From the author:
We take up the story at the start of the 16th century with Martin Luther. But before we do, let us remember that protest against the mutilation of Christ’s church was not unknown during the dark ages. Men and, no doubt, women – men like Claude of Turin (died 827), Tanchelm (died 1115), Peter of Bruy s (flourished c1117- c1131), Henry of Lausanne (flourished c1116-1148), Arnold of Brescia (1110-1155), John Tauler (c1300-1361), John Wycliffe (c1328-1384), John Hus(c1369-1415), the Lollards and their like, should never be forgotten.
They all made their protest against Rome, and in one way or another called for a return to the New Testament. I am not pretending that they had full gospel light. But, in their various way s, they all prepared the ground for the approaching Reformation.
This chapter is here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=116141234374
Chapter 3 is here: http://defendingcontending.com/2015/11/27/the-pastor-chapter-3-the-system-corrupted/
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There seems to be a link between those who advocate for “top dog” pastors and stern advocates of formal church membership.
They major on a minor to gain power and control. What happened to liberty in non-essentials and in all things love?
Formal membership advocates show severe partiality. Non-compliant attenders are treated as second class members. The list of things that you cannot do is huge. It is a cruel form of coercion. It is a Christian form of Islamic dhimitude.
I would ask the readers to consider James 2;8-9………..if you show partiality, you are committing sin. Acts 2:41 …..there were that day 3000 souls added. Added to what I ask. It is an amazing feat to baptize 3000 people before sunset. There was no time for so called formal membership classes.
There is but one faith and body.
We can “obey and submit” without being formal members. It is a joke
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T.I. Miller – While there are men who err in every church organization and can be rogue men pleasers and users, not all who embrace church membership are in error. Before I comment further I would like to know what you mean by “formal membership.” It is an error, BTW, to the make narrative passages, such as Acts 2:41, normative. We have no more apostles, no more foundation stones being laid. What took place on that day is not normative for the church. The pastoral epistles give that information to us.
Manfred What do I mean by formal church membership? In independent evangelical church members of Christ’s ONE body by faith will be invited to attend membership classes. Those attending the class are asked to sign a loyalty contract of sorts. Then with much fanfare they are announced and presented to the body. In some cases they even state their reasons for wanting to join. The pastor then calls for vote on the spot irrespective of well the body knows anything about them. they must be OK because the head over shepherd has said so. Then comes the oral votes of yea and nay. Then the ordained verbiage of so motioned so carried is spoken. Then everyone is asked to greet the new members at the end of the service. The church secretary adds their names to that church book of fellowship. they are imputed with permission to vote to teach and a number of other lofty things. Now they can treat you as equals in this local body.
Notice what happens when they up and leave even after signing the piece of paper. There is no public announcement to the congregation. There is no request of a vote to dissolve their membership. There is no reasons for their departure disclosed to the congregation. What hypocrisy.
Acts 2:41…under inspiration on that day it is written 3000 souls were added. Added to the invisible church is obvious. added to the church in Jerusalem is also just as obvious. No classes no vote no contract.
An interview by the elders to discover who is a fake or a fraud is one thing. But the rest is of man not of God.
T.I. Miller, it’s been a while since I’ve belonged to a church that behaved that way, running on Robert’s Rule of Order rather than the Scripture. The elders should make an effort to know a person before accepting them as a member. Presenting them to the body is OK, but not a biblical mandate. Managing the “back door” in accordance with Scripture is where most fail, as you noted – people leave with little or no notice.
Once a member, discipleship must take place as all God’s saints need to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.
I am not in disagreement with you over the intrusion of worldly methods into the local church. They are pervasive and destructive.
New membership ceremonies tend to cheer the sheep and pat the pastor on the back.
Members leaving are swept under the carpet for the opposite reasons.
Very few leave for serious doctrinal reasons. The majority were most often wounded deeply by one or more members or by the pastor himself.
Everyone greets the new member with a smile typically for the first and last time. Few if any inquire of the elders as to why they left. Even fewer bother to contact them directly.
When I have they typically say that I was the only one cared enough to ask. Most say that no matter what they did they never felt genuine acceptance. they never felt part of the family.
Other have well founded complaints about the pastor. Of course no pastor will ever announce that from the pulpit, for they love the seat of honor.