Becoming a Church Member, and the Matter of Salvation
"The Lord was adding together daily the ones who were being saved." Acts 2:47
You are important to God, and therefore to us. We want so much for you to become a member of our congregation. However, we must insist on the terms of membership the Lord Himself has laid down. It is God's church, and we must respect the terms God has laid down for membership.
Membership in Christ's church is possible to those who believe in Jesus Christ as Son of God, Lord and Saviour; those who believe in their hearts that Jesus was raised from the dead; those who are prepared to confess their faith before men, and obey the gospel.
If you are such a believer, prepared to make this confession of faith and repent of your sinful past, you are eligible to be immersed in water to be born again, united with Christ, and forgiven of your sins. God will then give you His Holy Spirit and add you to His church.
Teachings and beliefs that trivialize, demean or alter baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus are unacceptable to God, and therefore unacceptable to us. You will gather from this that we do not accept just any baptism as the baptism unto salvation that God commands. What is true, rather than what you want or what you think, is what is important as far as your salvation is concerned. Many denominations practice forms of baptism that are unlike that found in the N.T.: sprinkling instead of immersion, infant instead of adult, and baptism as an outward sign of one's already having been saved before baptism!! None of these is acceptable because they are not the baptism one finds in the gospel.
As well, it is not a question of joining the church of your choice. No, for God adds the saved to His church. It is God who makes you a church member, but He uses His people to bring you to this point.
We earnestly encourage you to discuss this matter with us, and to examine the Scriptures to ensure that you have done and continue to do what is correct. We are not attempting to make it hard to become a church member. We are concerned that you be taught the truth. Church membership is a salvation issue. You need to get it right.
No matter what you currently believe, you are welcome to meet with us just as often as you wish: to worship, pray, study, learn, discuss, share and enjoy.
The following Scriptures relate to the points mentioned above
- Matthew 16:15-18; 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 7:29-30; 13:3; John 3:3,5; 8:30-32; Acts 2:36-47; 16:30-34; 18:24-19:5; 20:28; 22:16; Romans 6:3-7; 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 3:6; 12:13; Galatians 3:26-27; Ephesians 4:5; 5:22-32; Titus 3:1-7; Hebrews 5:8-9; 1 Peter 1:3-5,18-25; 3:20-21; 2 John 9-10.
- God saves "according to His mercy, through the bath [Gk loutr?n = bath for washing; compare Acts 22:16; Ephesians 5:26; Hebrews 10:22; 1 Corinthians 6:11] of the new birth and the renewal of the Holy Spirit." Titus 3:5. By using the terms "bath for washing," "water" and "baptism" interchangeably in passages referring to the new birth, Titus 3:5; John 3:5; Romans 6:3-4, the Scriptures are clear that being born again involves water baptism. Combine this with 1 Peter 1:3,22-23 and 3:20-21 and you have an irrefutable case. Yes, the Holy Spirit plays an essential part in this baptism, John 3:3,5; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 12:13, but it is still baptism in water. God saves through Christ in the waters of baptism.
- Although the body is washed in baptism, it is not the washing of the body that is the issue in salvation, but the cleansing of the conscience. Hebrews 10:22; 1 Peter 3:20-21. Before baptism one has an "evil conscience;" after baptism one has a "good conscience."
- Baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus is water baptism. Acts 2:38; 8:15-17; 10:47-48; 19:1-5. Compare "you were washed... sanctified...justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:11.
- Jesus made it clear that salvation does not come until one has believed and been baptized. Mark 16:16. The apostolic practice, as seen in Acts, was to insist on this. 2:38,41; 8:12-16,26-39; 10:42-48; 16:14-15,30-34; 18:8,24-19:6; 22:16. Later teaching to Christians confirms this. Galatians 3:26-27; Ephesians 4:5; Colossians 2:11-14