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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

versão On-line ISSN 2412-4265

Studia Hist. Ecc. vol.38 no.1 Pretoria Mai. 2012

 

Public issues perceived from the theological left flank: The social ethics of Ramsden Balmforth in the Union of South Africa

 

 

Frederick Hale

Research Unit for Reformed Theology, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

 

 


ABSTRACT

For decades research into the history of Christian social ethics in South Africa has illuminated responses within a broad spectrum of major denominations to public issues, but has thus far shed considerably less light on how believers outside these denominations reacted to various questions. Unitarians are in the latter camp. Although few in number, they offered opinions and engaged in activities from a noteworthy intellectual perspective which was largely an extension of nineteenth- century developments in European theology, philosophy, and political thought amalgamated with a focus on the ethical teachings of Jesus. For forty years beginning in 1897 while he ministered to the Free Protestant Church in Cape Town, English-born Ramsden Balmforth commented prolifically on a variety of important issues and in some instances participated in movements to redress grievances voiced by disadvantaged groups within the ethnic amalgam of the Union of South Africa. The present study examines several of this Christian socialist's positions against the backdrop of his meta-ethical precepts.


 

 

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Works consulted

Balmforth, Ramsden [n.         [ Links ]d.]. The war and the coming peace: an appeal to sober-minded people. Cape Town: O. Hartmann, City Printing Works.

Balmforth, Ramsden 1935. Jesus - the man. London: CW Daniel.         [ Links ]

Davenport, TRH 1987. South Africa: a modern history. Third edition. Basingstoke: The Macmillan Press Ltd.         [ Links ]

Dubow, Saul 2006. A commonwealth of knowledge: science, sensibility, and white South Africa 1820-2000. Oxford: Oxford University Press.         [ Links ]

Edgar, Robert 1988. Because they chose the plan of God. The story of the Bulhoek Massacre. Johannesburg: Ravan Press.         [ Links ]

Hale, Frederick 1994. Fear and support of an African Independent Church. Fides etHistoria XXVI(1), Winter/Spring, 68-84.         [ Links ]

Hale, Frederick 2011. Interpreting South African Cultural Clashes Through Darwinian Eyes: Ramsden Balmforth in Cape Town (forthcoming in South African Journal of Cultural History in 2011).         [ Links ]

Hale, Frederick 2001. A nonconformist waging peace: the foundations of Ramsden Balmforth's initiatives in the Second Anglo-Boer War. Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae XXVII(1), June, 97-112.         [ Links ]

The Inquirer (London). 1909-1927.         [ Links ]

Long, Arthur 1986. The life and work of J Estlin Carpenter, in Smith, Barbara (ed.), Truth, liberty, religion. Essays celebrating two hundred years of Manchester College. Oxford: Manchester College, 265-289.         [ Links ]

 

 

1 Prof Dr Frederick Hale is an extraordinary professor in the Research Unit for Reformed Theology, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa.

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