Why do we have a “Membership Process?”

Why do we have a “Membership Process?”

The topic of Church Membership has garnered great interest in recent years, and a discussion of the meaning and value of Church Membership can be a rewarding in the context of any local church. Biblical investigation, historical study, and personal introspection are all in order when addressing Church Membership.

We are able to look to the Scriptures, as well as church history, for our understanding of every aspect of the Christian faith and the practice thereof. When church history agrees with Scripture, we may gain insight from the application of biblical truth in a context that is not our own. When church history diverges from the teaching of the Bible, we are better equipped to learn how we may avoid the trap ourselves and learn from the mistakes of others.

Because First Baptist Church of Diana is a biblically faithful church, the Bible authoritatively instructs us, and we must implement our understanding of the Scriptures accordingly. This means that we are also free from pragmatic or humanistic governing. No tradition, strong feelings, or prideful impulse may cause us to abdicate our responsibility before God.

In fact, it is our great joy and heavy burden to be faithful to God in leadership over the sheep God has placed under our care. This is a task that we all are inadequate to accomplish apart from the work of God in and through us.

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The Synoptic Problem

The so-called Synoptic Problem does not seem to be a problem at all, in the useful sense of the word.  It seems to me that a better title for this issue would be the Synoptic Production or the Synoptic Compilation.  Yet, the Synoptic Problem it remains, and Clements describes the matter by saying, “Even a quick reading of the four Gospels reveals that three of them (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) are alike, especially when contrasted with John.“ He goes on to say that these similar three are called “synoptic” for the very reason that they share a common view of the life, ministry, sayings, works, death and resurrection of Christ.  “A more detailed comparison, however,” says Clements, “reveals a wide variety of differences as well as similarities… From a literary point of view, these facts raise difficult questions. How did the Gospels originate? Did their authors use each other’s work, and did they have other materials available to them?”[1]
 

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Strength in Suffering

In his devotional “Mornings and Evenings,” Charles Spurgeon wrote his own commentary on the passing of Christians from security and strength to further stability and power. This progression is contrary to much of our natural experience, and Spurgeon acknowledges the same. A runner, for instance, begins with full energy and ends with none; and the wrestler finishes his long match with much less vigor than he had at the start. But Christians are anchored and empowered by someone who is unnatural, and their advancement from strength to strength is observable as well as biblical.

The Bible speaks of a God who is not merely a passive all-observing eye. No, the biblical God is the creator and sustainer of every aspect of His creation; He is the ever-active, sovereign king of the universe (Acts 17:24-25).

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The death of Death in Jesus Christ

While a young mother was changing her two-year-old daughter’s clothes, she heard Bella’s tiny voice.  Pointing to herself, Bella asked, “I cansoo?”  Leslie, Bella’s mother, was used to interpreting her daughter’s attempts at communication, but this word was new.  “Say it again,” Leslie said.  She needed to hear it again in order to make a good translation.  “I cansoo?”  Bella tried the question once more, but still the word was not clear.  Then Bella pointed to the scar on her tiny body that was left when her chemotherapy port had been removed, and said “Port.  Out.  I cansoo?”

Leslie was overcome with the stark reality of the whole situation, but she was able to maintain her composure for the moment.  Leslie said to her little girl, “Bella, are you saying cancer?”  Bella’s eyes widened and she responded, “YeahI cansoo?”  With a lump in her throat, Leslie said, “Yes baby, you have cancer.” Read more…


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CHURCH – The Only Sanctifying Community

If the doctrine of justification is the Article upon which the Church stands or falls, then sanctification may be the doctrine which either provides her clothes or leaves her standing there naked. The Church of Jesus Christ is His bride, adorned with His own righteousness and set apart for His intimate affection and care. This truth is the comfort of all who understand themselves to be included among the household of God. Yet, Christ does not merely call the prostituting adulterous bride to wear new labels (justified and sanctified), He also calls her to live accordingly (Eph 4:1; 1 Thess 2:12). Living in light of her new status, the Church of Jesus Christ is declared to be holy and Christ is making her holy by the washing of His word “so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor” (Eph 5:25-27). This loving reconciliation and renewal is challenged by the fact that the visible Church is made up of believers who are still desirous towards sin, and therein lies the difficulty of understanding just how the visible Church may be clothed with righteousness as she stands justified before the watching world. However, a visible Church, full of sanctified believers, arrayed in magnificence and clothed in righteousness for all the world to see is exactly what God has intended the Church do be.

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If God, then why evil?

The Christian Faith has had many antagonists over the centuries, but it seems that the boldest and noisiest adversaries of Christianity in recent decades have been those from an atheistic position. From this vantage point (though atheism is certainly no belvedere), some have postulated the finding of Christianity’s death knell. Feinberg describes the theistic conundrum by citing the philosopher David Hume.

“The problem of evil as traditionally understood in philosophical discussion and debate is stated succinctly in David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion: Is he [God] willing to prevent evil, but not able? then is he impotent. Is he [God] able, but not willing? then is he malevolent. Is he [God] both able and willing? Whence then is evil?”[1] Read more…


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What is a church?

Some might think this is a silly question.  “Of course,” they might say, “everyone knows what a church is…”  If you Google this question you will read that a church is “a building used for public Christian worship.”  In a sense, it is true that a “church” can be considered a building, but it is certainly more than just a building. Read more…

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Motivated for Evangelism

When is the right time to witness to someone?  What does a Christian need to know before witnessing or evangelizing?  Must a Christian wait to witness to someone until he or she is burdened or compelled by some inward sensation?  This question may be phrased in numerous ways and yet ask basically the same thing.  I think asking and answering three larger questions will help us answer these and others more definitively, as well as guide our understanding of evangelism or witnessing in general. Read more…


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What does it mean to be Lost?

What does it mean to be Lost?   Usually, in the context of Christianity, one is not speaking of location confusion when using the term lost. To say, “he is lost,” is to say something other than, “he does not know how to make his way from his home to the church building.” The term lost is commonly used in the salvific sense, or regarding a person’s present spiritual condition and eternal destination. Much like a traveler needs to know his or her locale, destination and route in order to make a successful journey, every spiritual pilgrim needs to know his or her spiritual whereabouts, objective and way in order to enjoy the benefits of spiritual triumph.

This question concerning ‘lostness’ may be one of the most important in order to have a better understanding of what it means to be ‘found’ or ‘saved’ in the spiritual sense (i.e. what it means to be a Christian). Essentially, this question is seeking to understand a major difference between those who are Christians and those who are not. There are real distinctions between those who are lost and those who are found, but it is vitally important to know what the actual distinctions are in order to have an appropriate posture towards those in each group.  Read more…


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