A Christian is an individual who has repented of his sins and placed his faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. This individual is one who was once far away from God, has been brought near by the blood of Christ and is now a child of God and an heir with Christ Jesus (Eph 2:13, 1 Jn 3:1, Rom 8:17).   Christ is the head of the Church (Eph 1:22). The Church is the body of Christ. In this sense, everyone who “calls upon the name of the Lord” is saved and is a part of Christ’s church. While all who are saved are members of the church at large (universal), loving and following Jesus is expressed at a local level. Church Membership is the local church’s opportunity to make the gospel seen clearly through worshipping Him together, nourishing each other and evangelizing the lost.

Our partnership in the gospel together necessitates a knowledge of each other. How are we to obey the one-another’s of Scripture if we don’t know our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? The early church seemed to have kept lists of names who were in the church. Leaders kept track of the widows under their care. The New Testament gives evidence that the Church knew who belonged to the general assembly. The book of Acts continuously counts those who are added to them. The Apostle Paul speaks of the “majority” of the assembly acting in a unified manner towards an individual not walking in the will of God (2 Cor 2:6). Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Church encourages them to exclude a man from their assembly (1 Cor 5). Logically, in order to have a majority of people, there must be a recognizable and thoughful process of counting. Conversely, in order to remove someone from among the people, there would be a natural process of inclusion. This “inclusion” process is more than a simple piece of paper or list, but a knowledge of souls who have a credible profession of faith.

Does a local church have authority to determine this? The short answer is yes. God alone can save, yet He chooses to use His word and His witnesses to bring the message of the Gospel to the lost and make disciples. Those who respond to the Gospel love God and live out their faith in and through the Church. Simply stated, the local church is to affirm those who are of the faith and partner with them in the furtherance of the Gospel. One day, God will open up the Lamb’s Book of Life and will have the names of those who are His own. The ones included are the people who have been chosen by God, predestined before the world began, saved and kept for Him. These people included in the book are considered bound for eternity to Christ and will abide with Him forever. The Church has responsibility to do its best to reflect God’s glory and care for His children by affirming credible professions of faith. (Matt 16:19, 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Phil 1:9, 4:3; Rev 21:27).

Who can be a member at Metro Bible Church? The simple answer is “Christians”. Since Christianity is a credal religion, one must have a credible profession of faith. This is what Jesus did with Peter (Matt 16:15-16). The Bible also teaches that the faith that God gives is a fruit bearing faith (Jn 15, Eph 2:8-10, Gal 5, Jas 2). Thus, a Christian is one who believes rightly about the Gospel and seeks to grow in Christ by the Spirit. “What makes people acceptable to a church is not their own moral purity, but Christ’s. Not what they have done to save themselves, but what Christ has done to save them.”[1] Prior to membership, the believer must be baptized and submit to Metro Bible Church’s Statement of Faith and Church Covenant.

[1] Leeman, Jonathan. Church Membership

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