1. Are you against confessionalism and denominationalism?
No, I am totally in favor of both as long as you submit your faith and conscience to a confession that I have written, and as long as you bring all your congregations under a denomination that I have founded.
Don’t worry, I will follow the standard practice of claiming that my confession only represents what is in Scripture, and is never equal to it in authority. But in reality I will place it even above Scripture, and use it to interpret Scripture and judge all other groups and traditions. If you ever deviate from my confession, I will call you a heretic and chase you down. You will feel right at home.
2. Are you being sarcastic?
Why would you think so, when I have described your way of life so literally?
3. How can you compare yourself with the framers of the historic confessions? The historic confessions were formulated by wise and holy men, not someone like you.
Right, by men.
4. That’s it?
You want more? I thought you answered your own question when you called them men. For a moment I forgot you are an idolater. After all these years, I still overestimate people sometimes. I developed the habit from the time when I read the Bible as a child and assumed that Christians actually believed it.
Right…well, how can you respect these men any more than you respect me, when I have refuted essential sections in their confessions? If you cannot even get pass me, then how can you validate these men? What kind of sadist are you, to make me submit to them, when I have refuted them? To you, is tradition more important than truth? Do you force me to receive what I know to be false?
Or do you mean that it is acceptable only if I submit to men that YOU approve? So in reality YOU are the judge of these men, the historic confessions, and the judge of my faith. Is that what creedalism means? If not, then why don’t you submit to me?
If we are not permitted to reason and dissent, then it is the implicit faith of Catholicism. If we are permitted to reason and dissent, then what use is your confession? At the most, it would be a template from which we reconstruct our own theology. Either way, it would not be what you say it is.
5. So you are against confessionalism and denominationalism?
I already answered you. Why is it hard to understand? I am sincerely in favor of both confessionalism and denominationalism as long as I am the writer of the confession and the head of the denomination.
I don’t think you can win this if what you want is for me to come under your confession and denomination, because I have already refuted yours, and I have written out elaborate formulations, making my confession superior. If you were so confessional and denominational, you would place your conscience under my authority and let me tell you what to believe and how to behave.
Again, are you telling me that you are for confessionalism and denominationalism only if I submit under YOUR confession and denomination? Or at least one on your approved list? Why don’t you just admit it? And if this is your attitude, why am I wrong to demand the same from you? Am I supposed to submit under your people, as if they are somehow more qualified than I am, even though I have refuted them?
Does truth matter to you at all? Does Jesus Christ mean anything to you?
6. Do you agree with the so-called confessional imperative?
Yes! That’s what I have been trying to tell you. It is imperative that you agree with me. I don’t think you want to turn that around. If you try to make it imperative for me to agree with your confessions, I will decimate them and leave you with nothing. You will be stuck with whole stacks of confessions that you know are false.
My guess is that you will keep living the same way as if nothing has happened, but this will multiply your guilt before God, because you will be choosing the lie while knowing the truth.
If you want to force me to submit to a false creed no matter what, and if you continue to submit to a false creed no matter what, then I doubt that you are a Christian. How dare you question me? I should be the one interrogating you.
7. Are you one of those “No creed but Christ” people?
Obviously not. Which brand of idiot are you? Pay attention. You wish to think of me this way not because I don’t have a “creed,” since my theology is more complete and precise than yours, but because I do not submit to your creed or because I do not hold an attitude toward it that you like. You are so deep in religious idolatry that you cannot process this and this is your reflexive response.
I have written theological formulations on most doctrines, and in more elaborate detail than your confessions. You can extract sections out of my writings and arrange them into a creed in a matter of hours. Feel free to bind your conscience to it and bring all your denominations under it. Feel free to say that you commit sin whenever you disagree with me or transgress anything that I have written. Since you are so stupid, I am not sure I want you in my denomination, but if you are so zealous to bind your conscience to some man, then I would rather it be me than someone else. At least I have no interest in exploiting you. With me, you are always a free man in Christ…if you are indeed in Christ.
How can I be “no creed but Christ,” when I am the one who keeps insisting that we have to know Christ by his doctrines? You might be able to get away with it if you are bullying some other Christian, but when you are talking to me, since I have already written out such elaborate formulations and refuted essential sections in the historic confessions as well as the accepted formulations of many standard theologians, I don’t think you can impose a standard on me that I cannot turn around and impose on the whole bunch of you with greater force and warrant. So don’t think you can act all superior and put something like this on me. It won’t work. It will backfire against you.
Indeed, Christ is my creed — I am not ashamed to admit this — and what an intellectually extensive and satisfying confession! The creed of Jesus Christ is a comprehensive revelation. He reveals himself to me by his creed — his complete system of doctrines.
But I am concerned that you have a creed, a defective one, but no Christ.
8. But don’t you think that God ordains creeds, denominations, and their leaders by his providence? So they are in authority even though they might be flawed.
Of course I agree. Why do you think you are talking to me now? Providence. Now leave your tradition, and follow me, as I follow Christ.
Ready to sign up? If you join my denomination, I promise to SLAP that hypocrisy right off your face very quickly. But boy, it is going to hurt.