Ken Caruthers serves with the IMB, has led church planting teams amongst muslims, and now helps trains missionaries and churches to reach the nations. He has written extensively on ecclesiology, including church membership, the local church, teams as church, and more. Here, again, writing for IX Marks, he gives helpful insight into the biblical relationship of sending church, missionary, and local church.
In the Bible, the church’s authority over its members means a community of Christians provides ongoing affirmation that each Christian’s life agrees with their confession to follow Jesus Christ as Lord. In other words, church membership is a covenant of love and union that includes a Christian community’s ongoing assessment of a Christian’s way of life. Membership also includes a mutual promise of oversight on the part of the community and submissive involvement on the part of the Christian. For a community to fulfill this kind of oversight there needs to be meaningful, regular, and easy access to the life of the Christian. Likewise, for the Christian to fulfill this kind of covenant, they must have meaningful, regular, and easy access to the activity of the church and to the lives of others in the community.
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