We believe, teach, and confess…
I bumped into this pithy little explanation of why Christians need formal confessions of faith, via a comment Jack Kilcrease made on Facebook. I thought it was spot-on and well put. I particularly like the turn of phrase in point 4: "relativize the present." The present seems, to us, to be the ultimate moment of human existence, doesn't it? It is good to understand ourselves to be but mere players on the greater stage of human history, and one among many of God's people passing through the time that He gives to us and this created universe.
1) Confessions delimit church power. …This is what stops churches from becoming cults: clear and open statements about where church authority begins and ends, connected to transparent processes of exercising that authority.
2) Confessions offer succinct summaries of the faith. The church with a good confession and a good catechism has a ready-made pedagogical tool for instilling the truth into its people.
3) Confessions highlight that which is of importance. A good, elaborate confession provides the church…with a fine resource for teaching the people about what really matters and why.
4) Confessions relativize the present and connect us to the past. …The use of creeds and confessions is one intentional means of connecting ourselves to the past, of identifying with the church of previous ages, and thereby of relativizing our own significance in the grand scheme of things.
5) Confessions fulfill a vital part of Paul's plan for the post-apostolic church. …Without a 'form of sound words,' [the church] would drift from her theological moorings, losing touch with her past and with other congregations in the present. A 'form of sound words,' a confession, [is] crucial for maintaining both continuity with the apostles and unity among the Christians in the present.
[Speaking of "Confessions" … don't miss the sale on Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, combine with other copies, or other items from the sale, and you can qualify for free shipping.}
HT: Reformed Reader via Jack Kilcrease comment on Facebook.