… when the particular confession, whether that be the Augsburg, the Beligic, etc., becomes more normative for orthodoxy than the Scriptures themselves. In other words, when Westminster and her articulation of dogma subsumes scripture—with the effect that the two are indiscernible—then confessionalism becomes dangerous. Why? Because any “Christian” who does not adhere to or acknowledge that what Westminster articulated is binding or representative of Orthodox “biblical” teaching becomes suspect. If what Westminster said becomes the standard for orthodoxy then anyone not meeting that standard becomes outcast, or at least a confused misguided Christian.
The real problem is that an unbridled confessionalism can lead to an attitude of sectarianism; leaving my particular “confession” as the vanguard and only faithful witness of Orthodox Christianity. Thus any interaction with Christians outside of my particular confession becomes taboo, and dangerous for my survival within my confession (this reminds me of the Pharisees and Nicodemus).
We all have confessions or traditions that define our particular denominational affiliation, I think it would do us well to adopt an attitude of humility towards other Christians outside of our comfortable confessional walls. We need to realize that the brokenness of Christ’s body is where the Christians’ communion starts with one another. It is in this brokenness that real glory is evinced, and our confessions (i.e. our glory) quickly take on the shape of Christ’s cruciform life; it is in this space that we are able to deny ourselves and experience the koinonial life that we have all been called to in Christ.
I’m not saying that our various traditions and confessions aren’t important, but that “our” stake in those confessions is unimportant. I think as soon as we can realize this, the body of Christ can become a functioning body for the glory of God.