Confessing faith: Freedom of conscience, actualized confession of faith and confessional allegiance

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Abstract

This paper draws on the Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck’s (1854-1921) views of conscience and confession of faith to articulate a dynamic view of confessing faith with a free conscience. It will argue that a genuine ecclesial confession must be coupled with the believer’s free conscience in the actualized confession of faith in Christ in obedience to the Word of God. This dynamic view of actualized confession––that is, confessing faith in one’s life as a whole––indicates that faith incorporates not only the life in the ecclesial community but also the entire life in the world. As such, although different churches uphold different written forms of confession of faith, actualized confession of faith assimilates the differentiation of confessional texts––being made there and then––into the consensus of confessing faith in Christ being reached here and now. The emphasis of actualized confession of faith on ‘here and now’ will benefit the contemporary ecumenical movement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357–383
Number of pages27
JournalHorizons: The Journal of the College Theology Society
Volume49
Issue number2
Early online date6 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • confession of faith
  • Herman Bavinck
  • conscience
  • freedom
  • ecumenical movement

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