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Wrestling with the Belhar Confession


The Uniting Reformed Church in South Africa has asked the Christian Reformed Church and other Reformed churches worldwide to adopt the Belhar Confession as a fourth confession alongside the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, and the Heidelberg Catechism.

First Christian Reformed Church in Seattle, Wash., recently held a conference to examine the confession, bringing together denominational leaders from the CRC and the Reformed Church in America.

Conference organizer Wendell Verduin said, “What seems to have developed is an amazing level of enthusiasm for adopting the Belhar Confession, but more importantly, a very strong determination by many of our people to move forward much more aggressively in service and ministry based on the Scriptural mandates on which the Belhar is based.”

Written in 1986, the Belhar Confession focuses on themes of unity, reconciliation, and justice. According to Rev. Peter Borgdorff, ecumenical officer and former executive director of ministries for the CRC, “The CRC . . . needs to address this contemporary confession on issues of race, justice, and poverty. The issues addressed are universal.”

 “The CRC will initiate a series of regional conferences for church leaders to engage them in the discussion . . . over the course of the next several years,” Borgdorff said.

For the complete text of the Belhar Confession, see Agenda for Synod 2006, pp. 304-307, also available at under “Resources.”

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