Jonathan Leeman’s newest installment, Church Membership is his latest contribution to the 9Marks Healthy Church Series. The author sets out to help readers understand what church membership is – since many appear to be confused or reject the very notion.
Leeman begins by arguing that the church is the highest kingdom authority on earth: “The local church is the authority on earth that Jesus has instituted to officially affirm and give shape to my Christian life and yours.” So when God’s people gather together, they do so under the kingly authority of Jesus.
Additionally, the author maintains that the church is an embassy : “A local church is a real-life embassy, set in the present that represents Christ’s future kingdom and his coming universal church.” Leeman continues, “A church member is a person who has been officially and publicly recognized as a Christian before the nations, as well as someone who shares in the same authority of officially affirming and overseeing other Christians in his or her church.”
And the author presents a principle that really emerges as the theme of the book, namely – “Christians don’t join churches; they submit to them.” This theme is developed later in the book as Leeman carefully develops the rationale for biblical submission.
Church Membership is a welcome addition to the 9Marks Series. The arguments are clear and biblical. The importance of church membership is emphasized in gracious tones that will captivate readers and spur them to action.