Being that it is somewhat unfamiliar to so many, I was asked to give a brief synopsis of why we have this as a regular part of our services.
There are a number of reasons why historically, this has been a regular practice in the church. The primary reason is because the confession of faith is a form of oath taking; it is a vow that we take before God and man.
The Bible tells us that one of the things that is permitted in worship the taking of oaths and vows. For instance, Deuteronomy 10:20 says, “You shall fear the LORD your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear.”
Or, we might think of the third commandment. The third commandment says, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord your God will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” Of course, the opposite of that is that we are to take God’s name. And as you take that name, you are to do so with love, reverence, and zeal. The essence of the 3rd commandment is that you are to vigorously claim God as your own and assert before the world that He is your God.
Think of it this way, every time you recite the Apostle’s Creed you are not just articulating the church’s basic beliefs about the Triune God; in reciting those words you are publicly testifying that this particular God is your God.
It used to be the practice in schools to say the pledge of allegiance every morning before they dug into their day. When they did that what they were essentially doing was taking an oath. They were pledging their allegiance to America and to her flag.
In the same way when we recite the creeds and confessions, we are making our pledge of allegiance. When we stand with the congregation of Christ and give voice to these words we take an oath before God and man that we believe these things to be true and we have given our lives to the service of this God.