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Salyan

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You might think I should Join your Church, I might think you should 'come out' from organized institutionalized religion, If you do, I won't tell you that you need to be re-baptised. :)


I believe (now - didn't used to) that church membership is essential - for if you are not 'officially' part of a church, it is rather difficult for you to be disciplined out of that church, should such a need arise. We are members of a local church - a 'called-out assembly' - now, in this lifetime. One day, we will be 'called out' to heaven - and there, finally, be part of the Church of God that is universal in scope and assembled in one place. Until then - well, again, it is hard to discipline, teach, or exhort anyone who is not physically present! We are also told not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together.

Old-Pilgrim, it is hard to find a church one can accept sometimes, but it is your responsibility to find and join one - in obedience to this command. The entire New Testament speaks to and shows the importance of the church of God - and it is presented as a group, a meeting of believers together, led by a pastor (elder/bishop), busy with various duties (thus the need for deacons), sending out missionaries, and teaching the believers. You need a certain level of organization to accomplish this. :wink  

And - hey - IFB churches are not 'institutionalized religion'. They are independent - each one being individually responsible to God directly. Don't lump us in with denominations, thank you very much. :frog: 

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Indeed being a part of a local assembly of believers is very important. There are many churches that aren't worth attending, some which are barely worth attending and by the grace of God still some very good churches. If we seek to obey the Word and get into a good church the Lord will guide us. It's worth the effort, as it always is to obey the Lord.

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Noone serves God apart from a local NT Church. That thinking is not of God and NOWHERE in His Word, period. Get the devilish thoughts out of your minds,

Question: How does one who is saved and grounded in the Word come to find themselves in an area without a NT church (when I say NT I mean a real Scriptural assembly of believers)? They were obviously not saved and discipled in their current area.

Answer: we let our fleshly desires lead us to move to an area without any thought of whether a real church exists there. IE, we let the lure of better employment, lower cost of living, better putrid (public) schools, etc. lead us and NOT the Spirit.

If a believer were lead by the Spirit in such moves, they would have never moved to such an area unless the Lord were leading them to establish a NT Church there.

Quit deluding and start fixing it, time is getting short.

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For anyone that may think that belonging to a NT church is not all that important. I listed the following Scriptures because they seem to point to the church being very important to God.

 Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 

 Eph 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 
 
Eph 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
 
Eph 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

 1Tim 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 

 

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The Church is described as a body with members  (cf 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 2:22-23; 4:11-16). To assume you can rightly not be a part of a church is to dissect the body is to truly disrupt the metaphor of the body.

The church is further described as a building (1 Corinthians 3:9-17; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:5). To assume you are a brick in a field of other unconnected bricks is certainly not a a building.

Buildings and bodies are by definition smaller things connected to make a larger thing. There is no way to remove the smaller parts without damage to the larger thing. We need to be a part of God's program of the church or we are not really doing what God has for us as Christians.

That being said, we also need to be a part of God's church not just any church. There are churches that are not God's and would do well to identify what are the marks of a true church and when we find one even if we do not particularly like it, we should join it and serve in it.

For His glory,

Christian Markle

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You are IFB in your beliefs, yet the only IFB in town doesn't want you on their property, much less in their services, what to do?  

There are those who are separated from a Church membership for a reason.  They may be called to let their light shine on the streets, in the alleys, even from their own homes, ministering to people who are not in local assemblies.

Just because some may be separated from a local body of Believers does not make them any less Christian than the person sitting on the pew week in and week out.  Let's not look down on someone who may have valid reasons for not assembling in a brick and mortar building, but may be doing a ministry elsewhere.  

 

God doesn't dwell in a temple made with hands anyway.

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It's not called 'looking down' on, it's called being obedient to God's commands. There are some people I know (in my town) who know they should be in church, but currently aren't because of their own stubbornness or because they are under church discipline. Is that an excuse for them not to be present? Of course not. They need to get their act together, get right with God and the church, and come back.  I know someone who, because of his actions, has been asked to leave almost every single IFB church I know of. Does that mean it's okay for him not to attend? No. It means he needs to do a major attitude adjustment - maybe even get saved for real - repent and make things right.

God doesn't dwell in a temple made with hands. He dwells in His Church - and the Church has many members. Yet they are all to be of one body, working together for the sake of the gospel.

