Church Membership

Where do we see church membership in the New Testament?

Matthew 18:15-17: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault…if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you…If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” The ability to exclude someone from “the church” presupposes that it’s known who belongs to “the church” as a member in the first place.

Is church membership biblical?


The highest moral laws in the secular west today are toleration and non-judgmentalism. The very ideas of inclusion and exclusion in any context make people think of elitism, xenophobia, or racism.

Still, church membership is an idea with deep biblical roots:

Book Review: What to Do When You Don’t Want to Go to Church, by Peggy Palau and Peggy Sue Wells

Review by Mike McKinley | 03.05.2010

We need more than a call to just go back to church; we need to give ourselves to understanding what the church is, and then commit to building such a body.

Book Review: Membership Matters, by Chuck Lawless

Review by Owen Strachan | 03.05.2010

For its focus on membership and involvement, Lawless’s book is a significant help in directing a church toward a more biblical polity.

Book Review: It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian, by Tod E. Bolsinger

Review by John Folmar | 03.05.2010

This book stumbles as it pits “community,” and particularly the observance of the Lord’s Supper, against sound doctrine.

Book Review: Stealing Sheep, by William Chadwick

Review by Greg Gilbert | 03.05.2010

Chadwick’s book is a marvelous challenge to the widespread problem of Christian mobility.

Book Review: Where Do We Go From Here?, by Ralph Neighbour

Review by Greg Gilbert | 03.03.2010

The structure of cell churches the author proposes seems to me to surrender far too much of what it means to be a church.

Book Review: The Transforming Community, by Mark Lauterbach

Review by Jonathan Leeman | 9Marks Journal: Church Discipline (Part 1) | 03.02.2010

If you’re not careful, Lauterbach’s book just might cause a paradigm shift in how you think about grace and the gospel, as well as how you think about the church.

Pastors’ and Theologians’ Forum on the Emerging Church

By Forum | 9Marks Journal: The Emerging Church | 03.01.2010

What do you hope will ultimately emerge from the emerging church conversation for evangelicals?

A Church Discipline Primer

By Jonathan Leeman | 9Marks Journal: Church Discipline (Part 1) | 03.01.2010

A reluctance to practice church discipline may suggest that we believe ourselves to be wiser and more loving than God.

Should you use the 1689 London Confession in your church?

By Shawn Wright | 03.01.2010

Should you use the 1689 London Confession as your church’s statement of faith? No, for at least three reasons . . .

Biblical Church Growth I Thessalonians 3:12-4:12

By Mark Dever | 03.01.2010

How can you have a growing church?

Are brief, general statements of faith harmful or helpful?

By Shawn Wright | 03.01.2010

A statement of faith must be complete enough to mark out the doctrinal parameters of the church, without being so precise that it excludes persons unnecessarily.

Church Membership and the N.C.L.H.G.A.

By Mike McKinley | 9Marks Journal: The Church's Mission | 03.01.2010

Was church membership practiced by churches in the New Testament? Scripture gives us indications that the answer to this question is “yes.”

How to Make Membership Matter

By Paul Alexander | 03.01.2010

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