Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae
versão On-line ISSN 2412-4265
KGATLA, Thias. On a bumpy road: Historical survey of (unity) talks between the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa and the Dutch Reformed Church before 1994. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2011, vol.37, n.2, pp. 1-11. ISSN 2412-4265.
The events prior to and after church unity between the former Dutch Reformed Church in Africa (DRCA) and the Dutch Reformed Mission Church (DRMC) in 1994 are perplexing because the white Dutch Reformed Church (NG Kerk) was influenced by apartheid ideology in its response to church unity within the DRC family.1 Unsuccessful unity talks were previously held with the white Dutch Reformed Church (NG Kerk) and the Reformed Church of Africa (RCA), but minutes of these talks reveal that a biblical concept of church unity was problematic, especially to the NG Kerk, which created a language that made the issue of Christian unity elusive. This article gives a brief survey of the developments that shaped the unity process with the DRMC and the DRCA from 1986 until 1994, when the two churches eventually united. The role played by the white DRC and its motive to frustrate the unity process is analysed. The change of the leadership of the DRCA in 1987, the DRCA General Synod in Umtata and the momentum this change gave to the process of church unity between the DRCM and the DRCA are investigated. The internal struggles within the DRCA's Northern Transvaal Synod2 are also discussed. The gender inclusivity in the ministry of the church, property ownership and the inclusion of both in the new Church Order are investigated. After seventeen years of democracy in South Africa, church unity among the Dutch Reformed family of churches (the RCA, NG Kerk and URCSA) has not yet been realised. This article sketches the DRCA's road to unity with the DRMC in 1994 without the NG Kerk and RCA, reading church history backwards to shed light on why it was so difficult for the NG Kerk and RCA to unite with the URCSA.