are good and maybe getting better at talking about the Christian mind, the
Christian heart, even the Christian hands and feet. We want to think, feel, and
act as Christians.
about the skeleton? No one really talks about that. If a skeleton holds things
together, what is the structure that holds the Christian life together and
gives it its shape?
The thing is, you can (sort of) exercise the Christian
head, heart, and hands all by yourself. But when you start to consider what the
Bible says about the structure of the Christian life—what I’m calling the
skeleton—you find that it necessarily involves other people. And I mean other
people in an authoritative capacity.
authorized the congregation and its leaders to act with authority in our lives.
That’s not a popular idea among Westerners, but this is the skeleton which
keeps the body, otherwise healthy, from slouching to the floor. It’s the bowl
which keeps the soup from spilling everywhere. Looking across the evangelical
landscape, do you know what I see? A lot of splattered soup. Oh, it’s tasty
soup, but it has nothing to contain it and the dogs have been licking it up for
of this: consider the stereotypical evangelical youth group. You get gospel
teaching. Sometimes gospel worldview formation. Sincere professions. And
heart-felt worship. But there’s little formal accountability, structure, and
discipline because the group is not a part of the church. Result: the kids go
to college and the majority abandon the faith or at least live like they have.
You can see the splatter.
problem is, how many churches operate this way?
brings us to this episode of the 9Marks’ “Polity is Kool Show.” Today we turn
to the theme of church membership. And, boy, do we have a show for you. Several
brothers give us a biblical, historical, and sociological look. Several more of
us consider the importance of membership. And then a few more offer wise
pastoral advice on implementing membership in your church.
watch out early next year for a new 9Marks book on membership for your leaders
Since church members are a "captive audience," church leaders may only require of them what Scripture requires. The regulative principle is not a limiter but the great emancipator of the Christian life.