Tuesday, May 09, 2006

more door

D. N. Jackson, once a leader in the A.B.A. and then in the N.A.B.A. (now know was the B.M.A.A. - Baptist Missionary Assocation of America wrote, "Baptism is one way of making a confession of faith in Christ. Scriptural baptism is performed by the authority of the triune God (Matthew 28:19-20). No one without baptism is qualified for membership in a church, but baptism does not wholly qualify him. It is the ceremonial qualification he is required to meet. It is the first act of Christian obedience after one's profession, although one may have the opportunity to witness for Christ as Saviour before he is baptized."

Again Bro. Jackson said, "The rite of water baptism, as a mode, is a condition of membership. It is a primary condition, as membership cannot be Scripturally obtained without it. It is a condition and not the door into a church. The "door" is the voice of the church by which members may be received and by which they may be dismissed. Any act that is made the door of admission must of necessity be made the door of dismission. Baptism, therefore, cannot meet that requirement, as it would be impossible to "unbaptize" a person! In New Testament cases baptism always preceded one's initial church membership (Acts 2:41; 10:47). Baptism is a primary condition of church membership only as it presupposes the subject's regeneration and profession of faith in Christ."

Bro. Jackson makes a very interesting point. He argues that if baptism is the door into the church, would it not also be the door out. He says that the "door" is the voice of the church by which members are to be received and by which they are dismissed.

Churches receive and dismiss members by some form of action, usually. It may be a negative vote wherein the moderator simply asks if any object to the reception. When one comes from another church by letter or statement, it is the action of the church or the voice of the church that receives him into the fellowship.

Members are dismissed by church action. If it be by withdrawing of fellowship it is church action that does this (See Matt. 18:15-18; I Cor. 5:1-11). If one is dismissed by letter, that is done by church action. Of course, if one dies, the church takes no action for they have no say in the death of a member. In every other case, the way in or the way out of the church is by the voice of the church, the action of the body. Is baptism the only door to the church?

more can be found here @
The Grace Proclamator and Promulgator, Vol. XV, No., 1 January 1, 1999

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