Saturday, April 12, 2008

Re-Thinking Church Membership (Part 21)

Read the entire series of posts here.

Over at Reformed Catholicism, Kevin Johnson makes the argument [Update: link no longer in use] that simply being a Christian is reason enough to be viewed as being a member of a church. To quote:

The reason, for example, that vows of membership are wholly unnecessary simply has to do with the nature of what Baptism already is. Among other things, Baptism is a public profession of faith and serves as the sign of the entrance vow or commitment in our churches–or at least that’s how it should be. The notion that a particular commitment beyond that which we embark upon in Baptism is necessary is frankly going well beyond a biblical understanding of the church and far off normal catholic practice in the matter...

Likewise, churches that pretend that membership vows are necessary to embark upon good church discipline and commitment in their churches also hit well wide of the mark. What commitment isn’t implicitly or explicitly made in Baptism that is reflected in these church vows that are made when a new family joins these churches? Why is an additional post-sacramental vow necessary to reaffirm what has already been promised in converting to Christ?...

Put simply, if you are a Christian you are already a member of the Body of Christ.

Read the whole article. [Update: link no longer in use] Kevin makes some great points.

Part 20 . . . . . . . . Part 22

1 comment:

  1. I agree we are members of Christ's Church when we except Jesus. I was part of a church whom had no official membership. You could vote if you were a professing Christian and were living the Christian life( no big visual sins) and attended the church for at lease 6 months. Anyone could challenge a persons right to vote (but I never seen that done). I now attend a church that has an official membership which we became members of. We "joined" not to become a member of that denomination but to show our commitment to that body of believers. I guess the question of membership come down to what level of discipline and control a church wants to have over those who attend that church. At the church with no official membership it would of really surprised me to see any sort of discipline handed out for even big sins. But those who "fall away into sin" usually stop attending church anyway so discipline became a mote issue.