Last year my family moved from a SBC church and became members of a PCA church closer to home due to our convictions that our children should be baptized and out of a desire to be in community closer to home. This ended up being sort of an ugly process, and I fault myself for not 'leaving well.' However, one instrument in making the transition even more difficult was the 'church covenant' that we signed when we became members of the Baptist church. I will spare you the details (you can message me if you want them) because it is lengthy and I don't really want to speak of them in a public forum. Essentially, our church covenant made it exhausting, painful, and confusing to move. All in all, we were eventually told that we could possibly come under church discipline because we were breaking that church covenant. Looking back, however, had it not been for that covenant there would have been no biblical grounds for anyone bringing us under discipline. In the end things turned out alright, though still awkward, uncomfortable, and we did not seem to feel as though we 'left well.' I say all this to ask the question of the validity of membership vows/covenants. I did a search of previous threads on this topic and came across a few, but I wanted to make my question a bit more personal and direct it more so towards pastors and elders. After doing a bit of research - historical, books, articles, PB threads, etc. - I have come to the conclusion that I am entirely uncomfortable ever taking membership vows towards a specific congregation again. I am willing to be corrected. After all, I am young, not that educated, and prone to be immature in some areas. So I would love to be corrected if I am wrong. Also, don't hear me as saying "I am entirely uncomfortable ever becoming a member of a local church," or "I am entirely uncomfortable ever coming under the care and authority of elders." I deeply desire these things and I currently have them. I simply don't see any biblical case for the requirement of vows to be taken towards a particular congregation - not even implicitly - in order to become a members, take Communion, etc. I don't want to go into too much detail because I'd like to hear some discussion, but I came to this conclusion actually through one of the threads I read here. Someone pointed to Samuel Rutherford who was against requiring extra vows/covenants for admission to the Sacraments/membership as well. So I pulled up his work and found some interesting points: "1. There is a covenant of free grace, betwixt God and sinners, founded upon the surety Christ Jesus; laid hold on by us, when we believe in Christ, but a Church Covenant differenced from this is in question. . . 2. There is a covenant of baptism, made by all, and a covenant vertual and implicite renewed, when we are to receive the Lords Supper, but an explicite positive professed Church covenant, by oath in-churching a person, or a society, to a State-church is now questioned. 3. An explicite vocal Covenant whereby we bind our selves to the first three Articles in a tacite way, by entring in a new relation to such a Pastor, and to such a Flocke, we deny not, as if the thing were unlawfull for we may sweare to performe Gods commandements, observing all things requisite in a lawfull oath. 2. But that such a covenant is required by divine institution, as the essential forme of a Church and Church-membership, as though without this none were entered members of the visible Churches of the Apostles, nor can now be entered in Church-state, nor can have right unto the seales of the covenant, we utterly deny." So here are my questions: - Should Christians be required to take vows to a particular church in order to enter into membership/Communion with said church? If so, what is the biblical support? Note: I am not asking if Christians should be required to make a credible profession, submit to elders, etc. I am asking whether vows/covenants are required besides the covenant we enter into by way of faith and baptism. - If a Christian, such as myself, came to your church (perhaps even with a letter from another similar denominational church) looking to become a full member (Communion, government, etc.) but was uncomfortable signing a covenant, taking vows, etc., what action would you take and what would you tell that person? I ask these questions because we are in the military and moving again to another state in the coming year, so this is very relevant for me. Thanks for bearing with me.