In die Skriflig
On-line version ISSN 1018-6441
HOFMEYR, Johannes W.. The reception of the Heidelberg Catechism (Sunday 17 and 22) with regard to the resurrection within the nineteenth century Dutch Reformed Church (Part 1). In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2013, vol.47, n.2, pp. 20-27. ISSN 1018-6441.
With the 450th celebrations of the origin of the Heidelberg Catechism (HC) in mind, the main aim of two articles is to focus on the place, role and interpretation of the doctrine of the resurrection in this Catechism, within two very specific and critical eras in the history of the Dutch Reformed Church; (DRC) in South Africa. After a brief introduction to the Heidelberg Catechism, the aim in this first article is to focus extensively on the reception of the HC in the time of Andrew Murray during the nineteenth century, and specifically against the background of the then liberal theology in both the Netherlands and South Africa. In the second article I look at the reception of the same HC articles of faith in the DRC since 2000, against the background of the reappearance of the nineteenth century liberal theology in the form of the Jesus Seminar, the New Reformation and those sympathetic to the latter in the DR Church. It will become clear that both these nineteenth and twenty-first century developments had their own unique contexts. What they had in common was a specific theological liberal-mindedness. In view of this discussion about the nineteenth century developments, it will be concluded that the DR Church as a reformed church is currently not only caught up in an identity crisis but even in a survival crisis of no small proportions. This also has serious implications for its use of Scriptures and its confessional character. Only a strong vision, able leadership from all parties within the church and a rediscovery of the redeeming power of the cross and of the resurrection as basic doctrinal tenets, also upheld by the HC, can save the DR Church from an ever moving downward spiral. Only these factors can provide a remedial, positive and dynamic solution to this process in the DR Church.