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Though I do not see church membership, in the modern sense, as a requirement, since it is not stated in Scripture, I conclude that if a church desires church membership as part of its ecclesiastical structure, then that is up at the church.

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However, I would say that no church has the moral, biblical right to say that other churches ought to have official church membership procedures. A lot of people try and weave modern church membership practices and requirements into biblical passages. Some of those passages are as follows:.

Is Church Membership Really a Biblical Concept?

If you read each set of scriptures, you will see that nothing is mentioned about church membership. But people sometimes read into these texts and say that you can't obey your leaders without church membership Hebrews Such reasoning is not sound. Any Christian who attends a local body is automatically a member of that church by the fact he is a Christian.

Anyone who has trusted in Christ is a member of the church, and a true local church is merely a particular manifestation of the universal church.

What does the Bible say about church membership?

True believers will subject themselves to their leaders so that they can be shepherded and ruled over by the elders. Those who resist such submission to the authority that God has established in the church need to be taught from Scripture the true nature of humble submission before God and before man. Loving and patient instruction should be sufficient, and if such a person were to reject it, then that person would be noted as being recalcitrant, and the elders would act accordingly, perhaps with more caution if the person is not willing to receive proper biblical instruction.

The word "membership" does not occur in the New Testament, but the word "member" does. It occurs in reference to being a member of the household Matthew Local membership requirements are never stated in Scripture. There are advantages to it but, biblically speaking, there is no requirement to have it. What does the Bible say about church membership?

But the lack of an explicit command does not render modern notions of church membership unbiblical.

Is Church Membership Really a Biblical Concept?

Part of the body, or not Paul said, " You are the body of Christ, and individual members of it" 1 Corinthians He compared a local church to a human body, attributing an organic quality to its structure. Just as a body cannot exist without its individual parts, a local church cannot exist without its parts i.


  • Why is church membership important?;
  • FIRST-PERSON: Is church membership biblical??
  • What Does the Bible Say About Church Membership??
  • 2. "Covenant Membership" is intentional commitment to every other member..

Likewise, just as every body part belongs to a particular body, so each believer should belong to a particular believer fellowship, a church. Nonbelievers do not belong to a believer fellowship. They are not part of the body Paul describes.


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It is clear that believers in New Testament churches knew who was "in" and "not in" their particular church. At the end of Romans, for instance, Paul greeted by name numerous believers known to be part of the church in Rome Romans And Paul told the Corinthians to "remove" a specific man from their ranks 1 Corinthians 5: Same word, different meaning So why do some people challenge the concept of church membership? Church terminology and modern cultural terminology overlap, fueling the struggle.

Modern uses of the word "member" differ significantly from the Bible's use of the concept. Specifically, cultural ideas of membership lack the element of covenant.


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  • FIRST-PERSON: Is church membership biblical?!

Today, people are members of all sorts of things. They hold membership in clubs that are bound together only by common interests or activities in which participation is optional. By paying dues, they can become members of service-providing organizations and receive certain perks and privileges e.

Member and Membership

They also claim membership in political parties so they can vote for or against this or that. But these examples of membership all differ from the covenants that bound New Testament believers together in local churches. Responsibilities Rather than seeing a local church as a club, a store or a political party, Christians should view a local church as an earthly embassy of God's Kingdom. Believers have changed their citizenship.

They are residents of God's Kingdom who cooperate together to represent that Kingdom's interests where they live. Accordingly, they have responsibilities to their King and to one another. Church membership is not about perks, deals or votes, but about identity, covenants and fulfilling one's responsibilities. From that perspective, problems with church membership shrink.

Can you be a Christian without Church Membership? Mark Dever Q&A

That perspective may also help believers understand their roles inside and outside their church facilities' walls. Operating from a central bureau in Nashville, Tenn.