It is good to know what we believe. This obviously applies to the gospel, but also to secondary (but important) issues such as baptism, the Lord's Supper, treatment of the poor and needy, worship, outreach, sanctification, the end times, all aspects of church life, etc.
Beliefs are frequently written down in the form of confessions. Protestant groups have had many different confessions over the last 500 years. These include the Westminster Confession of Faith, the 1689 2nd London Baptist Confession, the 39 Articles of the Church of England, the Augsburg (Lutheran) Confession, etc.
Confessions can be helpful because they act as concise statements of what an individual or group believes. They are almost always the result of a great deal of study and hard work. I know of no respected confession that was put together quickly and/or haphazardly.
Over the last several years my favorite confession has been the 2nd London Baptist Confession. I still like it a great deal. However, my confession of faith has changed. I'll get to that in a minute.
First, let me state my primary problem with confessions such as those mentioned above. The problem is what they are now used for. Denominations and local churches use confessions not simply to state what they believe. They also use them to determine who can be in their local church and who cannot. Confessions are now employed as dividing lines.
I'm tired of division among followers of Jesus Christ. All followers of Christ have the same Father God, and are therefore a family of spiritual brothers and sisters. Families should be united. It is Christ who unites us as opposed to beliefs over secondary doctrines.
If confessions of faith are roadblocks to unity within the church of Jesus Christ, then we need to think a great deal about whether or not we want to use them at all.
In light of all this, my new confession is simply this: Jesus is Lord.
I am united with anyone who confesses Christ as Lord and Savior. We are part of the same family. He is my brother and she is my sister. I want no more dividing lines.
Let's know what we believe. However, let us not allow confessions to separate us from other followers of Christ. We will be together for eternity. Why should we be divided now?
Let us be gracefully bold about the gospel. Let us be humble about secondary issues.
My Christian brothers and sisters, let's be united in Christ and our held confession that He alone is Lord.