Church membership is of two kinds; Baptized and Communicant.
When a person, regardless of age becomes a Christian through the Word and the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, he or she has been made a member of Christ and the Church. Jesus said in Mark 10:14-15; “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all.”(NASB)
In order for a little child to be baptized at Immanuel, the parents of the child undergo a class on the doctrine of Holy Baptism and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In this class the students learn the basic doctrines of the Christian Faith. Adult candidates for baptism are required to attend this class and be taught the very same. Once the basic doctrines of Christ are taught, the baptismal candidate will be baptized if he or she is in agreement with the teachings of the Church and expresses a desire to receive what Christ has to give in the sacrament.
Communicant membership in an authentic Lutheran congregation requires a more complete knowledge of Christian doctrine than does baptismal membership. The Scripture teaches that church membership is to be based on the teachings of God’s Word. Just before He ascended into heaven, Jesus commanded the church saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NASB)
The Scripture teaches that we are to base on fellowship and participation on the doctrine of the Apostles. Acts 2:42-47 “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
Participation in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper also requires an ability on the part of the member to examine him or herself in light of the Bible’s teachings. St. Paul wrote, “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.” (1 Cor. 11:27-29 NASB)
Unlike the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, the Bible teaches that one can be harmed spiritually by partaking of the Lord Supper in an unworthy manner. We therefore offer and sometimes require potential members to take Immanuel’s new members class. In this class the student is given a much greater understanding of the teachings of Holy Scriptures.