Confessionalism can lead to sectarianism, have you ever thought of that? Maybe you’re a “confessional Christian,” a Christian who sees a set of “Confessions” (Belgic Confession, London Baptist Confession, Helvetic Confession, Book of Common Prayer, Westminster Confession, etc.) as codifying Orthodox Christian doctrine. The consequence, if followed to strictly (and it is by over-zealous adherents), is that any “Christian” who does not affirm these disparate Confessions as representative of “orthodoxy;” these “Christians” are either seen as heterodox, at best, or not true Christians at worst.

I would suggest, that elevating various “Reformed” confessions as equal to what have been called Ecumenical councils (which confessions of sorts were born out of), is certainly off the mark. I say this because those “Ecumenical councils” (Nicaea, Chalcedon, Constantinople, etc.), that have been termed as such, are indeed labeled this way because they dealt with issues around who God is, who Christ is, the Trinity, etc.; the Confessions of the ‘Reformed’ church’s are different, they aren’t universally oriented. What I mean is, is that they aren’t articulating who God is (per se); instead they are articulating points on salvation that “Christians” can actually disagree over and still be Christian. This is unlike the “Ecumenical council’s” determinations, in the sense that a Christian could not deny who Christ was/is and still be considered to be operating within an ‘orthodox’ Christian realm.

Now I’m not saying that the “Ecumenical councils” trump scripture, instead that insofar as they faithfully capture who the scriptures disclose God to be; then their articulations are indeed binding — of course this same line of thinking should be applied to the “Reformed Confessions.” Again, though, I see a difference between the Ecumenical and Reformed Confessions (the former being universally oriented, and the latter being particularly and idiosyncratically oriented).

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