In die Skriflig
On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
Print version ISSN 1018-6441
FICK, P.H.. The correspondence of J.J. Venter with H.A.L. Hamelberg: An analysis of a view of mission. In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2009, vol.43, n.3, pp.519-536. ISSN 2305-0853.
The controversy regarding the view of missionary work has recurred in South African church history from time to time. This was also the case in the Reformed Church in the Orange Free State during the nineteenth century. It becomes apparent from the 1879 to 1881 correspondence of J.J. Venter with H.A.L. Hamelberg, the then Consul-General of the Free State in the Netherlands. Venter wrote to Hamelberg about his disappointment with the reverend Dirk Postma, the first minister of the Reformed Church in South Africa. According to Venter they had been misled: they had asked for a preacher and got a missionary instead. Venter's view of mission is based on a peculiar view of the doctrine of predestination: he approved of missionary work only if the fruit of election becomes apparent in the lives of the objects of the missionary work. Venter wrote particularly to Hamelberg, a "fellow-tribesman" more than a religious think-alike. This fact, as well as the correspondence reveals Venter's actual view on the doctrine of predestination and it is clearly shown in this article. Although Venter's own writings speak of a Pietistic "Busskampf", his view of mission is rather in line with orthodoxy's insistence on a structural link between church and state. Cross-cultural mission was therefore unthinkable, unless there is proof of a change in the other culture.