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Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club

    Apr 8, 2003
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    In a discussion about "a question of ethics" the subject was brought up about a change of church membership.

    So here is my question.

    If John, a member of your Baptist church joins another Baptist church by statement of Faith, would John still be a member of your church, and subject to church discipline.

    If so, should you contact the new church and inform them?

    Other thoughts?

  2. TomVols

    TomVols New Member

    Oct 30, 2000
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    Pastorally? Typically, this person would have resigned their memebership from our church. Prior to or concurrent with joining another. However, I have led churches not to allow a person to resign membership if they are under disciplinary proceedings. Why? A person could engage in some sort of egregious behavior, then just leave. The church has a responsibility to set a Biblical example. Obviously, most new churches won't care one whit, but at least we've carried out our covenental responsibilities.

    Sorry...back to the question: if the person did not resign their membership prior to or concurrent with joining the new church by SoF, we would contact the member and try to reach out and find out what is going on. Typically, anytime a member joins another church, we rescind their memebrship. Doing so does not automatically trigger discipline, although you could make a strong case that they have broken a covenant made before God with the church.

    We must recover a Biblical and historically Baptist notion of church membership that involves two-way covenant. The church has floundered because of a dearth of this, and it will never experience renewal and revival until this is recovered.
  3. Johnathon E

    Johnathon E New Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Just to make sure I understand your question... Are you're saying he deliberately joined by statement of Faith to avoid his new church from discovering something by requesting a letter from his previous church?

    If that's the case then I think both churches would have a case for discipline, but how could you execute it? He would probably just leave and repeat his actions at another church.

    A very interesting scenario...
    #3 Johnathon E, Dec 8, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2009
  4. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf New Member

    Mar 14, 2005
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    We joined by statement of faith once- when we left a very bad situation in another church and they would not grant a letter. We were members of the "new" church for probably 18 years before the Lord brought us to the place we are now and we joined here by letter.

    OTOH in 9 years on the mission field I never ran across a church that required letters. Most churches there grew by evangelism, so maybe that is why. Seemed not to be a big deal, though.