He refers to the assimilation of Rahab into Israel, the marriage of Ruth with Boaz, and the mixed descent of Timothy. Here Groenewald refers to Galatians 4:2, where the word "guardian" or "ward" ("voog") occurs. Courts of law meted out severe punishments to opponents of apartheid and proponents of democracy. Fortunately, or so Groenewald argues, Scripture is rich in statements that could provide fixed principles to guide us in this matter. For more background on this correspondence, see also Van der Watt, PB 1987, Die Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk 1905-1975 (Pretoria: NG Kerkboekhandel), 90-91. 43 Keet, BB, "Die Heilige Skrif en Apartheid", Die Kerkbode, 30 November 1949: 1005. However, Scripture also teaches that diversity derives from God. Attention is also given to some voices critical of this endeavour. The decision to maintain apartheid in order to survive does not mean that a nation does not have any responsibility for others, specifically underdeveloped peoples ("met name teenoor 'n minderontwikkelde"). It is a well-known fact that the Bible was used in some Reformed circles to justify the policy and practice of apartheid. 15 "Die rassebeleid van die Afrikaner", 22. In the 1940s the process of rapid Afrikaner urbanisation also led to competition with black labour, and the church's role was (in part at least) to create a type of enclave in which (rural) Afrikaner identity was protected and extended into the future. We also see some clear evidence of "constructions of an enemy" in the congress decisions, with its critique of liberalism, communism, Roman Catholicism and "foreign" mission societies, because the influence of these forces will lead to the eradication of natural boundaries and that this, in turn, will create social chaos.15, The 1944 congress was a key event in which the scriptural justification of apartheid was given a powerful explication and the congress led to the dissemination of these ideas to a wider audience. Even the segregated state structure had been prefigured by Dutch Reformed church orders. Marais draws his arguments against the biblical justification of apartheid from what he refers to as the general principles of the Christian view of brotherhood ("Christelike broederskapsleer"), which was also the theme of his doctoral dissertation.32God is the father of all people and they are all equal before God. But these exceptions do not disqualify the rule. Brink, CB. Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae XXXIX/2 (2013): 19-32. Coetzee, MH 2010, Die 'kritiese stem' teen apartheidsteologie in die Ned Geref Kerk (1905-1974): 'n Analise van die bydraes van Ben Marais en Beyers Naudé (Wellington: Bybel-Media), 368-371. In an article "'n Kritiese beoordeling van die Standpunt van ons Kerk insake Rasseverhoudings met die Oog op Gebeure Oorsee" [A critical evaluation of the view of our church regarding racial relations in the light of events abroad], published in 1947 in Op die Horison, Marais gives a clear statement of his views. In Genesis 10 we read that the nations were divided after the flood. If they were involved in education, they religiously invoked Bantu education, which subsequently led to the eruption in black schools in 1976. Andre Brink, himself an Afrikaner, traces his anti-apartheid stance to the ideas of Albert Camus and to the shock of the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 while he was in France. In addition, the article attends to some of the writings of theologians such as BJ Marais and BB Keet who strongly opposed any attempt to justify apartheid in this manner. The editors and contributors to RBMW also argued that the Bible does not "approve" of slavery, it only "regulates" an existing institution like Moses regulated divorce.[3]. Christian scripture—the New Testament—has a lot more about peace and love than about war and violence and little that is attributed to Jesus really advocates violence. It is therefore not surprising that in a series of editorials in Die Kerkbode (the official DRC newspaper) in September 1948 (a few months after the National Party won the general election with its slogan of "apartheid") could speak of apartheid as "church policy" ("kerklike beleid") and also challenge attempts to characterise apartheid as unscriptural.25The Synod of 1949 accepted a report of the Committee on Race Relations that gave scriptural grounds for "our conception of the differences between and characteristics of the races." Die Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerke en Rassepolitiek, met spesiale verwysing na die jare 1948-1961.Pretoria: NGK Boekhandel, 1981. Ben Marais (who later became professor in Church History at the University of Pretoria). 5:9, 7:9, 14:6, and other passages, the Bible clearly states that God recognizes that people are divided and identified by race. Pretoria: NG Kerkboekhandel, 1987. "Die Skrif en Rasse-Apartheid." They find it hard to believe that, for eighteen centuries, Christians accepted slavery like they did other cultural realities. 