From there one can look at all the various denominations we have. In fact, there is even a handbook of denominations. According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, there are approximately 41,000 Christian denominations and organizations in the world! Wow! You talk about dividing the Body of Christ!
Do you ever stop to think how foreign a concept this would have been to the early church? Even more importantly, how sadden Jesus must be? After all, He didn't shed His blood for a denomination! We see no where in the New Testament church where the church was divided as we see it today. No where. In fact, there were city wide churches that met in homes as well as various other places. There were no mega-churches as we know them. Large numbers of people were saved at times, but met in smaller groups. There was no such thing as a one man solo pastor as is so prevalent today.
Getting back to "church membership" today. In my view Christians are all members of the Body of Christ - the one true church - God's church. To deprive someone of the opportunity to minister and serve in any local gathering of believers is just wrong. It ought not matter what sign is over the door or what denominational flavor the group has. We should welcome God's people. Of course, we must be aware and on the look out for false teachers in sheep's clothing and the heresy that goes along with that. But we should be open to whomever God sends our way to labor with us.
Church membership tends to bring with it a "second class" Christian mentality. That is, if you aren't a "member" here than you don't have certain rights and privileges that that others have who are members. In my mind, that makes our brothers and sisters who are not members of a local group Second Class Christians. Is Jesus pleased with that? I don't believe so.
Churches need to get off their high horse and get back to the basics of what it is we are supposed to be doing - winning others to Jesus and growing the Body of Christ into spiritual maturity.
I guess you could say this is a pet peeve of mine. I don't like it and never will. There's too much to do to be bothered with this nonsense,.
Until next time...enjoy the journey!
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