Richardson, Wyman Lewis. On Earth as it is in Heaven – Reclaiming Regenerate Church Membership. Cape Coral: Founders Press, 2011. 182 pp. $13.95. Purchase at Amazon for much less.
Wyman serves as pastor of Central Baptist Chruch in North Little Rock, Arkansas. His website is WalkingTogetherMinistries.com.
Divided into three parts, Wyman first offers a clear diagnosis of an issue plaguing many churches and most denominations today. In so doing, he rips off a scab that has been plucked at before but has never healed properly.
In the second part, he offers the best balm and salve to the festering wound that is burgeoning church roles. He does this from the only source with any real authority in the church – the Bible. IN this part he looks primarily at the New Testament and offers discussions on metaphors, membership, ekklesia, and the importance of one another.
In the third and final part, he offers 7 practical steps to help a pastor lead his congregation on the importance of having a regenerate church role and how to move from point A to point B.
Written in 2011, this work is still needed today. Yes, the SBC has worked towards renewing an understanding of regenerate church membership, but there is always much work still to be done. His argument is rooted in Scripture and, as far as the SBC is concerned, historic Southern Baptist ecclesiology.
While one may disagree with his assessment, it cannot be said that he has arrived at his conclusions without studying Scripture. Further, his writing style is easy to read and understand. Dividing the work into three parts offers the reader a pyramid approach to understanding the urgency of the problem and the challenge of our pride as denominational and congregational leaders.
The third part, while not fool proof or guaranteed to effectively move a congregation toward an understanding of regenerate church membership does offer sound and practical advice that will more often than not facilitate a much needed discussion, and consequent action, on the subject at hand.
Regardless of denominational affiliations, I personally recommend this resource to all church leaders and members. May the Lord continue to use this work to stir the hearts of believers to a fundamental understanding of church membership while at the same time challenge those who are not regenerate members of a local body to understand their need of Christ.