Family visitation, therefore, aims to bring the individual the word of God so that it can direct him in his personal daily conflict with the powers of sin, aid him in realizing his calling in the midst of the family, the church, and the world. When this is thoughtfully considered, no objection to this practice can stand and the real child of God will not repel from family visitation, regarding it as an annual abhorrence, and seeking the meagerest excuse to be absent from the occasion but will rather meet it with eager spiritual anticipation and regret only that it is not performed more frequently. He will understand that this labor is designed for his spiritual welfare, and, knowing himself, will realize the necessity of his being constantly stimulated to walk in a new and holy life.
Some professing Christians deny the necessity of church membership. Others join a church for unsubstantial reasons or leave a church for trivial, often selfish reasons. Many remain members of apostatizing churches because of family or traditional ties. Some Christians find themselves in areas or countries where no true church exists or can be formed. They ask, sometimes in anguish, "What must we do?"
Seemingly forgotten today is the truth that Jesus Christ institutes his catholic church in organized congregations that are clearly identified by objective marks. These are true churches, in distinction from false and apostatizing churches.
In the form of letters to an inquiring (though not always appreciative) European audience, this book addresses the issue of church membership in the twenty-first century. This instruction is applicable to all believers and is based on scripture, the Belgic Confession, and the important, but little known, controversy of John Calvin with the Nicodemites.
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