In Touch February 12, 2010
Posted on February 12, 2010 by under Touché,

“Belhar” 

For these past three weeks we have been highlighting the Belhar Confession in our worship and my preaching.  “The Dutch Reformed Mission Church formally adopted the Belhar Confession in 1986. It is now one of the “standards of unity” of the new Uniting Reformed Church of Southern Africa (URCSA). Belhar’s theological confrontation of the sin of racism has made possible reconciliation among Reformed churches in Southern Africa and has aided the process of reconciliation within the nation of South Africa.”

 In 2009 the General Synod of the Reformed Church in America voted to adopt the Belhar as one of our confessions.  This now needs to be approved by 2/3 of the classes of the Reformed Church.  The Mid-Hudson Classis (our local classis) will vote on this March 16.  It is a significant action to take on a new confession.  We have not done anything like this since the 1600’s.  The Commission on Christian Unity sees this as a significant expression of solidarity with Reformed Churches around the world.  It puts unity, reconciliation and justice in the forefront of the church’s witness.

 Confessions highlight and focus attention on particular truths of scripture.  The earliest creeds focused on the person of Jesus Christ.  The confessions of the reformation time clarified theology of the faith.  The Belhar is an invitation to action.  How will Christians live out their faith?  It is a timely expression of the gospel.

The simple themes of unity, reconciliation and justice are themes we can all agree on, but living those out has been a challenge. For most of us the Belhar’s approval or rejection would have little effect on us, but I think it is a continual message that calls us to act on our faith.  It is the continual movement from “orthodoxy” (right belief) to “orthopraxy” (right practice).  Today in my ChristCare group we looked at John the Baptist who challenged us to “bear fruit worthy of repentance.”  In other words, let’s not just talk the talk, let’s walk the walk.  Belhar calls us to do that. 

 I think our classis will approve Belhar next month.  I would love to have your feedback before then.  You can go online at the RCA web site (rca.org) and click on the Belhar center and get more information about it.  Let me know what you think.

 Walking in Faith,

 Taylor