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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

versão On-line ISSN 2412-4265
versão impressa ISSN 1017-0499

Studia Hist. Ecc. vol.35  supl.1 Pretoria Dez. 2009


Academic theology as the yardstick of being Reformed in South Africa today: An appreciative critique of Calvin on the occasion of his 500th birthday



Rothney Tshaka

Department of Systematic Theology and Theological Ethics, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa




The 500th birthday of John Calvin provides us with an opportunity of revisiting the legacy of this great theologian and teacher of the church. While there is no doubt that the reformed legacy which is characterised as Calvinist has been controversial in South Africa, Calvin's legacy provided a platform of questioning certain half truths that were made out to be the truth. This article notes that literature increasingly indicates that Christianity is gravitating towards the global South. This poses significant questions about how we continue to do theology in Africa today. This article bemoans the fact that Reformed theology with its emphasis on academic theology has not done enough to contribute towards the appropriation of this faith in Africa and in South Africa in particular. As such many African Reformed Christians have at best become estranged from the very communities which it is expected they must serve. The article provides an appreciative critique of Calvin and therefore of the Reformed church tradition in South Africa.



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