Church Membership…

I was asked one day about why people join a church. Does the Bible state that have to be a member of a local church, go through all the hoops and stuff that people do -voting, classes, and such?

In a comment on Jason Sampler’s blog, Rick Thompson, flipped the switch for me and gave me a reference (THANKS SO MUCH!). He said,

I throw 2 Cor 5:12-13 into the fray:

“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.””

Here is an example of a clear deliniation between those outside and inside and an admonition to “expel…from among you.”

Clearly this implies two things:

1. Membership and
2. A method of entrance and exit.

The question is how and what? Since there is no concise teaching on the entrance into a church in scripture, we can only deduce that entrance was “accepted” by the body or by the eldership and in turn this was how memebers were expelled.

Perhaps you can find the practice of voting on membership issues from this passage in 2 Cor. 2:

“1So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. 2For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? 3I wrote as I did so that when I came I should not be distressed by those who ought to make me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. 4For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.
5.If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extentƒ¢¢â€š¬¢â‚¬not to put it too severely. 6The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him.”

Here Paul is talking to a local church about a particular member. The majority seems to have prevailed in his situation, implying a vote of some sort.

Is it not reasonable then to expect a majority to accept his entrance into the church?

David has been a systems thinker most of his life. He has started three businesses as well as designed and developed systems and processes in existing organizations. He has a Doctorate in Leadership and has also done additional post-graduate work in communications.

He has also pastored 3 churches and loves to think about, write about and podcast about scripture, theology, and leadership.

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