How do I become a member of Grace Baptist Church?
To become a member of Grace Baptist Church, we offer a four-week course on Sunday mornings during the 9 am
Sunday School hour. During this four-week membership class you will learn more about Grace and just exactly what
we believe. This allows you the opportunity to find out more about us and ask any questions you may have. We cover
areas such as:
- Our history
- Our mission values
- Baptist Distinctives (what makes us a Baptist)
- Spiritual gifts
- Your testimony
Why Church Membership?
There is not a lot of direct information about the idea of local church membership in the New Testament although there is enough to warrant the concept. The general arguments justifying the idea of local church membership are the following:
1. The background to the synagogue system - Here is meant the idea that the early ecclesia did borrow heavily from the Jewish way of thinking in the synagogue system with its own membership ideas.
2. The provision ofchurch discipline -- It is hard to conceive of the doctrine of church discipline, which allows for expulsion from the church, without at least an implicit understanding of who is in and who is out.
3. The "adding" (npoo€T€drioa\� ofthe book ofActs (e.g., Acts 2:41, 47) - While it is true the Lord was revealing the numbers, it is also true that Luke in Luke-Acts suggests in the prologue to both books that he is a researcher. It is highly likely then that he had some numbers to work with from of Scial or semi-official records of some kind.
4. The enrollment ofwidows (Acts 6;1 Tim. 5) - This fact proves that there was an official roll for at least part of the church. It is highly likely that there was also a roll for the rest.
Prerequisites for local church membership:
1. Receiving the Word (repentance, faith, regeneration) - Acts 2:41
2 Water baptism —Acts 2:41
3. Church acceptance - It is certainly a tradition that Baptist churches vote for or against prospective members. However, the main reason for holding to this aspect is the congregation's involvement in expulsion. If the church confrols expulsion, then it would be congruous for the church to have at least input into entrance into the church.
4. Basic moral testimony - This is the hardest one to think through. Would you let a drunkard join your church? A known bootlegger? A known homosexual? A known philanderer? You get the picture. While some cases may be easy, others are not. The question we have to sort through is do we distinguish between babes in Christ and more mature Christians. For example, many babes in Christ would not be able to affirm some basic doctrines. In fact, they may explain them in quite a strange fashion. Do we attempt to deal with them as spreading false doctrine? Probably not. Moral behavior in some areas may take some time to develop. In short we expect more from seasoned Christians. In light of this potential approach, the standards for staying in after a time become higher than the standards at the beginning.