Joining a Local Baptist Church
• What is required of a person in order to join a local Baptist church?
• Is there an upside to these requirements? Or a downside?
The Benedictine Church The Benedictine Church has remained together for 1500 years. In order to join this religious community, you not only had to give evidence of faith in Jesus but also make three view that impacted your ongoing walk with Jesus.
By Stability, Benedict was referring to the importance of being committed to the relationships in the community of faith.
Conversion was not confined to a one time salvation experience—our justification, but referred to their continual conversion as God transforms them to reflect the image of Jesus. Conversion included both our justification and our sanctification.
Obedience comes from the Latin word for “listen.” The practice of attentive listening is foundational to the Benedictive Rule of Life. Everyone in the community needed to listen to one another, even the youngest among them through whom God sometimes speaks.
So if you wanted to join the Benedictine Church, you would make a vow to be committed to the other members of the church by not walking out as soon as there is relational tension—stability. You would remain open to God’s transforming power in your journey with Jesus through conversion. You would listen, pay attention in obedience to what God is saying to you and the community through the other members of the church.
Today’s Local Church
• Would these three vows work in the local church today?
• What would happen to the people of Trace Ridge Church if we took vows of membership that included stability, conversion, and obedience?
• How could a vow of stability help the relationships among believers in our disposable culture—a revolving door of walking out on each other?
The problem with walking away is that we inevitably walk into the same relational problem at our next location.
—In the 12th century, Anselm of Canterbury compared a restless believer to a tree that can’t thrive because it is frequently transplanted or often disturbed. Anselm warns, “If he often moves from place to place at his own whim, or remaining in one place is frequently agitated by hatred of it, he never achieves stability with roots of love.”
—In the 6th century, Benedict required a vow of stability. —In the 4th century, Abba Anthony told believers, “In whatever place you live, do not easily leave it.” He was calling believers to stay put, develop deep roots to provide nourishment and weather the storms.
—In the 1st century, Jesus of Nazareth called for stability among His followers.
Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV) 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
The difference between a foundation of sand and rock is stability. Jesus says stability is established by practice—“everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” Stability is the result of practice. Practice is the work of ongoing conversion—transformation—and obedience. Doing what you know to do in a particular place, at a particular time, with a particular people.
A vow of stability is a commitment to resolve relational tension by staying in relationship. Stability was a commitment to not walk out on each other when the relationship gets strained. They were to resolve their relational tension by staying in relationship.
• Is there anyone or any group you are tempted to walk out on due to relational tension?