Church Membership: What are the Biblical Requirements?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Tim, May 18, 2003.

  1. Tim

    Tim
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    So what should be required of a person to become a member of a church?

    A) salvation alone

    B) salvation and baptism

    C) all of the above plus agreement to a statement of faith

    D) something else
     
  2. Graceforever

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  3. Bible Student

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    I agree with Graceforever: Salvation and Baptism.

    Richard [​IMG]
     
  4. Dan Todd

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    Salvation and baptism.

    I also think that agreement with the statement of faith is important - because a house divided against itself will fall.
     
  5. USN2Pulpit

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    Gee...I wonder if there's an agenda that's being (not so) well covered in this thread!

    I think the being of one mind and spirit is important in any church a person joins. If a person is unable to worship and fellowship with the folks that he wishes to be a member of, what's the point?

    And on the congregation's side, why would you accept into membership someone that doesn't agree with the precepts of your belief? Wouldn't that be a recipe for trouble?
     
  6. Artimaeus

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    In an ideal world salvation alone would be sufficient. Afterall, that is all that is required to get into heaven. Unfortunately, we don't live in an ideal world. Just because someone says they are saved isn't good enough. Someone who says they are saved but refuses to get baptized will not convince me that they are saved. The same would be true of someone who says that they do not believe our minimal, barebones statement of church doctrine. I would consider that person suspect. I suppose someone will say that that sounds rather exclusive, afterall, Jesus said that "whosoever will, may come". Jesus set up criteria for the rich young ruler, for Nicademis, for discipleship, etc. The church isn't open to everyone (period), but, it is open to everyone who is agreeable to submission to God's way. I think these minor requirements are reasonable and perhaps they might even need to be stronger.
     
  7. Frogman

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    I agree with the sentiments that membership should be by salvation and baptism. I believe salvation is what is required to carry anyone into heaven where the family of God shall gather some day, but that baptism upon the profession of that is what identifies an individual with a local church.

    As far as to say agreement with what are the bare minimum of doctrine, I agree this is also necessary and would seek to discover whether a prospective member did understand what is taught and believed, then the submission to the baptism would be fair enough as saying I am in agreement. A refusal to be baptized, while not a bar from the family of God, certainly, IMHO, is a bar from fellowship in the church.

    Sometimes I think Baptists are afraid to teach the truth of the need for baptism because of being on the defensive against the teachings of Campbellism. Placing Baptism in it's place then is now viewed as entering upon that which teaches the false doctrine of baptismal regeneration. This is untrue, simply put, the whole counsel of God cannot be taught, not to mention correctly, if we side-step any one of them, not the least the doctrine of baptism.

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas Eaton [​IMG]
     
  8. Deacon

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    What should be required for membership?
    1) Salvation Yes
    2) Baptism Yes
    3) Statement of faith Yes
    4) Acceptance of the practices of the particular church

    I'd never take someone in for membership after one visit; Usually at least a few months visiting is needed so we know them and they know us.

    1 Timothy frequently brings up the idea of unity. Mebers of the church body should be of one mind. Agreement with the basic doctrines of the failth is essential.

    "Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension."

    Rob
     
  9. christine

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    Yes to Salvation, Baptism (sign of obedience), Acceptance of church beliefs.
    Question? My husband is hung up on the idea that "Baptist", vote people into membership. His impression is that you could be turned down for membership.
    I am "Baptist", and I have always had the impression that it is a formality (voting), just a public way to welcome a new member and show acceptance. Am I right?
    Christine
     
  10. donnA

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    We don't vote people into membership. We amen that we are glad they have been saved, or have found the church God has guided themt oo. But we don't vote. Only God can add a person to the church.
     
