Belhar Confession to be recommended for inclusion in Book of Confessions

July 4, 2012

Pittsburgh

The 220th GA Church Confessions Committee voted on Tuesday (June 3) to recommend the confession for inclusion in The Book of Confessions. This is the second round for Belhar to be considered, having narrowly failed to receive the 2/3-majority vote needed by presbyteries following the 219th GA.

The confession, which emerged from a divided Dutch Reformed Church in apartheid-era South Africa, has been a unifying force for Christians living with systemic racial strife.

The Reformed Church in America (RCA) adopted the confession in 2010. As RCA ecumenical advisory delegate Jeff Japinga told the committee, “At the end of the day, we accepted the Belhar for what it is: a full confession of the church that can guide our lives together.”

Discussion among the committee included comments from John Etheredge of New Hope Presbytery. “I speak in favor of the confession as a person of color. Belhar is a mirror, allowing us to see ourselves as we are. We need to realize there is a lot of racism in this world.”

Youth advisory delegate Mikayla Loseke of Denver Presbytery spoke against the motion, saying, “I am afraid that if we push this again right after it was defeated, it will be defeated again.”

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