The Glory of a True Church- Of the reception of Members
Of the reception of Members
Quest. What is the Order of receiving Members into the Church, that were no Members any where before?
Answ. 1. The Person must give an account of his Faith; and of the Work of Grace upon his Soul before the Church;46 and also a strict Enquiry must be made about his Life and Conversation:47 but if through Bashfulness the Party can not speak before the Congregation,48 the Elder and two or three more Persons may receive an account of his or her Faith,49 and report it to the Church.50 But if full Satisfaction by the Testimony of good and credible Persons is not given of the Party’s Life and Conversation, he must be put by until Satisfaction is obtained in that respect.51 Moreover, when the Majority are satisfied, and yet one or two Persons are not, the Church and Elder will do well to wait a little time, and endeavour to satisfy such Persons, especially if the Reasons of their difference seem weighty.
Quest. What is to be done when a Person offers himself for Communion from a Church that is corrupt, or erroneous in Principles?
Answ. 1. The Church ought to take an account of his Faith in all Fundamental Points, and of the Work of Grace upon his Heart.
2. And if satisfied, then to send also to that corrupt People, to know whether they have any thing or not against his Life and Conversation: if satisfied in both these respects, the Church may receive him.
Quest. To whom is it Members join themselves? is it to the Elder, or to the Church?
Answ. They are joined to the whole Community of the Church, being incorporated as Members thereof, and thereto abide, tho the Pastor be removed by Death.52
Benjamin Keach- The Glory of a True Church, And its Discipline Displayed (1697)