Which Church? New Testament Churches Were Restricted To Christian Membership

Which Church? New Testament Churches Had No Sectarian Title

One sad feature of the present day is that many of the Lord’s dear people are connected to religious systems in which believers and unbelievers are linked. That situation was never the norm in New Testament times. In 1 Corinthians 1:2, Paul described the composition of the church of God at Corinth like this, “them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints”. Thus each member was a genuine believer for it is our faith in Christ that sanctifies us, Acts 26:18. He also spoke of assemblies in general as “churches of the saints”, 1 Corinthians 14:33, another indication that there should be an exclusively believing membership.

Believers who are members of a mixed religious society often argue like this, “If I withdraw my light from this situation, the darkness will be all the greater”. They see their unsaved fellow members as a mission field. In actual fact, the Bible shows that light and darkness are incompatible, and so light should be withdrawn. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers… Come out from among them, and be ye separate”, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.

It should be noted that not all believers qualify for the privilege of fellowship in a New Testament assembly. Sin disqualifies, 1 Corinthians 5:11, and to hold erroneous doctrine that would create a faction is another factor that debars, Titus 3:10. Both moral and doctrinal evil corrupts the whole assembly, for “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump”, 1 Corinthians 5:6, Galatians 5:9. There is the need to maintain the purity of the assembly both morally and doctrinally.

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4 comments

  1. David Sommer

    It is interesting what happened after God struck Ananias and Sapphira because of their lying. “And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.” Acts 5:11. Then in verse 15, Luke inspired by the Holy Spirit says, “And of the rest dared no man join himself to them; but the people magnified them.” It is very self-evident who the rest were. Sad to say the assembly of believers has opened themselves up to all kinds of people.

    • Excellent point. It really is amazing how divergent the practices of modern evangelicalism is from the New Testament record of the practices of the early believers.

      • David Sommer

        Not only in the area of evangelism but the purpose of meeting together. My wife and I are missionaries to Bolivia since 1969 and when we come back to the States for furlough what we see happening in the ‘churches’ or assembly of believers makes our hearts break. For instance, Hebrews 10:25 exhorts us: “Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” How many places “assemble” only Sunday morning, and that with a lot of entertainment to keep the people. The Lord Jesus Christ is not the center any more. His sacrifice and what He has done for us means so little any more.

      • Brother, I realize how discouraging it can be. The trend that you are describing is real. It is so clearly evident, even in areas that were once strongholds— however there are still many who have ‘not bowed the knee’ nor ‘kissed’ the false god of modern day busyness. 1 Kings 19:18.