- The gospel saves, not just individuals, but a people that take the form of local communities (churches).
- These churches have definable boundaries—who it is that makes up the church.
- The NT depicts the Christian life occurring in the context of the local church.
- The church is a community of believers. So we don’t want to assume someone to be a part of our church without confirming they are in fact a believer.
- People belong to a church voluntarily. So we don’t want to assume someone to be a part of our church without them agreeing to it.
- In order to discipline someone out of the church, they first need to be considered a part of the church.
- Being able to identify who makes up our church clarifies who actually represents our church, thereby guarding our testimony.
- In order to conduct our affairs as a church (e.g., voting), we need to know who makes up the church.
- Elders/pastors need to know who they are accountable for.
- Members need to know who they are accountable to (which elders/pastors?)