In spite of how open and inclusive we try to be, I have come to believe local church membership is important because the New Testament makes it important. In other words, I no longer encourage local church membership as a pragmatic issue. I've come to see local church membership - in whatever specific form it gets expressed in different churches and denominations - as a Bible issue.
I'm going to consider four reasons local church membership is expected, and indeed, assumed in the New Testament. And I need to repeat, I'm talking about local church membership. I'm not talking here about believers being members of the universal body of Christ. I believe the New Testament recognizes and teaches two kinds of church membership. And even more than that, I believe each one assumes the other.