Belhar deurbraak: Almal is tevrede

Dr Mary-Anne Plaatjies-Van Huffel, moderator van die Verenigende Gereformeerde Kerk (VGK) en Prof Piet Strauss, voormalige moderator van die Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK)..
Dr Mary-Anne Plaatjies-Van Huffel, moderator van die Verenigende Gereformeerde Kerk (VGK) en Prof Piet Strauss, voormalige moderator van die Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK)..

Deur Neels Jackson — Oorspronklik gepubliseer in Beeld

’n Groot deurbraak is eergister (Dinsdag, Oktober 8) op die algemene sinode van die NG Kerk in Port Elizabeth gemaak toe ’n manier gevind is om die belydenis van Belhar in die kerk se belydenisgrondslag op te neem wat mense wat Belhar wil bely én dié wat dit nie wil doen nie, tevrede gestel het.

Die sinode het ’n voorgestelde nuwe kerkorde-artikel goedgekeur wat die kerk se belydenisgrondslag wysig. Dit is egter nog net die begin van die proses. Al tien die kerk se streeksinodes en twee derdes van die kerkrade moet dié voorstel nou met ’n tweederdemeerderheid goedkeur voordat die algemene sinode dit finaal kan goedkeur.

Leiers soos genl. Constand Viljoen, voormalige hoof van die Suid-Afrikaanse Weermag, en prof. Piet Strauss, voormalige moderator, het die voorstel gesteun, dus is die hoop groot dat die hele kerk dit sal aanvaar.
Viljoen en Strauss is twee van die bekende figure in die kerk wat nie bereid is om Belhar te aanvaar nie. Hulle kon hulle egter met die nuwe voorstel versoen.

Die voorgestelde kerkorde-artikel lui eerstens dat die NG Kerk gegrond is op die Bybel as Woord van God.
Daarby word gesê die kerk se ses huidige belydenisse verwoord die leer wat die kerk bely.

Dan volg die punt oor Belhar: “Die Belydenis van Belhar is deel van die belydenisgrondslag van die kerk, op so ’n wyse dat daar ruimte is vir lidmate, ampsdraers en vergaderinge wat dit as in ooreenstemming met die Woord van God bely, sowel as vir lidmate, ampsdraers en vergaderinge wat dit nie as belydenisskrif onderskryf nie.”

Die voorgestelde artikel sê voorts die uitbreiding van die belydenisgrondslag geskied sonder dwang. Viljoen het sy tevredenheid uitgespreek en gesê die besluit is die beste manier om die hele kerk bymekaar te hou.

Strauss het daarop gewys dat die ses historiese belydenisse genoeg is om almal in die kerk saam te bind.
Dr. Mary-Anne Plaatjies-Van Huffel, moderator van die Verenigende Gereformeerde Kerk (VGK), het die besluit as ’n groot deurbraak vir die NG Kerk bestempel.

As kerke in die NG Kerk- familie egter herenig, sal hulle weer oor die formulering van die belydenisgrondslag wou praat.
Die VGK meen alle belydenisse geskied sonder dwang en so ’n kwalifikasie behoort nie net vir Belhar te geld nie.

Prof. Nelus Niemandt, moderator, het die besluit gister as ’n historiese oomblik in die NG Kerk se geskiedenis bestempel. Dit is die eerste keer dat die kerk met ’n proses begin om sy belydenisgrondslag te verander.

Die oorsprong
Belhar is in 1986 deur die destydse NG Sendingkerk as belydenisskrif aanvaar.

Dit handel oor kerkeenheid, versoening en geregtigheid – die drie aspekte van die evangeliese boodskap wat volgens dié kerk in die gedrang gekom het deur die teologiese regverdiging van apartheid.


  1. Why is Christian doctrine so divisive?

    Some Christians view the word “doctrine” as almost a curse word. The thought process is essentially “doctrine is to be avoided because doctrine causes division among Christians, and God desires Christians to be united as it says in John 17:21.” While it is true that doctrine does cause division, if the division is due to a disagreement over an important biblical teaching, division is not necessarily a bad thing. Paul declares, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3). Titus 1:9–2:1 proclaims, “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it…But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.”

    The Christian faith, more than any other, is based on doctrine. The doctrines of the deity of Christ (John 1:1,14), the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21), the resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:17), and salvation by grace through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) are absolutely essential and non-negotiable. If any of these doctrines is removed, the faith is empty and void. There are other doctrines in the Christian faith that are very important, such as the Trinity, the inspiration of Scripture, and the reality of the eternal state. If Christian doctrine is causing division on any of these points, so be it, as those who deny these doctrines need to be separated from.

