Jesus asks His disciples, “Whom say ye that I am?” Peter responds, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:15–16). Jesus then warns His disciples (including us) that if they do not confess Him to other people, He will refuse to acknowledge them on judgment day (Matt. 10:32–33). The identity of the church and of the Christian are both closely tied to confessing Christ openly before the world.
Immediately after Peter’s confession, Jesus declares, “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). Earl Blackburn writes: “The first responsibility of church membership is loyalty to the church. By loyalty to the church, I mean fidelity to the teachings of the church so far as they are loyal to the Word of God…. It is only right, then, for a church to ask someone who desires to be a member to be loyal to its doctrinal position as defined in its statement or confession of faith.” Blackburn concluded that a personal confession of faith is required for church membership.9
Beauty and Glory of Christ’s Bride
Joel R. Beeke