It has struck me recently how the practices of churches and their innovations have really undermined commanded practices of Jesus Christ.
For many years I readily heard the phrase “profession of faith.” This was understood as one’s first public declaration of one’s faith in Jesus Christ. Accompnaied with this was the expectation that one come forward and walk the isle in a local church where they would tell the pastor and then tell the church.
Yet I have now come to understand that baptism is one’s public profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Just as John’s baptism was a public declaration of repentance so too is the baptism into Jesus a public declaration of repentance and a public identification with Jesus Christ through faith.
So in my reflection of the Lord’s Supper this week, I also recalled the practice growing up that when one had “backslidden” and wanted to rededicate himself or herself to Jesus Christ again, he or she would walk the isle and tell the preacher and then tell the church. Yet, I have come to the conclusion this practice is better captured in the consistent observance of the Lord’s Supper for every time we observe Communion we are rededicating ourselves to the Lord.
I remember those rededications with much fondness and probably visited the front of the church on numerous occassions. In no way would I want to discourage rededications. But perhaps if we prepared properly with discernment in readiness for Lord’s Supper, we would be continually moved to godly sorrow on the one hand because of our sins and moved to godly transformation on the other hand through the good help of the Lord.
What we see really in both these practices is the innovation of the altar call to facilitate professions of faith and rededications. Yet, I have come to the conclusion that when baptism and communion are properly taught and observed they will capture better for God’s people the Spirit of God as he works in people’s lives and be more faithful to God’s word.