Which is more important on earth: the Lord’s Supper or church membership?

Sounds like a silly question, doesn’t it? Obviously, the Lord’s Supper is more important than church membership.

But read the question again. Couldn’t we say there’s another sense in which church membership is more important on earth? In the eternal state, there will be one Body of Christ in which you will not have to make distinctions between Presbyterians and Baptists, or worry about transferring membership from First Baptist to Second Baptist. In short: on earth, church membership matters; in heaven, it won’t.

This whole issue is one I constantly wrestle with. I do believe in the grand scheme of things the Lord’s Supper is more important than church membership. Where it gets sticky is I would allow more people to partake of the Lord’s Supper than I would allow to become members of the church. To some, that probably makes it seem like I take church membership more seriously than I do the Lord’s Supper.

I think my practice is consistent with everything I’ve said about the prioritization of both issues on earth. In one sense, I have to bar certain Christians from membership if they cannot affirm our doctrinal statement, because church membership matters more on earth than it will in heaven. In the other sense, I have to allow more Christians to take the Lord’s Supper regardless  of what they believe because I think that meal is more about the Body than it is about our local body.

Can’t wait till the Marriage Supper.

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One response to “Which is more important on earth: the Lord’s Supper or church membership?

  1. Great thoughts. Local church membership is by nature, more selective. For example, you can only be a member of one church at a time. I think most people agree on that. So you’ll be excluded from membership if you are committed to another church. So already, it’s more selective than the Lord’s Supper. If that’s perceived as ‘more important’ than so be it 🙂 And you’re right, none of that will matter in heaven, except that your church membership is evidence that you are storing up treasures in heaven, which is always important.

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