The word “registration” means “the process of being added to an official list or record.” When you speak of “church registration” two things come to mind: 1) The process of a local church registering with the government to be recognized as a legal corporation in order to become “tax exempt” and to have a level of “legal protection from lawsuits”; or, 2) The process of a person becoming an official member of a local church by registering with them. I’m not sure which one you’re referring to so I will address both of them.

1) Regarding a local church registering with the government to become a “legal corporation” that is considered a “non-profitable organization” and thus “tax exempt,” there are no examples in the Bible of this. So, in that sense, is it NOT Biblical. But there are many local churches today which have gone through this process in order to avoid paying taxes on their church building, the land that it is built on, on money that they receive from church members, etc. Even though they realize there is no examples of this in Scripture, they believe it is a matter of GOOD STEWARDSHIP to go through this process. They would point to various passages that teach us that we, as believers in Christ, should be “good stewards” of the money and possessions we have (see Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 12:42-46; 16:1-13). Some believers would disagree with this and would point to the fact the Church is a “spiritual organism” (we will see more on this later) and not a “physical organization” (a business), and as such there should be a total “separation of church and state.”

2) Regarding an individual “joining a church and become an official member of that church by registering with them,” this is most definitely unscriptural; in other words, it’s NOT Biblical. When discussing this subject, we need to ask, “What is the church?” Some believe it is a literal BUILDING and others believe it is an ORGANIZATION or DENOMINATION made up of “church congregations that have a NAME which identifies them from other church denominations.” But what does Scripture say? In Matthew 16:15 Jesus Christ asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” In verse 16 Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” That bold confession of who Christ is caused the Lord to turn to Peter and say, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this ROCK I will build My church” (verses 17-18). The Lord was teaching Peter and the others that He was going to “build His church” and it would be built upon “the confession of Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God.” In other words, Jesus Christ is the ROCK, and the CHURCH IS BUILT ON HIM! The Bible speaks of this in Ephesian 2:19-20, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, HAVING BEEN BUILT ON THE FOUNDATION of the apostles and prophets, JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF BEING THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE.”

Jesus had said, “I will build My church” so we must ask, “When did He start building it?” I would encourage you to read all of Acts Chapter Two for in that chapter we have the “birthday of the church.” In verses 1-4 we see the Holy Spirit coming down to indwell believers in order to “form the church.” The apostle Paul teaches us that “the church is the body of Christ” and that it is “the Holy Spirit who puts us into the body of Christ.” We read of this in Ephesians 1:21-22 and 1st Corinthians 12:13, “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over the all things to THE CHURCH, WHICH IS HIS BODY…For by one Spirit we were all BAPTIZED INTO ONE BODY.” This, dear friend, is the CHURCH! It is not a building or a denominational organization, it is a “spiritual organism” made up of all believers who have “confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The moment one believes they are “baptized into the body of Christ,” which means they are “members of the only church that Scripture speaks of.” At the end of Acts 2 we are told, “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” This is clear, is it not? The church is made up all people who have been saved by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and the very moment they believe on Him the Lord “adds them to the church.” We do not “join a church through church registration”; we are “joined to the church by the Lord Himself” when the Holy Spirit baptizes (puts) us into the body of Christ.  (DO)  (519.1)