Open membership threatens Baptists’ most central distinctive

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Revmitchell, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    http://www.thealabamabaptist.org/print-edition-article-detail.php?id_art=15699&pricat_art=5
     
  2. Yeshua1

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    To me, two seperate issues....

    To become a member in the local baptist church, should agree to be believers baptism by immersion...

    To be able to take communion, need to be a Christian, so need not be either a member of the local church, nor water baptism must have been by immersion...

    As membership reserved for those willing to be baptised, while communion to ALL Christians, regardless how was baptised!
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    Membership is pretty meaningless for most church-goers. There is no benefit from it.

    However, the reality is most church-goers have never seen membership validated properly. We use a covenantal membership process where we ask potential members for their testimony, baptism, and to sign a covenant to support our church in praying for us, worshipping with us, a d giving of their time, abilities, and resources.
     
  4. humblethinker

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    Just a question... are there people who sign the document but do not follow through with what they sign? If so, are they not still considered part of your church? If so, then what 'membership' is intended to mean is not what it actually means... and then being a part of "the local body" (per the scripture) is not what the membership roll represents.

    I'm not trying to make an argument either way. The topic is just one that I struggle with... I see good points made from both sides of the argument and I'm just trying to reconcile the cognitive dissonance with each side.

    Does that make sense?
     
  5. Salty

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  6. Yeshua1

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    Good question!
    My church has open communion, as we give it out to those professing Christ, while members are those who have been water baptized by immersion, and who agree to accept authority of the Pastors/Elders in spiritual manners, will vote on items etc!

    We have many who take communion and are 'regular attenders" who refuse to be rebaptise or else never wanted to 'sign up!"
     
  7. preachinjesus

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    Let me say something and then answer, directly, your question.

    I don't understand the difference between how most Baptist churches do membership and people just standing around. It's about the same thing.

    For our church we have a membership renewal every year. We spend two weeks, the first two weeks, of every year talking about where we have come from, who we are, and where we're going as a church. It is a vital time for our community. During this time we have a covenantal membership emphasis where existing members, and maybe some new prospective members, can renew their covenant. Every covenant member is asked to renew their covenant every year.

    Here's the thing, we keep our covenant members informed about key events in the church. Our covenant members are our core leadership and we don't vote on church stuff on Sunday mornings. We get our covenant members together to vote at special core leadership meetings several times a year. Since you have to be a member to vote we monitor it this way.

    Everyone is welcome to attend, be involved, and serve in any part of the lay life of our church regardless of membership status. We have open communion. Anyone can participate.

    As for follow through, we have someone who monitors involvement and places a friendly phone call if a covenant member isn't being involved in our ministry after they sign the covenant. We know we're a big church so some times folks can get lost or go missing. We believe proper accountability is what makes this system work.

    Hope that explains it. This is a grace saturated process. :)
     
  8. humblethinker

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    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    I like it.
     
  9. Alive in Christ

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    This was posted...


    It kinda seems to me that that would foster a sort of a "upper classmen" vs "lowly freshmen" hierarcheal atmosphere.

    Does that mindset sometimes crop up?
     
  10. saturneptune

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    Each local church is autonomous and decides how they handle membership, baptism, and communion, without regard to what the church down the street did. Our church insists on immersion to become a member. There are some churches in neighboring counties that accept alien baptisms, and this has caused a split in some associations. We do not have a waiting period, indoctrination, or communicants class to become a member, and go by the timeline in Acts, that members were added daily. That is a tradition of the Catholic Church.

    As for communion, again, each local church administers it as they see fit. Ours practices open. The standard for closed is the church roll, and with people on that roll that have not darkened the doorway in decades are allowed to participate with no signs of regeneration. Again, the standard is to be a Christian and examine one's self, not an artificial barrier. Closed communion, another Catholic practice, no thanks.

    If one does not like the combination of baptism, membership requirements and communion, there are Baptist churches with every possible combination.
     
  11. Tom Butler

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    It is not a very long step from alien baptism and open communion to open membership.

    If congregations ignore the scriptural guidance regarding the ordinances, why should we be surprised when they go astray on other scriptural direction, including doctrine and practice?
     
  12. Revmitchell

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    Exactly, nothing graceful about doing that.
     
  13. preachinjesus

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    Not at all. We've never seen this happen.

    People who want to be connected are connected, those who jus want to show up and enjoy the show do that.
     
  14. Yeshua1

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    Communion is to be given those who are chrsitians... Mode of how they were baptised, if members of local churech NOT part of that...

    water baptism as belivers immersion mode to be practiced for membership into local church, but NOT for attending to Communion!
     
  15. Revmitchell

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    ok?:confused:
     
  16. Alive in Christ

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    Well, Im glad to hear that its working out well. :thumbs:
     
  17. OldRegular

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    No baptism, no communion!
     
  18. OldRegular

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    A little at a time, a little at a time and then there is no Church! A Church is much more then an ekklesia, an assembly as some want to say!
     
  19. Yeshua1

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    Even though that person is saved as much as you are, and may be living for Christ better than either of us?

    How can you deny that to a fellow brother in the lord?
     
  20. saturneptune

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    Each church sets its standards for membership, as we are all autonomous. Our church believes baptism by immersion to become a member. Now for those who take it further and want to require a six week indoctrination, communicants class, or annual renewal, how does one justify that with added members to the church in Acts daily? That is an invented practice of the Catholic Church, and some Protestant churches. Again, no thanks.

    The point is though, if one wants a church that requires getting a Bachelor's degree to join, or adheres to the Catholic practice of closed communion, then one can find a Baptist church that will do that. It just will not be the one I attend.

    By the way, on communion, I agree with Old Regular's definition, Christians baptised by immersion. I do not agree with the church roll as the standard.
     

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