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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499

Abstract

VAN ROOI, Leslie. The Belhar Confession and its influence on the understanding of unity. Historical lessons from the histories of the DRMC and the DRCA: 1975-1994. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2013, vol.39, n.1. ISSN 2412-4265.

The Belhar Confession (Belhar) was adopted in 1986 as the fourth official confession of faith of the former Dutch Reformed Mission Church (DRMC) and later the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA). Much has been written about the origin, content and history of Belhar in relation to church historical developments during and after apartheid. This, coupled with the ongoing conversation about church reunification within the family of Dutch Reformed Churches and the apparent impact of Belhar on this process makes a conversation about this Confession both relevant and necessary. This being said, it is of interest to note that theological conversations about Belhar do not specifically discuss its impact on the ecclesiology of the mentioned churches and specifically on that of the URCSA. This article will explore the apparent influence of Belhar on the ecclesiology of the mentioned church and specifically how this church understands its relation to other churches within the family of Dutch Reformed Churches. This will be done by focusing specifically on the impact of this Confession's plea for unity as regards the ecclesiology of the DRMC, the DRCA and thus also the URCSA. A discussion will follow on how the mentioned impact affects the URCSA's understanding of church unity and the interrelatedness between churches.

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