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DIE KONSEP-BELYDENIS VAN DIE NED. GEREF. SENDINGKERK – W D Jonker

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“Die afkondiging van ‘n “status confessionis” deur die Ned. Geref. Sendingkerk (NGSK) en die aanvaarding van die konsep-belydenis van Belhar (KB) moet as een van die ernstigste gebeurtenisse in die geskiedenis van die Ned. Geref. Kerk (NGK) gesien word.
Die ”status confessionis” het immers nie net betrekking op die veroordeling van apartheid as ideologie en politieke stelsel nie, maar dit is ook gerig teen die teologiese regverdiging van die beleid van apartheid deur die NGK, sowel as teen die wyse waarop apartheid na die oordeel van die NGSK die kerklike lewe van die NGK Stempel. In die bewussyn van die NGSK is die verbintenis tussen die NGK en apartheid so onmiskenbaar, dat die een saam met die ander onder die oordeel van God gestel moet word. Vandaar die beskuldiging van kettery aan die adres van die NGK. Die bedoeling van die KB is om spesifiek die teologiese en leerstellige dwalinge van die NGK soos die NGSK dit sien, in hierdie verband te veroordeel.”

Die missionêre waarde van Belhar en die NG Kerk-familie se herenigingsgesprek – De Beer, JM & Van Niekerk, AS

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NGTT Deel 50 Nommers 1 & 2 MAART en JUNIE 2009

The missional value of Belhar and the DRC-family’s reunification talks The two questions are raised: a) Does Belhar in fact polarize members of the DRC-family? and b) Is Belhar in fact a stumbling block in the way of church unity? They are discussed to illuminate the contradictions embodied in these questions. It is then shown that the usage of the missional value of Belhar can point towards a direction out of the perceived dilemma in the current reunification talks in the family of DRC churches. The missional value of Belhar is explained with reference to the liberation-effect that Belhar has had on the DRC’s missional relevance during the eighties and thereafter. A missional valuation of Belhar as a possible alternative to the URCSA’s insistance on official acceptance of the confession by the DRC, forms the conclusion of the article.

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Bevry om te bely en te beliggaam ’n Ekklesiologiese besinning oor die kerkorde van die VGKSA – LB van Rooi

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NGTT DEEL 48 NOMMERS 3 & 4 SEPTEMBER & DESEMBER 2007

Liberated to Confess and Embody. An Ecclesiological reflection of the church order of the URCSA. On the 14th of April 1994 the eagerly awaited unification between the former Dutch Reformed Mission Church in South Africa (DRMC) and the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa (DRCA) was validated. This had as result the coming into being of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA). The unity of this church is built on a new church order which attempts to express the liberating character of the Belhar Confession Belhar). This means that the church order of the URCSA can be seen as an embodiment of Belhar and as a liberating expression of the broader ecclesiology of the URCSA. Therefore this article will review the relation between Ecclesiology, church orders and confessions whillst specifically looking into the church order of the URCSA giving special attention to the relation between this church order and the Confession of Belhar.

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Eenheid in die NG Kerkfamilie: ’n kerkhistories-kerkregtelike benadering – PJ Strauss

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NGTT DEEL 48 NOMMERS 3 & 4 SEPTEMBER & DESEMBER 2007

Unity in the family of Dutch Reformed Churches: A church historical and church political approach. The author starts by indicating why these churches in Southern Africa can be called a family of churches and why they have enough common belief in certain core issues of faith to form a new denomination. He finds that as far as differences with regard to the acceptance of the Confession of Belhar is concerned, the present agreement is not to force it the one or the other way. In proposals for structuring the denomination a trend is to follow the example of the famous Synod of Dordt in 1618-1619. By doing so, the family stays on the way of an acceptable reformed church polity.

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On not abandoning church theology: Dirk Smit on church and politics – SM De Gruchy

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NGTT DEEL 48 NOMMERS 1 & 2 MAART & JUNIE 2007

This essay argues for the importance of correctly defining, and then defending the concept of ‘church theology’ in dialogue with the thought of Dirk Smit. This is done by identifying and examining the ecclesiologies of the two trajectories that dominated the church’s opposition to apartheid in South Africa, namely Kairos and Belhar. The former, rooted in the notion of the church as Institution, came to expression in the Kairos Document which was highly critical of ‘church theology’. The latter, rooted in the Reformation understanding of the church, came to expression in the Belhar Confession which sought to clarify what it meant to be the church. Through the insights of Smit, a crucial theologian in the Belhar process, the essay argues that we need to find ways to draw these two divergent trajectories together and to recover the heart of what it means to do ‘church theology’ in our context today.

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Was the Belhar Confession a rejection of Modern Protestant Theology? Invoking the past as a shield for the future – RS Tshaka

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NGTT DEEL 48 NOMMERS 1 & 2 MAART & JUNIE 2007

The dawn of Modern Protestantism has brought with it innovative ways of thinking and speaking about God. Enveloped in this innovation came a liberal thought and speech about God. The result was the fusion of culture and other human concerns with the Christian faith. In some instances this fusion produced in turn conditions for membership in the church of Christ. This paper attempts to delve into the impetus that was created by Modern Protestantism to reveal that the apartheid ordeal from which the South African community is struggling to recover from should be located within Modern Protestantism, yet it argues that it is impossible to completely chastise Modern Protestantism because of this.

