Must I be baptised in water to be a member of the church?

For many years I believed and taught that baptism following conversion was a prerequisite to being received as a member of a local church. However, this doctrine is nowhere to be found in the pages of scripture!

The fact of the matter is that the Bible has absolutely nothing to say about “church membership” into which people receive other people!!!

“Membership” in the Bible is always associated with a living body which has a head. Thus there are two kinds of scriptural members:

(1) Our physical bodies have members and our physical bodies each have a head. (See I Corinthians 12.)

(2) The church which is Christ’s body has members and Christ is our head. (See Ephesians 1:22,23 and I Corinthians 12)

All believers in Jesus Christ have been baptised (placed into) His body whether they have been baptised in water or not! (I Corinthians 12:13)  Certainly, being baptised in water as a believer is the first command a new believer ought to obey, BUT it is NOT a prerequisite to being placed as a member in Christ’s Body!  Nor is there a line of scripture which teaches that there is a “membership” into which one should be received by other people which requires that they first be baptised in water.  Such teachings are all religious traditions of men designed to exercise religious control and usurp the place of the Lord Jesus Christ as head over His church!

Realizing this truth brings tremendous liberty to the child of God when he/she understands that there is only one church in which God desires him/her to be a member!  Revelling in the truth that I am accepted in the “Beloved” (Ephesians 1:3) and need not jump through any hoops of men’s religious traditions to become a member in any other “church”  allows one to give their full allegiance to Christ and not have to give that allegiance to a religious denomination or congregation who would wrongly claim it!

In the church of which I am a part (a church which meets in the homes of believers in our community), we never ask people to “join” or “become members” in “our church” simply because we do not own the church of which we are a part! Rather we teach that every born-again, blood-bought believer in Jesus Christ is already a member in the only church in which God requires “membership”. That church is the church which is Christ’s Body and it includes every believer in the Lord Jesus regardless of their “religious affiliation”!

There is a song which we occasionally sing in our gatherings which reminds us of this truth. (It is sung to the tune of “This Land is Your Land this land is my land”.)

THIS CHURCH IS CHRIST’S CHURCH

(Tune:  This Land is Your Land)

 

This church is Christ’s church, it is not my church,

It is not our church, but it’s His building.

Hell`s gates can never prevail against it,

This church is built by Jesus Christ!

(Matthew 16:18)

 

This church is Christ’s church, it is not my church,

It is not our church, it’s bought with His blood.

We are His sheep and He`s our shepherd,

This flock by right belongs to Him!

(John 10; Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:20; I Peter 2:25)

 

This church is Christ’s church, it is not my church,

It is not our church, but we’re His temple.

He lives within us, He’s made us holy.

We are the dwelling place of God.

(I Corinthians 3:16,17; Ephesians 2:20-22

 

This church is Christ’s church, it is not my church,

It is not our church, it is His Body

Where all His saved ones are joined as members.

This church was made for Christ, the Head.

(I Corinthians 12; Ephesians 1:22,23)

 

This church is Christ’s church, it is not my church,

It is not our church, it’s such a mystery,

That to hell’s demons and heaven’s angels

He`s teaching His wisdom by His church.

(Ephesians 3:9,10)

 

This church is Christ’s church, she is not my church,

She is not our church, She’s His beloved.

He loved the church and gave Himself for her.

Her Bridegroom’s longing for His bride.

(Ephesians 5:23-33)

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One comment on “Must I be baptised in water to be a member of the church?

  1. John Rutherford says:

    Hi Bruce and thanks for all that the Most High God has done and is doing through you. Always a pleasure and a breath of fresh air to hear from you. I wish we were closer to you but trust that Christ is building His Church solid regardless of geographical location. He is our High Tower of Refuge. Praise God! The Lord put it heavy on our hearts to be baptized and what a amazing change it has been for us. Just a small group of us and a small COLD lake out side Lloydminster Alberta. I didn’t come up speaking in tongues or nothing just very cold, but I’ll tell you, old habits that I hated being in bondage too just seemed to slip away. There was no longer that teeth clenching self effort to not do those things I hated to do but did anyway. It is like I have been granted new power and strength to stand and resist the old flesh nature. He has gave me a new heart and an ever growing stronger desire to serve Him and His people as He appoints and organizes. Now we are waiting on the anointing Holy Spirit and are excited to live out what we read in the book of Acts. So excited and eager to grow but also being still and knowing that He is Lord.
    We are in Red Deer now due the passing of my wifes brother. Been both sad and encouraging to see that God will stop at nothing in order to break up fallow ground in order to receive good seed. Good change is coming for our extended friends and family. I stared at Warren in his coffin lifeless and just in case God wanted to revive Him commanded Him to rise in Jesus name to which His lifeless body remained still and I realized that flesh will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Last night I stared at my own face in the mirror before I went to sleep around 3 am and realized I was looking at a beast. Our flesh is the beast which needs to die and be reborn both now through baptism in water and the Holy Spirit and then into a new glorified body. We are just a vessel in which He works through if we choose to allow him to. My end thought last night as I looked at myself was “this is not me”. Warrens body is cold and returning to dust and mine is warm and very much alive and ready to have it put to use to Further Gods purpose in my life and those around me. We truly are bought with a price and are fearfully and wonderfully made in His Image yet we are here for such a short time. Quicken the pace as all of our time is drawing near. Praise God for Life and Praise God for you and those who are with you. Feed His Sheep. By faith, we have already been chosen, justified and glorified in Christ. Now we only need to Stand in Him and hold fast to that which is tried tested and true. Let this day and every day we have left honor Christ who died for us and conquered the last enemy and showed us that not even death can hold Him. It was Warrens time, he had a rough life and was not able to make alot of his own decisions since he was disabled. Those around him who thought they were helping him were actually slowly killing him. When God sets the time all of this will be tearfully and carefully uncovered to the famliy. He had been on a handful of psychotropic drugs most of His life to which I have always strongly protested. Imagine how God feels watching the majority of His creation self destruct. He takes no pleasure in that. He wishes that we come to repentance and a knowledge of Truth.
    Always good to hear from you Bruce,
    God Bless you family and those around you.
    John

    Like

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