Delinquent -Guilty of offense; failing in duty or obligation
What double danger exists for
the church if its consistory:
1. Makes no serious judgment of outward knowledge and lifestyle before admitting its new members?
2. Attempts to judge the spiritual state or condition before admitting its new members?
The questions asked of persons making public confession of faith in the congregation are generally the four questions written by Rev. G. Voetius, a respected Dutch theologian of the seventeenth century. These are as follows:
1. Do you acknowledge the doctrine of our church, which you have learned, heard, and confessed, to be the true and complete doctrine of salvation, conforming with the sacred Scriptures?
2. Do you promise, by the grace of God, to continue steadfastly in the profession of this doctrine and to live and die in accordance therewith?
3. Do you promise, at all times to conduct yourself conformably to this doctrine, faithfully, honorably, and beyond reproach, and to adorn your confession with good works?
4. Do you promise that you will submit to admonition, correction, and church discipline in the event (which God forbid) that you may become delinquent either in doctrine or in life?
A "yes" answer to these questions involves an oath before God and His church. It may never be done casually or lightly.
A young person who does not desire to confess and live by God's Word, who does not want to live a life of separation from the world with the church, is not ready for public confession of faith. If a person makes public confession of the previous four truths, without sincerely desiring them, he confesses hypocritically.
To provide a series of safeguards against this, the church employs a three-step procedure through which all baptized members must pass before becoming confessing church members. These three steps are:
1. Confession of faith class -completing the instruction provided in this class concerning the truths (doctrines) of God's Word and the walk of life it (and therefore the church) requires.
2. Consistory examination -approval by the consistory upon examination of the person's basic doctrinal