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Missions and Issues in Church Membership

April 20, 2010

In a Q/A I did with Jonathan Leeman at TGCReviews on his new book The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love I asked him the following question to which I thought he gave an insightful response:

Some might say this debate is for those who have the luxury of having it in American evangelicalism. How is this a relevant issue for missions and church-planting overseas?

The issue of membership and disipline is relevant for every place Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 6–”Come out and be separate!”–are relevant. I spend half of chapter 6 looking at what biblical teaching on membership and discipline might mean for specific congregations (i) in Muslim Central Asia, (ii) Dubai, UAE, (iii) Brazil, (iv) and Delhi, India. I conclude that there are some contextual differences between such locations, but that in every location the church needs to be a marked-off, clearly distinct, holy, and loving body of people who are a witness to Christ’s saving power through their very corporate existence.


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