62. Reception into Full Communion of Non-communing Members by Profession of Faith

  1. When a non-communing member who was baptized as an infant is received into full communion, that reception is effective at the time of his public profession of faith. On the occasion of that person’s public reception, it is highly advisable that the minister remind the people that he is already a member of the church, albeit a non-communing member, and has been receiving the blessings of Christ as a member of the church, and that those blessings have resulted in this day wherein, having given evidence of conscious saving faith in Christ, he is now about to confess that faith and become a communing member of the congregation. The minister may then address him in these or like words:

    Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ, we thank our God for the grace that was given you, in that you have accepted God’s covenant promise that was signified and sealed unto you in your infancy by holy baptism. We ask you now to profess your faith publicly.

  2. The minister shall then require the person to profess publicly his Christian faith by giving assent to these questions:

    (1) Do you believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord; and in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life?

    (2) Do you acknowledge yourself to be a sinner in the sight of God, justly deserving His wrath, and without hope apart from His sovereign mercy?

    (3) Do you believe the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, to be the infallible Word of God, and its doctrine of salvation to be the perfect and only true doctrine of salvation?

    (4) 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?

    (5) Do you now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to live as a faithful follower of Christ?

    (6) Do you promise to support the Church in its worship and work to the best of your ability, to submit yourself to its government and discipline, and to strive for its purity and peace?

    If the session deems it appropriate, it may also ask him to bear brief testimony to his faith in his own words.

  3. It is appropriate that the minister exhort the congregation in these or like words:

    From the time [Name] was baptized, the whole congregation has been obligated to love and receive [him/her] as a member of the church. As [he/she] is received into full communion, the congregation is reminded of these obligations. For in Christ we are members of one another. Christ claims this [brother/sister] as His own and calls you to receive [him/her] in love and commitment. Therefore, you ought to commit yourself before God to assist [Name] in [his/her] Christian nurture by godly example, prayer, and encouragement in our most precious faith and in the fellowship of believers.

  4. When anyone has publicly professed his faith in this way, it is fitting that the minister address him in the following or similar words:

    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.

    This part of the service shall be concluded with prayer.

For children of paedo-baptistic parents making a profession of faith in a credo-baptistic church, please see BCO 66.3, 66.4.

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