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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265

Abstract

LANDMAN, Christina. The Church Order as empire and anti-empire. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2011, vol.37, n.3, pp. 1-16. ISSN 2412-4265.

In recent academic discussions, "empire" refers to the hegemony with which major role players take control over all aspects of humanity and impress their values on all. The imperialistic values of empire dictates how history is to interpreted,how texts must be read, and what the relationships between people of different classes, races and genders will be like in future. The empire awards value to people according to their position in the hierarchy of power created by the empire. In this article the Stipulations to the Church Order of the Northern Synod of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA) will be scrutinised. The question will be asked whether the place attributed to the Moderamen in these Stipulations is according to the principles of (Dutch) Reformed church polity, or whether an empire is created which rules over the less mighty. The history of the said Stipulations (2011) is described, and relevant case studies within URCSA are discussed. Finally, a vision is formulated as to the contents of a church order and its Stipulations that are based on the princeples and practices of anti-empire. The principles of the Confession of Belhar, and the practise of church visitations of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands are described as examples of anti-empire.

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