our church, you cannot be a member unless you've followed the Lord in Baptistm but that doesn't need to be done at our church (it can be done with our pastors anywhere or if you've had a believer's baptism before, that counts too), but we've baptized people at our church who have not gone on to be members there. It's two separate things.

    Ann
     
  4. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
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    I agree with you all. We baptize people out of obedience to the command of Christ because it is an outward symbol of their salvation.

    While we require baptism by immersion after salvation for membership, it is only part of what we require for a person to be a member of our local church.
     
  5. Revmitchell

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    We should be requiring alot more than baptism for membership. Largely those things that provide evidence of a true conversion. Failure to do this allows goats into the church.
     
  6. rbell

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    and we ALL know goats in the church is ba-a-a-a-ad.













    :D
     
  7. annsni

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    This is absolutely true. For our church, you must go to a new member's class for 4 weeks and in those weeks, you are together with the same people and hopefully the pastors get to know you a bit. Also, we have small groups at our church and if you're in a small group, the group leader will 'vouch' for you (having learned your testimony and getting to know you a bit), otherwise you need to meet with the pastors for an additional time to understand your testimony and where you stand.

    Ann
     
  8. webdog

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    Sounds almost identical to my church :thumbs:
     
  9. Tom Butler

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    Ah me, here we go again.

    One may differ on the question of whether baptism is the door to church membership, but I think we can all agree that baptism is at least a pre-requesite for membership. That is, only scripturally baptized people qualify for membership. And if there are churches who have unbaptized members, they are an aberration.

    Now it comes down to a question of authority. Who has the authority to baptize? We look for answer in the Great Commission, where Jesus told the eleven to make disciples, baptize them and teach them to observe all things that he had commanded. He gve them the commission because he had all authority to do so.

    If he gave the commission to the apostles only, it no longer exists because they all died.

    If it was given to the apostles as individual Christians, and thus to any Christian, then the churches who baptize should stop doing so immediately, for they are without scriptural authority. And thus any Christian may baptize a new believer, and no church would have the authority to deny membership.



    But if, as I hold, the apostles were the original members of the church he established during his ministry on earth, then such authority was given to each church established thereafter. Paul, writing to the congregation at Corinth in I Cor 11:2 urged the church for to keep the ordinances.

    If, therefore, the authority to baptize resides in each New Testament church, it also follows that it has the authority to determine fit subjects for baptism, and if a previous baptism was valid.

    One may argue that baptism is not the door to church membership, but there is a connection, chronologically if not logically. Acts 2 relates that 3000 were saved on the Day of Pentecost, they were all baptized, and added to the Jerusalem church.

    And a question of my own: why try to separate them? What is the benefit?
     
    #9 Tom Butler, Sep 11, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2006
  10. LeBuick

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    We have a 6 week class but the rest is similar.
     
  11. deacon jd

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    Thanks for all the input . Looks like most of us are on the same page. I have another question. I have a dear friend who has just recently been saved, and the date for his baptism was set, and it just so happened that we had communion service before his baptism, well my pastor teaches that only baptized church members can take part. Again, where did that come from?
     
  12. webdog

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    His same erroneous stance on baptism.
     
  13. Revmitchell

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    It is a closed Service for the Lords' Supper. This is debated as well. Interestingly enough you cannot be a church member without baptism. Therefore you are receiving baptism not being a church member. But you cannot receive the Lords' Supper if you are not a member.

    So in his view the Lords' Supper is for members and baptism is not.
     
  14. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    deaconjd, your pastor made a mistake in judgment. He should have baptized first, so that the new member could then participate in the Lord's Supper.

    webdog, the pastor was correct. The ordinances are for church members. His was not an erroneous view.
     
  15. webdog

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    What local church were the disciples members of? You mean to tell me that if I'm traveling out of state, and I worship with a church that is having the Lord's Supper...I'm not to be included?
     
  16. Tom Butler

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    Webdog said:
    The disciples were members of the church Jesus established during his ministry. To be sure, they were a traveling assembly, but an assembly nonetheless.

    I recognize that the view I hold (closed communion) is probably a minority view, but I have never participated in the Lord's Supper in a church of which I am not a member. The church of which I am a member would certainly include you in the Lord's Supper, so I am in the minority in my own congregation.

    The extent of the restriction of the Lord's table varies. The Open Communionists invite any Christian to participate, regardless of denomination (even Catholics and Church of Christ). Close Communionists, as I call them, invite only fellow Baptists to take part.

    At the very least, most churches insist that they be baptized and members of some church (regardless of stripe).

    A century and a half ago, the majority of Baptists were closed communionists. The Open view was definitely in the minority.

    That's changed because the majority of Baptists these days have bought into the Universal Church error, which goes hand in hand with the mistaken view of the Pentecost Day founding of the church. Darby and Schofield did their work well.
     
  17. LeBuick

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    The ushers would ask if your were part of the body. Yes, our Church would let you participate. No, well, you know what happens...
     
  18. Brother Bob

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    Well, you might not want to be like me but on this one we are the same Tom.
     
  19. webdog

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    So what is the biblical basis for this?
     
  20. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Webdog,

    You asked the right question: what is the Biblical basis for Closed Communion. Brother Bob can probably do better at answering than I can, but here goes:

    1. The church that Jesus founded during his earthly ministry was a visible assembly, with the 12 disciples making up the original membership.

    2. Jesus gave the Great Commission to the eleven (without Judas), who constituted the first church. After traveling most of the time, the group settled in Jerusalem by Jesus' instruction, joined by 109 others. They already had the ordinances, a treasurer, and they held a business meeting to elect Judas' replacement.

    3. Paul wrote to the congregation at Corinth and admonished them to keep the ordinances properly (I Cor 11:2) He then criticized them for the improper observance and instructed them on the right way. The Lord's Supper was to be observed during an assembly, by the assembled members. (11:18-20 "when ye come together in the church...when ye come together in one place..."). Paul's instructions were to a local church.

    4. Since the ordinances were committed to the visible assembly (the local church), they are charged with guarding the integrty of the ordinances, with determining who is a fit subject to participate.

    5. Church discipline is a key component. Under the Open Communion view, one may commit flagrant sin in one church, publicly declare heresy, and still go to another church and take communion. The Open Communion church would have no authority to deny him. Or he could commit flagrant sin or heresy, be disfellowshipped from his church and still could demand to be served the Lord's Supper.

    6. If the ordinances were not committed to the local church, then the church has no authority to baptize or administer the Lord's Supper, and should immediately cease doing so; nor should it ever take a vote on admitting someone to membership.

    Since Brother Bob shares my view, maybe he can jump in and fill in the blank spots in my post.
     
    #20 Tom Butler, Sep 12, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2006

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