In 1995 GPTS held a conference on the topic The Doctrine of the Church. One of the presentations was titled “Covenant Community” by Mark Herzer. This was the best presentations I’ve heard on this issue. Pastor Herzer’s purpose was:
“…to deal with two major points in this paper. One is the necessity of membership in the visible church. The second is the priority of election in the visible church. The two are quite related. The first develops the need for membership in the visible church and the second addresses the status of members in the visible church. The first point argues against the modern disdain for the visible church and the second answers the question of presumptive regeneration and the purists’ notions of the visible church. One group seems to say that you don’t need the church at all to be a faithful Christian while another group seems to argue that you know you are a Christian because you are in the visible church. Both of these positions, we believe, are wrong.”
Click here to be equipped and edified. You can also check out Dr. Joseph Pipa’s message from the conference titled The Triumph of the Church.