June 1, 1991 Issue
by Ronny F. Wade

: If a Christian commits a sin of a private nature, may he pray for himself or does he need to seek a brother to pray for him? 

Answer: Every child of God is a priest, Rev 1:6 and I Pet 2:9 As a part of the royal priesthood, we have the privilege and right to come boldly "unto the throne of grace." When we am guilty of a private sin, we not may, but must confess that sin to God, repent and ask His forgiveness. If we choose, we may ask another to pray in our behalf, but in the opinion of this writer it is not necessary In James 5:16 we are told to "confess our faults to one another and pray one for another." Reciprocal action is here implied. I confess to you, you confess to me and I pray for you and you pray for me. No mediating service or office is intended by the writer. In the event that I have sinned against another, I have an obligation to go to that person and make the matter right Mt 5:23-24. If I sin against the church i.e. I leave the church or do things that bring shame upon the church, I have an obligation to inform the church of my repentance and desire to rectify the past. Aside from all this, them is a practice that seems to he relatively popular in some places. Sadly, some people even encourage it. I am speaking about the practice of making public confessions at church services, for private sins, and/or things about which no one has any knowledge. Often the confession relayed to the congregation is something like "I just feel I need the prayers of the church," or "I haven't been walking as close to the Lord as I should" or "I am not as dedicated as I should be." etc., etc. Brethren, this practice not only has no scriptural basis for its existence, but actually smacks of Catholicism and should be discouraged.

: If one is baptized insincerely, does he become a child of God? 

Answer: In order for one to become a child of God, he/she must believe Heb 11:6, repent of (turn away from) sins Lk 13:3. confess faith in Christ Rom. 1O:9-1O; Acts 8:37 and be baptized for the remission of sins Acts 2:38; Mk 16:16; 1 Pet 3:21. The result of such actions is "a new creature in Christ" Gal 3:26-27; "saved" Mk 16:16; "remission of sins" Acts 2:38. If an individual only pretends to believe, or pretends to repent or is baptized insincerely or for the wrong reason, then the promised results will not follow and the person does not become a child of God.

Question: May a woman confess faith in Christ in a church service? How does this relate to Paul's instructions in I Cor 14:35

Answer: The instructions of Paul in 1 Cor 14:34-35 as well as 1 Tim 2:11-12 prohibit a woman from teaching in the gatherings of the church. The apostle leaves no doubt that such practices are a shame, and therefore wrong The denominations long ago disregarded this teaching and have allowed women access to the pulpit. Many churches of Christ are headed in the same direction. For years they have tried to deny that Bible classes are regulated by the same rules governing the assembly. Others claimed that women could teach, but not over the man. Neither position is scriptural. Both deny the plain teaching of the above verses.

Some have gone so far as to say that if a woman can sing, she can teach. There is, of course, a vast difference in praise and edification. The woman is not prohibited from praising God in song, she is prohibited from the public teaching of the word of God.

Just as singing does not violate Paul's instructions, neither does confessing the name of Christ. When a woman confesses Christ she is not participating in the activity prohibited by the apostle in 1 Cor. 14 or I Tim. 2, and therefore cannot be said to violate his teaching.

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