Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Belhar Confession

An Affirmation of Faith

Our presbytery, along with all the presbyteries, will be voting on whether or not the Belhar Confession should be added to our Book of Confessions. The General Assembly approved this action and thus, as a constitutional amendment, this action requires approval by the presbyteries. You may read the the Belhar Confession at http://www.pcusa.org/resource/belhar-confession/.

If this Confession is approved and becomes part of the confessional basis of our church it will be important, in my mind, to include it in our worship services. This was done as part of worship at the Montreat Youth Conference I recently attended. Thus I share here an edited version of the Belhar Confession which may appropriately be used in worship as a public affirmation of Christian faith. Please note that this is not the full text of Belhar, but simply a short, edited version appropriate for public worship. This is copied from the worship bulletin at Montreat on Sunday July 6, 2014:

An Affirmation of Faith: The Belhar Confession

We believe in the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who gathers, protects, and cares for the church through Word and Spirit. This, God has done since the beginning of the world and will do to the end.

We believe that Christ’s work of reconciliation is made manifest in the church as the community of believers who have been reconciled with God and with one another.

Unity is, therefore, both a gift and an obligation for the church of Jesus Christ.

Unity must become visible so that the world may believe that separation, enmity, and hatred between people and groups is sin which Christ has already conquered.

We believe that God has entrusted the church with the message of reconciliation in and through Jesus Christ;
That the church is called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world;
That the church is called blessed because it is a peacemaker;
That the church is witness both by word and by deed to the new heaven and the new earth in which righteousness dwells.

We believe that God’s life giving Word and Spirit has conquered the powers of sin and death, and therefore also of irreconciliation and hatred, bitterness and enmity; that God’s life giving Word and Spirit will enable the church to live in a new obedience which can open new possibilities of life for society and the world.

Jesus is Lord.

To the one and only God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be the honor and the glory forever and ever.