WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT MEMBERSHIP?
The Bible speaks of only two kinds of members:
(1) Members of physical bodies of men and women and
(2) Members of the church which is Christ’s Body (Ephesians 1:22,23 and Colossians 1:24).
Here are all the NT references to members of physical bodies
Mt 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Mt 5:30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Ro 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
Ro 6:19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
Ro 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
Ro 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Ro 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
1Co 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Jas 3:5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
Jas 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
Jas 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
Here are all the NT references to members of the Body of Christ:
Ro 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
1Co 6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
1Co 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.
1Co 12:18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
1Co 12:19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
1Co 12:20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
1Co 12:22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
1Co 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
1Co 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
Eph 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
Eph 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
-Members are always part of a body.
-There are only two kinds of bodies in the Bible which have members:
(a) One’s physical body,
(b) The Body of Christ.
-There are no religious organizations in scripture which have members!
-There is a plurality of physical bodies… many bodies and many heads, i.e. one body for each head.
-There is NOT a plurality of bodies of Christ. There is only one body for there is only ONE HEAD!
-Membership is not something which can be granted to one member by a decision of other members! Rather, membership is enjoyed organically by vital union with the head! (This is true both in physical bodies and in the Body of Christ.)
-Members are all different by design and members have different functions, but all members in any body are members one of another and are necessary for the well-being of all the rest!
There is no mention anywhere in scripture to “members” or “membership” in local churches!
Thus it is clear that “local church membership” is not a scriptural doctrine at all but rather a tradition of men which has been designed to enable “leaders” of religious organizations to exercise control over those to which
they grant “membership” in the fictitious “bodies” over which they seek to exercise headship which has been usurped from Christ! Local church membership has thus been a very effective means by which the enemy of
our souls has split and fractured and divided the one Body of Christ into innumerable factions which are then cemented together by his spurious means of local church membership!
If you are a member of a local church, as I was for many years, it may provide many “benefits” within the organization which you have joined…BUT would you ask the Lord (1) how your membership is a hindrance to unity in the Body of Christ? And (2) how it prevents you from keeping (guarding) the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?