Over at the 9Marks Blog, there have been two important articles dealing with church authority and church membership. I draw your attention to it here because it dovetails with discussions we have had at our church.
The first article is "Pastors, Don't Let Your People Resign into Thin Air" by Bobby Jamieson. Here's a money quote:
commands us not to forsake assembling together. Therefore, any
professing Christian who quits going to church is living in habitual,
unrepentant sin. And the way a church addresses unrepentant sin is not
by merrily sending that person on his way, but by removing their
affirmation of “member” and “brother” (Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5:1-13). When the player quits showing up on game day, the team has to take back his jersey.
This article provoked a strong reaction, so Jonathan Leeman provided a follow-up post to address the following questions.
1. What authority does a local church have?
2. What is church membership?
3. Isn't the church a voluntary society?
4. Can a church say "no" to a resignation?
5. Can a church abuse its authority?
I recommend these articles to you if you are thinking through these issues.
High Country Baptist Church of Colorado Springs