We call ourselves confessional Lutherans. That means we are ready to tell others what we believe. WE CONFESS what we believe and teach. We have good reasons to confess.
* We confess because we have been given the gift of faith. Imagine you won the multimillion-dollar Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes. You would be so excited you would want to tell all the amazing details to everyone you know.
* Those who have been given the gift of faith have won a heavenly sweepstakes: the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, riches stored up in heaven. Those gifts fill us with such joy that we cannot keep it to ourselves. We cannot help but relay the amazing details about what Christ has done for us, and for all. WE CONFESS.
* We confess for the benefit of others. The gospel is God’s promise of forgiveness. Wherever that gospel is proclaimed, there the Holy Spirit is working on hearts. It makes no difference what form that gospel message takes. Reading the Bible, listening to a sermon, singing a hymn—all of these are ways we hear the gospel. Therefore, all of these are ways the Holy Spirit can strengthen our faith.
* Our confession is yet another way to proclaim the gospel. For this reason, the confession of our faith to family, friends, and neighbors is more than us talking. It is the Spirit working! When WE CONFESS, the Holy Spirit strengthens the faith of believers. Perhaps he will also bring unbelievers to faith!
* We confess so that others will know what we believe. Just about every church will claim, “We believe what the Bible teaches.” Yet different church bodies have vastly different teachings. Why is that? Sadly, many false teachers have twisted the truth of God’s Word. WE CONFESS so that all will know that we are different from others who teach ideas not found in the Bible.
Some might say, “As long as we agree that Jesus is the Savior, can’t we agree to disagree about other parts of the Bible?” But God tells us that a little false teaching is enough to spoil a whole church. He says, “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough” (Galatians 5:9), and he warns that false teaching “will spread like gangrene” (2 Timothy 2:17). WE CONFESS because not everyone believes the same things.
We want to tell the world what we believe and teach, so WE CONFESS. Martin Luther and his followers wrote down their confessions of faith. This collection of writings is known as the Lutheran Confessions. We cherish them and hold to them because we believe they accurately reflect what the Bible teaches and what we all still believe.