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18th Edition ( 6 ) - Membership
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Chapter 6:    Membership
page 44 to 55
The solemn obligations of membership in the body of Christ should be impressed on everyone desiring Church Mambership. Only those giving evidence of having experienced the new birth and enjoying a speirtual experience in the Lord Jesus are prepared for acceptance into membership. Pastors must instruct candidates in the fundamental teachings and related practices of the Church so they will enter the church on a sound spiritual basis. While there is no stated age for baptism, it is recommended that very young children who express a desire to be baptized should be encouraged and entered into an instruction program that may lead to baptism.
    The apostle Paul writes:  "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" ( Romans 6: 3, 4 )
   Luke also reports:  "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ . . ." Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them"  Acts 2:38, 41

"The members of the church, those whom He has called out of darkness into His marvelous light, are to show forth His glory. The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to "the principalities and powers in heavenly places,‟ the  final and full display of the love of God."—AA 9.


A Prerequisite to Membership—"Christ has made baptism the sign of  entrance to His spiritual kingdom. He has made this a positive condition with which all must comply who wish to be acknowledged as under the authority of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit . . .

"Baptism is a most solemn renunciation of the world. Those who are baptized in the threefold name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, at the very entrance of their Christian life declare publicly that they have forsaken the service of Satan and have become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. They have obeyed the command: "Come out from among them, and be ye separate . . . and touch not the unclean thing.‟ And to them is fulfilled the promise: „I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.‟ 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18."— 6T 91

Baptism is the avenue of induction into the Church. It is fundamentally  the pledge of entrance into Christ‟s saving covenant and should be treated as a solemn and yet joyful welcome into the family of God.
Membership in the Church is possible only in those churches included in the sisterhood of churches recognized by a conference.
Mode  of  Baptism

The Church believes in baptism by immersion and accepts into membership only those who have been baptized in this manner. (See Chapter 14, Fundamental Beliefs.) Those who acknowledge their lost state as sinners, sincerely repent of their sins, and experience conversion, may, after proper instruction, be accepted as candidates for baptism and Church membership .

Thorough Instruction and Public Examination Before Baptism

Candidates individually or in a baptismal class should be instructed from the Scriptures regarding the Church‟s Fundamental Beliefs and practices and the responsibilities of membership. A pastor should satisfy the church by a public examination that candidates are well instructed, are committed to taking this important step, and by practice and conduct demonstrate a willing acceptance of Church doctrines and the principles of conduct which are the outward expression of those doctrines, for "by their fruits you will know them" (Matt. 7:20).

If public examination is impractical, then candidates should be examined by the board or a committee appointed by the board, such as the board of elders, whose report then should be given to the church before the baptism.

"The test of discipleship is not brought to bear as closely as it should be upon those who present themselves for baptism. It should be understood whether they are simply taking the name of Seventh-day Adventists, or whether they are taking their stand on the Lord‟s side, to come out from the world and be separate, and touch not the unclean thing. Before baptism there should be a thorough inquiry as to the experience of the candidates. Let this inquiry be made, not in a cold and distant way, but kindly, tenderly, pointing the new converts to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Bring the requirements of the gospel to bear upon the candidates for baptism."— 6T 95, 96.

Baptismal Vow and Commitment

Baptismal Vow -- Baptismal candidates and those being received into fellowship by profession of faith shall affirm their acceptance of the fundamental beliefs in the presence of the local congregation or other properly appointed body, (see page 45)
The pastor of elder should address the following questions to the candidate(s), whose reply may be by verbal assent, raising the hand or other culturally appropiate method.
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Continue to Chapter 7 -  Discipline