Review: 40 Questions About Church Membership and Discipleship

34154358Jeremy M. Kimble is Assistant Professor of Theology at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. Kimble received his PhD from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of That His Spirit May Be Saved: Church Discipline as a Means to Repentance and Perseverance (Wipf & Stock, 2013) and the present volume in the 40 Questions & Answers Series. 

Like the volumes in the series, 40 Questions About Church Membership and Discipleship is organized systematically concerning the nature of the topic. Kimble offers four major sections around church membership and discipline: (1) general questions about church membership and discipline, (2) general questions about church membership, (3) general questions about church discipline, and (4) concluding questions about membership and discipline. Divided into three subcategories ([a] theological questions, [b] ministry questions, and [c] practical questions), sections two and three comprise the bulk of the book’s content (34 of 40 questions).

The title of the book leaves little room for mystery concerning the content therein, and Kimble does a fantastic job building a case for the importance of church membership and the necessity of church discipline. Kimble brings the reader to the biblical text and wrestles with the relevant questions facing Christians today. Is church membership biblical? Who should become a member of a church? What age should someone become a member of a church? What are the responsibilities of a church member? Who is in charge of administering church discipline? How is discipline related to discipleship? What is the goal of church discipline? Should a believer associate with someone under church discipline? And much more!

The repetitiveness of the book is somewhat to be expected given the nature of the 40 Questions and Answers series. That said, pastors, elders, and interested lay-leaders will find Kimble’s interaction and sense of perception refreshing. It is clear that Kimble has thought through the material presented and has experienced the fruit of church membership and discipline. Also, somewhat surprising given Kimble’s Baptist background, he tends to avoid denominational polemics and allows the biblical text to speak on his behalf. If you are looking for a book that takes you through the most relevant questions concerning church membership and discipline, then 40 Questions About Church Membership and Discipleship by Jeremy M. Kimble is easily one of the most practical resources on the market. It will be referenced often!

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