Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae
versão On-line ISSN 2412-4265
versão impressa ISSN 1017-0499
BOESAK, Allan. To stand where God stands: Reflections on the Confession of Belhar after 25 years. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2008, vol.34, n.1, pp.1-29. ISSN 2412-4265.
The Confession of Belhar was first adopted by the synod of the Dutch Reformed Mission Church in 1982, and then formally accepted as a fourth confession in 1986. Since then it has become the bedrock of theological reference and reflection as well as a salient point of theological identity within the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa. It has not escaped controversy, and today has become quite the most visible point of conflagration in the tortuous process of reunification of the Dutch Reformed Church family. Over the past twenty-five years,, the Confession of Belhar has been accepted as the formal confession of a number of churches within the Reformed family world wide, is seriously being studied as an important theological contribution to the thinking of the ecumenical church and significantly informs such documents as the Accra Confession, adopted by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches' General Council in Accra, Ghana, 2004. This article, first presented in a lecture series, offers historical and theological reflections on the confession. It endeavours to show the relevance of the confession in the different contexts into which it came into being and how those contexts are challenged by the confession. It looks at the theological understanding upon which the confession rests, and argues that it remains of great relevance to and theological importance for the churches in South Africa as well as world wide, and is an absolute necessity for the theological integrity of the church unification process.