Here’s a timely subject where you wonder why more hasn’t been written on it before. In this volume entitled Believe and Belong by Pastor Clarence Sexton the subtitle says it all: “The Joy of Church Membership.”
It is a needed corrective to the prevailing notion that church membership is irrelevant at best and unbiblical at worst. It is born of our excessive personal independence that scorns even the most gentle accountability. The interdependence that is inherent to the idea of the local church is just too much for many. No doubt, the loss is truly theirs.
As a pastor, I appreciate his emphasis as this is a battle we all face in dealing with folks. Pastor Sexton writes with the intensity and candor you might expect from someone who has been in it over 40 years.
He makes a good case for membership as well as what a church really is. That is foundational to the local church ever being both what it can be and what The Lord intended it to be. His discussion on God’s Word being our guide is critical in a day when many forget that our cry should be sola scriptura (“by the Scriptures alone”).
He actually covers most of the things found in a discussion on the local church: baptism, the Lord’s Supper, prayer, the pastor. He warns of “grievous wolves” and ends on a push for the Great Commission. Along the way comes out strongly for soul liberty and the priesthood of the believer, which, strangely, is rare among Baptist pastors today. Yes, that was Baptist people’s most unique feature in previous generations.
This book is fine for new Christians as well as seasoned Christians who need to consider a subject they have thought little of in the past. Pastors, we will find ideas here of how we might present this truth. I recommend this book.
DISCLAIMER: Unlike other books I have reviewed on this blog, I know this author. While that could be some bias, I still feel this a truly helpful book.