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“One Holy Local Church”?: The Ghettoization of Protestantism


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A Critique of Modern Views of Mandatory Local Church Membership

The concept of “local church membership” hardly existed in the church before the 17th century Baptists, except for certain heretical sects and Anabaptists. Yes, the concept of “church membership” has existed from the very beginning. The concept of “local congregation” has existed from the very beginning. The theology of “there is no salvation outside the church” has existed from the very beginning; hence, the command for Christians to “join the church” in a covenant, which is the Covenant of Grace. That joining the Church, though, was done through the same means a man joined the Covenant of Grace: baptism. Through baptism, man joined the universal Church. The modern church, through a combination of political pressure and a move by church leaders to insulate themselves from accountability, has led to the widespread adoption of “local church membership” and related practices over the past century or so by non-Baptists as well. But this was not the way of the early church, Christendom, or the Reformation.




Product Description

In this challenging critique of modern church polities, Bojidar Marinov draws from the Bible, Early Church and Reformation history, and much more, to confront the type of insular forces that Reformed giant Herman Bavinck once referred to as “a false conservatism.” While it may strike modern ears as remarkable, Bavinck’s Reformed view of social change was hardly unique when he noted that “a certain radicalism is needed to restore balance” and “to make further development possible,” and for a new group to arise that “casts off the yoke of bondage and again takes up the cause of human freedom and that of Christian Liberty.” Such “turning points in history,” may be more frequent than we may imagine, if we return to the faith of our fathers. Citing countless Reformed Confessions and theologians, Marinov makes the case for returning to the very type of “radicalsim” that can make such a turning point possible once again.

Soft cover, 126 pages


1. Introduction . 5
2. Baptist Half-Way Confessionalism . 9
3. The Anabaptism of Modern Presbyterians . 17
4. Prebysterian Theology Rejects Mandatory Membership . 26
5. State-Imposed Ghettoization . 37
6. The Eschatology of Self-Encapsulation . 44
7. God of Lone Rangers, Destroyer of Systems . 52
8. The Modern Mythologies of “Submission,” “Accountability,” and “Church Discipline” . 59
9. Submission to Church Bureaucrats is Not in the Bible . 68
10. The Priesthood of All Believers, and the Right and Duty of Private Judgment . 73
11. The Nature and Structure of the New Testament Church . 91
12. The Biblical Way of Church Discipline . 104
13. Conclusion . 112

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EPUB, Kindle, Softcover


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