Church membership is not just a status, it’s an office. Leaders shouldn’t fire members from the responsibilities given to them by Jesus—they should train them! When members are trained, the church grows in holiness and love, discipleship and mission. Complacency and nominalism are diminished.
Jesus gives every church member an office in the church’s government: to assume final responsibility for guarding the what and the who of the gospel in the church and its ministry. Similarly, Jesus gives leaders to the church for equipping the members to do this church-building and mission-accomplishing work.
In our day, the tasks of reinvigorating congregational authority and elder authority must work together. The vision of congregationalism pictured in this book offers an integrated view of the Christian life. Congregationalism is biblical, but biblical congregationalism just might look a little different than you expect. It is nothing less than Jesus’ authorization for living out his kingdom rule among a people on mission.
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“Church government is not essential for salvation like the gospel is. But it is essential for guarding that gospel from one generation to the next, as well as for growing a gospel people from immaturity to maturity. Just as the command to honor one’s parents comes with a promise, so the command to obey one’s church leaders promises to be profitable (Eph 6:2; see Heb 13:17).” (Page vii)
“In a congregational church, however, an elder’s only mandate is to serve Scripture’s mandate, not the members’!” (Page 11)
“Congregationalism does not want to diminish the specialness of the pastoral office. It just wants to add another office: member. Jesus, by means of the gathered congregation, calls every member of the new covenant to assume just such a set of office functions and duties, obligations and powers, through his or her membership in that congregation. Jesus puts every Christian into office and the church’s workweek lasts all seven days. The church is its members. Membership is an office. And members never step out of that office because they are the church, and because theirs is the work of representing Jesus and protecting his gospel in each other’s lives every day.” (Page 2)
“Everyone with the gospel is responsible to protect the gospel and the basic integrity of the gospel people” (Page 15)
“An elder’s authority is an authority of truth or counsel, as also defined in chapter 1. It is characterized by teaching, persuading, counseling, exhorting, recommending. Its tenor and presentation is pastoral, fatherly, and patient (see 1 Tim 3:5; 1 Pet 5:3). It does not unilaterally and effectually bind the person on earth, as in removing a person from membership regardless of that person’s decision.” (Page 68)
"Thoughtful and pointed, Don't Fire Your Church Members' offers a forceful argument for congregationalism and the importance of involving all believers in the life and ministry of the church. Even those who disagree with Leeman's conclusions would benefit from his gospel-centered approach to church polity and the way this shapes his vision of the life of God's people."
Marc Cortez, associate professor of theology, Wheaton College
"This book is almost certainly more important than you realize. It not only contains the best modern defense of congregationalism, but it also may provide one of the missing keys to increased discipleship in your church."
Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church and president of 9Marks
"Jonathan Leeman's Don't Fire Your Church Members provides a biblically rigorous, historically informed, and pastorally sensitive model of congregational church polity. I am pleased to recommend this book, which is needed now more than ever in our post-denominational age"
Thomas S. Kidd, professor of history, Baylor University
In the Logos Reader Edition, this volume is enhanced to best fit the content. Scripture references are hand-tagged to integrate with powerful functionality in Logos Bible Software. Page milestones and internal citation tagging provide accurate points of reference. Search important words across resources to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive tools for reading digital content are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.