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Page 457

While stress should be continually placed upon that which each act of worship should be, this truth may not be enlarged to claim that this is what it must be. The church may never teach that everyone who gathers to worship, sing, and hear God's Word expounded is converted. In like manner, the church may not demand true conversion as a criterion for church membership.

The truth that a person should be converted when making confession of faith presents a double danger, that of either under- or overstressing this truth.

Understressing the truth that a person should be converted takes place when persons desire to make confession of faith for circumstantial motives such as:

    1. Custom -"Because most people my age do so."

    2. Parental desire -"Because I want to please my parents."

    3. Marital plans -"Because we plan to be married."

    4. Family plans -"Because, as young parents, we want our first child to be baptized."

All of these circumstantial motives fall far short of that required for serious public confession, i.e. a sincere desire to confess and live according to God's truth, to live with the church, and to personally accept the responsibilities of my baptism and membership vows. This sincere desire should be from the heart, a converted heart one that wholeheartedly desires to live for God, God's Word, and God's Church.

When the seriousness of public confession of faith is continually understressed, a strong dichotomy between participation in confession of faith and the Lord's Supper will develop. Confession will be viewed as something very easy, as something in which everyone can readily participate. The Lord's Supper, on the other hand, will be seen as something very hard, as something in which very few can participate.

  • Criterion -A standard for judging

  • Why is it very important for .each young person to seriously examine his motives before proceeding toward public confession of faith?

  • Dichotomy -A division into two parts; subdivision into two distinct groups or sections

  • 457
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