How much agreement to join a church?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Tim, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. Tim

    Tim
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    How detailed a statement of faith should be required of someone to become a member of a church?

    Should it only include the essentials of what defines a Christian?

    Or should it include the entire body of beliefs that local church teaches? i.e. sovereignty of God issues, eschatology, manifestation of spiritual gifts, creation beliefs, use of alcohol, and other debatable issues.

    I'm not wondering if a church should have a detailed statement of faith (obviously the leadership would need to be in agreement), I'm just wondering if a fully detailed statement need be agreed to before a person can become a church member.

    Tim
     
  2. NateT

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    I would use a fairly detailed statement of faith (although not a 1689 confession or anything like that) and have an approach that if you do not have settled convictions against these issues, you are welcome to join.

    I would not make the timing of the 2nd coming one of those issues.
     
  3. Gold Dragon

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    I picked out some key verses from Romans 14 to shorten it, but this is a wonderful chapter to read in its entirety.

    Paul's epistles have many calls for unity. I think it is pretty safe to say that the early church had conflicts and differences in opinions and theologies. Some were serious enough for Paul to recommend separation. But his many calls to unity and tolerance also suggest that there is room for disagreement in the Body of Christ. I would be cautious with adding a lot of theological requirements to membership and disobeying God's calls to unity in Paul's epistles.
     
  4. Artimaeus

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    We have a two page listing of fundamental beliefs and require 100% agreement in not only new members but if someone comes to change their mind as a member that they will make this known. We have a church constitution which states how the church is run. We do not require 100% agreement on this but a consent and willingness to abide by these issues until a change is made according to this istructions in this same constitution.
     
  5. Roguelet

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    Wow Art you must be in a very small church !

    I am not in total agreement with all the doctrines of my church and I'm a member. I find it very hard to believe any church with more than 50 people are in 100% agreement :eek:
     
  6. FundamentalDan

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    I believe that the key is not whether they agree with every issue on the teaching of the church, but rather whether it is an issue that will affect their work or membership there. Any essential issues (such as the doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ, blood atonement, resurrection, etc.) should obviously be agreed upon or they should not join. Secondary issues are not necessary that they agree with everything, as long as they do not undermine the position or teaching of the church on that issue.
     
  7. Brother Ian

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    I don't agree with everything my pastor or church does, but when I became a member, I agreed to submit to the authority of the pastor. When I disagree with his interpretation of a passage of Scripture, I will talk to him directly. I don't make a stink about it and we can reason together. Sometimes he sees my point of view and sometimes I see his.

    The bottom line is when you get people together, differences will always exist. . . this side of heaven.

    We are not a charismatic church, but there are some people in my church that are charismatic. I don't know why they would unite with a church that is so contrary to their beliefs, but they know when joining that we do not believe in that and they are not allowed to promote or persuade anybody of their views while in the church.
     
  8. canadyjd

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    Sound doctrine unifies the body of Christ. However, I see nowhere in scripture where people were prevented from joining a local church until they had perfect understanding of all doctrines.

    I find the "essentials" in I Cor 15:3-8.

    Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. (substitutionary attonement, repentance, grace, faith)

    He was buried, and He was raised on the 3rd day according to the scriptures. (resurrection)

    He appeared to the apostles and Paul, (they are eye-witnesses to the resurrection, and prclaimers of that truth, and used by the Holy Spirit to produce New Testament scripture)
     
  9. Artimaeus

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    The two page Doctrinal Statement which requires 100% agreement include such things as: (Shortened to illustrate)

    1. The Scripture - Perfect in the originals, final authority.

    2. Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

    3. The fall of man - Total depravity, all need salvation.

    4. Salvation - Grace through faith without works. Sin is chastened.

    5. The Church - Universal and local. Baptized believers. Purpose of edification, spiritual growth, worship, and servive. Two offices (Pastor and Deacon)

    6. Ordinances - Baptism & Lord's Supper

    7. The Lord's Day - Devoutly observed and sacredly devoted to religious services (seems to be more theoretical than practice in reality though)

    8. Civil Government - Obey when not in conflict with gospel (The Bible)

    9. Second Advent of Christ - Pre-mil, Pre trib, imminent.

    10. Eternal State - Bodily ressurection of all men, the saved to eternal life in heaven, the lost to everlasting punishment.

    Again, HOW the church is run, organized, events, etc. can and are discussed and modified as seen fit. You must have a solid foundation, if the basis of your church is the nearly endless degree of diversity found even on this board then even saying that your church stands for something is a misnomer.