 

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This is the proper effect of biblical church discipline. To be removed from church membership for sin and not care is to not understand the body / building concept. It should move us to be willing to repent (2 Thess 3:14).

This may be the improper effect of unbiblical church discipline: To be removed from church membership (and banned from services) due to power struggles in the church or some petty reason is when the church itself does not understand the body / building concept of the church (cf 3 John 9-11). The church and its leadership needs to repent. Finding another church as close to the truth as possible is the right thing to do... or seeking to see a true church started.

Arm chair quarterbacking these things (specific situations) on the internet is fool hardy and often a violation of Proverbs 18:13.

The Lord our God's view of the church given to us in the NT leaves us with an unambiguous expectation to be a committed, faithful, loving, and serving member of a true church.

For His glory to be displayed in His Church,

Christian Markle

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As I understand the scriptures, if I were to be suddenly stranded on a desert island, I would still need the divine institution of the church. If I were to believe that I am "ok" without it, I would be deceiving myself and devaluing the work of Christ to purchase the church. This means that one of my goals im my stranded condition should be to either get off the island and find a good church, or if new folks arrived on the island, to start a church on the island.

ADVICE: Love the Church enough and stay committed to God's program enough to work through the obstacles for His glory. There may not be an immediate solution for this coming Sunday, but giving up on church all together certainly cannot be supported in the NT documents.

For His glory to be display through us in His Church,

Christian Markle

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Well, i have been IFB for more than two and a half decades, was put out of the only IFB Church (which also happens to be the only church in our town that teaches from the KJV) in our town for teaching truth after seven years of membership there.  On disability due to my blindness, so travel is out of the question.  Not every island is escapable.  

 

And even if there were an escape from the island, it would only be a matter of time before the inevitable shipwreck.  Churches don't like me anymore because of the truth I speak.   

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Well, i have been IFB for more than two and a half decades, was put out of the only IFB Church (which also happens to be the only church in our town that teaches from the KJV) in our town for teaching truth after seven years of membership there.  On disability due to my blindness, so travel is out of the question.  Not every island is escapable.  

 

And even if there were an escape from the island, it would only be a matter of time before the inevitable shipwreck.  Churches don't like me anymore because of the truth I speak.   

I don't know the whole story here, but maybe some people on this board can assist you in starting a church in your location or in helping you move. In the worst case scenario, a suggestion would be to contact a church out of your area, and see if you can be under their authority long distance, and communicate regularly with them by phone and email for accountability. Just my 2 cents.

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Dear brother (Standing firm in Christ),

"The truth" to which you refer (I have indeed read your blog) is not the only truth in the text of scripture. Please allow me to encourage you with the following truths:


Galatians 6:9   And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 

2 Thessalonians 3:13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Furthermore, "truth" found in Scripture on the subject of concern is not greater than the truth of the power of God, the mercy of God, the grace of God, the judgement of God (cf Matthew 23:23). Nor is it greater than the truth God has revealed about His church. Take heart, my brother, God is not dead. People are sinners, God is not. People let us down; God cannot! Determine to obey Him with the truth you know--all of it. Keep studying the sacred text and do right -- including keeping your sights set on serving your dear Savior again in His church.

I close with one more truth for your encouragment:
Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 

For the glory God and His grace,

Christian Markle

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Well, i have been IFB for more than two and a half decades, was put out of the only IFB Church (which also happens to be the only church in our town that teaches from the KJV) in our town for teaching truth after seven years of membership there.  On disability due to my blindness, so travel is out of the question.  Not every island is escapable.  

 

And even if there were an escape from the island, it would only be a matter of time before the inevitable shipwreck.  Churches don't like me anymore because of the truth I speak.   

So what you are effectively saying, is that there is NO church that speaks truth, only YOU do?

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See, here's the thing. There is no church where everyone is going to believe 100% exactly the same as everyone else, or where all the members believe 100% the same as the pastor. What we have to do is figure out what differences matters enough that we will break fellowship over them, and what we are willing to overlook. Having chosen to join a church however, we are responsible to be under the leadership of the pastor. That doesn't mean you have to agree with him 100%, but it does mean you have to respect him and any instructions he gives on the topic.

