Church Membership

Church Membership

How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus

9marks: Buliding Healthy Churches
by Jonathan Leeman
Publisher: Crossway Books
1st Edition, ©2012, ISBN: 9781433532375
Hardcover, 144 pages
Price: $14.99

By Jonathan Leeman's own admission, Church Membership isn't a book for those skeptical about church membership—it's for those who don't really think it's a big deal one way or the other. This little book (part of the IX Marks series) shows why joining a church isn't optional, how church members ought to contribute to church life, and the perennially difficult topic of church discipline and the authority of the church officers.

Leeman begins by encouraging us to re-think the way we talk about the church and its parameters. Joining a church isn't so much about "membership" (in the sense of joining a club) as it is about submission to Christ and citizenship in His kingdom. But he doesn't just make assertions or use "real-world examples" as so many authors are fond of doing; he demonstrates the truth of his claims by turning to Scripture and seeing how the apostles talked about the church and the believer's relationship to it.

As a Southern Baptist, Leeman makes claims some from other denominations or traditions will take issue with. But Michael Horton, a Presbyterian, writes the foreward, thus demonstrating that the principles found here hold true across polity boundaries, and that Christians of all stripes should take heed of the very real (and increasingly divisive and second-guessed) issues of Church Membership and its implicit corollary, church authority.

If you're looking for a book that won't challenge you to think long and hard about the need for Christians to join a local church, don't read this one. On the other hand, if you want to know more about the relationship of church membership to baptism and the Lord's Supper, the role of discipline in maintaining unity and purity of doctrine and practice, and other essential concerns, you'd be hard pressed to find a better introduction, or onethat is aseven-handed, biblical, and convicting as this one.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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Exodus Rating
Summary: A defense of membership as biblical and necessary for the proper dispensing of the church's ministry.

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