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Why should the church service and liturgy make it very difficult and uncomfortable to be only a Church Visible member?

The second approach used was to change the wording of the questions for adult baptism, especially questions 3 and 4. This is done by inserting a clause such as "if possible, by God's grace" or "If the Lord enables by His grace" or some other similar expression.

The problem with this appraoch is that it grants formal approval to joining the church as only an outward member and appears to place the responsibility for remaining unconverted upon God instead of the person. Our church forefathers wisely kept the focus and stress of the liturgy upon the essence, not the outward manifestation, of the church.

The third and generally accepted approach is the following. The church must continue to stress the truth that a person should be converted to participate in any church function -in fact no one has a right to be unconverted, for this is rebellion against God, his rightful King! Therefore, a person should be converted to join the church as an adult, in the same way that a person should be converted to make personal, adult confession after being baptized as an infant (see Chapter 28 for information regarding confession of faith).

The church, however, may not judge the hearts of its members. Only God can do so. If the outward profession and lifestyle of the person is without offense, the church may not refuse baptism or membership. It may not force the person to break both of God's instructions -those of joining the church and being converted. The church must prayerfully submit this to the person's conscience and leave it as a personal matter between the Lord and the person's soul. The seriousness and responsibility of the questions required causes this matter to be one requiring utmost prayerful and serious deliberation.

When concluding this chapter on Holy Baptism, each person is called to examine himself. In the first place, "Am I valuing my external baptism? Am I outwardly living a life of separation from the evils of this world -the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life?"


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