BUFF SCOTT, JR.
Examining The “Going Forward”
[SEE BELOW “FREEDOM” & “CHICKEN ALCOHOLICS”]
I think it is only fair that we consider the motives behind big TV Evangelists and mega-church Pastors who try to persuade a number of their attendees to “come forward and accept Jesus” or to “come forward” and confess their sins. Why all the public solicitation?
One cleric spoke of a woman who “came forward and confessed a lack of faithfulness.” Could she not have made her confession to her Heavenly Father during her daily prayers? Why did she feel it necessary to confess to the pulpit pastor and his congregation? Did she feel they could forgive her?
Perhaps we all should confess our lack of faithfulness every time we pray, but the “going forward” syndrome can easily evolve into ritualistic nonsense. A sizable number of pulpit pastors who advocate this ritual enjoy the limelight and the “evangelistic results.” Those “results” are often published in their party’s journals.
One tube evangelist wrote in his partisan journal of a man who had accepted Jesus, but felt he “needed to make a public confession of Christ to seal the transaction with God.” Did he not confess Jesus by accepting him? Another Christian journal noted, “A candidate must make a public confession before he can be baptized.”
He is exhibited before an audience and asked, “Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?”
He is expected to follow the ritual and say, “Yes, I believe Jesus is the Son of God.”
If the candidate hesitates, the pulpiteer will repeat the question.
The story is told of a man who responded to this question by counter-asking, “Why do you think I’m reforming my life and requesting that you baptize me?”
His “confession” turned out to be an embarrassment to the pulpit minister who had no choice but to immerse him without obtaining the stereotype confession. The very act of accepting is confessing
. It is not necessary to compel a believer to repeat a formal
statement hatched by the clergy. Even if the eunuch’s “confession” in Acts 8:37 (KJV)
had been included in the oldest Greek manuscripts, the confession would have been private
I tender no objections if a man wishes to publicly confess before an audience his faith in Messiah Jesus. I offer no resistance to a believer who wants to go public and confess a sin or a weakness and ask for the prayers of the congregation. But I do
object to clerics—pulpit pastors, salaried ministers, “Reverends,” ecclesiastics, and evangelists—devising a code that must
be publicly mouthed before acceptance and forgiveness are granted.
Yes, we are told to confess our faults to one another and to pray for each other (James 5:16)
. But nothing in this biblical passage implies that this must be done before an audience. In fact, the implication is that our acknowledgement of faults may be aired to someone outside the meeting place.
If I were to go before an assembled group of believers and confess every time I succumbed to a weakness, the pulpit cleric and his bunch would find no rest, for I would be on the phone contacting them and requesting an audience almost every hour of the day—and most hours of the night. So let us say “Goodbye” to the “going forward” syndrome.
______ FREEDOM OUTSIDE THE PULPIT— “I gave up pulpiteering years ago in favor of freedom in Messiah Jesus. The spirit of man can survive only in an atmosphere of freedom, and it is difficult if not impossible to be free while enslaved to some sect or denomination. I love my freedom too much to allow some church or religious party to tell me what I can and cannot teach, what I can and cannot believe, and how I can or cannot conduct my daily affairs.
“My allegiance is to a Man called Jesus, and it is to Him that I will give an account. It is in Him that I will stand or fall. And He is able to make me stand. I will never grow too old to acknowledge and listen to valid counsel from others, but I will never become so senile as to renounce my will in favor of religious slavery—no, never again.”— www.mindspring.com/~renewal/Author.html .
CHICKEN ALCOHOLICS – TRUE STORY— “Mom canned everything she could get her hands on during the harvest season, including beets. One year some of the beets soured and fermented and she fed them to our chickens, not realizing the results. The chickens ate them and became so intoxicated they all ‘passed out’—flat on their backs, with their legs straight up in the air.
“What a ‘fowl’ mess that turned out to be! And what a ‘hang-over’ those chickens must have had later. I’m not sure whether their next batch of eggs was fermented or not. Wouldn’t have made any difference, for as a poor family we would have eaten them, anyway.”— www.mindspring.com/~renewal/Author.html .