He notes:Church membership is a blood-bought gift of God's grace. So it is no small thing for a Christian to stiff arm church membership—or for a church to stiff arm a born-again believer from membership. Part of what it means to belong to the body of Christ is to belong to a local body, because God intends the local church to be an expression of his universal church.
He outlines how the New Testament gives at least five strands of evidence that a definable, local-church membership is necessary:
- The church is to discipline its members.
- The reality of excommunication exists.
- Christians are required to submit to their leaders.
- Leaders are required to care for their people.
- The prominent metaphor of the body implies membership.