Church Membership

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Order of Contents

Articles
Right of Congregational Election of Officers
Ladies Voting?
How May Local Churches be Established?

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Articles

Cunningham, William – The Place of Church Members in Acts 15, 1863, p. 54, 5 pages, from his Historical Theology, vol. 1

Kayser, Phillip – Church Membership: Is it Biblical?  A Brief Study of the Concept of Church Rolls, PDF, 1993, 7 pages 

Kayser demonstrates the Biblical obligation of church membership

Kayser, Phillip – Public Assembly: The Biblical Call to Faithful Attendance at Public Worship, 2005, 14 pages

Kayser shows that faithful attendance at public worship is a Biblical obligation

 

 

 

Right of Congregational Election of Officers

see also Patronage

Patronage was the erroneous historical practice of civil patron’s over-riding the congregational election of officers.

Binnie, William – The Concurrence of Popular Election and Official Ordination, p. 132, 16 pages

Cunningham, William – Right of the Christian People to Elect Officers in the Early Church, 1863, p. 189, 8 pages, from his Historical Theology, vol. 1

Cunningham, William – The Rights of the Christian People, starting on p. 290, 140 pages.  1863.  This is Chapters 11 from his Discussions on Church Principles

Cunningham, William – Popular Election of Office Bearers, 1863, p. 534, 10 pages, from his Historical Theology, vol. 2

 

 

Ladies Voting?

Whether Ladies have the Right to Vote for Church Officers

 

 

How may Local Churches be Established?

John Coffey, Politics, Religion and the British Revolutions: The Mind of Samuel Rutherford, p. 204.  HT: Andrew Myers

It should not surprise us, therefore, that in the [Westminster] Assembly debates, Rutherford and Gillespie sided with the English Independents on several points where they disagreed with the English Presbyterians.  As liturgical practice was concerned, the Scottish radicals agreed with the Independents on the value of extemporary prayer, and the dangers of a fixed liturgy.70 Rutherford also opposed those who favoured a system of rigidly fixed congregations, with no freedom to seek fellowship outside the parish. He argued that being in the vicinity of a church was not an adequate basis for determining church membership, but that the consent of the people was also necessary.  Although he thought that a church covenant was not needed at a local level, he did favor a ‘voluntary agreement’ on the part of the church members in order to form a congregation.  [Wayne] Spear suggests that Rutherford’s views may have had something to do with the mildness with which the Assembly treated the gathering of churches.71  

70. See above. See also [Robert S.] Paul, Assembly of the Lord, p. 445.
71. Spear, Covenanted Uniformity, pp. 214-17. Paul argues that the Scots ecclesiology ‘in some ways was closer to the Independents’ than to that of the English Presbyterians, who pressed for a simplified form of the traditional English parish. Assembly of the Lord, p. 345. See also p. 209.

Wayne Spear, Covenanted Uniformity in Religion: The Influence of the Scottish Commissioners Upon the Ecclesiology of the Westminster Assembly, p. 217.  HT: Andrew Myers

Among the Scottish Commissioners at the Westminster Assembly, Samuel Rutherford was the foremost representative of this type of piety, and in the Assembly debate on fixed congregations, he supported the Independents to some degree. He said that being in the vicinity was not an adequate basis for determining church membership, but that the consent of the people was also necessary. While he rejected the necessity of a church covenant on the local level, he did advocate a “voluntary agreement” on the part of church members in order to form a congregation.1  It may be that his views had something to do with the mildness with which the Assembly treated the gathering of churches.

1. MS, II, fol. 30.

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A pastor to an appreciative congregation:
“I know you love me, but I did not die for you.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

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Related Pages

Church

Church Government

Unity of the Church