"Confess your faults..."

 

Question

Are public meetings for confession and humiliation appropriate?

 

Quick Answer

Apparently. Ellen White says that every church should have special meetings if possible for humiliation and afflicting of one's soul. This is written in the context of confession.

 

Bible Answer

James 5:16 "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.

Leviticus 16:29 "And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: 30 For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. 31 It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever."

 

Inspired Answer

Try To Have Special Meetings Of Humiliation In Every Church

"Brethren in every church, will you follow the conditions God has specified, and prove the Lord, and see if he will fulfill his promises? I believe he will. I have not the shadow of a doubt of it. He will do just as he has said he would, and the exceedingly broad promises of rich blessings will be realized if we but comply with the conditions. Your heads may be hard and sound, but let not this hardness steal into your hearts. If you will fall on the Rock and be broken, then your self-righteousness will no longer exist. There will be instead soft, impressible hearts, kind, tender, true hearts, like that of Jesus, who was ever touched with human woe. You will weep with those who weep, and mourn with those who mourn. Try it, brethren; God’s way is always best. You have tried your own way very perseveringly, and it does not work for the prosperity, union, and up-building of the church. Therefore let us no longer think our own plan the right one, climbing upon the judgment seat; but let us in the spirit of God bear the testimony he has given us to bear, receiving the melting love of God in our hearts while we speak plain truths to tear away the vail of deception from the eyes of those in error, giving instead the earnest, sincere, genuine love of Jesus. {RH December 16, 1884, par. 12} This work of confession must be done sooner or later. Shall it not be done in the dying hours of the old year? Shall we not put away our sins by confession, and let them go beforehand to judgment? Shall we not strive now as we never have before, that we may commence the new year with a clean record? Shall we not individually take hold of this long neglected work, humbling our souls before God, that “pardon”—blessed pardon—may be written opposite our names? Shall we not be truly Christians—Christ-like? {RH December 16, 1884, par. 13} Try it in every church. Have special meetings when you can,—meetings of humiliation, of afflicting the soul,—meetings where the rubbish shall be cleared away from the door of the heart, that the blessed Saviour may enter. What a wonderful time the dying of the old year and the birth of the new might be! If we individually try to do what we can on our part, God is faithful that hath promised, and he will fulfill on his part abundantly more than you can ask or even think. Let no more moments be wasted. Let us now arise, and make earnest efforts to cherish the subduing love of Jesus. We need to be melted over, that the dross may be removed. We need to learn in Christ’s school meekness and lowliness of heart, drawing closer and closer to Jesus." {RH December 16, 1884, par. 14}

Let Ample Opportunity Be Given For All To Humble Themselves ... and Confess The Sins

"Let there be meetings in every church; and let ample opportunity be given to all to humble themselves before God, and confess their sins, that they may receive the peace of pardon. When we will bring our hearts into unity with Christ, and our lives into harmony with his work, the Spirit that descended on the day of Pentecost will fall on us. We shall be strong in Christ’s strength, and be filled with the fullness of God."

 

Further Thoughts

This idea of afflicting our souls has special meaning for us in the last days, when we believe we are in the antitypical day of atonement. Back in Old Testament times, the people afflicted their souls—examined their lives and hearts—to see if there was anything that stood between them and God while the earthly High Priest was cleaning the Sanctuary. In our day, Jesus is our high priest, and a similar cleansing work is taking place in the heavenly sanctuary.

Granted this is to be done in appropriate ways. Some confessions that would discourage those present, dishonor the cause, or lower the bar of spirituality, should be addressed to God alone, or the appropriate person/persons.

But having a meeting where members are encouraged to pray and seek to make things right with God and with other members is clearly encouraged.

The paragraph comes from an article first published in the Review and Herald in 1884, that addressed preparing for the new year, including personal examination.

In contemplating such a meeting, read what is said about appropriate confession.

 

Further Written Resources

Meetings For Confession

On this page you will find the article where a call is made for public meetings for confession of sin and humiliation.

 

The New Year (Article)

Here is another article on the same subject. It is worth carefully reading. Here is a sample paragraph:

"Let there be meetings in every church; and let ample opportunity be given to all to humble themselves before God, and confess their sins, that they may receive the peace of pardon. When we will bring our hearts into unity with Christ, and our lives into harmony with his work, the Spirit that descended on the day of Pentecost will fall on us. We shall be strong in Christ’s strength, and be filled with the fullness of God." (Read the rest of The New Year)

 

Learn More On This Subject

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