66. Reception of New Members by Public Profession of Faith

  1. When an unbaptized person is received into membership by profession of faith, that reception is effective at the time of his public profession of faith and baptism. He shall be received in accord with BCO 59. When a previously baptized person who is not a member of the congregation and has not previously made a confession of his faith is received into membership by profession of faith, that reception is effective at the time of his public profession of faith. On the occasion of that person’s public reception, the minister shall 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 our Savior has sought and found you and through faith you have become a partaker of the covenant of grace. We rejoice that in His grace He has brought you to this congregation and given you the desire to profess your faith before us and to unite with us. We ask that you testify before us to the faith that you profess by giving assent to the following questions.

  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 pastor deems it appropriate, he 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:

    As [Name] is received into full communion in the church, the whole congregation is obligated to receive (him/her), for in Christ we are members of one another. Christ claims this (brother/sister) as His own and calls you to serve (him/her) in love. 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 like 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.

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