public Profession of Faith
What is profession?
Public profession of faith is the act of declaring “in the presence of many witnesses” that Christ is your “only comfort in life and in death” (1 Tim 6:12; HC Q&A 1). Moreover, by confessing Jesus to be Lord and Savior, Professors promise to trust and obey him for the rest of their lives.
In Profession, disciples formally commit to the local expression of Christ's church much like formal vows commit husbands and wives to each other. The result is full communion in the membership of the local church.
Church membership brings with it the fruits of joy, fellowship, service, pastoral oversight, and accountability in the local church. Church membership has been a great blessing to us. If you want to know the process for becoming a member at PURC, see any Elder, Rev. Grotenhuis, or contact us.
Why it Matters
Profession does not itself save anyone, but it is an essential mark of genuine faith which God works in believers:
“...if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9)
The importance of public profession cannot be overstated. Jesus said, “Whoever would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Mt 16:24). The Bible teaches us that to follow Christ requires that we join ourselves to His church (Heb 10:22-25; Acts 2:47). Moreover, Jesus warned that whoever is unwilling to confess him publicly will not be among his people in glory:
“Everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven.” (Mt 10:32-33)
For those who make profession, this event forms a significant and beneficial milestone in their calling. The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to call to mind his profession as a means of encouragement and zeal:
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are also called, and have professed a good profession before many witnesses” (1 Tim 6:12).
Whether you're an adult who has never been received into membership, or a Covenant child thinking about taking the next step in your Christian life, you should be excited about the blessings and responsibilities that await you. Profession is the door to full privileges in Christ's church, including communion in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, service in office, and congregational voting.
When & Who is it for?
We do not have a fixed age for making profession (though professors at PURC are typically thirteen year and up). We are guided by the belief that profession is for all believers who understand and desire to express greater union and communion with God and his people. Such demonstrate readiness in four ways:
1. Personal Faith & repentance
You must believe on Christ as your sole Savior and Redeemer, not trusting your own obedience or faithfulness to merit or secure your salvation. Moreover, you must acknowledge Jesus as your Lord, repenting from dead works and sin, and serving God the power of the Spirit (Acts 8:37; Rom 10:9).
2. Basic Understanding & Affirmation
You must show basic understanding and affirmation of essential Christian doctrine, as summarized in our confessional documents (1 Cor 11:28-29).
3. Heartfelt Desire to commune & serve
By God's grace, you must have a heartfelt desire to participate in the life of the Church from this time forward. Not only does this include regular attendance at worship and pursuit of holiness, but also exercising your gifts for the benefit of the body (Rom 12:4-8; 1 Cor 12:26-28; 1 Jn 2:19).
4. Submission & Participation in Discipline
If either you or others should grow delinquent in life or doctrine, you pledge to submit to and participate in the godly discipline of the Church (Mt 18:15-20; 1 Cor 5:1-13).
Profession Guide — online / .pdf
Belgic Confession of Faith
Canons of Dordt
The Christian Life by Sinclair Ferguson
Basic Christianity by John Stott.
Knowing God by J. I. Packer
The Process of Profession
If you (or your child) believe these four requirements are in order, or are ready to be discipled toward that goal, it is as simple as contacting one of our Pastors who will be eager to guide you through the process.
Basically, prospective Professors meet with the Pastors several times to discuss their personal faith, walk, and beliefs, and review the doctrine and expectations of this church.
Next, individuals meet with the Consistory (i.e., Elders & Pastors), usually for half an hour, to share their testimony, beliefs, and commitment to Christ. The main purpose of this meeting is for the Shepherds to meet and encourage Christ's Sheep—not to grill them!
Finally, after Consistory approves the request, a date is set for public profession. The Pastors call the Professors forward during the service and ask them to affirm four questions (based on the readiness requirements above). After that, they are received publically into full communion with the Body. Let the rejoicing begin!
Discuss it with a Pastor...
Please let us know if you or your child are considering making profession of faith. We would be happy to discuss it with you, as well as to pray for you during this key transitional time. May God bless your growth in Christ!