The Reception of Belhar in the Dutch Reformed Church

Keywords: Reception, Dutch Reformed Church (DRC), Uniting Reformed Church of Southern Africa (URCSA), Belhar Confession

Abstract

This article asks anew the question of the reception of the Belhar Confession in the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC). In the first part, the question of reception is asked. It is argued that reception inter alia has to do with the receiving and acceptance of one another. In the second part, the question of receiving is asked in light of Richard Kearney’s carnal hermeneutics. The third part focuses on Esselenpark. It is argued that although the reception of Belhar was not the main focus of Esselenpark, at least for a moment, the DRC was in a way able to begin to apprehend what it might mean to really receive and accept one another. The argument is not that the reception of the Belhar Confession is not of utmost importance for the DRC. The argument is also not that Esselenpark is the one and only moment that the DRC and URCSA did receive and accept one another. The article merely tries to make sense of how sense itself might allow the DRC, of which I am part, to really receive and accept Belhar.

Author Biography

Henco van der Westhuizen, University of the Free State

Senior Lecturer

Systematic and Historical Theology

Published
2019-10-11