A Case for Church Membership as Biblically Required


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by John Ellis

The topic of church membership can be quite contentious. Eschewing organized religion, some professing Christians believe that churches are unnecessary at best and promote hypocrisy and division at worst. Others accept the need for churches but deny that church membership is Biblical. For them, church membership is an extra-Biblical requirement taught by those more concerned about power than about unity and love. “After all,” they protest, “I don’t need to be a member of a church to know that I am a child of God.”

For many Christians, though, church membership is simply white noise; something they dutifully do because it’s what is done. But they do so without giving much thought as to why.

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Youth Groups: A Good Idea or a Bad Idea?


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by John Ellis

As a teenager, I loved my youth group. On Sunday mornings I eagerly entered the youth group room, which contained not just a ping pong table but an air hockey table, too. I mean, what teen boy doesn’t enjoy hanging out with friends and flirting with girls?

After our Sunday school lesson was over, we’d easily slide back into our pre-class activities. The only hiccup in our fun was having to make sure that we made it to our seats in the sanctuary before the worship service began. To be honest, that wasn’t really that big of an issue. Since we all sat together, usually crammed into two pews, we were able to continue our teenage activities, albeit in far more muted ways than in the youth group room.

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Rooted: The Christian’s Place


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by John Ellis

My family and I live in the DC area. Our house is approximately a mile and a half from the Pentagon and about five miles from the U.S. Capitol, as the bird flies. We live in the thick of one of the most powerful cities in the world. And we’re not big fans of the place, at least my wife and I aren’t. We’re type-B personalities (on a good day) living in a super type-A personality community.

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The Church Is Filled With Hypocrites … and Other Reasons to Skip Church

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by John Ellis

Is it necessary for Christians to attend church? Well, first off, if you understand who/what the Church is, the question is nonsensical. The Church is the Bride of Christ; God’s people being reconstituted into a new Kingdom. For a professing Christian to distant himself from the Church is, in essence, a renunciation of Christianity. You can’t be a Christian and not be a member of the Body of Christ – the Church.

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Liberal Theology and the Decline of the PCUSA

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by John Ellis

Several months ago, my pastor and I attended a lecture at a local Unitarian church (I wrote about that lecture here). Before the lecture began, a gentleman from the church gave some opening remarks. In those remarks, he bemoaned the shrinking membership of the Unitarian denomination. He also smugly criticized conservative, “white” churches for their lack of diversity. My pastor and I looked at each other quizzically. As we walked back to our cars after the lecture was over, my pastor asked me, “Were you thinking what I was thinking?” I replied, “Yes.”

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Identity Politics Is Incompatible with the Church


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by John Ellis

Conservative evangelicalism’s penchant for a consumerist approach to church makes for an easy target.[1] And progressive Christians love to point out and shout down the sins of their parents and those not enlightened enough to escape their parents’ “consumerism.” Although, I doubt that progressive Christians would use the word “sin.” Except, progressive Christianity has glaring deficiencies of its own when it comes to ecclesiology. The list of those deficiencies is rather long, too long for one article. In this post, I’m going to focus on how identity politics is incompatible with a Biblically informed anthropology and ecclesiology.

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Should Pastors Attend a Different Church Upon Retirement?


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by John Ellis

As a preacher’s kid, I frequently heard my dad express his opinion about the ways in which pastors should conduct themselves. Two such pieces of advice that I heard my dad give on a regular basis were that the church administrator’s office shouldn’t be enclosed and that a pastor should find a new church upon retirement. The first piece of advice receives my hearty “Amen!” While empathizing with my dad’s motives, I disagree with the second piece of advice, though.

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