Below is my comment on Justin's blog.
It is as if Ken Stewart rifled through my files of unpublished materials or eavesdropped on numerous conversations I've had. He has expressed precisely the same things that I have been preaching for decades. It must be that we're deriving our beliefs from the same source, the Scriptures.
Tony Cooper mentioned his observations concerning the so-called "revival" in 1995 at Northwestern College where I teach. I remember well that student leaders came to me to ask for my assessment of what was happening and for guidance. I offered my assessment, as requested, and offered guidance. Student leaders did not welcome my imparted wisdom. One student was not satisfied with the response of his fellow students. He took some of his fellow students with him to seek John Piper's wisdom. John told them essentially the same things that I offered. They were willing to hear him and accept his cautions, thankfully. However, by that time, enormous damage had already taken place.
I remember distinctly that at 10:30 am on April 5, 1995, I took the opportunity to leave chapel at the normal closing time, when given the opportunity to do so. I left because I knew what would be erupting, namely a stream of students who would be making public confessions of private, even secret, sins. I left because I had no desire to know the intimate and secret sins of students whose faces I would be seeing in my classes. I did not want to have entirely unnecessary, unwarranted, and ungodly knowledge of their intimate sins. I did not want to have such things deeply imprinted upon my rather potent memory. I did not want to be caused to stumble during a lecture on holy things while looking into the faces of students in my classes.
Thus, I left chapel and did not return. Despite my efforts to guard myself from being contaminated with public confessions of private and secret sins, I could not escape entirely because I overheard conversations (gossip) among faculty, staff, and students concerning various students who stood to confess publicly their very private sins.
I could go on and on about this. One of my former Student Assistants greatly shamed herself by making such a confession of a sin that she had committed several years earlier and of which she had repented and to which she had never returned. Weeping, she came to speak with me. She was so profoundly distraught because of her public foolishness that she wanted to leave Northwestern College. From my contacts with her following that event, I observed a very changed woman. She severely injured herself to such an extent that she foundered for several years thereafter.
When students asked for my assessment of the "revival," I often asked a sequence of questions. Do people hang their freshly washed underwear out on a clothesline to dry on their front yards? Why, then, would they ever hang out their very private sins for all to view in their public disclosures in public confessions? The teaching of the gospel is clear. Is it not? Confess sins in as wide a circle as the committed sin is known. If it is simply a sinful thought, why would any of us confess a sinful thought to anyone other than to our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ?