In an effort to work through some of these issues I figured I would do a series on it to directly focus on some of the questions and arguments some people have for and against church membership. I’m doing this to think through “church membership” particularly to figure it out a little more for myself. These are my questions…and it’s my hope that I can discuss a bunch of them:
(1) What is the Church?
(2) What is the difference between the “visible” and “invisible” church?
(3) Can [or should] we attempt to practice the realities of the “invisible” church in the “visible” church?
(4) Is church membership biblical? [the concept…not the word (although the word “members” of the body of Christ is used in the Bible, particularly regarding the “invisible” church).]
(5) What are the biblical requirements for church membership?
(6) What is a “regenerate” church membership?
(7) What are the pros of practicing a “regenerate” church membership?
(8) What are the cons of practicing a “regenerate” church membership?
(9) Is it wrong to practice a “regenerate” or a “non-regenerate” church membership?
(10) How do a few different churches practice church membership? Are some practices extra-biblical? (I.e. can churches require baptism by immersion, require a certain % for a tithe, affirming certain doctrinal positions such as no drinking of alcohol/predestination/perseverance/etc.), etc. for consideration for church membership]
(11) What role has church membership played in the different types of church governments? [Episcopacy, Presbyterian, and Congregational]
(12) Can a church affirm covenantal aspects of the body of Christ while attempting to practice a “regenerate church membership”?
(13) Do the malpractice, misuse, and abuse of church membership negate its practice?
(14) Has pragmatism replaced biblical faithfulness in regard to “church membership”?
(15) Does any of this matter? Why?
I am not a theologian. I am a husband, student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and I work full time at an insurance company in Des Moines…so between marriage, school, and work I’ll try to post thoughts as much as possible. I may not have answers for all of these questions, but hopefully someday (Lord willing) I’ll have more clarity.
Lastly, if you have any other questions that you think a discussion about "church membership" should address please let me know…maybe we can discuss a few of those too.
I hope you will join the discussion!