Yesterday I posted about Martin Luther King. In doing so I was reminded of a book that I had unpacked from storage the day before and one that I had previously only partially skimmed through.
I searched it out today and its title is
Moment of Truth: Confession of the Dutch Reformed Mission Church, 1982
- Paperback: 161 pages
- Publisher: Eerdmans Pub. Co, US (Sep 1984)
- Language English
- ISBN-10: 0802800114
- ISBN-13: 978-0802800114
It begins in its preface that;
It is the firm conviction of many Christians in South Africa that the ideology of apartheid has its roots in the church its self, especially the Dutch Reformed Church. Several historical studies have demonstrated how the ideology gradually grew into a widespread and popular religious way of life after the famous synodical decision of 1857 to allow separate services of the Lord’s Supper “because of the weakness of some.” p. vii
It goes onto to say that in August 1982 the World alliance of Reformed Churches declared that apartheid was a heresy and suspended the membership of two white South African churches. They being the White Dutch Reformed Church which is not to be mistaken to be the same as the Dutch Reformed Mission Church and another smaller denomination.
In the confession of 1982 it states..
That unity is, therefore, both a gift and an obligation for the Church of Jesus Christ; that through the working of God’s Spirit is a binding force, yet simultaneously a reality which must be earnestly pursued and sought: one which the people of God must continually built up to attain
That this unity must become visible so that the world may believe that; separation, enmity, and hatred between people and groups is sin which Christ has already conquered, and accordingly that anything that threatens this unity many have no place in the church and must be resisted.
I believe its a worthwhile book to read through for it highlights the continued development of the reformed confession of faith within the 80’s in which we saw the beginnings of the downfall of the Apartheid movement which begun in 1948 and was disbanded in 1993. The rest of the book contains a series of essays which will be the subject of future posts.
Perhaps its telling; that within the reformed camp, the last area to fall within the bastion of segregation between race, social distinction and gender is that of equality of women in the church and the recognition of that God gifts and equips all equally.