Monday, September 08, 2008

Let the NG Kerk be

Why is everyone so obsessed with the NG Kerk to become one ? If they don't want to re-unite with the rest of the family of NG churches, let them be, I say. I have been an ardent supporter of the process of unification, now I am not so sure anymore.

At the last Synod of the former NG Sendingkerk, back the days, I, fresh from seminary at Stellenbosch and full of theological pearls of wisdom, argued that the unification process to form URCSA, should include the white NG Kerk. I was laughed of the mic. Today I understand why. It's not that there are none within the NG kerk who want to talk unity; in fact most of the NG scholars and theologian-dominees are evidently experts in talking and writing unity and Belhar theology, but the truth is that the price to live it, is to high. Hence, it would take too much from these advocates to say, like the reformer, 'here I stand, so help me God', to literally walk the plank. It is too high a price to take the verbal commitment to Belhar Confession to its logical conclusion.

So, I too am disillusioned and disappointed at the fact that the poll of congregations and church councils, overwhelmingly shows that this church is not prepared to accept Belhar as a confession. I agree with Gerrit Brand, that it is time for NG congregations and pastors, who do accept Belhar Confession, to make it public and official, to form a confessing community within this church- also linking with others in the 'Afrikaanse susterkerke', but also, on the basis of this same faith that we share to join the URCSA as one, non-racial, non-sexist, open Reforming church. This will allow the NG Kerk to stay their course in evidently accommodating people, who remain committed to a theology and faith that supports apartheid.

As for the URCSA, this church will also have to listen again to Belhar Confession in building a diverse, postcolonial, inclusive community and let the NG kerk be.
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