Reflections on confessing

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Paul R. Fries


I wish to modify slightly the title assigned to this paper. Rather than address the question, ‘why confessions?’ I will offer my reflections on the prior question, ‘why confess?’ The original query, ‘why confessions,’ is of course an important one and can be answered appropriately in a number of ways. Confessions, such as those of the Reformed Church in America (RCA), have both primary and secondary historical significance. At the time of their writing and adoption they functioned catalytically in a given historical situation; thereafter in various ways at various times they again played a role in shaping the church and charting its course. Confessions serve the magisterium of the church in the absence of a magisterial bishop and thus unify the church in evangelical teaching and provide a standard for discipline as well as the theological orientation of worship and order. Confessions provide the basis for ecumenical conversation and convergence. Confessions originally established the religion of a city or region and subsequently its political, economic, and social climate; they continue in the modern period, at least in some degree, to fashion the mentality and culture of congregations and denominations.

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How to Cite
Fries, P. R. (2006). Reflections on confessing. Reformed Review, 60(1), 2-7. Retrieved from
Belhar Confession; Reformed Church in America -- Creeds; Reformed Church in America -- Doctrines; Reformed Church -- Creeds; Reformed Church -- Doctrines; Creeds; Reformed Church -- South Africa