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Ask A Pastor: Should I do public confession of faith if I disagree with something in my church?

Question:

Confession of Faith – when you do confession of faith, are you doing it to the church or are you doing it to God? What i mean is, if you don’t like the direction that your church is going, would you advise to wait to make confession of faith in a church where you actually believe all the things that they are preaching/promoting? I am in a church right now that I don’t all agree with but my parents are in it (they think the same way as me) and I’m almost the age to make the decision or not to take confession of faith classes. Should I wait or should I not? Or am I only really doing it to God?


Answer:

When we make public confession of faith we actually are doing something toward God and something with respect to the church. With respect to God, we are publicly confessing Him to be our God, that by His grace we aim to live for His glory, and that we want to be held accountable if we don’t live that way. With respect to the church, we are joining ourselves to a particular local church. By the wording of your question, it is hard to discern to what degree your church is departing from God’s Word or our doctrinal standards. Perhaps a few questions might help. Are doctrinal errors or heresies being preached or taught? If so, these should be addressed directly with the elders before making confession of faith there. Are there activities that promote unbiblical practices or ideas? These too should be brought to the leadership. The point is, the more serious the issues, the more hesitant we should be in becoming a member of a particular church. Having said that, let me share something written by Kristin Couch that may be helpful in your decision-making:

Please stay. Stay in your Bible preaching church with imperfect people, imperfect pastors and imperfect teachers. Stay and commit to hiding God’s word in your heart, reading and meditating every single day. Stay and humbly repent of your own sins. Stay and pray for others. Stay and serve. Stay and speak a kind word. Stay and confront a grievous sin. Stay and be confronted. Stay and forgive. Stay and encourage your pastor, who is often left alone to carry the weight of his calling and the weight of his flock. Stay and temper your complaints, placing them before the Almighty God in prayer before taking further action. Stay and put a hand on a discouraged shoulder, and in doing so encourage the entire church body to move towards unity. Stay and show forbearance and long- suffering; modeling commitment for your spouse, your children, and your grandchildren in the midst of this transient world. Stay and extend deference to the non-essential opinions of others. Stay and be the church without owning the church, because the church belongs to God. Stay and be changed.

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