Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Why are church membership and discipline important?
and thorny questions about church life
Does church membership mean more than simply joining a social group? Does the church have a responsibility to discipline its members — and if so, what does that look like? In 40 Questions about Church Membership and Discipline (Kregel Academic/May 27, 2017/ISBN 978-0-8254-4445-6/$18.99), Dr. Jeremy Kimble recognizes and addresses the many puzzling questions about the critical role of the church in the life of believers.
The latest release in Kregel’s 40 questions series edited by Benjamin L. Merkle, each section considers questions of theology, ministry and practicality. This book raises — and clearly answers — the most common and difficult questions church leaders and members have. With succinct chapters, 40 Questions about Church Membership and Church Discipline is a practical resource for any church leader, elder board, seminary student or new member seeking a foundational understanding of how the church should function.
“Church membership is not solely about what you can get out of a church. Instead, membership points us toward commitment and mutual accountability,” explains Kimble. “When we join the membership of a local church, we are agreeing to be overseen in our discipleship and oversee others in their discipleship. As such, the idea of membership goes beyond mere attendance and even ministry involvement. At its heart, church membership is about a group of people committed to one another, who will continually oversee and exhort one another toward ever-increasing godliness.”
Among the 40 questions Kimble examines are:
· Is there a New Testament precedent for membership?
· How does membership relate to baptism and communion?
· Who should become a member?
· How is discipline related to discipleship?
· Should a believer associate with someone under church discipline?
Church discipline is an often thorny topic, but Kimble describes discipline as a proper demonstration of the biblical concept of love. He writes that God disciplines those whom he loves (Hebrews 12:6–11), and thus a church who claims to love its members without disciplining them contradicts Scripture and offers a different kind of love than God does. Church discipline can potentially be a painful process, but as a spiritual family we are called to work through such matters faithfully and gently.
“The main message of the book is that church membership and discipline are essential components to the health of a local church, since they are a distinct means of pursuing discipleship, holiness, love and perseverance in the faith,” Kimble offers.
Learn more about 40 Questions about Church Membership and Church Discipline and the other books in the 40 Questions series at www.kregel.com.
About the Author
Dr. Jeremy Kimble (PhD, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at Cedarville University in Cedarville, OH. He is passionate about teaching college students, as well as the local church, the truth of God’s Word.
Dr. Kimble’s hope is that through his courses, students will seek to love God and others, rightly understand the grand narrative of Scripture and apply theological truths to everyday life. He is committed to teaching in the classroom as well as mentoring students in smaller settings. His research interests include ecclesiology, eschatology, biblical theology, worldview and the theology of Jonathan Edwards.
He served in pastoral ministry for eight years and currently serves as an elder at Grace Baptist Church in Cedarville.