Confession of Faith
A confession of faith is a formal statement within a religion, most frequently used in Christianity, but also playing a significant role in Islam. Most often, a confession of faith is designed to be recited in a public faith gathering, a succinct statement of the group’s theology. In Islam, the shahada is one of the Five Pillars, the testimony that all Muslim’s recite, stating the oneness of God and Mohammad’s role as his prophet.
A confession of faith is often described as something different than a creed, although both are often synonymous. On of the earliest confession of faith statement is the Nicene Creed, the Catholic Church’s statement of orthodox faith, originally written in AD 325. During the Protestant Reformation, many of the new sects wrote their own confessions of faith, part of the attempt to establish their particular doctrine as well provide a statement of belief for followers. Famous examples of these include the Augsburg Confession (1530), written by Martin Luther, the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647), and the Articles of Faith in the Mormon Church.
Some sects specifically do not have a confession of faith. The Quakers, for example, along with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Unitarian Universalists do not have explicit creeds that encapsulate their belief system. A confession of faith is therefore not a requirement when attempting to define whether a sect falls under the definition of religion.