This is a Confession that was helpful during the terrible years of apartheid in South Africa but because it does not clearly confess Jesus Christ as Lord but instead focuses on unity it has become a favorite confession of some who are now ordaining LGBT candidates. I experienced this relationship between the two, LGBT advocacy and Belhar while attending the 219th GA as an advocate for Sacramento’s overture seeking not to place the confession in our Book of Confessions.
Two people who gave testimony about why Sacramento’s overture should not pass are very involved in advocacy for both the ordination of LGBT candidates and same gender marriage, Janet Edwards, spoke as did Elizabeth Henson Hasty. I wrote in a much earlier posting of their words.
[Edwards] asked for disapproval [of Sacramento’s overture] so that instead Belhar would pass and gays and lesbians would have a confession that allows them to be ordained. The second person was Elizabeth Henson Hasty a member of ACWC. She wanted Sacramento’s overture to be disapproved but her main thought was not only to allow Belhar to pass but she wanted an inclusive edition on the PCUSA web. In the committee’s actions they both received their request.Some might ask why this overture matters anymore since, supposedly, now LGBT candidates can be ordained. The problems are even greater now for two reasons. First, because Belhar focuses on unity rather than confessing Christ it will reinforce the call to be in unity no matter what standards or theologies are in force in the PCUSA. Unity will become the all encompassing value over all other issues. I experienced this recently in a sermon given at a presbytery meeting. Jesus as Lord was equated with unity no matter the diverse beliefs, including other faiths, rather than unity because all held to Christ as the one, unique, Lord.
Secondly, now, more than ever, the Church must be about confessing Jesus Christ as Lord. To amend our Book of Confessions now with a Confession which does not truly, ultimately and forcefully confess Christ would be a travesty. A young pastor, recently on his blog, A Christian's Reflections, using Google, started listing those PCUSA pastors who do not believe Jesus is God. He could have, in the same manner looked for those pastors and theologians who do not believe that Jesus’ death on the cross has anything to do with forgiveness of sins. We need anew to confess Christ.
As the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) experiences assaults from the enemy of all our souls in ways it has not before experienced, we need to be reminded of our sure foundation, Jesus Christ our Lord.