The Door-Step Evangel

Should Believers Be Local Church Members?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

There seems to be a lot of people professing to be born again who do not wish to join or be identified as a member of a specific church. I ask why? Then, I ask where does this "doctrine"come from? Perhaps it is due to our social mentality of the 90s of "living together,"or "trial relationships."Or maybe it's a need to truly be born again. What about church membership? Is joining a New Testament Church, after one's true salvation, actually taught in the Bible? Some say it is not, others say it is not "explicitly" commanded. I would say that it is or it is not; one way or the other. Church membership cannot be good "most"of the time, or good with "certain exceptions; or that one may be an "almost"member, or be "praying about membership"for months and months without crossing whatever the Bible does say about this issue. Let's just do a short study on the subject right now.

It is most obvious that the Believers in the New Testament did identify with the churches. In fact, they are said to be the churches. 1 Cor. 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints... Can anyone not agree that this church is the folks mentioned? Then in chapter 3:16-17 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? [17] If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (Also see 2 Cor. 6:16 ...for ye are the temple of the living God...) And in Rom. 12:4 For as we have many members in one body... and [V:5]. So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. In addition to these passages we are told in Eph. 1:22-23 that the Church and Body of Christ are one and the same. (Also see Col. 1:18 & 24.) Further still we see that church membership is fully taught in the Word of God. In Acts 1:15 we read "And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty..." And we see that this is membership from Num. 1:18, 20, 22 [V:18] And they...declared their pedigrees after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls. [V:20] ...according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war... [V:22] ...those that were numbered of them, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war... According to this we are to understand the terminology of pedigree and that the phrase, "number of the names together" is to mean membership.

Now I would draw our attention to Rom. 16:1-2 where we read, I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: [2] That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also. Here is the transferal of membership from one place to another by letter of recommendation. Then we read again in 1 Cor 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints... I ask, "Who is the 'them' that are called the church here?" Certainly they belong, or are members, or are a part of that body. How does one increase this church? We are told in Eph. 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. How does one increase this body? In Acts 2:47 we find an answer when we read of Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. How does the Lord add to the churches but by those who are saved and who follow in baptism (full submersion) as in Acts 2:41 "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls? By receiving the Word of God (through repentance and faith that Jesus Christ is sole Saviour by His death, burial and resurrection from the dead) and being baptized into water people are added to the Lord's Churches. As fully said in 1 Cor. 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized [by submersion into water] into one body [the church at Corinth or any of the other local churches as taught in the New Testament], whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. Then we move to 1 Cor. 5:4-7 where we see Paul's admonishment to the Church at Corinth and view the membership relationship in this passage. Notice V:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ... [V:6] Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? (V:7] Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. How can a church purge out leaven unless it means to remove from itself?

[V:12-13 ...do not ye judge them that are within? Within what, or whom?

[V:13] Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. One cannot be put out of a group unless first they are a part or member.

These passages indicate to us that the churches have always believed in membership, and sound churches of this age should also, as most do.

The Door-Step Evangel is published in the interests of Evangelism and information as a Church paper, sincerely devoted to the cause of Jesus Christ. We are in favor of everything that is right and opposed to everything that is wrong.

Archived Articles

Wolves Eat Sheep
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Who Fights Jesus Christ and His Servants?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Strangers Fullfilling our Worship
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Two-Church Doctrine
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

True Salvation
Dr. D. Curtis Martin

Win a Teen....for Life!
Dr. Erich McCandless

Where is Mt. Sinai?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

The Testimony Of Sokvary Fort
Sokvary Fort

The Second Birth
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Family Separation within Churches
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Preachers Preparing to Age
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Baptists are not Protestants
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Baptists Bearing the Protestant Flag
Martin Lamb

Thoughts Concerning Patriotism
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Pastoral Authority
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

The Pattern of Propagation
Dr. Erich McCandless

Pastoral Career or Occupation?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

What is the Parent-Teen Gap?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Church Oversight
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Our Bible
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Is the Apostolic Function Dead?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Neo-Baptists
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

A Modern Trend toward Pastoral Counseling
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Missionary Thoughts
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Should True Missionaries Pastor?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

What Truly is a Love Offering?
Dr. Erich McCandless

Evolution is a Lie
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Three Layers of Joining Unto
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Let's Have Church
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

A Case for Home Missions
Mike Custer

The Goal of a Sermon
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

The Offices of Evangelist and Missionary
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Enlargement or Growth?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Ego or Conceit?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

The New Disney
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Second Thoughts on Strict Dispensationalism
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

What is Historic Baptist?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

From Preaching to Teaching
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

The Social Church
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Correctional Ministries
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Which Came First?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Should Believers Be Local Church Members?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Baptist Preachers and Military Chaplaincy
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Church Growth Innovations
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Real Bible Preaching
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Satan's Blinding Power
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

What is Baptist Bridism?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Is Baptism Becoming a Sacrament to Baptists?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

The Atmosphere Surrounding The Crucifixion
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Has America Change Attitudes Towards Mental/Psychic Health?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

To Adapt or Not to Adapt
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Aged Ministers and their Wives
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham