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The Truth about Tradition and Church Membership [podcast]

Godly and Ungodly Tradition and True and False Church Membership

“Prove (test) all things; hold fast (keep and do) that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Of the 13 times we find the word “tradition(s)” in Scripture, only twice is it used positively. The other 11 times it is used negatively because men put their foolish traditions above Christ.

History of Church Membership: The history of church membership in Protestant and Evangelical churches begins with the Catholic Church, which implements its discipline over all the baptized (christened, water sprinkled), through a tradition-based sacramental system, governing the lives of their captors from cradle to grave. Essentially, in this way the Roman cult corrals and coerces the insistence of membership upon every initiated, water-sprinkled/christened catholic child. Without that cult-initiation rite, that membership to the Roman religion, that person is considered outside of salvation, outside of the “one true church.” Through church membership in the Catholic church, the completely un-biblical sacramental system is enforced. The Catholic sacramental system is the creation, the strategy of devils, designed to strengthen the piety of the Catholic faithful throughout their lives, guiding them safely into the bowels of eternal damnation. Jesus died and rose again that He alone might have preeminence over His true worldwide body. Church membership to a local church or church organization is perpetrated by cross-less wolves and is a direct affront to the Headship of the one, nail-scarred Savior (Colossians 1:18; 2:18-19, etc.).

The vast majority of so-called pastors today are more interested in getting you to join their church club, to become a member of their church, than they are about truly feeding the flock of God with the whole counsel of Scripture, equipping you for ministry, and winning souls to Jesus (John 21:15-17; Acts 20:20-32; Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Peter 5:1-6, etc.). Prove it wrong.

Church membership today is nothing more than a device of wolves to corral and exploit the people! There’s no biblical justification for it.

Church membership is a tool to run a scam on the people – to number them as Satan led David to do (1 Chronicles 21). The LORD judged David for doing this and is judging the wolves today who coercively promulgate their church membership scam. God’s people belong to HIM and no other (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 7:23, etc.).

Church membership is for nobody’s good except those peddling it. Church membership is designed to make you loyal to their church club, not Christ.


Can anyone find church membership in God’s Word among the earliest followers of Jesus? No. If someone is concerned about you becoming a member of their church, that’s a red flag. Make no mistake: They are corralling you in order to control you. Think about it: WHY can’t they just love you as a member of the one blood bought body of Christ? (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4) Church membership as it’s done by the 501(C)(3) government churches is against Holy Scripture and is a device of evil men, wolves. Run.

Beware of the agenda saints. Church membership is a corralling of God’s people for the self-serving purposes of hirelings.

“Church membership” as it’s carried out in the modern church world, quenches the Holy Spirit in my opinion. It ruins the organic, spontaneous, pure fellowship true believers enjoy due to being in Christ. Church membership seems to be a learned device to coral believers in order to exploit them. Think about it: Seminarian pastors are taught this scheme to build their church busine$$.

Denominations or church organizations reinforce this to secure people and funds. It’s a business model. No such thing as church membership in the Bible except that membership Christ alone procured by His own blood. ALL of His saints’ names are written in Heaven (Luke 10:20). Jesus says that this is what we rejoice in!

“Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20
We are Christ’s kingdom disciples. We belong to HIM.
“Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” 1 Corinthians 7:23
Local level “church membership” diverts the heart affections of those corralled by hireling wolves! Beware.

Only Abiding in the Truth Protects

“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield (protection) unto them that put their trust in him. 6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” Proverbs 30:5-6

Is church membership not adding to God’s Word?

God gave us His written Word so that we can be safeguarded from being misled. As we will see in a moment, the traditions of men have and will continue to lead many astray and into eternal damnation. Tradition is passed along from one religious, truth-despising generation to the next. Concerning rightly dividing the truth of God’s Word and how twisting Scripture transpires as a tradition and applies to interpretation of God’s Word, Charles Koller writes:

“There are pitfalls of interpretation into which devout believers may fall, resulting in distortions of the truth. A preacher may borrow an interpretation from a devout Bible scholar, who had previously borrowed it from another equally devout but perhaps misguided Bible scholar. And so the inventions of devout men may unwittingly be passed around as ‘the Word of God.’ Let the Bible speak for itself! What does it actually say? And what does it mean?” Charles W. Koller, How to Preach without Notes, p.65

“Tradition(s)” as it Appears in Scripture:     

Matthew 15:2     Why do thy disciples transgress the TRADITION of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 

Matthew 15:3     But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your TRADITION? 

Matthew 15:6     And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your TRADITION. 

Mark 7:3     For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the TRADITION of the elders. 

Mark 7:5     Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the TRADITION of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? 

Mark 7:8     For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the TRADITION of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 

Mark 7:9     And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own TRADITION. 

Mark 7:13     Making the word of God of none effect through your TRADITION, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. 

Galatians 1:14     And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the TRADITIONS of my fathers. 

Colossians 2:8     Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the TRADITION of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 

2 Thessalonians 2:15     Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the TRADITIONS which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. 

2 Thessalonians 3:6     Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the TRADITION which he received of us. 

1 Peter 1:18     Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by TRADITION from your fathers; 

Did you notice that in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, Christ’s apostle Paul says we are to “hold the traditions WHICH YE HAVE BEEN TAUGHT, whether by word, or our epistle.” The roman catholic cult deceitfully seeks to justify the use of its myriad of Bible-contradicting traditions using this verse. Yet read the words of this verse and carefully note that Paul taught these “traditions” and so they came from God who sanctioned the apostle to pen Holy Scripture (2 Peter 1:19-21). “Traditions” that glorify God are found in God’s Word, not in the writings of some religion of mere sinful men that diametrically contradicts what we read in Holy Scripture. Also, these “traditions” that we received from Paul are tangibly recorded in an “epistle.” The saints at the city of Thessalonica were receiving this divinely-inspired, written letter or “epistle.” This later became part of Holy Writ for all New Testament Scriptures and one of the books of the New Testament canon. What New Testament disciples “have been taught” is now canonized in the 27 books of the New Testament canon of Holy Scripture and is final authority for the faith and practice of all narrow way believers (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21, etc.).

Testing and Discerning what is True Tradition and What is False

All who cling to their religion and/or religious tradition in lieu of Christ and His Word, are as sure for hell as if they were already there (Mark 7:6-9).

We are warned in Colossians 2:8 to “Beware” of false “tradition” which leads us away from the pure worship of “Christ.”

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the TRADITION of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:8      

Many times people in local “churches” are seen or heard saying “That’s just how we do things around here!” Well, if what you do around you stupid “ministry” is not according to God’s Word, it’s time to repent and change it. Now!

Testing the Concept and Practice of Modern Church Membership

No such thing as church membership in the early church. Totally false.

Church membership is a tool of controlling leaders to corral souls for their own self-serving purposes! Beware! (Jeremiah 23; Ezekiel 34; Matthew 23) They discount your place in Christ by telling you that membership is important in the church business they are building to their own glory.

JESUS came to make captives free. SATAN’s agents seek to put you in bondage! (Luke 4:18; John 10:10; Galatians 5:1)

—- MOST “good church members” are lost due to following a pastor and program instead of truly following Christ on HIS terms. See Mark 8:34-38 and Luke 9:23-24 and you will see why Jesus says only a “few” will be in Heaven Matt. 7:13-14. Your pastor is not your judge, God is and so you better please Him according to what He told you in His Word or you will be cast into the lake of fire as a disobedient, idolatrous rebel (Matthew 7:21; Titus 1:16; 1 John 2:4; Revelation 21:8, 27; 22:14-15, etc.).

Church membership as we know it today, is a tradition of mere sinful and self-serving men “whose god is their belly.” (Philippians 3:18-19)

“(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.).” Philippians 3:18-19

There is nothing found in Scripture that directly teaches people that they should “join a church.” So, did the Almighty, all-knowing God somehow forget to tell us something we needed to know, OR, has someone added something foreign to the practice of the Christian faith?

The Bible student must conclude that “joining a church” as we know it in this apostate age, is not by divine decree but is rather a tradition of sinful men and therefore a “false way”that we should “hate.” (Psalms 119:104, 128) So, church membership in an earthly organization is not a tradition any disciple of Christ should hold and should stay clear of such in order not to dilute his allegiance to the one and only “Head” of His true body, Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:18; 2:18-19; Ephesians 5:23). This is after the workings of sinful men to secure the allegiance and loyalty of men’s hearts, intercepting the affections of their hearts from the “Head.” Was it not rebellious Absalom who “stole the hearts of the men of Israel”? (2 Samuel 15:6) Is this not the subversive, insidious “spirit of antichrist” at work today to rob God of the glory due to Christ’s holy name alone?

Did Jesus or any disciple in the New Testament Scriptures ever instruct anyone to “join a church” or become a good church member as we know these thing to be today in westernized “Christianity”?

Such a question poses a threat to some pastors who are far too possessive, un-submitted, and un-abandoned to Christ. Though not truly submitted to the LORD, which would mean they trusted Him in all things, many of these same leaders seek for coerce others to submit to them, to join their church, to support them, etc.

Posing such a question as this one on church membership, is an example of testing all things against the counsel of Scripture like good Bereans (Acts 17:11). Testing what is being accepted in a local gathering of saints can shake up a leader who is not truly broken before the LORD. Testing all things helps us rightly divide the word of truth and begin to examine what is truth and what is tradition in the things we do as His body and as individual saints. We must live and oversee only as our LORD has revealed in the divine wisdom of His Word and as He enables and leads – which will always be in accordance with His Word (Psalms 11:105; 2 Timothy 3:15-17, etc.).

Jesus says “follow me” and if one is going to know and follow Him, that person must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Him “daily.” (Matthew 16:24-25; Luke 9:23-24).

Church membership as we know it today in the modern church system, is clearly a tradition of mere men and not a part of true, New Testament Christianity. At this point, many will say: “But brother, the Bible says we are to fellowship!” Yes, true, but remember that church membership is completely unneeded for true Christian fellowship as defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 2:42-47; Colossians 3:16-17, etc.). Yes, the Bible teaches us that Jesus’ true disciples are to fellowship with one another and modern church membership is completely unneeded for such unless you factor in the hirelings who perpetrate such for their own personal purposes. In fact, self-serving ambition is the root of most traditions. The whole church-building centered modern church system is designed to benefit and profit the business-owner or franchisee (the pastor), not the LORD and His people. Christ’s true saints are not lukewarm weekly church members but rather, on fire disciples are fellowship daily and “exhort one another DAILY” and so much the more as His return draws nigh (Acts 2:42-47; Hebrew 3:13; 10:24-25).

You see, if a pastor can get you to sign his roster, he knows he has your allegiance and therefore you money.

Most people claiming to be Christians have this tradition in their minds that they need to find and join a church. Yet, it’s a nearly impossible task to find a body of true believers who are walking in the New Testament definition and revelation of what God calls fellowship where Christ is supreme. 99% of local churches are entertainment centers that offer little or no elements nor the spirit of the early church believers.

The test of true Christian fellowship is whether or not there are the following elements as found in the book of Acts (partial list):

  • continuing steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine (written Word)
  • breaking bread together
  • fellowship
  • prayer
  • sharing one to another whatever each member of the body of Christ needs – having all things common
  • ceasing not to teach and to preach Jesus Christ (Acts 5:42)

You see, when you find – if you ever find – a pastor who tells the people to give among yourselves, having “all things common,” you have found something very rare. Regrettably, the modern church is a business and that CEO pastor who refuses to truly pastor the people, needs to pay a mortgage and many other unnecessary expenses they are wasting. So, in his mind, following Christ has nothing to do with it – making the mortgage and building his church business is what matters to him.

Perhaps we should cease searching for a church and simply be Christ’s church.

