Formed to seek common ground
Throughout these weeks of Lent, we are considering the Reformed confessions from a somewhat unconventional angle – focusing our attention not just on the content, on what the confessions say, but on how those confessions work, the particular sensibilities or habits of mind they display, the postures they embody. We are asking: If we gave the time and effort to discern those sensibilities, habits, postures, and lingered with them for a while, trying them out, how might they form us as a Christian learning community?
I invite you over the course of the next week to consider some selections from the Belgic Confession, which offers a refreshing approach for defining and proclaiming our distinctives. The Belgic Confession was written on behalf of a minority group, evangelical Reformed Christians who with this document were pleading to the majority Roman Catholic Christians – who also had the government on their side – pleading with them for a place at the table, for recognition as faithful Christians.
The document makes its case for this recognition not by ignoring differences, but by seeking common ground. Over and over again, the Belgic Confession works by saying: we have our distinctives, our differences, but those differences are not the deepest or truest thing about us; what is most deep and true in us is what is most deep and true in you – the overwhelming goodness that comes from one source alone, the one God, and that our Lord graciously shares with all of us.
As you linger with these seven selections – maybe even reading them out loud with someone else! – you might ask yourself, for each one: how does this selection seek for common ground? And what would it look like, how would we be formed, if we did likewise? How might we be formed in ways that is more responsive to God, more hospitable, more connected?
The links below are to an online version of the Belgic Confession maintained by the Reformed Church in America, one of the several church bodies that seeks to live by this confession.
Article 2 https://www.rca.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=319
Article 6 https://www.rca.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=325
Article 13 https://www.rca.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=332
Article 24 https://www.rca.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=344
Article 27 https://www.rca.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=347
Article 29 https://www.rca.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=349
Article 35 https://www.rca.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=355