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The Persecuted Church


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International Church of Christ (Oahu church of Christ)

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    Confession Sessions

To those involved in this movement, confession is commanded by God. They consider it helpful to confess your sins to your discipler. It helps to convict and humble them. They practice this by pairing up men with men and women with women as prayer and discipling partners. A discipler has the person under them share their heart with them to be discipled correctly.

James 5:16 is their "trump card" in confessing to the their disciplers. These can be named "confession sessions". To best understand this verse, we need to analyze the context. James is not talking about every kind of illness, but a certain form of sickness that resulted from specific circumstances. The key phrase is, " . . . and if he has committed sins he will be forgiven." The healing which the afflicted person has come to the elders to pray for is connected with the forgiveness of sins. What is the sin? In verse 16 the Greek word used is "paratoma" which means "to fall away from" and is used for trespasses such as disobedience, errors. or faults.

This person has committed a fault or a trespass and has become sick as a result. The person’s illness is directly linked to this type of sin that was committed. God is chastening him to bring him back into fellowship. This sin is one that either involves another person or the church. The issue here is the person's need to be reconciled, if the sin is forsaken and confessed, then there is a direct promise of healing. When it states, "confess your faults one to another", it refers to reconciliation just as it tells us in Matt. 18:15, where we read: "If a brother shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault."

The word "confess" (Gr. exomologeo James 5:16) indicates something that is open and public (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, pg. 120); "to confess forth freely, openly. It is used for a public acknowledgment of confession of sins."

If one has sinned against another or the church, they are to confess to the elders, who are to pray over them for their healing. Where all other sins are confessed privately to God, there are some exceptions. In verses 14-15, we find this speaking of a person who is sick. There is a promise linked when he calls to the elders, they anoint him with oil and we find the prayer of faith will save the sick. This person will be healed because it's based on God's promise, while in other circumstances, God has not promised to heal. His healing is related to the sin confessed, vs. 15, and he will be healed by confessing to others. The context of this structure James uses bears this out. Summarizing it, he uses Elijah as an example and the draught in Israel for three years, verses 17-18. This was a judgment on Israel because of their sin. Ahab, the king of Israel, influenced by his wife, Jezebel, became a worshipper of the false god Baal, and led the people into idolatry. This draught was a direct result of the people back-sliding. The judgment was lifted after they returned to the Lord. So to read this Scripture in context, we have elders involved, a physical sickness, anointing with oil, a prayer of faith that will restore the person to health, and a confession of his trespasses. This is not to be used as a normal Christian practice or teaching for everyday living. James 5:16 is never to be used in the way that the International Churches of Christ use it. We never see the disciples practicing it this way or even suggesting that everyone must reveal their thoughts or feelings to a discipler.

In one of their studies, "Light and Darkness", they are told to share their sins so that the new person or potential convert can share theirs. This is designed to show that the church members are relatable to others. However, this resembles an AA meeting with a twist because the motive is a manipulation toward membership rather than a sincere, unplanned exchange. The purpose is to render the potential member vulnerable to the discipler. Example: If one were a drug addict they would share about it with other people week after week to make them comfortable enough to share their sins. Once one has been reconditioned to this new "openness", everything they do is expected to be shared with their discipler. They will be asked to write a letter to God listing all their sins, which of course is shared with their discipler. Extremely personal issues of life are now opened to one's discipler.dramamasks.gif (1505 bytes)

What are the spiritual implications of practicing a constant confession of sin to one another? One has a constant temptation of the things of the past and the potential for them to reoccur. Phil. 3:13 says, "Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead." If God forgets our sins, then we should do so as well.

If you have a discipler that will ask you questions every time you meet like: "Have you lusted today?" and then asks you to explain the details, beware! Not only does this practice make one relive what they have done wrong, but it can also stumble the hearer. As one shares a certain habitual weakness, their discipler will challenge the repetitive nature of the sin that continues to resurface. Focusing on a certain sin and pressuring one to change is seen as the role of a helpful discipler. Even if their discipler goes too far in their authority over their disciple, their extremism is overlooked as long as their heart's attitude was to serve the Lord. Simply stated, these "confession sessions" are psychological manipulation and what develops is a fellowshipping with darkness instead of the light. As stated in Phil. 4:8, "Whatever things are true, whatever is noble, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things."

Their philosophy is that if one does not want to confess to their discipler, then they have a prideful or hard and rebellious heart. To confess to them means that they have a soft heart and are being a true disciple. Looking at it biblically, it’s really the opposite. People that depend on others (flesh and blood) to dictate to them how to live, have a rebellious heart. Rather than a mature walk with God in the Spirit in which they are in a state of confessing sins to the Lord, they are choosing to confess and put their trust in a person who has the same temptations and weaknesses that they themselves do.It has been said that one is a mature Christian by how fast they confess to the Lord. In this Church it is different its how open one confesses to their discipler.

One becomes transformed by the Word of Truth, not by a constant pressure to become like Jesus and, when falling short having to confess their faults to men. This practice leads to fellowshipping with darkness. "Confession sessions" are not necessary to show that each person can relate to others. We are to know each other after the Spirit not according to the flesh that sins. The whole practice of Christian living is to leave the past behind and live in the new. We have an advocate with the Father who is in Heaven when we sin (1 Jn. 2) - not a discipler on Earth. It is the Holy Spirit's role to convict one of sin and move the individual to confess to God since he is the one that we always sin against. We can go to Him directly without anyone present (1 Jn. 1:9). It's not man’s job to consistently point out one's sins, although, on rare occasions, God moves individuals to function in this way such as the prophets in the Old Testament. Example: Nathan being commissioned by God to reveal to David his sin against God. Notice that David said, "I have sinned against You, and only You, Lord." Nowhere do we read that David was required to confess his sins to Nathan.

Instead of using King David’s example in the Psalms of," search me O’ God and see if their be any wicked way in me." It is search me O’ disciple and find what is wrong with me." The very reason the H.Spirit is sent as a comforter and helper is replaced by human wisdom. Who can know our heart except the Spirit of God. Much of the counsel is reminiscent of Job’s friends and we know what kind of a help they were. Nowhere do we find this practiced in the book of Acts as a standard for church doctrine.


History of their Movement  Oahu Church of Christ Biblical discipleship Confession Sessions

  What Saves Water or Faith  

What is faith? Spirit baptism   Refutes to Baptismal Regeneration 
   Why Was Jesus baptized   What is Baptism   Baptism in the Boston Movement 
Help for the Confused Revolution Through Restoration    Being a Disciple of Men
  Authority  The True Church  Confusing the doctrine of Justification with Sanctification 
Becoming their disciple or saved Wheres the Beef ? Disciple or Saint
Obeying your Leaders Their defense of NOT being a Cult!   


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Articles are taken from the spiral bound book International Church of Christ  Birth of a Cult.  (click> on books)



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