For an example from my own life: When I first discovered the IFB churches and came to mine, I came from a old-time Pentecostal background (think tongue-speaking but not crazy). I wasn't sure whether I really thought that tongues had ceased, as pastor taught, and I was pretty sure I disagreed with the interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13 that was used to defend that stance. However, I did agree with the wording of the Statement of Faith that said 'we reject the Charismatic Movement and its unscriptural emphasis on speaking in tongues.'  (The Charismatic movement was crazy and extreme, and I already knew there was an incorrect emphasis with the unBiblical idea Pentecostals had that everyone should speak in tongues.) So I explained where I was to Pastor, and asked if it was okay if I joined the church with those beliefs. He said yes - but that I shouldn't go teaching them. :wink  I obeyed him - and thus it took 3 or 4 years for me to even mention to my closest friends there what my beliefs had been at the time (and that was in casual conversation - not teaching). I didn't have to agree with Pastor - but I needed to respect his instructions not to teach something opposite to that he wanted taught in the church.

I know of a church that had a situation recently with a solid, long-standing member having to be asked to leave because he found an area in which he disagreed with his pastor and refused to stop teaching others his view even after having been told by the pastor not to teach that to others in the church anymore. It's not that he disagreed that was the problem - it was that he refused to honor the pastor's authority to lead and teach his flock as God directed him.  Your 'truth' does not trump your responsibility to honor your pastor. If you are willing to attend a church that teaches differently than you believe - then you must be willing to keep your views private if so requested. If you don't - you are the one out of line. And you shouldn't complain if you are asked to leave.

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Wouldn't last.  As soon as I began speaking truth, they would put me in exile again.

 

Brother, it is not my intention to be mean or anything like that.  Those of us who have been on this board for any length of time know that you have a major hobby horse.  I understand that it is not a hobby horse to you.  However, in the greater context of things, I see no reason for you to not keep a lid on it, and get along with what you have available.  I know, I have been in that position myself, where I had to swallow my pride, and attend a church that I did not agree with on some major issues - meaning they were major issues to ME, and my position was not very well received by the Pastor or leadership.  
 

What did I do?  I attended that church because it was the best church in the area (45 minutes away), and I told the PASTOR where I stood, and also promised him that I was not there to stir up trouble, but to receive instruction.  I did it to be obedient to my Saviour who DIED FOR THE CHURCH.  

"Only by PRIDE cometh contention...."  Sometimes we need a good dose of humility to please God.  

The end of the story is that when I left that church, I left on GOOD TERMS with the Pastor, who THANKED me for not causing him trouble.  AND - I maintained my own convictions on those areas where we disagreed.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for that Pastor and their ministry, although we are not in agreement on many issues.  

IT CAN BE DONE.  

IT SHOULD BE DONE.  

There is no "excuse" clause in the New Testament Scriptures.  If there is no church "good enough" to attend, then invite people over to your house and hold a Bible Study or something.  BUT DO SOMETHING with other believers, or set aside time on Sundays to worship God, and try to get others involved....

Whatever you do, don't sit around and do NOTHING, and then blame it on everyone else!

 

In Christ,

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So what you are effectively saying, is that there is NO church that speaks truth, only YOU do?

I did say, in our area, If I remember correctly.  I also know that you yourself have spoken this truth.  I know there are other assembled Believers who preach truth, just none close enough that travel caand afford.

 

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I did say, in our area, If I remember correctly.  I also know that you yourself have spoken this truth.  I know there are other assembled Believers who preach truth, just none close enough that travel caand afford.

 

Well, technically in the specific post, no, but I guess the overall content points to that, so I withdraw my question.

But I guess one of my points would be, what points are worthy of living and dying for? I understand the issue you generally speak of, and as you note, I agree with you. However, depending on the way it is taught and pushed, ie, do they act like it is a LAW and MUST be fulfilled in a very legalistic manner, I am surely against that, like coming to your house to collect, or calling you out in service if you haven't done 'your duty', but honestly I have not, myself been to one of those, and generally haven't found it worth fighting over, if all else is well. But you need to do as you believe right. I just pray you CAN get into a good fellowship, because I believe one misses so much when out. My dad, who was a chaplain, involved for many years in good ministries, got hurt and got out, and the longer he was out, the more his doctrines began to skew into some weird areas. I believe a good fellowship is extremely important to the spiritual health of a child of God. Seen it too often, godly men getting out, for whatever reasons, and over time going into weird areas doctrinally.

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