Membership Requirements

Pastor John Ashbrook left a copy of a 16-page document on my desk last night. The title of the paer was “The Inception of Calvary Bible Church, Columbus, Ohio.” It was compiled by C. O. Callahan and C. C. Goss. The paper chronicles the events “relating to the withdrawal of a group from the Glen Echo United Presbyterian Church, and the organization by that group of a new church, and the calling of Rev. William E. Ashbrook as is first Pastor” (15). I find any historical records about my home church to be of great interest. The first hand account of what happened filled in some of the gaps that were missing in my mind.

While the paper might not be very interesting to those unfamiliar with the church, what might be interesting is what was required for membership into that newly formed congregation. How would you go about membership interviews for the godly members who had agreed to remove themselves from an apostate denomination? The following is the account of what they did back then.

“Membership rolls for the new Church were opened for the first time Sunday morning, September 15, 1940. At that time the great majority of those who came out of the Glen Echo United Presbyterian Church — with some others — became the first members of Calvary Bible Church. All became members by standing together and assenting to the following brief statement of faith:

I confess myself to be a lost sinner by nature, under condemnation and without power to save myself. (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10, 23; Ephesians 2:1-3).

I believe that God himself has provided a rememdy for sin in the person of His only-begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus Christ was virgin-born, that He died on Calvary’s cross for my sins, that He rose again for my justification and that He is coming again in power and great glory. (John 3:16; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 1:18-21; John 1:12, 13).

I am ready thus to receive Jesus Christ as a personal Savior, and to confess Him openly before men. I believe that I thereby become a new creature through the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart and that I am thus received by faith into the family of the Redeemed. (John 3:3-6; Romans 10:9, 10; Titus 3:4-7; Romans 8:1).

“To be standing with practically the entire congregation and to be received with that body into the membership of the Church was an impressive and moving experience” (“Inception” 10-11).

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