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Leslie Scanlon, Outlook national reporter
"During the Sunday morning coffee hour, the Confession of Belhar probably isn’t at the top of the conversation list.
It’s not in the Book of Confessions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), so lots of Presbyterians have probably never read it.
But this confession – adopted in 1986 in South Africa during the heart of the struggle over apartheid – is beginning to draw renewed interest among Reformed Christians in the United States and internationally. South African churches have been urging the rest of the world to read it for years, saying it has a message Christians need to hear.
For while it was written in a particular time and place, its themes are unity, reconciliation and justice – exactly, some contend, the issues confronting American churches in the 21st century...."
While the Confession of Belhar is not as all-purpose as the Apostle's Creed or Nicene Creed, nor as comprehensive as the Westminster Confession, it's focus on unity and equality makes it worth reading.
It may not warrant a space in our Book of Confessions, but there are many documents that have not attained "official" confessional status for the PC(USA), but are useful nonetheless. The Confession of Belhar, while not as well-known as other confessions, is certainly in this category.