SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.29 número3"The RDP of the Soul", violence, revenge, tolerance and Paul's appeal for enduranceThe search for interreligious convivance, ongoing challenge and charge índice de autoresíndice de assuntospesquisa de artigos
Home Pagelista alfabética de periódicos  

Serviços Personalizados



Links relacionados

  • Em processo de indexaçãoCitado por Google
  • Em processo de indexaçãoSimilares em Google


Verbum et Ecclesia

versão On-line ISSN 2074-7705
versão impressa ISSN 1609-9982

Verbum Eccles. (Online) vol.29 no.3 Pretoria  2008




The interdependence of public witness and institutional unity in the Dutch Reformed family of churches



D E de Villiers

University of Pretoria




The Belhar Confession of the then Dutch Reformed Mission Church officially approved in 1986 confesses that the unity of the church should be made visible. Very little has since then come of this visible unity in the family of Dutch Reformed churches. Since 1996, however, new impetus has been given to the effort to bring about institutional unity. It has especially been in their ministries of public witness and service that these churches succeeded to a large extent to give visible and institutional expression to their unity. This would hopefully enable the churches of the Dutch Reformed family to play a more effective public role in the present South African society. They, however, face two serious restrictions in this regard: the limited scope for churches to play a public role within the new liberal democratic dispensation in South Africa and the limited motivation to play a transforming public role in the churches of the Dutch Reformed family. In the article a few pre-conditions for playing an effective public role the churches of the Dutch Reformed family have to meet are discussed. The most important one is that these churches should achieve full institutional unity as soon as possible. The conclusion of the article is therefore that the interdependence of institutional unity and public witness is a reality they will have to deal with effectively if they want to move forward.



Full text available only in PDF format.



Consulted literature

Agenda of the General Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church 2004.         [ Links ]

Agenda of the General Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church 2007.         [ Links ]

Barth, K 1946. Christengemeinde und Burgergemeinde. Zollikon-Zurich: Evangelischer Verlag.         [ Links ]

Bellah, R N; Madsen, R; Sullivan, W M; Swidler, A & Tipton, S M 1996. Habits of the heart: Individualism and commitment in American life. Berkeley: University of California Press.         [ Links ]

Botha, J & Naude, P 1998. Op pad met Belhar: Goeie nuus vir gister, vandag en môre. Pretoria: JL van Schaik Uitgewers.         [ Links ]

Burger, C 2001. Ons weet aan wie ons behoort: Nuut gedink oor ons gereformeerde tradisie. Wellington: Lux Verbi.         [ Links ]

Cloete, G D & Smit, D J (eds) 1984. 'n Oomblik van waarheid: Opstelle rondom die NG Sendingkerk se afkondiging van 'n status confessionis en die opstel van 'n konsepbelydenis. Kaapstad: Tafelberg.         [ Links ]

De Kruijf, G G 1994. Waakzaam en nuchter: Over Christelijke ethiek in een democratie. Baarn: Ten Have.         [ Links ]

De Villiers, D E 1984. Kerklike standpunte sedert die instelling van die wette, in E. de Villiers & J Kinghorn (eds). Op die skaal: Gemengde huwelike en ontug. Cape Town: Tafelberg, 54-77.         [ Links ]

-, 1999. Die NG Kerk en die oorgang na 'n nuwe Suid-Afrika, Skrif en Kerk 20(1), 15-38.         [ Links ]

-, 2001. The influence of the DRC on public policy during the late 1980's and 1990's, Scriptura 76, 51-61.         [ Links ]

-, 2003. A Christian ethics of responsibility: Does it provide an adequate theoretical framework for dealing with issues of public morality?, Scriptura 82, 23-38.         [ Links ]

-, 2005. The vocation of Reformed ethicist in the present South African society, Scriptura 89, 521-535.         [ Links ]

-, 2007. Perspektiven einer christlichen Verantwortungsethik, Zeitschrift fur Evangelische Ethik 51 (1), 8-23.         [ Links ]

Durand, J 2002. Ontluisterde wêreld: Die Afrikaner en sy kerk in 'n veranderende wêreld. Wellington: Lux Verbi.         [ Links ]

Leith, J H 1992. The ethos of the Reformed tradition, in DK McKim (ed), Major themes in the Reformed tradition. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 5-18.         [ Links ]

Lubbe, G 2002. Religio-political changes in South Africa, in D Kritzinger (ed), No quick fixes: Challenges to mission in a changing South Africa. Pretoria: IMER, 61-69.         [ Links ]

Moltmann, J 1974. Man: Christian anthropology in the conflicts of the present. London: SPCK.         [ Links ]

NG Barmhartigheidsdiens Suid-Transvaal 2005. Opsommende verslag: Ondersoek na die nood in die NG Sinode van Suid-Transvaal.         [ Links ]

Niebuhr, H R 1951. Christ and culture. New York: Harper & Row.         [ Links ]

Niemandt, N 2007. Nuwe drome vir nuwe werklikhede: Geloofsgemeenskappe in pas met 'n postmoderne wêreld. Wellington: Lux Verbi.         [ Links ]

Proceedings of the General Synod of the DRC 1998.         [ Links ]

Schweiker, W 2000. Responsibility in the world of Mammon: Theology, justice and transnational corporations, in: ML Stackhouse & PJ Paris (eds). God and globalization, Volume 1: Religion and the powers of the common life. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Trinity Press International, 105-139.         [ Links ]

Smit, D J 1998. Wat beteken 'Gereformeerd'? in W A Boesak & P J A Fourie (eds). Vraagtekens oor Gereformeerd. Belhar: LUS Uitgewers, 20-37.         [ Links ]

Troeltsch, E 1981. The social teaching of the Christian churches, Volume 2. Chicagb: University bf Chicagb Press.         [ Links ]

Walzer, M 1994. Thick and thin: Moral argument at home and abroad. Nbtre Dame & London: University bf Nbtre Dame Press.         [ Links ]



1 One of the great passions of my friend and colleague Piet Meiring as a Christian and theologian - apart from serving the mission of the church and reconciliation in South Africa and the world at large - has always been to work for the visible and institutional unity of the family of Dutch Reformed churches. I therefore thought it fit to dedicate this article to him. A shorter version was presented by me as a paper at a conference in Berlin on 29 September 2007 in commemoration of the 65th anniversary of prof. Wolfgang Huber, the present chairperson of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany.

Creative Commons License Todo o conteúdo deste periódico, exceto onde está identificado, está licenciado sob uma Licença Creative Commons