What Is a Confession?

Since I call myself a confessional Lutheran, this question comes naturally. Since I call this blog a place for “sermons and other confessions,” answering it clearly is of utmost importance.

A confession, by the classic definition, is a statement of one’s faith. As a confessional Lutheran, I subscribe to the three Ecumenical Creeds (the Apostles’, the Nicene and the Athanasian Creed), as well as to the Lutheran Confessions of the Book of Concord, which was originally published in 1580.

To subscribe to a confession literally means to “write (-scribe) your name under (sub-) it.” That is to say, you are personally willing to bind your own conscience to such expressions of faith. You are publicly acknowledging them to be in total agreement with the Word of God.

There are a lot of things that a lot of different people say about God and there are a lot of different opinions concerning what the Bible says and what it does not say. You “sign your name under” a confession when you see one that is completely consistent with what the Bible really says. It pinpoints your position better than you could if you simply said, as so many false teachers over the centuries have said, that “I believe the Bible.” While I can certainly say that, too, now you know just what I mean by it.

In the Word of God itself, however, “confession” has an even more far-reaching significance. The Greek word that we translate as “confess” is homologeo. If you break the parts of that word down, it means to “say, think or reason” (logeo) the “same” (homo) as someone else. Often it is translated as “agree,” as well as “confess.” According to the dictionaries I have on hand, the English word confess has the same etymology but with Latin roots.

When I preach or when I discuss with people what God has led me to believe about himself, I am relinquishing my own, natural opinions about God and “saying the same thing” as God himself has said. At least, that is what I am doing if I am being faithful to God’s Word when I speak. In that sense, everything I put on this blog is a confession, and I am acknowledging that when I describe the blog in the way that I do.

I can’t say that everything that I write here has been as carefully formulated as the Lutheran Confessions or the Ecumenical Creeds. Nonetheless, as a child of God, I want everything that I say and do to be consistent with my Father, the Holy and Eternal God, who is forever praised. Jesus, who is that very God in human flesh, paid a high price to earn me this privileged position in the universe (Mark 10:45; 1 John 3; Galatians 3:26-29; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Therefore I strive, especially in public writing and speaking, to “say the same thing” as my Father, to agree in all points with the truth that he himself reveals in his Word, to “speak the very words of God” (1 Peter 4:11).

If you are a brother or sister in faith who recognizes an inconsistency with that Word in this blog, I would appreciate your help in rectifying the situation for our own mutual edification and the edification of all who visit here. Call me at 412 ACFREY 4 (yeah, that’s a real number) or, if you’re near Saginaw, Michigan, stop on by. I’ll also be happy to give you a call so that you aren’t charged. Emails to aaroncfrey at gmail .com also work, as do posts on the pages of the blog. Use those only for simple things, though, as complex issues are rarely solved by chat, posts or emails. At least, that’s my experience.

God bless your study of his Word.

Your servant in Christ,

Aaron

2 responses

10 10 2009
Muriel Tech

This gave me many things to think about. We say we believe all the time, but your etymology showed me how much deeper this goes. Thanks!

10 10 2009
Aaron Frey

Cool! Glad it helped!

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