  11. christine

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    That 1st church of God my husbands family goes to, printed this in a track (why we are not protestant?). Every since he read that he keeps bringing it up, even though I told him, It's not true.
    I'm trying to be patient with his questions, but I'm begining to think, he only wants to goat me.
    His new thing of contention is the trinity.
    Thanks Katie
    Christine
     
  12. Ruth

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    Christine:

    Some Baptist churches do have the membership vote on whether to accept new members - this is a matter of procedure decided by the local church body, not the SBC. Our local churches are split about half and half on the way they do things - some have the minister interview the candidate and decide, others have the membership vote, and still others accept all who wish to join without question.

    My current church is the first place I have ever seen that actually came very close to refusing new members; I was appalled at the time. A family from another area church wanted to transfer their membership to our church, and unfortunately the pastor at the previous church (with whom they had disagreed) was the son-in-law of one of our deacons! It was all a matter of personal hurt feelings that caused the problem, not anything to do with their worthiness of membership. When the family came forward during the invitation, our pastor presented them for membership - he had previously discussed this with the family and knew they were wanting to join. The deacon stood up after they were presented as member candidates and objected strongly, saying that they should be subject to a "trial" period. This was rejected (and rightly so) by the congregation, and the family was voted in as members.

    So what your husband is saying could quite possibly be the truth - there could be local Baptist churches who vote on new members. I am not entirely convinced that it is scriptural, but as long as I am a member of this church, I will hold my peace. If they ever do reject a candidate that I consider to be honorable then I will have to find a new church.

    Ruth
     
  13. Istherenotacause

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    Salvation and Baptism Yes.

    As far as statement of faith in agreement with the church, that's really kind of tough when the person is a new convert. And then again, when most churches aren't in full agreement on many issues to begin with, the pastor is the one whose duty it is to speak with the person to be sure of the understanding of what the church believes. Either way the individual has to be given time to learn.
     
  14. Tim

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    ITNAC,

    I agree that asking a new convert to say he agrees with the church's statement of faith seems like a difficult requirement. How does he know the details of what he believes being as yet unstudied and untaught? Yet should he be denied membership until he has time to study for himself, check what the church is teaching, and solidify his beliefs?

    In Christ,

    Tim
     
  15. Sherrie

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    Salvation and Baptism Yes.


    Sherrie
     
  16. Tim

    Tim
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    USN2Pulpit-What do you mean by this?

    Tim
     
  17. Dr. Bob

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    You asked for BIBLICAL requirements - Acts 2 would give us help. (bold numbers are MY addition):
    </font>
    • Salvation</font>
    • Baptism</font>
    • Doctrinal purity</font>
    • Unity with other believers</font>
     
  18. Artimaeus

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    Anyone who wants to become a member of anything should at a very minimum have a vague idea of what they are joining. So, a one or two page synopsis of core beliefs to ensure that a new member is not already opposed to that which binds the other members together is not unreasonable. Membership in a local church grants you the priviledge of voting, discipline, a standing to voice concerns, and in general have a vested interest in THAT local group. I don't know about anyone else but I would object highly if a stranger (who was not a member of my local church) came in and said they were a Christian and then tried to make themselves a part of the decision making process.

    My church votes folks into membership. I have never known of us turning anyone down but it is certainly possible. We aren't voting them into Christianity or heaven, just giving them the standing to help decide how things are done. Do you wish to give me and whatever group I bring with me the right to tell you how to run your church? Of course not. Imagine the chaos that would ensue if a local church was made up of people with as diverse views as just the folks on this board who call themselves Baptist.
     
  19. Tim

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    Dr. Bob,

    From your Acts 2 reference, wouldn't the new converts have been considered members when they "were added to the church"? The other things would follow membership, wouldn't they?

    Artimaeas,

    Couldn't the problem with strangers making decisions be resolved by church government adjustments, like not voting for a year, ?? If the believers are willing to pursue unity in the church, does some doctrinal diversity within the congregation really matter that much?

    I just don't see a biblical requirement for membership beyond salvation and baptism. The church's statement of faith should certainly be a standard for those teaching in the church--but does it really need to be a requirement for membership?

    In Christ,

    Tim
     
  20. Frogman

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    Are teachers not members?
     

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