From the Office of the General Assembly.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) has voted through its presbyteries to add the Confession of Belhar to The Book of Confessions. The final step will be a vote at the 222nd General Assembly (2016) meeting June 18–25 in Portland, Oregon.
View a video message from Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly here.
Affirming our commitment to unity, reconciliation, and justice, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has voted through our presbyteries to add the Confession of Belhar to our Book of Confessions. The final step will be a vote at the next General Assembly. Done in a spirit of shalom and with a desire for wholeness, the church has said we acknowledge this confession to be relevant for such a time as this in the life of this denomination, and that we diligently desire to live into it as part of the body of Christ.
We recognize our need to confess the ways this denomination has contributed to racism historically and even still today, and mourn all the ways we have fallen short. We believe this Confession, appropriated for this time and place, can bring about reconciliation and justice, and allow us to more fully follow Jesus in ministry and mission.
I commend each presbytery and congregation that took time to carefully study Belhar, and invite the whole church now to find unique and contextual ways to incorporate it into your journey. Various resources are available at pcusa.org/belhar.
Grace and Peace!
As 14f demonstrates, the PCUSA never allows the trifling of a confession or its content, derail their political or ideological ends. So what value does Belhar carry for the denomination? If the shorter statement of faith ’83 or even the touchstone for liberals, confession of ’67, the answer is really not all that much.
It will sit in a book little used or referenced in PCUSA, and only done so when it seems to fit their ends. As fas as any grand racial dialogue or discussion, again, the PCUSA is only having conversations with itself.
Reject “any social factor”! That cured me, good bye PC-USA! No way I am confessing or endorsing to God, any and all socially accepted behavior in the church. I am not racist and the Confession of Belhr is not rooted in scholarly biblical thought! PC-USA just needs to quit calling itself a church and go ahead and an admit it acts on behalf of Satan and is just an extension of the Democrat Party!
With this approval, it might be good idea if local church Christian Education Committees would plan to have a church Sunday School course on the Book of Confessions as part of their Christian Education program. How many lay Presbyterians really know the creeds?–HMMMMMMM. How many creeds can you name?
Just why DO you get on here, little one?
Given that the Book of Confession has no practical authority over our common life as a denomination, it seems counterintuitive to make such a big deal out of adding yet another confession to the Book of Confessions. So what?
Did that man in the video say ‘shalom?’ Ironic, given the PCUSA’s bizarre, continuous harassment of Israeli Jews and Christians.
At the PCUSA church of which I used to be a member, the Belhar Confesion was used in a worship service a year ago. Apparently the pastors felt it was too important to ignore, despite having been rejected by the previous GA. Excerpts from the Confession of 1967 have also been used. The Westminster Confession and catechisms, on the other hand, gather dust in the church’s library, apparently having outlived their usefulness. I suspect most young people in that congregation, if I were to ask them “What is the chief end of Man?”, would look at me in puzzlement.
Deeds talk louder than words. The PCUSA has ignored the reformed faith taught by the Westminster Confession and Cathechisms and they celebrate the 1967 confession and the Belhar confession.
Instead of the faith of the ages, it’s the faith of the decade.
Honoring the literature of the hour rather than the Literature of Eternity. Doubt they would approve of God’s work regarding the Tower of Babel.
Has the time come for all LAY Presbyterians to take a comprehensive examination on the confession? I wonder how LAY Presbyterians could pass such an examination?
How the heck do you think the African-American churches are going to react when our holier than thou presbytery makes them apologize and confess to racism? Really? And what about the Asians who really had nothing to do with the 19th and 20th century prejudicial black/white issues in America?
Much like the whole Middle East inferno, where the PCUSA sees everything from the Israel-Palestine binary, where Israel is the villain. So it over simplifies race issues and relations in the black-white binary only, as if Asians, Hispanics, and blacks who do not ideologically fit, sort of do not exist.