    Yes, we do have a small church (50 to 100 with gusts up to 120) but that is more of a lack of population density than doctrine. There is, however, the blessing of unity.
     
  10. Artimaeus

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    You also do not find in scripture where people were encouraged to join when they thought the apostles were wrong. There was no consensus reached. They submitted to what the apostles were preaching.

    Things you never heard a first century citizen say to the Apostles:

    1. I'll join if I don't have to be baptized.

    2. I'll join if I can still keep my former doctrines.

    3. I'll join if... ( well, pretty much anything you want to add)
     
  11. canadyjd

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    I think I mentioned the role of the apostles and scripture found in the "essentials" of I Cor 15.

    To require "pre-trib" is to require error :D :D

    The church certainly has the responsibility of teaching and making sure it's members adhere to sound doctrine. Biblical church discipline should be practiced and be understood by all wishing to join, that it will be practiced.
     
  12. Plain Old Bill

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    There was a time when I thought all Baptist beliefs were basically the same. Since joining this board I have learned differently. therefore I would require a person to be in tune with the local church doctrine before joining so they could at least be in agreement on what the LNTC the are joining believes.Examples:
    I would'nt join a KJVO church.
    I would'nt join a church that believed you could lose your salvation.
    I would'nt join a post or mid trib church.
    I would'nt join a hyper-calvinist church.
    I would'nt join a church whose basic statement of faith I did'nt believe was in line with Gods' Word.
    I would'nt join a church who belonged to the World or National Council of Churches.
     
  13. Tim

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    POB,

    When you say "I wouldn't join a ... church", do you mean you would not join a church with that in the statement of faith of what that church teaches, or are you also assuming that no one in the church would hold to those beliefs?

    If a member did, for instance, come to believe in a post-trib rapture, should they then be required to leave the church (assuming they are still cooperative with church leaders)?

    In other words, is reasoned Christian doctrinal debate ever appropriate within a local church? Does it always need to be divisive, or can knowing both sides of some of these issues sharpen us all?

    Tim
     
  14. Plain Old Bill

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    Never a problem with knowledge of different views. Second I am not speaking for anybody but myself.If the church I belonged to were to change position and say become a KJVO church I would separate myself as I believe that the KJVO position is heretical.If an individual member was KJVO that is a personal matter.If an individual wants to wait for a post-trib rapture that is fine with me, I'm leaving on the first flight.If I were the pastor of that church a post-trib person would not be allowed to teach or preach that view as a Biblically correct view.They could present it is as an alternative view which some believe.
     
  15. Craigbythesea

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    Tim wrote,

    Detailed statements of faith are divisive and encourage haughtiness and arrogance (The ‘we are right and you are wrong’ syndrome). I have served as the senior pastor of a church that did not have a detailed statement of faith and my associate pastors represented several different denominations and theological beliefs. While this practice is not very common, it is not a rarity and it allows for freedom of thought and expression which leads to in depth individualized Bible study and a loving appreciation for, and understanding of, Christians of many different faiths. Most important of all, it teaches through first hand experience that Christians of widely different beliefs can not only serve God together, but that they can worship and fellowship together in harmony.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Tim

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    Craig,

    If you weren't on the west coast, I'd be visiting your church this Sunday. Any chance you're starting a church in South Carolina?

    I believe a church such as you describe fits the spirit of the first century church. I too believe that diversity of belief on secondary issues of doctrine can strengthen a church. It's sort of like a Baptist board in person. It's not so easy to caricature Christians who disgree with you when you put a face with them and serve the Lord together side by side.

    Tim
     
  17. StraightAndNarrow

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    I personally can't understand why a Baptist Church would require acceptance of any particular escatalogical view such as pre-trib rapture a requirement for joining the church. I believe that discussing the end times is interesting but not significant to the faith. What's important is to live a Christian life and to be prepared for the Second Coming.
     
  18. TexasSky

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    God's church should be about pleasing God, not pleasing the other members.

    I'm sorry, but the idea of people having to agree with everything sounds too much like a fraternity and too little like a fellowship of believers.

    The only churches in my city that use long lists of rules to agree to before joining made me sick.

    One of the churches had, as an elder and deacon, a man making those decisions who was on his third marriage and had a daughter addicted to drugs, but he felt he could cast judgement on others.

    Another of them requires a check for $200.

    The bottom line for me is - what right do we, as members of God's church, have to REJECT those who HE accepted? Are we above Christ?
     
  19. gb93433

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    Doesn't that kind of practice remind you of Romans 2 where it talks about those who judge?
     
  20. Johnv

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    There's simply no right or wrong answer to this. Each person needs to decide this for him/herself.
     

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