What does confessional mean?

The word confession has different meanings. One is an admission of sin, which might come to mind at first, but that is not our concern here. Rather it is a written witness or statement of faith. A confessional church subscribes to a confession, meaning the confession will guide its teaching and practice, or for the individual, their faith and life.

For the Lutheran, it means we subscribe to the Book of Concord as being a faithful witness to what the whole of Scripture teaches. 

Why is it important to us to be Confessional Lutherans?


  • Transparency: When you read, you can not help but be engaged in making interpretive decisions. The confessions make the interpretations explicit and open to public examination of how well they agree with Scripture.
  • Unity: They are a source of unity for our church body (synod), so that we walk together in the same faith (Ephesians 4:5).
  • Anchor: Without confessions  to anchor you the winds of false doctrine can toss you to and fro (Ephesians 4:14; Hebrews 13:9).  Much of the false doctrine we encounter today has been around since the Fall, just repackaged to better appeal to current culture.


Why do we need Creeds/Confessions?

If we have God's breathed Word in the Scriptures (2 Tim 3:16), why do we need human summaries in Creeds and Confessions? Because so many Christian denominations exist and there is marked disagreement on foundational areas.

But why are there so many differences of interpretation?

  • Human language is not precise like a computer language, nor as simple; it is very complex. There are idioms, multiple or shades of meanings, wide and narrow senses, different literary forms, sarcasm, etc. So interpretation is required and that can lead to different conclusions/confessions.
  • But most troublesome, is our original fallen nature, which effects how we interpret the Word of God. It does not approach the Word of God with complete trust, it doubts and falls back to its own reason about what is possible/impossible. It seeks to preserve some merit for itself, some boast, or way to put God in its debt, and when the fallen nature wins out over the Words of Scripture, that results in a different conclusion/confession.

Given our sinful nature, is there any hope of arriving at a right interpretation of Scripture? 

Yes. Humans can draw true conclusions about physical Creation by experimental verification - Creation is consistent and self-authenticating.   So too the Scriptures ( 2 Tim 3:16) - not by experiment but by allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture. By comparing an interpretation against the whole of  Scripture. By using clear passages to interpret difficult ones. By trusting its authority, even when it defies your reason. Thus the old sinful nature which desires to use magisterial reason to judge the text is neutralized..