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Way of Life:A Discipling Church Is Careful About Membership

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Regenerate Membership is an Ancient Baptist Principle
Spurgeon’s Care in Receiving Members
Our Standards for Church Membership
Caution and Patience

This chapter is connected intimately with the previous chapter, “A Discipling Church Begins with Caution about Salvation.”
A regenerate church membership is an ancient Baptist principle based on clear biblical teaching, and it was practiced by most Baptist churches in America until the beginning of the 20th century.
The Somerset Confession of 1656 stated..
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Bro. Cloud has done an excellent job of identifying and addressing a problem that is all too common among Baptists today. This subject is of critical importance at this point in time. It would greatly benefit pastors and church members to search out the truth concerning this vital subject. Too many times a prospective church member is received much too hastily and many times without even the least consideration and input from church members in whom the responsibility lies to confirm prospective church members.

The statistics that Bro. Cloud cites here are appalling in light of historic Baptist practices, as well as clear Biblical teaching.

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Excellent article on church membership with some excellent examples from the scriptures and church history.

I appreciate the inclusion of 1 Corinthians 5:11. “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat” (1 Co. 5:11).

I would suggest for all of the pastors to download the PDF copy. Here is the link:



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When we did the membership at our church plant, in addition to a proper salvation and baptismal testimony we also required them to read and generally agree with our "Articles of faith" and in those areas in which they disagreed on a minor point they had to agree not to go against its teaching. Considering the Great commission is threefold (Salvation, Baptism, Discipleship) potential members were required to agree with the church's method for each. 

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I had visited many different churches before I found my way into a IFB church, so I’ve seen many denominations specific standards for membership. The Episcopals and Disciple of Christ usually have an invitation at the close of the service for people to come up (not to be saved) and be accepted into the congregation. The Church of God (Anderson) has no formal membership, but when people want to become part of a local congregation they are added to a membership roll.

The IFB was obviously different than the others. My own experience was having to attend for awhile so the members could become familiar with you, and there is a required membership class held every three months or so. We had to attend around 6 or 7 different sessions, so only the ones truly desiring membership made time to attend all of them. The class was basically a small group for the pastor to go over the history and beliefs of the church. At the end of session we were given two papers we had to sign. One was a list of the churches fundament teachings and covenant. The second was a waiver form giving the church permission to run a criminal background check on us. Then finally we were brought before the congregation to be voted in by the members. 

I believe the long process itself deterred the ones who weren’t serious about joining the body. Most of the younger generation want to attend churches with loud music, no focus on disciple or sin, no accountability, etc., so they can come just to be entertained. They come to SEE the church NOT to be it. 

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