You saw in the Office of the GA response to Ferguson, and the ongoing issues of Baltimore. The bad guys in their narrative is of course law enforcement, and the primary tool used to gain traction in their argument is the attempt to play to liberal-white guilt on all matters of race and conscious. Belhar is just a means or a tool to work out that agenda.
As blind as the PCUSA is to the ongoing genocide of extermination of Christians in the Middle East, so it is blind to the complexities of race in 2015 America.
With the latest addition to the Library of Confessions isn’t it time we change the name from Confessions to Policy Statements, Platform, Position Papers or something similar. Despite the language in the Confessional Nature of the Church Report which precedes the Confessions that these are indeed “serious statements” and “not to be taken lightly” the report makes it clear no one is expected to believe much less confess the statements of doctrine. The report makes clear every body in the church is free to decide for themselves “what acceptable loyalty to the confessions means in their particular situation”. The Confessions are designed the report points out to protect “freedom and variety” in the church. Despite Gradye’s confidence that the adoption of Belhar will “bring about reconciliation and justice” I suspect it’s primary use will be as precedent for the next wave of overtures seeking to protect “freedom and variety”
Probably not since they are laying its foundations.
The big deal is that now this, along with the PUP, will be used as a basis for discipline for anyone that steps out of line.
i find it interesting and curious, that in light of the worst racial rioting in almost 50 years in Baltimore, with even more bloodshed and violence in Ferguson. The official mouthpieces of the PCUSA, Gradey, Heath, Linda remain silent. Especially when post the GJ decision on Ferguson, Gradey had his response teed up and ready to hit send about 30 seconds after the news.
Hopefully they have learned their lesson of shooting off their mouths apart for basic staffing and institutional process. But for a liberal religious organization that bleeds all thing victimization, and so anti-law enforcement, how silent they are, and how they yearn for the great talk about race in America.
It seems they cannot shut up when silence is called for, and silent when something needs to be said. Most curious indeed.
I am benefiting from reading a book titled,
(How the Liberals Captured the Presbyterian Church)
by Gary North
Available on Amazon.
I suggest the free pdf. download, available on several sites.
From the Review:
“This book is the first to detail the step-by-step program of infiltration used by modernists to take over the Northern Presbyterian Church. Other books have chronicled the results of this program, but none has shown how it was done. The infiltration process began as early as 1870, and it culminated in the expulsion of the conservatives in 1936.”
Most here have probably already read it. For me, it has been great, because I had so many questions that no one wanted to answer. Then, I found that resource. I knew someone must have chronicled the events. It was a matter of finally running across it.
There is a .pdf reader that works well, seems to honor privacy, and is reasonably priced, named Corel Fusion. That program works well for assembling .pdf documents.
From what I know of Gary North, he is not the first person I would turn to in support. A much better resource is Bradley Longfield’s “The Presbyterian Controversy: Fundamentalists, Modernists, and Moderates.” http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=The+Presbyterian+Controversy
I concur that Gary North, as a theonomist, is not a trustworthy source as to how the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America fell under the sway of Theological Liberalism. As John E suggested, I, too, recommend Longfield’s The Presbyterian Controversy. For a larger view of American Protestantism during the period of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, I also recommend George Marsden’s Fundamentalism and American Culture. For a broader view of American Presbyterianism from the early 19th through the early 20th centuries, I also recommend David Calhoun’s two-volume history of Princeton Seminary.
Also, to look only at the theological liberal invasion of the period from 1870-1936 and to ignore the effects of the 1801 Plan of Union and the Pelagian preaching of Revivalist Charles Finney that led to the Old School/New School schism of 1837, and the national weariness resulting from the divisions incurred during the Civil War that led to the Old School/New School reunion of 1869, is to ignore the conditioning of the American religious soil that made it fertile ground for the heresies of Theological Liberalism in the decades that followed.
Thanks for the additional leads, John and Loren. I’ll keep an open mind and use the resources provided to get a handle on what happened and how it happened.
Incidentally, I do not speak for any of the members here or on any side of the issue. My views expressed are all my own, not to be interpreted as representing any consensus.