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Verbum et Ecclesia

On-line version ISSN 2074-7705
Print version ISSN 1609-9982

Abstract

OLIVER, Erna. Afrikaner Christianity and the concept of empire. Verbum Eccles. (Online) [online]. 2010, vol.31, n.1, pp.1-7. ISSN 2074-7705.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/ve.v31i1.393.

Not many Protestant countries in the world have been as influenced by faith as South Africa. Although South Africa was never officially a Christian country, politics, economic development, social life and the culture of the 'rainbow nation' was either moulded on, or influenced by, the Calvinistic Christianity that came to the country along with the European merchants. The privileged position of Christianity ended in 1994 when South Africa became a neutral state with guaranteed religious freedom for all. Although more than 80 per cent of the population claim that they are Christians, it seems as if the word is not meant any more as a religion with a value system and moral obligations, but only as a convenient label. The reason behind the contrast between theory and practice must be investigated. One possible reason could be found in the traditional Afrikaans-speaking churches' participation of, and contribution to, the 'empire' concept. The responsibility of the individual to practise his or her faith was taken over by the power of the state and church.

Keywords : Afrikaners; Christian faith; empire; South African history; Traditional Afrikaans-speaking churches.

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