Confession, Public

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Public Confession, as a means of discipline was practiced by the Anabaptists, and long after by the Mennonites in all countries. It is still practiced by many of the Mennonite groups in North America. The most common practice is for the guilty member to stand in the meeting, state his transgression (or have it stated for him by the bishop or pastor), and ask forgiveness of the congregation. The minister in charge then takes the vote of the congregation regarding forgiveness and restoration, or if he is empowered to do so, may simply state the forgiveness himself. In some congregations the confession is made to the church council or the board of deacons and dealt with by it. In cases of gross sin it has been the custom in the more conservative congregations to consider the member expelled, even though he is immediately restored; the entire confession and restoration is then made with the transgressor kneeling. This is called "receiving from the knees," and is in a sense the equivalent of renewal of baptism. In some areas of the Mennonite Church (MC) it is required that the one guilty of gross sin remain "banned," i.e., outside the church, for a month, before he can be restored to fellowship as a member. The Anabaptist-Mennonite practice of public confession is similar to that of the first centuries of the Christian church before public confession was discontinued and private confession to the priest was substituted. (See: Discipline, Ban.)

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1959

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MLA style

Bender, Harold S. "Confession, Public." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 21 Apr 2018.,_Public&oldid=79854.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1959). Confession, Public. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 April 2018, from,_Public&oldid=79854.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 1074. All rights reserved.

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