RECEPTION TO THE LOCAL ASSEMBLY AT FAVERSHAM
The following are the Scriptural procedures we seek to follow when receiving into the assembly:
1. A new convert may be received after being baptised and after having shown evidence of new life in Christ. This new life will result in the earnest desire to be joined on a permanent basis to the local assembly, Acts 2:41; 9:26. Note that for a Jew to become a Christian on the Day of Pentecost and afterwards meant certain expulsion from the synagogue, and all that involved in terms of loss of employment, etc. See John 12:42; 16:2. The apostles were evidently happy to baptise and receive on the same day, as false-professors would not be prepared to pay the price becoming a Christian involved in those days.
2. A brother who has been used of the Lord to establish an assembly has no need to bring a letter of commendation to that assembly, for they are his letter of commendation, 2 Corinthians 3:1-4.
3. It would be illogical to invite a brother to preach, and then raise questions as to whether he should be received.
4. Those unknown to an assembly coming from elsewhere, should bring a letter of commendation, so that there is no anxiety on the part of any in the company, and fellowship may be freely enjoyed. Apart from this consideration, a letter of commendation gives the opportunity to send greetings to those of like mind, with consequent encouragement in the things of the Lord.
5. Those unknown to the majority in the assembly to which they come, may be commended by one of their number. This one should be acknowledged in the assembly as being of spiritual discernment, and have the confidence of the others in the assembly that he holds the same views as the elders on the matter of reception. See Acts 9:27,28.
6. Those who have been excommunicated for some reason, or who have backslidden, may be received once it is fully established that they have genuinely repented of the sin which caused them to be put away, or which caused them to go astray. If they were excommunicated by an assembly other than the one they wish to be received into, then that assembly should be consulted, so that they may ascertain the circumstances of the brother’s repentance, and be comfortable with the idea of him being received again. The Corinthians had been slow to put away an offender, but when they did, and he repented, they were then slow to reinstate him. Both failures were rebuked by the apostle, 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 2:1-11.