March 24, 2020

From the Belhar Confession

The Belhar Confession was written in 1982 and adopted by one of the Reformed (Calvinist) denominations in South Africa in 1986. This statement of faith is considered one of the major influences that led to the downfall of apartheid in the early 90's. The Belhar Confession has been adopted as an official confession in churches around the world, including the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Reformed Church in America. Here is part of it...
Article 4
We believe
  • that God has revealed himself as the one who wishes to bring about justice and true peace among people;
  • that God, in a world full of injustice and enmity, is in a special way the God of the destitute, the poor and the wronged;
  • that God calls the church to follow him in this, for God brings justice to the oppressed and gives bread to the hungry;
  • that God frees the prisoner and restores sight to the blind;
  • that God supports the downtrodden, protects the stranger, helps orphans and widows and blocks the path of the ungodly;
  • that for God pure and undefiled religion is to visit the orphans and the widows in their suffering;
  • that God wishes to teach the church to do what is good and to seek the right*;
  • that the church must therefore stand by people in any form of suffering and need, which implies, among other things, that the church must witness against and strive against any form of injustice, so that justice may roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream;
  • that the church as the possession of God must stand where the Lord stands, namely against injustice and with the wronged; that in following Christ the church must witness against all the powerful and privileged who selfishly seek their own interests and thus control and harm others.
Therefore, we reject any ideology which would legitimate forms of injustice and any doctrine which is unwilling to resist such an ideology in the name of the gospel.

*Deuteronomy 32:4; Luke 2:14; John 14:27; Ephesians 2:14; Isa. 1:16-17; James 1:27; James 5:1-6; Luke 1:46-55; Luke 6:20-26; Luke 7:22; Luke 16:19-31; Psalm 146; Luke 4:16-19; Romans 6:13-18; Amos 5

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