33 Marais, "'n Kritiese beoordeling", 70. Die Rassevraagstuk en die toekoms van die blankes in Suid-Afrika. The principle of the Kingdom is that of universalism. Du Toit, JD & Du Toit, S. Die Afrikaanse Rassebeleid en die Skrif: Artikels van prof. dr JD du Toit en prof. dr S du Toit (tweede druk). In … Andre Brink, himself an Afrikaner, traces his anti-apartheid stance to the ideas of Albert Camus and to the shock of the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 while he was in France. Marais, BJ. Without Gender Equality, Our Gospel Has A Hole In It Neither the editors, John Piper and Wayne Grudem, nor any of the contributors to the definitive complementarian collection of essays, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, ever once mention that most Christians, until modern times, thought that the Bible legitimized and endorsed slavery and that American Reformed theologians wrote extensively on the "biblical" case for slavery. The target of Strydom's booklet is also the idea of "verbastering." This fixed understanding of identity is often coupled with the romanticising of the Afrikaner bloodline, the so-called blood of the Huguenots and the Geuzen ("die Hugenote en die Geuse"). Groenewald also argues that apartheid is not limited to one area of life, but extends to cover every aspect of life, including its national, social and religious aspects. Hence Groenewald's conclusion: "An unlimited social mixing with people who do not belong to your own community leads to moral and spiritual harm… There can only be communion for the sake of the gospel. Theological justification of apartheid in South African churches: Did churches in South Africa justify apartheid? Abstract It is said that the life span of contextual theology is short-lived. "Apartheid as Kerklike Beleid I." The Nederduitse Gerefor-meerde Kerk (NGK), once again under pressure from its world body to repudiate apartheid, continues to find biblical justification for the separation of races. Furthermore, no matter what awful consequences follow from their theology, they remain adamant that God has set them over others. Blog/Magazine Article. A close reading of the primary texts from the 1940s related to the theological justification and critique of apartheid reveals the challenges posed by the sense of what can be called "beleaguered identity." Die Evolusie van 'n Volksteologie. 13:1-7). Cape Town: Maskew Miller Longman, 1987. In 1986, however, the Dutch Reformed Church denounced its own former attempts at the biblical justification of apartheid, and in 1989 it condemned apartheid as a sin. Preview. Die Kerkbode, 8 September 1948, 572. Price New from Used from Paperback, February 9, 2012 "Please retry" $83.02 . 32 Marais, BJ, 1946. Titus 2:9 was similarly popular, proclaiming, “Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them.”. Drawing on Acts 17:26, Groenewald sees not merely the separated nations but also the geographical area for each nation as part of the providence of God. The article is especially interested in identifying the … Marais, BJ. Israel’s High Court of Justice Defends Apartheid. Die Kerkbode, 4 August 1948, 267. The congress decided, That it is to the benefit of whites as well as blacks that a policy of apartheid be followed … And that it is the duty of the whites to act as guardians over the black races … And that in the best interest of all races there shall be no further mixing of blood.14, The decisions of the "Volkskongres" are presented as defensible on scriptural, scientific and historical grounds. In Genesis 1, Totius argues, we read that God creates a beautiful unity. Drawing on Acts 17:26, Totius admits that God created the nations out of one blood, but notes that this verse further states that God determined the boundaries of their territory. for a discussion of the congress and report Vosloo, RR, From a farm road to a public highway: The Dutch Reformed Church and its changing views regarding the city and urbanisation in the first half of the 20th century (1916-1947), Studia Historiae EcclesiasticaeXXXIX/2, December 2013:19-32. "Die Heilige Skrif en Apartheid I." Acts 17:26 was possibly the most important text for Apartheid theologians. Groenewald, moreover, qualifies this relationship as follows: "One should add that no nation that accepts, in the name of the Lord and justice, guardianship over another should do so out of self-exaltation and as demonstration of superiority. DOI: 10.1093/jcs/38.2.321. They had a number of large and well-supported theological seminaries with very high standards. He writes, for instance: "I want to point out that our usual reference to the Old Testament in defence of apartheid is based on highly dubious grounds. 30 Marais, BJ, "'n Kritiese beoordeling van die Standpunt van ons Kerk insake Rasseverhoudings met die Oog op Gebeure Oorsee," Op die Horison, 1947, 67. 1 This article is based on a paper that was read at Biblica's Conversation on the Bible, held at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS), 24-25 March 2015. Learned and seemingly godly Reformed theologians developed an impressive biblical case for apartheid--apartness. God is the author of segregation. One of the speakers at the 1947 conference was Dr Geoff Cronjé, a professor of sociology from the University of Pretoria. The first point that Groenewald makes is the affirmation that Scripture teaches the unity of humanity. Groenewald admits that there are certain exceptions to the rule of national, social and religious apartheid to be found in Scripture. The Church declares itself straightforwardly opposed to this mixing and to everything that promotes … While the church does declare itself opposed to social equalisation ("gelykstelling") in the sense of the disregard for the racial and colour differences between blacks and whites in daily life, it wishes to encourage and promote social differentiation and cultural segregation to the benefit of both sections.7, Totius supports this idea of "geen gelykstelling," as well as the emphasis on another dominant motif in the discourse on race relationships, namely the aversion of proponents of segregation to racial "blood