The following is an excerpt from Going Public: Why Baptism is Required for Church Membership by Bobby Jamieson. In chapter 10 titled “Turning the Tables,” Jamieson discusses seven arguments against open membership. The excerpt below lists all seven and discusses his first objection, namely, “open membership builds on error.”
JP: Who is Going Public for?
BJ: Pastors and church leaders, first of all, since they most directly influence how their churches approach the ordinances and membership. Also seminarians, Bible college students, and any aspiring pastors or lay leaders. And if there are any Christians who are not in leadership but who have a burning interest in ecclesiology, be my guest!
By Bobby Jamieson
Why must someone be baptized as a believer in order to join a local church? Because church membership is a public affirmation of someone’s public profession of faith in Christ, and Jesus has appointed baptism as the means by which his followers publicly profess their faith in him. A church can’t affirm the profession of someone who hasn’t yet made that profession.
Baptism is how you publicly identify yourself with Jesus and with his people (Acts 2:38–41). It is how you visibly signify that you are united to Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:1–4). It is how you become identified before the church and the world as one who belongs to the Triune God (Matt. 28:19). It is how you publicly embrace Jesus as your Savior and submit to him as Lord (1 Pet. 3:21). [Read more…]