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Membership

Following in the historic Baptist tradition, we believe in “regenerate church membership.” This means those who are members of Pilgrim Baptist Church, and those who are members of the church worldwide, are only those who have by personal decision and testimony declared Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Saviour and accepted that He is God’s only means of their salvation.

The first command to those who become believers is to be baptized. We believe that the best biblical model for this, as taught in the Scriptures, is baptism by immersion.

What is the Meaning of Believer’s Baptism

1. Baptism identifies the believer with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:4 “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

2. When the believer is going down under the water, he or she is publicly renouncing the sinful core of their being.

Romans 6:11 “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

3. When the believer comes out of the water, he or she acknowledges the new life that God gave them when they become believers.

Romans 6:4 “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. ”

4. When the believer leaves the water, he or she acknowledges their intention to live by the beliefs and values of God’s Kingdom.

Colossians 3:1-3 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

5. When the believer leaves his or her baptism, he or she gives themselves to the mission and ministry of Jesus.

Romans 6:13 “Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.”

How do you become a member of Pilgrim Baptist Church?

We believe that each Christian is not only a member of the Church universal but must be a participating member of a local church. You can become a member at Pilgrim Baptist in one of three ways:

1. By Baptism

Any person, after giving testimony of receiving Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour, showing evidence of spiritual regeneration, and vote of acceptance by the Church membership, will, after baptism by immersion, be received into membership of the Church.

2. By Letter

Members of Baptist churches and other churches of like faith and practice, may, by vote of acceptance by the Church membership, be received into membership of the Church membership by letter of transfer from their church.

3. By Testimony

Those who give personal testimony of their Christian experience and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and confirm their baptism by immersion in a Baptist church or other church of like faith and practice, may, by vote of acceptance by the Church membership, be received into membership of the Church.

Lord’s Supper (Communion)

At Pilgrim Baptist Church we believe that it is the privilege and responsibility of every Christian to celebrate and participate in the Lord’s Supper (Communion) regardless of where they have their membership. This is usually referred to as Open Communion. If you are visiting on a Sunday when we serve the Lord’s Supper and are a Christian by profession of faith and are practicing that faith, we encourage you to join us in this celebration.

Is membership necessary?

Yes. We believe that the Scriptures are clear that every believer is to be a part of and accountable to a local congregation. The following excerpts from an article posted by Bible Related Ministries states a number of reasons to support this belief.

Biblical Basis for Church Membership

Church membership is a legitimate biblical concept. The Scriptures teach us that the local church has an identifiable and specifically accountable membership. Membership in a local church is important for a number of biblical reasons.

  1. Authors of the New Testament identify churches by their location as well as by their number (Acts 2:41, 47; 4:4; 5:14)
  2. Leaders are identified in churches where members have submitted themselves under their authority (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17).
  3. Our Saviour has commissioned His church to administer the rite of water baptism, a visible symbol of Spirit baptism (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-17; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13).
  4. Likewise our Saviour has instructed His Local church to remember His death until His second coming by partaking together in the Lord’s Table (1 Corinthians 11:23-34).
  5. Also, our Saviour instructs His church in the proper way to discipline and restore wayward brethren, and even in the case of a disobedient and uncooperative member being removed by the local church united (excommunication – Matthew 18:15-20).
  6. The local body and its leadership is where one is to go to submit requests for specific benevolent needs, and has the authority to accept or deny such requests based on discernment of need (1 Timothy 5:3-8; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-15; Acts 4:32-35).
  7. Specific leaders of local churches are to be supported by that local assembly. It is the church’s responsibility to provide for their pastor in a material way (1 Corinthians 9:14; 1 Timothy 5:17-18).
  8. The local church is the place where we should focus the majority of our gracious Christian giving (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; 9:6-15).
  9. The discernment and authority of the local church would take the place of the legal counsel and unjust judges of our secular world (1 Corinthians 6:1-8).
  10. God’s People in Old Testament times were required to enter into a covenant with Him and His Law (Exodus 20-23).

Compiled by Rev. David J. Bauer, Bible Related Ministries.