Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 7, 1960

Church Membership -- Its Meaning!

Ellis F. Webb, New Philadelphia, Ohio

Often times in discussing the true meaning of church membership, some seem to think that it is "non-essential" to salvation. Well what does the Bible teach? Let's not take the word of any "uninspired man."

It Is Essential

Unless our conclusion comes as a result of "what the Bible says", then our answer is incorrect. The gospel of Christ is God's power unto salvation. (Rom. 1:16.) Salvation is in Christ. (Acts 4:12.) Jesus purchased the church with his own precious blood (Acts 20:28), and by `faith we get in Christ" (Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Cor. 1213.), the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:20); and there is "but one" body. The church is that one body. (Eph. 1:22-23.) Now, we can all see (if honest) that "salvation" depends upon "obedience to the gospel" (Mk. 16:15-16) and when one hears and obeys (Acts 2:41, 47), the Lord adds that person to the church. Since the church that Jesus built (Matt. 16:18) is the only one mentioned in the Bible, and one gets into it by faith, repentance and baptism, (Gal. 3:26-27; Acts 2:38, 41, 47), and that "'the BODY" is the Church (Eph 1:22, 23), we now have the correct answer: membership in the lord's church is essential to salvation."

It Has Meaning

All those who are members of the church and "children of God." A man's house is his family, and the church is called the "house of God." (1 Tim 3:15.) The church member is a member of the Lord's body. (1 Cor. 12:27; Rom. 12:4.) The original meaning of the word church is "called-out." The disciples (learners) were called out, out of the world and from sin. The gospel is "God's only way" of calling people out of the world, and only those who `heed that call' are added. (Acts 2:37-47.)

It Bestows Blessings

This will give him the opportunity to "tell 'em what he's the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that Since "All Spiritual Blessings' Are 'In Christ' (Eph. 1:3), We As Children Of God Can Pray Or Request Of The Father. (Gal. 3:26-29.) Blessed Are The Dead Who Die In The Lord, (Rev. 14:13.) Also, Those In The Family Of God Special Blessings Over And Above The Blessings Enjoyed By Those Who Are "Not" Members Of The Church Or Body Of Are "Citizens In Kingdom Of God" (Phil. 3:20) And Enjoy Christ. (Matt. 5:45; Jas. 1:7) [Para. Sic]

It Creates Responsibility

Just as each member of the physical (human) body has it's own responsibility, so it is with "each member" of the spiritual body of Christ. (1 Cor. 12:27; Rom. 12:4; Matt 5:16; Gal. 6:10; Jas. 1:27.) Each must worship God. (John 4:23-24.) Each must live so as to glorify God. (Eph. 3:21; Tit. 2:11-12.) Each must use his own `talent' to do his best to further the cause of the Lord. (Matt. 25:1-13.) Study the story of 'foolish' ones who `failed'! (Matt. 25:14-30.), also the story of that `one talent man' who did not use the talent (ability) God had given him, so was destroyed as a result of "not accepting his responsibilities."

It Is Conditional

Whether to become a "member of the Church" or `kingdom of God", is strictly up to the individual (one can not become a member because his Mother had him 'sprinkled' etc.). Jesus said (John 8:24; John 3:16), "Ye must believe." Also, in John 3:3-5, Jesus told a ma — that "Ye must be born of water and of the Spirit". The apostle Paul said, (Rom. 6:3-4) one must "be buried with Christ in baptism." Acts 2:38 teaches such is "for the remission of sins". It matters not how many times you may have heard some false teacher say that "The New Birth" comes super-naturally down from above! The things that take place `above' (binding and loosing) which makes it necessary here `on earth' to be born of water and the Spirit (John 3:5) involve the fact that Jesus promised the apostles (his only spokesmen), that "I will give unto you the keys" to the kingdom of heaven and when you receive those keys and use them (Acts 2:1-47), to tell men 'on earth' what to do to be saved, (as recorded in Acts 2:3738, 41) those same requirements will be "bound in heaven"! Yes, friends, we only need to be honest, and submissive to the will, to see and know that "church membership" is essential to our salvation. May God give us courage to do and wisdom to say just and only what the Bible says.

Irvin Himmel, P. O. Box 5803, St. Louis 35, Mo. March 1, 1960: After four and one-half pleasant years with Forest Hill church in Richmond, Va., I moved to the St. Louis area to assist the Ferguson congregation. Three have been baptized and two identified at Ferguson since the first of the year. I am publishing a monthly paper designed for non-Christians. Subscription price for this 16-page magazine known as APOSTOLIC DOCTRINE is $1.75 per year. The following are some of the brethren who are contributing articles regularly: Frank Jamerson, Norman Midgette, Grover Stevens, Hubert Moss, Arvid McGuire, and Ferrell Jenkins.