· Practical or historical evidences
o Numbers were known (Acts 2:41; 4:4)
o Special rolls were kept (1 Tim 5:9)
o Officers were chosen from the group (Acts 6:2-5)
o Descriptions in the book of Acts indicate a very close relationship (cf. the use of the verb kolla,w in Acts 5:13; 9:26; 10:28; 17:34. It means to join closely together, to unite, to associate with. It is used of the marriage relationship in Matthew 19:5 and of the hired servant relationship in Luke 15:15. It was anything but a casual relationship.)
· Theological evidences
o Church discipline necessitates a clear demarcation between who is in and who is out (1 Cor 5:13)
o Elders’ responsibilities necessitates known membership (Heb 13:17)
o Biblical body life – the responsibilities of members one to another – necessitates known membership.
o Conversion includes baptism which necessitates church membership in a particular manifestation of the body of Christ.
o The Lord’s Supper requires some discernment of who may be admitted to the table and who may not (1 Cor 5:11; 11:27-32), of who participates in the body and who does not (1 Cor 10:16-17).
o If, as we have argued, the local assembly is a manifestation of the heavenly, then Hebrews 12:23 may provide a theological argument by analogy for “enrolling” church members (avpogra,fw – register, record, write; as in Luke 2:1-5).
I believe the evidence is irrefutable. If the gospel is to be clear, church membership must be practiced in a clear and public manner.