Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Revival of Church Membership & Discipline!

I am very pleased and very surprised to share that the Southern Baptist Convention adopted the following resolution at its '08 meeting:

June 2008

WHEREAS, The ideal of a regenerate church membership has long been and remains a cherished Baptist principle, with Article VI of the Baptist Faith and Message describing the church as a “local congregation of baptized believers”; and
WHEREAS, A New Testament church is composed only of those who have been born again by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Word, becoming disciples of Jesus Christ, the local church’s only Lord, by grace through faith (John 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9), which church practices believers’ only baptism by immersion (Matthew 28:16-20), and the Lord’s supper (Matthew 26:26-30); and
WHEREAS, Local associations, state conventions, and the Southern Baptist Convention compile statistics reported by the churches to make decisions for the future; and
WHEREAS, The 2007 Southern Baptist Convention annual Church Profiles indicate that there are 16,266,920 members in Southern Baptist churches; and
WHEREAS, Those same profiles indicate that only 6,148,868 of those members attend a primary worship service of their church in a typical week; and
WHEREAS, The Scriptures admonish us to exercise church discipline as we seek to restore any professed brother or sister in Christ who has strayed from the truth and is in sin (Matthew 18:15-35; Galatians 6:1); and now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 10-11, 2008, urge churches to maintain a regenerate membership by acknowledging the necessity of spiritual regeneration and Christ’s lordship for all members; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we humbly urge our churches to maintain accurate membership rolls for the purpose of fostering ministry and accountability among all members of the congregation; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we urge the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention to repent of the failure among us to live up to our professed commitment to regenerate church membership and any failure to obey Jesus Christ in the practice of lovingly correcting wayward church members (Matthew 18:15-18); and be it further
RESOLVED, That we humbly encourage denominational servants to support and encourage churches that seek to recover and implement our Savior’s teachings on church discipline, even if such efforts result in the reduction in the number of members that are reported in those churches, and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we humbly urge the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention and their pastors to implement a plan to minister to, counsel, and restore wayward church members based upon the commands and principles given in Scripture (Matthew 18:15-35; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20).
Wow! In a church culture that fails to take church membership seriously... in a church culture that has never heard of church discipline... in a Baptist culture completely ignorant of regenerate church membership, the SBC makes this robust, biblical statement! I truly am astonished and filled with joy at this resolution. I praise God that my denomination, with all its flaws, still has the courage to stand for truth in this manner. I praise God for His work among us! Praise the LORD!


Anonymous said...

Lets pray that the pastors that voted for this will take the message back to their churches and explain and follow what the scripture says.So many will let this subject drop under the table and hope nobody will find it.They seem to be afraid to hurt the feelings of todays sinner that has strayed away from the teachings of the Bible.I praise God for the preachers that still preach the Whole Word of God.

The Robinsons said...

This is exciting! I never thought the SBC would decide on such. Do you feel must churches will uphold this? Better question to ask, do must churches and pastors realize what this means or that it even was changed?

Side note--no blog on SC Day?? You could not have missed it.

The Culbertsons said...

I don't think most SBC churches know about this resolution (that's why I blogged on it). And I highly doubt that very many will uphold it. BUT... church membership rolls are in a big mess, and big messes take a long time to clean up. This resolution is a glorious leap forward!

We did have a SC Day party. My wife did a post on it, pics and all.

The Robinsons said...

My husband's church (Bellview) in SC does this. He received a letter about six months after moving asking him a few questions. Basically, they were letting him know that he was being removed from their membership list since he longer attended. The letter had scripture referring to why they were doing such. My father-in-law said they actually did visits before the letters were sent out. I was quite pleased with it. I thought it was great. My home church has yet to ask me why I no longer attend but I am still on the "roll" as a member.

Jason Vaughn said...


Could you do me a favor and write a blog on the need for membership and Scripture backing it up? Why should people become members of the church they attend?