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Before the pool of Narcissus : the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk's journey to confessional orthodoxy and isolation through the lense [sic] of doctrine

By Mieke Rae Holkeboer


Bibliography: leaves 116-122.This thesis considers South Africa's Nederduitse Gerefonneerde Kerk (NGK) in its journey toward confessional orthodoxy and isolation which began already in the late nineteenth century and continued, through the apartheid era, well into the twentieth. The dates chosen roughly to frame this inquiry (1907 to 1962), however, drive equally toward a particular ecclesial unity. For in 1907, the NGK synods established, out of a desire to cooperate more closely, the Federal Council of Churches (FCC). In 1962 this drive toward ecclesial unity then culminated in the convening of the General Synod, where delegates from all the church's "mother" synods gathered in a single synod for the first time in one hundred years. So united, however, the NGK was, in its ecumenical affiliations, at an all-time low. What were the circumstances within which this unity-in-isolation occurred? In light of the NGK's role in sanctioning and advancing apartheid, this thesis explores Afrikaans church and missionary periodicals and church documents from these years with a view to evaluating what went wrong. More specifically, however, the inquiry is driven by an interest in the complex role of doctrine in hermeneutics and the life of the church. Indeed, this thesis views doctrine as the key to understanding the NGK's journey to isolation and apartheid and asks, how did it function - in the church's ecumenical decisions, internal church matters and even its political involvement during this period? In The Nature of Doctrine1 George Lindbeck offers a metaphor within which to conceive doctrine's role for a healthy church: doctrine is "grammar" for the primary language of Scripture. This thesis employs (with several critical divergences) Lindbeck's theory of doctrine in evaluating healthy and unhealthy dynamics within the NGK. The inquiry is broken into four chapters:1) Lindbeck and the NGK; 2) Ecumenicity and the NGK; 3) Confessional Foundations; and 4) Race Relations and the NGK

Topics: Religious Studies
Publisher: Department of Religious Studies
Year: 1995
OAI identifier:

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