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Bishop’s Note – Profession of Faith - Part One

As we continue our examination of the Service of Baptism in the 2019 BCP today, we look at the Profession of Faith. Following the exhortation to the godparents and sponsoring parents, the next step is the Profession of Faith. The format follows the ancient three-fold renunciations and the three-fold confessions. This morning I would like to look at the three-fold renunciations.
First, the rubric makes it clear that in the case of a child, the godparents and parents make the renunciations on behalf of the child, BUT speaking for themselves. This is another reason why it is so important that we choose godparents who are believers and can with a clean heart make such bold statements.

1.       Question Do you renounce the devil and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God?

Answer I renounce them.

The Devil is real! The devil is neither some mythic figure who never existed nor an evil god who is simply the opposite of God. No, the Devil is an archangel fallen from grace and mentioned by the prophet Isaiah in 14:12 and Jesus in Luke 10:18. The Devil is the father and master of lies and manipulation, BUT neither he, nor his demons, nor any other fallen angels have power or authority over you as long as you don’t invite him into your life. The devil and other demonic forces are invited into our lives when we look to life’s answers outside of God – putting faith in horoscopes, playing Ouija, or dabbling in the occult. Without that invitation, the devil only has the power to tempt.

2.       Question Do you renounce the empty promises and deadly deceits of this world that corrupt and destroy the creatures of God?

Answer I renounce them.

These are the promises and deceits that the devil promotes in the world, that you need power, fame, and wealth for happiness. The attitude that “if it feels good, do it” hurts others and will eventually hurt you.

3.       Question Do you renounce the sinful desires of the flesh that draw you from the love of God?

Answer I renounce them.

Our own fallen nature and our personal sins need to be renounced before we are able to truly confess Jesus as Lord! Our selfish desires lead us away from God and direct us to rely only on ourselves. That may last for a while but it will never truly be satisfying or of any ultimate value.

Following the renunciations, the priest or bishop is given the option of anointing the candidate with the Oil of Exorcism and praying a prayer of exorcism and protection. This is beneficial if the person is possessed, but more likely it’s done as a spiritual hedge of protection from spiritual and demonic attacks. 

C.S. Lewis was correct when he wrote in the preface of his book – The Screwtape Letters: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”

I pray you all a blessed week!

Bishop Menees

San Joaquin Anglican
January 17-18
Anglican for Life Symposium

January 18
One Life LA

January 25
Walk for Life West Coast

February 2
Bishop @ St. Mary

February 7-8
Institute for Renewal of Christian Catechesis Colloquium

February 9
Bishop @ St. Martin of Tours

February 13-15
DiscipleLife Conference

February 16
Bishop @ Christ the King

February 26
Ash Wednesday

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Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin · 1300 East Shaw Avenue #123 · Fresno, CA 93710 · USA

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