Nearly thirty years ago I asked my pastor this question:  "What is the church?"  He gave such a convoluted answer I left him in a state of confusion.  After four years of Bible college, three years of seminary, one year of post graduate study, I found that most professing Christians do not understand the meaning, purpose, mission and ministry of the church.  So I wrote a couple of books to help Christians understand the question:  "What is the church?"   THe first one entitled "The god of the Church Growth Movement explains the purpose, mission, and ministry of the church in the context of church growth.  The next book entitled "The Essence of Christian Doctrine" is like a laymans mini systematic theology.  It is an exposition of the Apostles' Creed and basic Christian doctrine.  I should have called it "Confessional Christianity"  because the church needs to learn the importance of confessional statements. 

A confession is simply the acknowledgment or disclosure of something, such as the acknowledgment of a known particular sin.  In a more positive sense, a confession is the admission and profession of a particular belief.   A confession is a statement of belief made personally and publicly.  One way to confess a belief system is to use a creed, such as the Apostles’ or Nicene Creed. 

The concept of confession is particularly important to Christians.  A person cannot be a Christian without confession.  When the soul of man is renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit, confession of sin is essential to conversion.  A sinner saved by grace must then publicly confess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. For example Peter confessed saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).  If there is no confession there is no Christianity. 

The composition of confessions has a rich history in the church.  We have the Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed, which are ecumenical creeds.  The Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Protestant Churches have their individual creeds.  The creeds are the confessional statements of what those particular churches believe. 

The 16th century Reformation saw an outpouring of confessional statements to help direct the church toward a sense of uniformity.  Unfortunately the sinful heart tends to idolize the confession.  A confession is not inspired or infallible.  Confessional documents were formulated for the express purpose of giving the Reformed churches a distinctive and identifiable doctrine and form of worship.