    However, there has also been a tremendous amount of division in the Body of Christ due to doctrines that do not, or at least should not, have “crucial” status. Examples include the timing of the rapture, young-earth vs. old-earth creationism, charismatic vs. non-charismatic, premillennialism vs. amillennialism, etc. These Christian doctrines are important. Every Christian doctrine carries some importance. But these doctrines are perhaps not ones worth dividing/separating over. There are dedicated, Christ-loving believers on both sides of these issues. We should not divide over non-essential issues, at least not to the extent of questioning the validity of another person’s faith.

    There are degrees of division, however, that are appropriate even in regards to non-essential Christian doctrine. A church is to be united and like-minded in regards to focus, priorities, and ministry. If there is a doctrinal issue that prevents a united ministry focus, it is better for a person to find a different church rather than cause conflict and division within a church. These sorts of divisions have been the cause of many of the divisions/denominations within the Christian faith. Some joke that church splits are the easiest way to plant a new church. But if division due to a non-essential doctrine is necessary to prevent disunity and conflict, then division is what needs to occur.

    If everyone would throw aside preconceptions, biases, and presuppositions and just accept the Christian doctrines the Bible teaches, division would not be a problem. But we are all fallen and sin-infected beings (Ecclesiastes 7:20;Romans 3:23). Sin prevents us from perfectly understanding and applying God’s Word. Not understanding and submitting to Christian doctrine is what causes division, not doctrine itself. We absolutely should divide over disagreements regarding the core doctrines of the Christian faith. Sometimes, division over non-essential matters is necessary as well (although division to a lesser degree). But, the blame for division should never be placed on doctrine. Christian doctrine, in reality, is the only way to true, full, and biblical unity within the Body of Christ.

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    What does the Bible say about discernment?

    The word discern and its derivatives are translations of the Greek word anakrino in the New Testament. It means “to distinguish, to separate out by diligent search, to examine.” Discernment is the ability to properly discriminate or make determinations. It is related to wisdom. The Word of God itself is said to discern the thoughts and intentions of one’s heart (Hebrews 4:12).

    A discerning mind demonstrates wisdom and insight that go beyond what is seen and heard. For example, God’s Word is “spiritually discerned.” To the human mind without the Spirit, the things of God are “foolishness” (1 Corinthians 2:14). The Spirit, then, gives us spiritual discernment.

    King Solomon was known for his power of discernment, making many wise decisions and moral judgments (1 Kings 3:9,11). Christians today are to be discerning as well. Paul prayed for believers “to discern what is best . . . until the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:10).

    A discerning person will acknowledge the worth of God’s Word: “All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse. To the discerning all of them are right; they are faultless to those who have knowledge” (Proverbs 8:8-9). Seeking discernment is a goal for all who desire to walk righteously: “Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them” (Hosea 14:9).

    We are commanded to “hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). But, unless we have true discernment, how can we determine what is “evil” and what is “good”? In order to maintain the purity of the gospel, the church must distinguish truth from heresy. Wisdom also demands that we properly discriminate between what is “best” and what is merely “good.”

    Discernment has many collateral benefits. “My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet” (Proverbs 21:24).

    Just as Solomon sought discernment and wisdom (Proverbs 1:2;1 Kings 3:9-12) to explore the handiwork of God (Ecclesiastes 1:13) and seek the meaning of life (Ecclesiastes 12:13), so should believers seek “the wisdom that comes from heaven” (James 3:17). We must study the Scriptures which are “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

    May our prayer be “I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes” (Psalm 119:125)

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  2. Graag wil ek u meedeel ons as plattelandse NG Kerke het TEEN Belhar besluit,en sover ek weet het Wes Transvaal,Vrystaat,Noord Transvaal en ek glo nog ander sinodes ook die besluit geneem.
    Waarom nog karring en dit aan ons probeer opdring as on ons dit deeglik onder oë gehad het en ook nog met Ds Theo Dansfuz se boek [Belhar,bely of bestry?]tot verdere insig.
    Ons voel hou op om dit aan ons te probeer opdring,dit is nie n’volwaardige Belydenis nie.
    Ook voel ons in die gesig gevat oor die uitgawe van die”Kerkbode”21Maart 2014 oor die voorblad deur Neels Jackson se artikel oor ‘nouer bande met die Katolieke’
    Ons as Gerofmeerde kerke het juis weggebreek oor hul vergrype en mistasting van die Bybel en GOD se genade.
    Beste Groete