What opposite problems develop in church life if confession of faith and the Lord's Supper are:
In reality, the one is a step toward the other. To participate in confession, one should be converted; to participate in the Lord's Supper, one must be converted. In confession of faith, the church right (but not the divine right) to participate in the Lord's Supper is given. Confession is not divorced from the Lord's Supper; confession should have the Lord's Supper in view. If missing the saving grace required for Lord's Supper participation, the person making confession of faith should be seriously asking for this grace.
The opposite error is overstressing the requirements for public confession of faith. When this takes place, the "should" is changed to "must," meaning that the church requires a personal confession of saving faith and true conversion from each person before he is permitted to become a confessing member of the church.
This overstressing results in the following errors:
I. It requires the consistory to judge the hearts (not just the outward life style) of those desiring to make public confession of faith.
2. It promotes the false idea that the confessing members of church are all saved people (refer to Chapter 24 for scriptural distinctions of the Church Invisible from the Church Visible).
3. It forbids serious persons, who live with the church outwardly in life style but dare not confess personal, saving faith, from becoming confessing members. This leads to problems of children not being baptized, adults not being included in the congregational meetings, and adult attendees not being included under church discipline It also tends to lower the biblical standards of true conversion to include all who are living with the church only in outward life style.
The overstressing error equates participation in the Lord's Supper with confession of faith. One is linked with the other. Participation in the Lord's Supper then automatically follows confession of faith. There is an important difference, however, between requesting and possessing. The participant in confession of faith