Evidence of regenerating grace is the fundamental condition of membership in the local church. Both the Acts and the Epistles give clear testimony to the fact that the New Testament churches were composed of believers who had submitted to Christ as Lord and Saviour. We do not seek infallibly to discern the sincerity of anyone’s profession of faith, yet the purity of the local church must be maintained by the insistence that a credible confession of Christ, evidenced by repentance and faith and declared in believer’s baptism, is the condition of entry into the privileges of church fellowship.
Acts 2:41-47; 8:9-24; 16:13-15, 23-40.
We believe that an applicant for membership shall be required to give an oral testimony to his or her saving conversion to Christ, initially to those having the spiritual oversight, and then, if they are satisfied, to the gathered church. While no text commands this practice as a condition of membership, many scriptures exhort and encourage us to make known publicly the Lord’s dealings with us and our faith in him.
Acts 8:36-39; Psa. 66:16; 119:74; Rom. 10:10; 1 Tim. 6:12; 1 Pet. 3:15.
As saving faith involves knowledge of what God has revealed to be believed, it should also be ascertained that the applicant can assent to the Articles of Faith of the church, understands and will be submissive to the church’s discipline. While an applicant may be admitted as a member if there is not as clear insight into the Articles of Faith as may be desired, yet the applicant may not be admitted if found in any way opposed to them. It should also be ascertained that the applicant is held in good reputation.