I don't quite remember what set me and Joel talking about the statements of faith the other day. He was explaining his problem with such assertions. These statements are meant to define what you believe in. But in reality what they achieve is they define boundaries; deployed to keep the "other" out. This has been part of the western religious experience and tradition where one Christian denomination had to rigourously distinguish itself from the other. The statements of faith were meant to provide a uniform identity to the adherents of a particular religious group. They were to select friends and foes by replaying these statements in their mind.
Historically speaking this was an exercise in community building which responded to the needs of burgeoning democarcy. Like rise of nations in the west in post-Renaissance period the religious denominations also had to develop secure borders.
In the world where definitions of democracy and nation are being rewritten there is a need to revise the rationale of statements of faith.
In the pluralist world in general and in India in particular Christians have to be wary of such heavily westernised concept of "statement of faith."
My mind goes back to Brahmbandhab Upadhyay, the dynamic intellectual and a Christian theologian in Bengal, the editor of journals and later a nationalist revolutionary who was disowned by the Church in early 20th century. Upadhyay instead of confining himself in the historically conditioned statements, took a bold step, a heroic decision to call himself a Hindu Catholic, instead of a Roman Catholic.
Indian spirituality is embracing. However this is not to say that everything goes here in India. The sharp debates in the Indian intellectual history between Sankara, Ramanujan and Madhva give an example that debating and clarification of postions is an important ingredient of Indian tradition.
Upadhyay carries on that tradition.
The dynamic process of "exclusion and embrace" (a term courtesy Miroslav Volf) will give regenerative impetus to our communitarian journeys. The fossilized statements of faith can impede the progress.