I read an article by on church membership and wanted to pass it on to you.
There’s a new debate among today’s Christians. Does the New Testament require, suggest, even hint at local church membership? Are Christians required to belong to a local church, or is it an option? And what does such belonging entail?
The New Testament knows nothing of a creature reborn through faith in Christ, baptized in identification with Christ, communing with Christ at His table, and not a member of a visible, local, identifiable congregation of other born-again baptized believers.
By “membership” I mean the way in which the individual is known to be intentionally committed to every other member of the congregation, and the congregation known to be committed to the individual. On nearly every page of the New Testament, local church membership is assumed.
For example, no one disputes that each Christian is a “member of the body of Christ.” We all belong to the spiritual body of our Lord, united to Him inseparably as Head to torso. In that sense, “member” is a peculiarly Christian idea (Rom. 12:3–8; 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4:11–16)—not an idea lifted from Rotary, golf, or ski clubs. But the Bible shows that this spiritual union gets worked out in local church membership with other flesh-and-blood believers.