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On violence, the Belhar Confession and human dignity – N Koopman

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NGTT Deel 49 Nommers 3 & 4 SEPTEMBER en DESEMBER 2008

In the quest for the restoration of human dignity, i.e. in the quest to build an ethos of social solidarity and social cohesion, embrace and participation, compassion and justice we drink from the wells of the Christian tradition. So close to the celebrations of the birth of John Calvin it might be appropriate to draw upon his notion of the threefold office of Christ to phrase this threefold quest for the restoration of human dignity in Christological perspective and thereby also to indicate the way along which this restoration might be operationalised. According to Calvin the royal office portrays Christ’s work as that of uniting the world with God, of making us one with God and each other. And in this union with God we enjoy all the blessings that He has in store for us. The priestly office tells about a Christ who sacrifices Himself for the sake of the world. In a world of various forms of brokenness and alienation He is the healer and the reconciler. The prophetic office tells about a Christ who proclaims God’s will for the world. In a world with a lot of knowledge (scientia), but a lack of wisdom (sapientia), Christ as prophet brings true knowledge, meaning and wisdom. The prophet proclaims the vision of a society of justice.10 The threefold office of Christ might enrich our theological contents of the
three discourses on human dignity proposed in this essay.

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Reconciliation and the Confession of Belhar (1986). Some challenges for the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa – NN Koopman

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NGTT DEEL 48 NOMMERS 1 & 2 MAART & JUNIE 2007

With an appeal to the Confession of Belhar this paper argues that for reconciliation to be actualised in all walks of life, unity and justice are important. Reconciliation refers to a life of embrace of the other, and to the expiation of the stumbling-blocks to that embrace, namely sin. Justice both as juridical, forensic justice and compassionate, sacrificial justice, opens the door to a life of embrace. Unity as living in proximity, as a life of sympathy and solidarity across all types of boundaries that flows from interpathy and empathy, enhances a life of reconciliation in the so-called private and public spheres of life. Based on this analysis some suggestions are made to enhance reconciliation within and through the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA). Reconciliation within URCSA, in the so-called Dutch Reformed Church Family and in society receives attention.

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Die Ou Testament en die Belydenis van Belhar (1986) – SD Snyman

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NGTT DEEL 47 NOMMERS 3 & 4 SEPTEMBER & DESEMBER 2006

The use of the Old Testament in the Confession of Belhar is investigated. The fact that there are only four explicit references to the Old Testament in the Confession occurring only in the fourth article on righteousness merits such an investigation. The Old Testament does have a contribution to make on the statements of unity and reconciliation as well. Although the Confession of Belhar does not contradict the teachings of the Old Testament, it is nevertheless a pity that theological insights from the Old Testament do not feature more prominently in die Confession. The result of this investigation shows that theological insights from the Old Testament could also have been used in the other articles of the Confession to strengthen its theological value.

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Oor die teologiese inhoud van die Belydenis van Belhar – DJ Smit

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‘n BLIK OP EENHEID, VERSOENING EN GEREGTIGHEID 1986 EN 2011

Departemente Ekklesiologie en Dogmatiek, Fakulteit Teologie, Universiteit Vrystaat 2011

Die betekenisvolle aan enige Protestantse belydenisskrif is inderdaad die teologiese inhoud. Belydenisskrifte is en word altyd gebore in spesifieke sosiale en historiese omstandighede. Die politieke en kerklike konteks bied feitlik altyd die konkrete aanleiding waarom belydenisskrifte ontstaan. Dit geld van haas elkeen van die veel meer as honderd belydenisskrifte wat vroeg reeds binne die Gereformeerde gemeenskap en tradisie gebore is, asook van die belydenisse wat daarna geskryf sou word, omdat só ‘n reaksie van die geloof op spesifieke politieke en historiese uitdagings telkens deur sommige as noodsaaklik beleef is. Dit geld van die Geneefse Kategismus, van die Franse Geloofsbelydenis, van die Nederlandse Geloofsbelydenis, van die Heidelbergse Kategismus, van die Skotse Konfessie, van die Dordtse Leerreëls, van die Westminster Konfessie – en dit geld ook van die Teologiese Verklaring van Barmen, van die Confession of 1967 van die Presbiteriane in Amerika, van die Brief Statement of Faith van die PCUSA en van die Belydenis van Belhar.

Met dank aan Danie Mouton, Grens-pos.

Barmen and Belhar in conversation – a South African perspective – DJ SMit

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NGTT DEEL 47 NOMMERS 1 & 2 MAART & JUNIE 2006

Claiming that the South African Confession of Belhar should be understood in the tradition of the Barmen Theological Declaration, the paper points to historical continuities, formal similarities and shared theological viewpoints. A central section therefore focuses on the theses of Barmen, to reflect on the question why Barmen influenced and inspired so many South African Christians in the struggle against apartheid. Afinal section then considers the possible contemporary relevance of Barmen and Belhar by asking three questions concerning their potential impact and influence today, namely if their claims are still regarded as true, how they could be embodied, and whether they could contribute to a new language.

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