If you can get into God's Kingdom, you can get into our church. We have no higher standard. "Well, don't people have to sign a doctrinal statement to get in?" No. "Well, don't they have to believe certain things?" No. If God lets you in His Kingdom, we'll let you in our church. It's that simple. We'll take the responsibility then to do our best to train you and grow you up and shape your thinking and your theology and your understanding of the Word of God. That's why we're here. We're not here to wait for you to perfect yourself somewhere else.When I first heard that statement, there was something attractive about it. Who are we, after all, to put stricter standards on church membership than God puts on His Kingdom? For a moment I wondered if it is really a good thing that we Baptists are growing increasingly demanding about affirmation of things like doctrinal statements and church covenants prior to church membership. Then it dawned on me. In a church like Grace Community, where leadership and decision-making is so centralized in the eldership, there is comparatively little need for the congregation to be of one mind. The congregation simply does not have the power to dilute the theological purity of the church as they would in a congregational church.
When I say that leadership at GCC is centralized in the eldership, I'm referring to the interaction between Mark Dever and MacArthur in a 2002 interview in which Dever asked concerning the polity at GCC, "Can the congregation at Grace Community ever override the elders?" MacArthur's reply
No. The only way they could do that would be every year—every year, all elders' names are posted, and if anyone in the congregation knows any reason why they believe that man should not be an elder, they have the responsibility to go to that man first before they would tell somebody else that they know—to go to that man. If they can't resolve it at that point, then they can go to another elder, and the two or three can endeavor to resolve that and then the congregation will affirm—at the only congregational meeting we have in a year—they affirm by standing in affirmation of that group. My name's on that every year. So we give the individual person that might have a problem an opportunity."But the congregation could remain seated?"
They could . . . [But] if one guy stood up and said "You know, I don't like this," people would look at him like this guy must be a mental patient, because the process is so open.