Oor die teologiese inhoud van die Nederlandse Geloofsbelydenis vandag
Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.
The original publication is available at http://ngtt.journals.ac.za/pub
The paper is an edited version of a public address during the 450 year celebration of the Confessio Belgica in the Faculty of Theology of Stellenbosch University. It reflects on the theological content of the Confessio Belgica in the light of today and with a deliberate focus on South African Reformed circles. In a first section the background claim is made that the theological content of Reformed confessional documents is always deeply related to their genesis and therefore to the historical circumstances under which they were originally adopted and in some cases also afterwards gradually accepted more broadly. A second section builds on the conviction that the theological content of such documents is therefore to be found in central convictions or claims (that were at stake, most probably disputed at the time), rather than in all and every detail. A few brief references serve as reminders of some historical South African Reformed debates about these central convictions of the Confessio Belgica. A third section considers some issues involved in so-called hermeneutics of tradition, in the Wirkungsgeschichte of confessional documents and in the ongoing reception of their relevance under new and radically different circumstances, in this case the totally different South African context and centuries later. In a final section, this process is illustrated by showing how the theological content of the Confessio Belgica became “liberating truth” again for some in South African Reformed circles, during the birth of the Confession of Belhar.