Making a Public Profession of Faith

Where are your students in their relationship to the church?

Growing in Christ’s Church focuses your students on God’s people, the church. Through this entire study, you want your students to consider the question: What about my own relationship to Christ and the church?

No matter the size of your group, you’ve got students coming from different backgrounds who are in different places on their spiritual journeys. They may have been baptized as infants and nurtured in covenant training in the church, they may be rebelling against that nurture, or they may have never been taught about Christ.

As you discuss making a public profession of faith and becoming communicant members of the church, you may want to share with your students these examples of two denominations’ processes and questions. Your church may do this in a different way (check with your pastor), but when someone makes a public profession of faith, your church likely asks that person questions such as these.

Questions for those making a public profession of faith:

1. Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of God, justly deserving His displeasure, and without hope save in His sovereign mercy?

2. Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and Savior of sinners, and do you receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation as He is offered in the Gospel?

3. Do you now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to live as becomes the followers of Christ?

4. Do you promise to support the Church in its worship and work to the best of your ability?

5. Do you submit yourselves to the government and discipline of the Church, and promise to study its purity and peace?

—From Presbyterian Church in America Book of Church Order, 2011. Click here to download and print these questions only for your students.

Another example:

1. Do you believe the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, to be the Word of God, and its doctrine of salvation to be the perfect and only true doctrine of salvation?

2. Do you believe in one living and true God, in whom eternally there are three distinct persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—who are the same in being and equal in power and glory, and that Jesus Christ is God the Son, come in the flesh?

3. Do you confess that because of your sinfulness you abhor and humble yourself before God, that you repent of your sin, and that you trust for salvation not in yourself but in Jesus Christ alone?

4. Do you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your sovereign Lord, and do you promise that, in reliance on the grace of God, you will serve him with all that is in you, forsake the world, resist the devil, put to death your sinful deeds and desires, and lead a godly life?

5. Do you promise to participate faithfully in this church’s worship and service, to submit in the Lord to its government, and to heed its discipline, even in case you should be found delinquent in doctrine or life?

—From  Orthodox Presbyterian Church Book of Church Order, 2011. Click here to download and print these questions only for your students.

Words of Blessing

You may also want to share these encouraging words a minister may say to the newly communing member (from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church Book of Church Order):

Beloved, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I welcome you to all the privileges of full communion with God’s people, and in particular to participation in the sacrament of the Holy Supper.

I charge you to continue steadfastly in the confession that you have made, humbly relying upon the grace of God in the diligent use of the means of grace—especially the Word of God, the sacraments, and prayer. Rest assured that if you confess Christ before men, he will confess you before his Father who is in heaven.

May the God of all grace, who called you unto his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, and strengthen you. To him be the glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Click below to see the entire Book of Church Order from each denomination:

The Presbyterian Church in America Book of Church Order (Chapter 57)

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church Book of Church Order (pp. 157–159)

What percentage of your students have publicly professed their faith in Christ? What were their reactions to these questions?

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