Church Membership and Vows

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Nicholas Perella

Puritan Board Freshman
In your church:

1. Are there vows to be taken by the parents for the child who is being baptized?

2. What is the title of your church membership? For example, in the RPCNA, a member of the church who may partake of the Lord's Supper is called communicant member. Are there vows to be taken in order to be a member in your church? Are these vows the same as the baptism vows (simply a renewing of vows)?

3. Where are those membership vows taken? Examples: in front of session, in front of the congregation, both?

4. Are the vows in the form of a 'question - answer' format or some other? If other please elaborate.

5. Are there distinct church office vows? Are they standardized vows or do they vary even within the local church from time to time?


Some of these questions above might be of a more Presbyterian emphasis, while other questions make me curious as to what our brothers and sisters that have other church governments may share.

Thanks.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
Membership in the OPC

As for the OPC, here is a link to CHAPTER IV Public Reception of Church Members as found in the Book of Church Order.

BTW - The word vow or vows is used 8 times in this section.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
PCA:

1 - yes
BCO 56-5
1.Do you acknowledge your child’s need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, and the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit?
2.Do you claim God’s covenant promises in (his) behalf, and do you look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for (his) salvation, as you do for your own?
3.Do you now unreservedly dedicate your child to God, and promise, in humble reliance upon divine grace, that you will endeavor to set before (him) a godly example, that you will pray with and for (him), that you will teach (him) the doctrines of our holy religion, and that you will strive, by all the means of God’s appointment, to bring (him) up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

Congregational vow:

Do you as a congregation undertake the responsibility of assisting the parents in the Christian nurture of this child?

2 - yes BCO 6-2 Communing members are those who have made a profession of faith in Christ, have been baptized, and have been admitted by the Session to the Lord's Table. (See BCO 46-4 for associate members)

BCO 57
1.Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of God, justly deserving His displeasure, and without hope save in His sovereign mercy?
2. Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and Savior of sinners, and do you receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation as He is offered in the Gospel?
3. Do you now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to live as becomes the followers of Christ?
4. Do you promise to support the Church in its worship and work to the best of your ability?
5.Do you submit yourselves to the government and discipline of the Church, and promise to study its purity and peace?


3 - both

4 - yes

5 - standardized for each office. See BCO 24-6 (Deacons and Ruling Elders) 21-5 and 21-9 (teaching elders)

BCO Here:
http://www.pcaac.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2014-BCO-Reprint-ALL.pdf
 

Nicholas Perella

Puritan Board Freshman
others from other denominations?

Like yours? You might continue the thread by posting as to YOUR denomination.

great idea.

1). yes
2). communicant member; yes; different vows

The Covenant of Baptism
1. Do you believe this child is a possession of God entrusted to
your care?
2. In this light, do you promise to provide for his/her temporal
well-being, to teach him/her to love God and His Word, the Bible, and
to provide him/her with a God-centered education?
3. Do you promise to teach him/her of his/her sinful nature, of the
plan of salvation which centers in Jesus Christ, and his/her own personal
need of a relationship with Christ?
4. To the end that he/she may grow in the Christian life, do you
promise to pray for him/her, and to train him/her to read the Bible,
to pray, to keep the Lord’s Day and to understand the nature of the
Church, the value of its worship and fellowship, and his/her need to
seek communicant membership in the church?
5. Do you promise to lead him/her, by your example and parental
discipline exercised in love, to seek first the Kingdom of God and His
righteousness in all the relationships of life?
6. Do you make these promises in the presence of God, in humble
reliance upon His grace, as you desire to give your account with joy
at the Last Great Day?


