Two years ago, the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly sent a proposal to the presbyteries to include the Belhar Confession in the denomination’s Book of Confessions. You can argue whether it should be, and you can also argue with whether Belhar is a good confession of faith. What you can’t argue is that the PCUSA’s presbyteries rejected it.
Denominational liberals are not people to take “no” for an answer however. According to the Presbyterian News Service:
The 220th GA Church Confessions Committee voted on Tuesday (June 3) to recommend the confession for inclusion in The Book of Confessions. This is the second round for Belhar to be considered, having narrowly failed to receive the 2/3-majority vote needed by presbyteries following the 219th GA.
This is what they do. “Don’t agree with us? We’ll come back over and over again until you get sick of discussing the subject, and give us what we want just to shut us up. We’ll do that on a range of issues, decade after decade, until your institution no longer resembles the one you thought it was, and we own it.”
In one sense, this is inconsequential–the Belhar Confession will have no more practical relevance to the life of the PCUSA than any of the other 11 confessions that supposedly guide denominational life, but which are in fact dead letters to be ignored whenever they get in the way of what activists for whatever cause want. But in another, it says everything about why the mainline churches have been in decline for almost 50 years now–liberals never stop pushing, pulling, insulting, accusing, propagandizing, denigrating, pontificating, and emoting, while conservatives eventually get sick of fighting the same battles over and over, and either quit the field or leave the denomination. At which point, having won, liberals declare that all further discussion is beyond the pale, divisive, even schismatic.
It is what they do.
UPDATE: UPDATE: The move to send this back to the presbyteries was approved, 395-264-6. (Hat tip: GA Junkie.)