“Christ’s spouse can’t be fornic; she is not corrupt and pure. She knows a home; she guards the sanctity of a sofa with a clean attitude. She makes us God. She appointed her as the son of the kingdom. Any with the church The person who separates and joins the adulteress is separated from the promise of the church; the person who gives up the Christian church cannot receive the reward of Christ. He is a stranger; he is awkward; he is an enemy. He can no longer own for his father. God, because his father did not teach for his mother.” – Prince, paper on the unity of the church, 6.
When I became a pastor of Highland Village First Baptist Church (now called The Village Church), I was only 28 years old. In my church experience, I experienced a rude action early, when I did not completely get rid of the stage of “not interested in the local church.”
To be honest, I was not sure if the membership of the church was in line with the Bible. Despite this, the Holy Spirit has made it clear that I will be shepherding this small church in the suburbs of Dallas. That was one of the many ironies in life at the time.
The Highland Baptist Church of the First Baptist Church is a “seeking sensitive” church in the Willow Creek mold and has no formal membership, although they are actively involved and hope to receive advice from the new pastor. I have a deep understanding of the universality of the church, but I am not proficient – as I said, I have some doubts about the local church. We are beginning to grow rapidly, young, often irrational in their 20s, who usually don’t have a church background or a bad church background. They like The Village because we are “different.” This always makes me wonder because we have done nothing but preaching and singing.
When talking to these men and women, I began to hear “church corruption; it was just the money and the pastor’s self,” or “I love Jesus; this is the church I have encountered.” My favorite is,” when you organize When the church, it lost its power. “Although I occasionally resonate with these comments (I have the same authority and commitment as most people in my generation), I find them confusing because they are my participation. The church people, and I am the pastor.
Two questions from Hebrews 13:17
Since the conflict has surpassed other doctrines that I think are more important, I want to know if we should let this church membership decline and come back later. I was preparing to use the book of Hebrews to say that when the 17th verse 17 jumped out of the page, “occurs” in Chapter 13: “Submissive to your leader and obey them, because they are monitoring your soul, Because those who will have to provide an account. Let them be happy to do so, not awkward, because this does not have any benefit to you.”
I have two problems. First, if there is no Bible requirement to belong to the local church, then which leader should Christians obey and obey? Secondly, what is more personal is, as a pastor, who will I be responsible for?
These two questions began to look for a biblical understanding of the local church, and they began to think about authority and obedience.
With regard to the first question, the Bible clearly commands Christians to obey and respect the body of an elder (Hebrews 13:17, 1 Timothy 5:17). If you don’t know the local church membership, who should we obey and obey? Has anyone got the title of “Elder” from any church? Do you as a Christian should obey and obey the lazy people of Westboro Baptist? In order to obey the Bible, you must entangle the funeral of the soldiers, as the priest of West Polo seems to imply?
Regarding the second question, the Bible clearly indicates that the body of an elderly person cares for a particular person (1 Peter 5:1-5; likewise, Acts 20:29-30). As a pastor, do I have to be responsible to all Christians in the Dallas metropolitan area? There are many churches in Dallas, and I have strong theological and philosophical differences. Will I explain what they teach in the group, how do they spend money and what they do on international assignments?
What about church discipline?
After considering the issue of authority and obedience, the second question I raised in my study of the local church was the biblical teaching of church discipline.
You see it in several places, but none is as clear as 1 Corinthians 5:1-12. In this article, Paul approves a man in the face of the Corinthian church in a blatant, unrepentant sexual fornication. The Corinthians are celebrating that this is God’s grace, but Paul warns them that this evil should not make them boast, but mourn. He called them arrogant and told them to remove this person because his body was destroyed and his soul was saved with hope. In verses 11-12, he said without hesitation: “But now I am writing to tell you that if he commits sexual fornication or greed, or an idolater, abusive, alcoholic or liar, don’t do anything with The social exchanges of the brothers in the name of the association. I have not even eaten with such people. What role do I have in judging the outsiders? Is it not the people in the church that you want to judge?”
My sad experience is that few churches are still practicing church discipline, but that is another article on another day. My question in this article is simple: if there is no “in”, how can you kick someone out? If there is no local commitment to the faith contract community, how do you remove someone from the faith community? If there is no local church membership, church discipline will be ineffective.
Evidence of many memberships
There is other evidence to support local church membership in the Bible.
We see in Acts 2:37-47 that there is a digital record of those who claim to be Christ and are filled with the Holy Spirit (v. 41) and acknowledge that the church is tracking growth (v. 47).
In Acts 6:1-6, we see elections to solve specific problems and allegations.
In Romans 16:1-16, we see what seems to be aware of who is a church member.
In 1 Timothy 5:3-16 we see clear teaching about how to deal with widows in the church. In verses 9-13 we read:
If a widow is no less than 60 years old, she was once the wife of a husband and is known for her good works. If she is raised, if she raises the child and shows enthusiasm, she washes the feet of the saints. Take care of the suffering people and commit to every good job. But refusing to recruit young widows, because when their passion keeps them away from Christ, they want to get married, so they give up their original beliefs and are condemned. In addition, they learned to idle people, go door to door, not only idlers, but also gossip and busy people, telling things they should not do.
In this article, we see who will meet or not meet the Ephesus Widow Care Program. The local churches at Ephesus are organized and they are making plans.
We can continue here and ask how we can obey God’s commands in 1 Corinthians 12 or 12, if we don’t have a connection with the local community of faith. But to unlock all possible texts takes longer than this article.
God’s plan is that we will belong to the local church
As you begin to study these verses, it is clear that God’s plan for his church is a community of faithful covenants that we belong to. This is for our own protection and maturity, for the benefit of others.
If you think of the church as a kind of buffet, then you will severely limit your chances of growing up. Growing up to godliness can be hurt. For example, when I interact with other people in my own body, my own enthusiasm is lazy, and I am impatient, my no prayer and hesitation are associated with humility (Romans 12:11-16). However, this interaction also gave me the opportunity to confront the brothers and sisters in my trenches, and to recognize and repent in a safe place. But when the church is just a place you didn’t join, just like a church buffet, you might consider whether you always leave when your heart begins to be exposed by the Holy Spirit and real work begins to happen.
What is the bottom line? Local church membership is a question of Bible obedience, not personal preference.
This article first appeared on 9Marks.org. Used with permission.