The Riverbend Community Church in Ormond Beach, Florida, has posted the conditions for membership in their church on their website. Membership may be accomplished by meeting six criteria:
- Evidence of salvation.
- Baptism by immersion after salvation.
- Completion of CLASS 101.
- Signing the Membership Covenant.
- Completion of a new member interview with a staff pastor.
- Participation in new member recognition service.
I don’t know what you think, but I believe it would be easier to get a driver’s license or to get into some universities than it would be to become a member of the Riverbend Community Church.
Where have these six criteria come from? Why can’t we find anything about signing a Membership Covenant, completing a class, or being interviewed by staff personnel in the Bible? Why has this church placed baptism after salvation when the Lord clearly places it before salvation (Mark 16:16)? The answer is simple — this is a manmade church with manmade rules. The Lord has built His own church (Matthew 16:18), and purchased it with His own blood (Acts 20:28). There is only one church, and Jesus is the Savior of this one church (Ephesians 5:23).
Most people are not content to be a part of the church that Jesus built. Through centuries of innovations and departures from the doctrine of Christ, the world has the various churches which make up modern day denominationalism.
When men make their own church they obviously have the right to make their own rules. However, in the Lord’s church, the Lord has established His requirement for membership. In Acts 2, when the gospel was preached and the church first began, we can read the Lord’s requirements for church membership. “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (vs. 47b).
What does one have to do in order to become a member of the church that Jesus built? He must be saved. The moment that we are saved we are added to the church, which is the body of saved people. When one strips away the creeds and requirements of men he discovers that New Testament Christianity is refreshingly simple. Are you ready to become a Christian, a member of the church that you read about in the Bible?