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In die Skriflig

versão On-line ISSN 1018-6441

In Skriflig (Online) vol.44 no.2 Cape Town Jan. 2010

 

ORIGINAL RESEARCH

 

To cross ten seas: Calvin on the unity of the church - a contribution to a more responsible ecclesiology1

 

Om tien oseane oor te steek: Calvyn oor die eenheid van die kerk - 'n bydrae tot 'n meer verantwoordelike ekklesiologie

 

 

J.H. van Wyk

Researcher: School for Ecclesiology, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, POTCHEFSTROOM. E-mail: amievw@intekom.co.za

 

 


ABSTRACT

As far as ecclesiology is concerned, Calvin experienced a great dilemma during his lifetime. On the one hand, there was the clear teaching of Scripture on the unity of the church of Christ, as confirmed by the great church father Augustine. On the other hand, a separation from the Catholic Church of the sixteenth century was unavoidable. Calvin wrestled intensely with this problem and tried to adhere to biblical teaching on unity. He was disappointed that the Protestant churches distanced themselves from the theme of unity and declared himself willing to cross ten seas in order to recapture this unity. This leaves us with the question to what extent the reformational churches today take the (visible) unity of the church of Christ seriously.

Key concepts: Calvin, disunity, ecumenicity, church unity


OPSOMMING

Ten opsigte van ekklesiologie het Calvyn in sy tyd voor 'n besonder groot dilemma te staan gekom. Enersyds was daar duidelike Skrifgetuienis oor die eenheid van die kerk van Christus, soos onder andere ook deur die groot kerkvader Augustinus beaam is. Andersyds was die breuk met die Katolieke Kerk van die sestiende eeu onvermydelik. Calvyn worstel diepgaande met hierdie problematiek en probeer so ver moontlik vashou aan die Skrifgetuienis oor die eenheid. Hy was teleurgesteld dat die protestantse kerke die tema van die eenheid losgelaat het en hy verklaar hom bereid om tien oseane oor te steek om hierdie eenheid te probeer herwin. Dit alles laat die vraag ontstaan in watter mate die reformatoriese kerke vandag nog erns maak met die (sigbare) eenheid van die kerk van Christus.

Kernbegrippe: Calvyn, kerk eenheid , ekumenisiteit, verskeurdheid


 

 

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1 From the beginning it was a foregone conclusion to me that I would write an article on Calvin for this Festschrift honouring my colleague, Callie Coetzee. Anybody studying Coetzee's writings soon comes under the impression of the enormous influence Calvin had on his thinking. The fact that the article is published in English is due to circumstance as this is a reworking of a presentation I delivered on 2 March 2009 in Benoni during a meeting of the Konvent van Reformatoriese Kerke in Suider-Afrika. I would like to express my appreciation towards my colleague for his contribution to the development of reformational theology in South Africa.

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