Confessions and Church Membership
Imagine with me a preacher who’s a brilliant orator—his teaching is clear and inspirational, and he’s a gifted leader. There’s something about him that people want to follow. He has been invited to speak at conferences. You’ve gotten to know him and his family, and you’ve become convinced that his church is the one for you. You ask the pastor about how you join this church, but it’s a little bit fuzzy. There’s lots of talk about community and being real with one another, but when you ask, “What does this church believe?” you’re given an eight-point summary that contains only the bare necessities of the evangelical faith. “Keep the main things the main things,” he says to you, and “we don’t get hung up on the secondary matters in this place.” It all sounds so positive. But there’s a nagging worry: What about when things go wrong? What about when difficulties arise in church life and there’s a need for discipline? What does the church actually believe about the sacraments and the role of the state? There are so many issues not addressed by an eight-point summary.