mixing" ("bloedvermenging"). He wonders if a new biblical approach is needed today, as people grapple with polarizing issues like gay marriage. [ Links ]. Sendingkerk, also in 1982, in an impressive statement on apartheid, issued ... logical justification of … 29 Cf. 12 Du Toit and Du Toit, Die Afrikaanse Rassebeleid en die Skrif, 19-20. However, a few prominent pastors and academics also expressed strong criticism of the attempts to use the Bible in this manner. SIR,—The exponents of the doctrine of apartheid appear to find their biblical justification in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 9. John Piper and Wayne Grudem (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006), 65, cf 159. Finally, Albert van den Heuvel’s Shalom and Combat (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1979) is a moving testimony to the struggle of one man against racism. [ Links ]. Date: March, 1996. Save for later. The former did so while condemning apartheid, the latter in giving it divine justification. Reformed theology in South Africa has an ambivalent history and legacy, also with regard to the way in which the Bible was read and interpreted. "Die Skrif en Rasse-Apartheid." Apartheid theologians depended on biblical passages and experiental proofs to cultivate And: Are we aware of our own ideological distortions as we appropriate the Bible for our seemingly good causes today? The need remains to grapple with these questions as we reflect on the uses and abuses of the Bible in public discourse today. The Bible and the justification of apartheid in Reformed circles in the 1940's in South Africa: Some historical, hermeneutical and theological remarks. Rereading the texts from the 1940s leaves on with the question about how our reading of the Bible is determined by beleaguered, fixed, isolationist and polarised identity constructions. Die Kerkbode, 30 November 1949, 1004-1005. Th is article focuses on the way the Bible was used in the 1940s in some Reformed theological circles in South Africa as part of the discourse to justify apartheid. Die Kerkbode, 2 June 1948, 1279. "Die Skrif en Rasse-Apartheid." 21 Cronje, Regverdige Rasse-apartheid, 54. The gist of the report's findings lie in the statement that "the existence of the various races and nations was not only allowed by God, but was specifically willed and ordained by Him. Apartheid Theology: A "Contextual" Theology Gone Wrong? 1949. The report covered the situations of both Palestinian citizens of Israel and the subject population in the Occupied Territories. And in June 1944 Rev C. B. The focus of this article is on the way the Bible was used in the 1940s in some Reformed theological circles in South Africa to justify apartheid, with specific reference to some influential texts by prominent theologians such as JD du Toit (Totius) and EP Groenewald. Strydom reaches the conclusion, that the white man's survival can only be guaranteed if he … maintains the strict policy of the old folks of strict apartheid in social life, and not sink to the level of the barbarian, and if mixed marriages are prohibited and interracial intercourse is severely punished.8, It is also interesting to note that Strydom argues for objectivity and justice in dealing with the race question: "On the political level one should deal with the race question in a purely objective manner, in order to let justice prevail. Papers and Decisions], 124. So there is justification for thinking that Christianity should be more peaceful—maybe not perfectly peaceful, but certainly not as bloody and violent as Christian history has been. Gustav Thiel. You can find justification for slavery in the Bible. The guardian is there only for a while, until the child reaches maturity. "Die Skrif en Rasse-Apartheid." When defending this kind of justification, one should never offer other Bible verses to contradict Romans 13. Naudé and his family were completely ostracized by their fellow Afrikaners. Rossouw, SH. They insisted that their policies were pleasing to God because they were grounded in Scripture. What chance would a black person have of acquittal if, for instance, he or she were an anti-apartheid activist appearing before Justice HHW de Villiers? Biblical Justification for the BIG can take place through the use of Contextual Bible Study will be explored. It seems the South African Reformed theologians who were so sure the Bible endorsed, if not prescribed Apartheid, were teaching heresy. ), Kerk en Stad: Verslag van Kommissie van Ondersoek oor Stadstoestande [Church and City: Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Urban Conditions] (Stellenbosch: Pro Ecclesia, 1947). 1. This idea is then extrapolated by Groenewald from the individual to nations. They were branded as opponents of the church to which they belonged and worse, opponents of what the Bible so plainly endorsed. Modern biblical scholars note that the ancient Hebrew word "ham" does not translate as "burnt" or "Black." It would be in a direct contradiction of the revealed will of God to plead for a commonality between whites, coloured, and Blacks. "Die Skrif en Rasse-Apartheid." South Africa South Africa May 2019 Prof. Groenewald, a respected New Testament scholar from the University of Pretoria, used as the basis for his chapter on "Apartheid en Voogdyskap in die lig van die Heilige Skrif" [Apartheid and Guardianship in light of Holy Scripture] his earlier study on the theme, a document that was accepted by the Transvaal Dutch Reformed Synod and the Council of Dutch Reformed Churches in 1947. 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