There are additional reasons to be concerned about the consequences of adding Belhar to our Book of Confessions. Susan Cyre provides the following summary of concerns in her excellent critique.
Should the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) add the Belhar Confession from South Africa to our Book of Confessions? There are two reasons why the answer should be NO. First, although the Belhar spoke to racism in South Africa, the words of the Confession, as well as the understanding of some who interpret it, demonstrate that the Belhar Confession may be applied broadly to other issues. Second, the Belhar Confession posits a very different understanding of “unity” and “justice” than Scripture and our Confessions. Christian faith teaches that unity is a result of truth. In the Belhar truth is subordinated to unity.
A second resource, Naming His Grace, provides for substantive reasons for great concern, those being:
- Failure to focus the confession on the Lordship of Christ.
- The issue of homosexuality
- The Israeli and Palestinian conflict
- The issue of pluralism
I have written extensively on item 1 and 2 above. Here’s what the post says regarding the Israeli and Palestinian conflict.
In another posting on my blog, Using the Belhar Confession to overcome Israel’s “racism,” and as a means to bring about repentance from those desiring a Jewish State!, I have pointed to speakers for the Reformed Church in America using the Confession as a solution for what they perceive as racism on the part of Israel. As one speaker, the Rev. Christo Lombard from the Uniting Reformed Church of South Africa, put it “If there is one situation in this world that contextually fits the antiapartheid struggle and its dynamics, for which the Belhar Confession was written, it must be the Palestinian situation, currently.”
Another speaker, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, pastor of Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, also hoped that the Confession might be used against the State of Israel. And in the same way those in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) who are advocating for this Confession may attempt to use it as leverage against Israel.
The above analysis suggests that Belhar will not be used to pursue “unity and reconciliation” under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Rather, it will most likely be used to advance the radical agendas of our PCUSA leadership.