Covenant of Communicant Membership
1. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to
be the Word of God, the only infallible rule for faith and life?
2. Do you believe in the one living and true God—Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit, as revealed in the Scriptures?
3. Do you repent of your sin; confess your guilt and helplessness as
a sinner against God; profess Jesus Christ, Son of God, as your Saviour
and Lord; and dedicate yourself to His service: Do you promise that
you will endeavor to forsake all sin, and to conform your life to His
teaching and example?
4. Do you promise to submit in the Lord to the teaching and government
of this church as being based upon the Scriptures and described
in substance in the Constitution of the Reformed Presbyterian Church
of North America? Do you recognize your responsibility to work with
others in the church and do you promise to support and encourage
them in their service to the Lord? In case you should need correction in
doctrine or life, do you promise to respect the authority and discipline
of the church?
5. To the end that you may grow in the Christian life, do you promise
that you will diligently read the Bible, engage in private prayer, keep the
Lord’s Day, regularly attend the worship services, observe the appointed
sacraments, and give to the Lord’s work as He shall prosper you?
6. Do you purpose to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness
in all the relationships of life, faithfully to perform your whole
duty as a true servant of Jesus Christ, and seek to win others to Him?
7. Do you make this profession of faith and purpose in the presence
of God, in humble reliance upon His grace, as you desire to give
your account with joy at the Last Great Day?


3). membership vows are constituted before the session (considered a communicant member before the session), and public assent is formally conducted in front of the congregation
4). 'question-answer' format
5). yes; standardized
 

Nicholas Perella

Puritan Board Freshman
As for the OPC, here is a link to CHAPTER IV Public Reception of Church Members as found in the Book of Church Order.

BTW - The word vow or vows is used 8 times in this section.

The Covenant Commitment of the Parents

The minister shall then require the parents to vow publicly their duty as Christian parents to present their children for baptism and to nurture them in the Christian faith, by answering these or equivalent questions in the affirmative:

(1) Do you acknowledge that although our children are conceived and born in sin and therefore are subject to condemnation, they are holy in Christ by virtue of the covenant of grace, and as children of the covenant are to be baptized?

(2) Do you promise to teach diligently to [name of child] the principles of our holy Christian faith, revealed in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and summarized in the Confession of Faith and Catechisms of this Church?

(3) Do you promise to pray regularly with and for [name of child], and to set an example of piety and godliness before (him/her)?

(4) Do you promise to endeavor, by all the means that God has appointed, to bring [name of child] up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, encouraging (him/her) to appropriate for (himself/herself) the blessings and fulfill the obligations of the covenant?


Reception into Full Communion of Noncommunicant Members by Profession of Faith

(1) Do you believe the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, to be the Word of God, and its doctrine of salvation to be the perfect and only true doctrine of salvation?

(2) Do you believe in one living and true God, in whom eternally there are three distinct persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—who are the same in being and equal in power and glory, and that Jesus Christ is God the Son, come in the flesh?

(3) Do you confess that because of your sinfulness you abhor and humble yourself before God, that you repent of your sin, and that you trust for salvation not in yourself but in Jesus Christ alone?

(4) Do you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your sovereign Lord, and do you promise that, in reliance on the grace of God, you will serve him with all that is in you, forsake the world, resist the devil, put to death your sinful deeds and desires, and lead a godly life?

(5) Do you promise to participate faithfully in this church's worship and service, to submit in the Lord to its government, and to heed its discipline, even in case you should be found delinquent in doctrine or life?

I could not find if these vows of noncommunicant members are taken before session first, before taking them publicly. I was just curious of the nuiances. I know in the RPCNA the person is judicially a member before the session, and stating the vows before the congregation is a formal action.

In the OPC are the vows taken before the session and confirmed there, and the vows before the congregation are just a formality?

I am sure the formality in the RPCNA means something significant. I am not sure of what that is when judicially the membership has already been confirmed. Something for me to ask my church leadership.
 

Nicholas Perella

Puritan Board Freshman
In the OPC are the vows taken before the session and constituted there, i.e. person is officially a member of the church? Thus the vows taken before the congregation are just a formality?

Also. I will ask this other question more simply. Do other people in other denominations take standardized vows in their church? Example: for baptism, membership, office, etc...
 
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