The nature of any organization may be determined by asking first who constitute its members, secondly, for what object has it been formed and thirdly, what are the laws, which regulate its operations.
The three questions with which our treatment of the nature of this organization begins are furnished us by Pres. Wayland, in his Principles and Practices of Baptists.
A. They only can properly be members of the local church, who have previously become members of the church universal or, in other words, have become regenerate persons.
Only those who have been previously united to Christ are, in the New Testament, permitted to unite with his church. See <440247>Acts 2:47 ? ?And the Lord added to them day by day those that were being saved [Am. Rev.: ?those that were saved?]?; 5:14 ? ?and believers were the more added to the Lord?; <460102>1 Corinthians 1:2 ? ?the church of God which is at Corinth, even them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to he saints, with all that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, their Lord and ours.?
From this limitation of membership to regenerate persons, certain results follow:
(a) Since each member bears supreme allegiance to Christ, the church as a body must recognize Christ as the only lawgiver. The relation of the individual Christian to the church does not supersede the church but furthers and expresses his relation to Christ.
<620220> 1 John 2:20 ? ?And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all things? ? see Neander, Com., in loco . No believer is at liberty to forego this maturity and personal independence, bestowed in that inward anointing [of the Holy Spirit], or to place himself in a dependent relation, inconsistent with this birthright, to any teacher whatever among men.
?This inward anointing furnishes an element of resistance to such arrogated authority.? Here we have reproved the tendency on the part of ministers to take the place of the church, in Christian work and worship, instead of leading it forward in work and worship of its own. The missionary who keeps his converts in prolonged and unnecessary tutelage is also untrue to the church organization of the New Testament and untrue to Christ whose aim in church training is to educate his followers to the
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