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In our council meetings, I find the wording of the motion we use following an individual's profession of faith to be curious. Someone moves that "we approve <Name>'s profession of faith." Is that correct? Are we approving one's profession of faith, as though we're giving it a pass-fail grade?

Granted, Church Order Article 59-b does include the strange (imho) language of announcing ahead of time the names of people professing their faith to the congregation "for approval." I'm not even sure what exactly this means or how I've seen this in practice.

Nevertheless, because this is a membership matter as per CO Art 59-b, I would prefer the motion be that "we recognize and welcome <Name> now as a confessing member of the church." Am I on to something here or just getting lost in some minutia?


It probably varies church to church, but years ago when I went before council it was presented very much as a pass/fail exam. Publishing in the bulletin was sort of a way of saying, "Speak now or forever hold your peace." I don't know if anyone ever didn't get approved, though.

In some ways, the wording is a matter of semantic minutia.   Since you talk about motions...I assume you're referring to the elder or council meeting where those desiring to profess their faith are presented, or the bulletin announcement after that reading.  I would ask this:  Are there situations that might come to light that might cause the elders to either "not approve" or "not welcome"?   If the answer is yes....(and I think it is), the wording of "approve" is both more accurate and wiser.   Somebody might not be approved for full membership b/c of either a theological position they insist on, or a moral decision they are unrepentant on.  They would often still be "welcome" to worship and to participate in certain ways.....but not be approved as full members.    Just my thoughts...

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