Public Confession of Sin
"Since there is neither command nor example of a confession of sin being made before the church, where is the authority for such a long time practice?"
First, it is good that scriptural authority is desired and demanded (Matt. 28:20; Col. 3:17; 2 Tim. 1:13)! Indeed, we must have such authority, else our work and worship is void and vain (Matt. 15:3-9; Acts 15:24; 2 Jn. 9). Second, just because an act (in this case, public confession) has been practiced for many years, does not make it right or approved in the sight of God. Infant baptism and sprinkling for baptism are both old traditions, but they exist without divine authority.
Third, there need not be a specific command or example of every action before it can be said to be authorized. Where is the example of a church owning a meetinghouse? Where is the command for it to do so? Yet, who will say that a "church building" is unauthorized (1 Cor. 11:20; 14:23; Heb. 10:25)? Where is the command for the church to take the confession of a penitent, alien sinner before the church? Where is the example of an alien sinner confessing Christ as Lord in response to an invitation song before the church? There is no specific command or example, but who will say that such an occurrence is unscriptural, unauthorized (Mk. 16:15, 16; Cf. 1 Cor. 14:22-25; Rev. 22:17)? Fourth, will someone say that an alien sinner may confess Christ before the church, but that a child of God may not confess sin before the church?
Below are some questions which may help to show scriptural authority for one to make a public confession of sin before the church.
A public confession before the church may not always be the wise, prudent, or scriptural thing to do (Matt. 18:15). Each case must be individually determined. However, as the questions above show, one may, at times, confess his sins before the church.
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