Why am I a member of the church of Christ and why should all do the same? Because when I obeyed the Lord’s conditions for the forgiveness of sins, he graciously forgave me and began to count me as one of his people, that is, a member of his church.
In accordance with scriptural usage, I use the term church of Christ to refer to the people belonging to Christ those who are saved. When Jesus promised to build his church, he meant that he was going to have his group (Matt. 16:18). His group consists of those who are saved through his blood and on his conditions, which are set forth in his testament. When one obeys those conditions, he is saved and added to that group of saved people (Acts 2:38 cf; 41, 47).
This group may be described as the church of Christ because it belongs to Christ and He is its head (Col 1:18). I, therefore, sometimes refer to the saved as the church of Christ. At other times I refer to them as God’s people, the body of Christ, the church of God, the Lord’s body, and other such terms that accurately describe the people belonging to Christ. I am a member of that group because I obeyed the Lord’s conditions for salvation (1 Cor 12:13,27).
If you ask me why am a member of the particular local church of Christ with which I am identified, my answer is different. I have chosen that local church for five reasons: (1) It consists of those who have met the Lord’s conditions for salvation and are therefore members of his church. (2) Like the churches we read about in the New Testament, it is independent, not affiliated with any denominational organization. (3) They do not teach for doctrine the commandments of men. (4) They require a “thus saith the Lord” for all that they say and do in worship and in their daily life. (5) They are devoted to letting the Scriptures guide them (speak where the bible speaks and is silent where the bible is silent) in all their activities. Hence, I can participate with them in their worship and work without engaging in unscriptural activities. Thus, I am not a member of any local Church of Christ because they say they are right, but because the bible bears record that their teaching is right with God.
The religious world is confused with respect to church membership. There are many denominational organizations among those professing to be Christians. Many people think any of these are fine. Other more conscientious souls may believe that they should find the one that most closely follows the Scriptures. In fact, no denominational body is scriptural, for the Scriptures do not teach that local churches should organize themselves into denominational bodies.
Rather than searching for which denomination one should join, one should search for what to do to be saved. That search should lead him to discover that when he meets the conditions for salvation, he will then be a part of the Lord’s church and he will not have to search for it. Then he must search for a local church consisting of Christians with whom he may participate in the congregational activities God has ordained in the Scriptures. The only searching for the right church that is required is the search for a scriptural local church.
In explaining why we are members of the church of Christ, Christians must be careful to avoid giving the impression that we have selected a denomination called the Church of Christ. Not all local churches of Christ are right with God. Many have gone astray following denominational doctrine. However, the church which Christ built is right with God, and if any local church bearing his name abides in that gospel and in that doctrine, they too are right with God. That is why I am a member of the body, the church of Christ, and I sincerely hope if you haven’t already, you will become one too!