The LORD Himself, nor any of His apostles ever hinted of or instructed anyone to “go join a church” or to “become a good church member” and yet this is the order of the day in the apostate modern church world which is piloted or hi-jacked by self-serving hirelings who are farming their communities to build their own local church franchise, competing against other CEO type entrepreneurs. Now grant it, being an entrepreneur is not a sin if done uprightly in the business world and yet, the Church of Jesus Christ is no place to employ entrepreneurial tactics. Christ’s church is not a business. Yet this is the way much of the modern church world is set up. Ecclesiastes 1:9 tells us that “There is no new thing under the sun” and so we know we can peer into history and see the same things happening as we see transpiring today.

“And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” Matthew 21:13

God’s house or dwelling place in individuals and in groups is to be dedicated to the worship of Him alone and yet, many today are intercepting the worship due only to the LORD and exploiting His people for their own self-serving purposes (Isaiah 56:10-12; Jeremiah 23; Ezekiel 34; Philippians 3:18-19; 2 Peter 2:1-3, etc.).

Setting forth such an idea that subverts the modern tradition of church memberships may be scary to some. To make the case that true New Testament fellowship is what is important and not joining a church, makes some pastors nervous because they are entrenched in following tradition instead of Christ. Perhaps they are threatened by this because they have not fully released themselves and therefore the people to the LORD, acknowledging Him alone as their Maker, God, Redeemer, and “Head.” (Colossians 2:18-19) Today would be the best day to denounce these idolatrous sins and begin to “lean not to thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5-7)

Please don’t read rebellion against God into this – but do read rebellion against man and satan into it please. You can put my name on that! It’s time to sift through and test every notion, philosophy, and practice of today against what we observe in Holy Scripture to be truth and according to the mind of Christ. See Acts 17:11 and Jeremiah 1:10. The erroneous traditions and contradictions to holy truth must FIRST be removed and torn down before a proper foundation can begin to be built. Study and memorize and put into action the divine principle and order of Jeremiah 1:10.

Christ and His redemptive work on that cross is despised by church membership. How? Well, church membership dishonors that Christ bled to make us members of HIS one body or church. Read Ephesians 2; 4; 1 Corinthians 12.

It’s only where Jesus Christ is upheld as the supreme KING, God, Counselor, Truth, Way, and Life that divine virtue flows from Heaven into His people! See Colossians 2:18-19.

Until we first put to the test the very reasons for which we assemble/meet and embrace the priorities set forth in Scripture, our assemblies will be limited at best.

Blindly following or going along with tradition instead of what is taught in God’s Word, always leads to dismal results as we have the pharisees for an example.

We should ask “What is the biblical precedence for ….” and “What saith the Scriptures?”

This doesn’t mean we won’t find things that are biblical, but how can we possibly have a clear heart about things until we do?

“Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” 2 Samuel 15:6

Traditions of Mere Men are Meant to be Broken – Rooted Out

A reading of the Gospels reveals to us that Jesus often upset the religious bafoons of His day by breaking their foolish, man-centered, Christ-denying traditions. Their foolish traditions trumped divine truth.

“For laying aside the commandment (Word) of God, ye hold the TRADITION of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.” Mark 7:8

Do you know what Jeremiah 1:10 says? This verse gives us extremely valuable and necessary insight into the order and workings of the LORD.

“See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:10

What is the LORD’s order of working in our hearts?

  • “to root out”
  • “to pull down”
  • “to destroy”
  • “to throw down”
  • “to build”
  • “to plant”

First we should diligently examine why we do what we do. All teachings and practices must be acid tested against Holy Writ (Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1). Questions to explore:

  • “What did the early church do” is a very good starting question.
  • And, “What do we see the apostles and Christ doing”?
  • “What does the Bible teach?”
Your Prayer: Holy Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, I come to You in the name of Jesus, asking that You would please begin to purge out any notion or philosophy or belief in this life You gave that is not of You – that is not according to the whole counsel of Your written Word. Please make me Your authentic disciple. Root out all from my life that does not glorify You and fill this vessel with the fruits of Your righteousness to bring glory to You and to serve others as unto You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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