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In die Skriflig

On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
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SMIT, C.J.. Should the RCSA after a period of 150 years be considered as a stagnated church community? Evaluated from the point of view of ecumenicism. In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2009, vol.43, n.3, pp.447-472. ISSN 2305-0853.

The question is whether the Reformed Churches in South Africa (RCSA) should be considered as an isolated and thus a stagnated church community. To answer this question the development of ecumenicism in the RCSA should be traced. This could only be done after an examination of the Scriptural and historical meaning of the term "eqcumenicism".q From the acts of the synods of the RCSA it is very clear that during the three phases of half a century each in the existence of the RCSA, from 1859 onwards, a very high premium was put on ecumenical relations. The goal of these ecumenical relations was always pointed out as church unity. In this contribution the conclusion is made that the RCSA does not see herself as a church community who disposes exclusively of the truth of the Word. Church isolation - and therefore church stagnation - is clearly not part of the RCSA's agenda; on the contrary, church isolation was always firmly contested by the RCSA on the basis of the Scriptures. The incentive to bring together churches of reformed origin, in the interior and abroad, was always part of the RCSA's view on what the church really stands for. However, there is a significant deficiency that should be noted. The specific meaning that Jesus adds to the concept "oqikoumené" q(Matt. 24:14), namely the proclamation to "aqll the nations" qof the whole world ("oqikoumené")q regarding the world to come (Heb. 2:5) is not sufficiently emphasised but in actuality it is downplayed.

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