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Will only church members be raptured?

by Stephen Davey

Cameron from North Carolina asked: “When the rapture comes, will Christians who are not formal members of a church be left behind?”


There are people who are not members of churches who will go to heaven, and there are people who are members of churches who will not go to heaven. Having your name on the role of a church is not what determines your eternal state. What matters is that you belong to the family of God.  By belonging to the family of God, I’m referring to all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. 

Consider, for example, believers in China who meet in small groups throughout their villages and towns, but are unable to have any kind of official church membership. They may not even have an established church. 

Now, I will add, Cameron, that the church and church membership is important. If a believer doesn’t care about the church, and is intentionally avoiding God’s command to assemble as a church, that reveals a heart issue that needs to be repented of. To say that you love Jesus, but don’t love the church for whom he died, is inconsistent, and needs to be dealt with.

But the rapture specifically, and enterance into heaven in general, is not based on church membership, but on faith.

Thanks for your question,


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Joan Van Wieren says:
Galatians 4:4 states that "In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son to be born of a woman, under the law..." We can't know God's thinking and timing, but what did God see, such that He said it was time, and sent Jesus to earth when He did - not earlier and not later? From a historical and earthly perspective, what can we know about that unique point in humanity's history that made it "the right time"?