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Today, points are shared to clarify differences among public confession, personal testimony, and proper devotion to GOD.  In the same way confession to GOD during prayer that should be private and personal does not replace repentance, public confession of wrongdoing does not supply the same benefit as testimony to reveal the work of Christ in ones life.  Reverend William Aitcheson, a Catholic priest in nearby Arlington, Virginia, who has been serving in the church for many decades, published an article in one of the diocese newspapers apologizing that he once was a leader within the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).  Many all across America have been enraged and incensed by recent events that have called forth expressions of bigotry, hate, prejudice, racism, and violence, and that resulted in a young woman’s death (Heather Heyer, Charlottesville, VA).  Others have been cast down, made to feel shame, and are suffering great humiliation.  Prominent among the institutions and organizations involved have been the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and White Supremacist groups that exist in the United States under lawful provisions for “free speech.”  Those who repent, and turn to Christ to become his new creation may only demand and expect to see change in their own lives, and that mostly within their own conduct, commitment, consciousness, and sense of purpose.  Many others involved will not have developed and grown as much.  Thus, making public proclamation of sins from the past is not of itself a genuine act of repentance; and in the case of the priest, his confession has called forth accusations, placing blame, condemnation, and demands for payment, rather than the manifestation of the Holy Spirit within the church, and the heartfelt displays of humility, mature understanding, and godly love he hoped would appear his fellow believers. 

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground:  he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:  and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:  yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:  the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth:  he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.  He was taken from prison and from judgment:  and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living:  for the transgression of my people was he stricken.  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.  Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief:  when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.  He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:  by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.  Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death:  and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.  (Isaiah 53:  1-12, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  What Can Canvas Show? (07/10/2017); Prophecy Over Personal Testimony? (06/29/2017); Recounting Past Sins? (03/04/2015); Not A Matter Of Opinion? (04/24/2014); What Faith Makes Possible (04/25/2014); Escape from Racism (10/24/2012); Christians Who Ignore GOD’s Laws (10/25/2012)

 

Confession pertains to judgment and salvation.  In accordance with the Scriptures, three forms of confession may appear:  (1) a confession of need), (2) a confession of transgression/wrongdoing, and (3) a confession of conviction and faith.  Given the operations of pride are little different than sin, public confession may corrupt a congregation of believers, for such confession may mask bragging, deceit, divisiveness, self-promotion, showing off, and vainglory.  While testimony may be shared to build up and edify the body of believers, confession is an aspect of judgment, and is more correctly directed only to GOD who is judge.  Confession is not to be made to those who are foolish and unwise regarding the things of judgment.  To truly benefit all concerned, it is often more necessary that the discipline, maturity and strength of silence be practiced in place of confession; and it is in silence that ones trust in GOD shines forth most brightly.  In the same way peaceful protest and counter demonstrations are resulting in destructive confrontations, the sharing of confessions focused on sins of the past are now promoting a great upheaval among Americans.  It is foolish and unwise to seek “justice” against those from earlier periods of history on the basis of the social standards and cultural values of the present day.  There are those demanding rejection of the early pioneers and those who contributed to the development of our Nation and its greatness.  Included have been George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and even, Christopher Columbus.  Just as the operations of mercy appear primarily during judgment, forbearance, forgiveness and reconciliation are to appear during confession.  Consider the following:

(1.)  Confession as a sacred practice and in the course of formal ministry is not on the same level as gossip.  This is specially so during practices and sacraments focused on healing as in James 5:  13-16, King James Version (KJV):  13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.  14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:  15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.  16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

(2.)  Confession may be demanded within the law, yet, confession will not answer all the requirements and sanctions of the law that also address correction, full disclosure, financial liability, and punishment.  Loss and damage from transgression becomes more completely crystallized in the light of confession.  Thus, the enormity of the sin of Achan at Jericho in taking the “accursed thing” (a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight) is staggering, for it resulted in despair throughout the camp, Israel’s first defeat, and the death of 39 men at Ai (see Joshua 7, KJV).  Judgment is not complete until the findings and sentence of the law have been carried out.

(3.)  The principles and rules of confidentiality that bind a confessor and prohibit his discussing and revealing what has been exchanged in ministry also binds the person who makes a confession.  Disbelievers, ones parents, ones spouse, ones children have no authority to rank and rate the quality, sincerity, and value of your prayers, or whatever else may occur within other aspects of our own intimate relationship with GOD.

(4.)  Correctly understood, the admission of wrongdoing is also the admission of guilt, yet, is distinct from the acceptance and acknowledgment of accountability.  Many are willing to admit wrongdoing and express sorrow for their errors, however, they also must be willing to accept accountability for “cleaning up the mess,” healing, making compensation, correction, and restitution. 

There is far more to be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (5.)  It is an error to think that public confession featuring the details of wrongdoing is of any benefit to the body.  “All have sinned and come short” is sufficient to identify the need for grace without there being an exhaustive detailing of mistakes and transgressions.  The duty for clergy is not to offer others or themselves upon an altar of condemnation, spiritual confusion, and personal sacrifice; rather, it is to offer Jesus Christ.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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