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Synod 2013 Waits to Define Ecumenical Faith Declaration

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Synod 2013 declined to outline more specific criteria for the category of Ecumenical Faith Declaration (EFD) created by synod last year for the Belhar Confession.

Instead, synod voted to hold more discussion about the criteria within the denomination and with partner churches around the globe.

“One of the things that became very apparent to Peter [Borgdorff] and me as we traveled is that Reformed churches are interested not only in this category, but in what synod said when it said that we adopt the Belhar as an Ecumenical Faith Declaration,” explained executive director Joel Boot.

Synod 2012 did not approve the Belhar Confession as a full confession, but instead called it an Ecumenical Faith Declaration, a label that is unprecedented in the Reformed sphere.

Peter Borgdorff, deputy executive director, said that the United Reformed Church in Southern Africa, the mother church of the Belhar Confession, may also want to explore using the category for some of its documents.

“It was very clear to us that not only were they interested in our discussion and proposal but they wanted to partner in the formation of its meaning and definition,” he said.

The proposed criteria would have meant that an EFD be in harmony with biblical principles, global in scope, relevant for Christian living, not already covered by current confessions, and beneficial for the denomination’s ecumenical relations.

In a related matter, synod decided to wait on a request to include ecumenical faith declarations such as the Belhar in the Covenant for Officebearers.

“This overture is asking us to say yes to something without knowing what we’d be saying yes to,” said Christopher Fluit of Classis Atlantic Northeast.


Synod 2013 is meeting at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. from June 7-14. For continuous Banner coverage of Synod 2013, please follow The Banner on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted at www.thebanner.org several times daily. For CRC Communications releases, webcast, and live blogging, please visit www.crcna.org/synod. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.

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