A Church Mirrors A Society Essay

A Church Mirrors A Society Essay

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A church mirrors a society. In the words of David Bosch, “The key to the understanding of history as God’s revelation lies in the eyes of the beholder.” God can be seen as One who ‘nationalizes’ all humanity, or as the Great Revolutionary, and the church can be seen as a pillar of the status quo or a force for social change. All around the world, groups in churches have become vital elements in the swing to the right and fear-ridden resistance to change. The churches have also spawned the growth of what Brazilian Archbishop Helder Camera calls “Abrahamic minorities” and in South Africa, these groups have pushed their establishments to stand up for measures leading to the gradual dismantling of ‘apartheid’ (separateness). The ‘South African problem’ is not just an economic and political issue; it is also a moral issue. When human beings are moved by moral passions, they can sometimes be bounded to a community with power, and sometimes that community is a church. The church as an institution has the potential to promote – or hinder – social change. In South Africa, the multiracial churches represent the one large institution where Blacks and Whites can meet on equal terms, as well as where Blacks can acquire positions of power. This paper’s main focus is on religious institutions – with a specific focus on the Christian and Dutch churches – contributions (both negative and positive) to colonialism, apartheid, and liberation in the nation of South Africa.
In order to understand the role Christian institutions played as political actors in South Africa, one must first discuss the relevant association between Christianity and colonialism. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries saw a huge expansion of scale and intensity of miss...

... middle of paper ...

...th the ladder being hard-liners on the issue of separate development. Generally speaking, the verligte do not seek radical solutions; they tend to accept the framework of separate development, within which they hope to evolve a more humane treatment of the Blacks. More pragmatic than the verkrampte, they believe that negotiation and compromise are necessary, and are apt to favour abolition of the Immorality Act, the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, and job reservation. The NGK criticizes the multiracial churches for violating Christian principles by involving themselves in politics because these churches continuously take stands on political issues and engages in activities of a political nature. Seeing as how the NGK has played a key role in winning acceptance for the view that there is no fundamental contradiction between Christian principles and apartheid.

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