Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thoughts on Church Membership & Discipleship

Biblically speaking, salvation is both prerequisite and synonymous with Church membership. When one became a believer in the days of the Apostles, there was no such thing as joining a particular congregation, or searching for a "church home". The person would enter into fellowship with those who either led him into salvation or received him after his announcement of conversion. This was almost always tied to geographic location given the limited travel options. So first and foremost, the acceptance of an individual into full church fellowship as a brother or sister in Christ without any confirmation of salvation is completely contrary to scripture.

Unfortunately, the current opposing method is not much better. Without question, the leading of souls to Christ and making of disciples is the core mission of the Church. But I must question the well intentioned but misguided practice of directing the newly converted to seek direction (from a God they just met) on where they should worship regularly, learn, and grow as a Christian.

For all the "baby" terminology used by the modern church to describe converts, I don't see how this discipleship method makes any sense. These individuals are immature in the faith, vulnerable to discouragement and confusion, and at the beginning stages of spiritual understanding. They need to be spoon fed baby food (basic Christian doctrine), clothed (covered in prayer & encouragement), and admonished to do the simplest things that would spur their growth (continue in fellowship, study the Bible and pray at home). I wouldn't expect them to find their own church home any more than I would expect my newborn daughter to find her own home upon discharge from the hospital. There's a word for that, it's called abandonment. But of course, no responsible caretaker does that with a baby and neither should the church do so with new believers.

elder todd

1 comment:

  1. wow.
    your posting is incredible.
    i specifically love the word picture in "baby" paragraph.
    great depth and insight.
    i look forward to reading more of your posts