Thursday, January 12, 2017

Dutch Reformed Church Doldrums

I am told, through personal acquaintances, that the “Mother Church” of South Africa has been experiencing a great loss of power. In my immediate part of the Church landscape, the Karoo, it has rather been disintegrating. The big issue, among various less prominent ones, has been homosexuality. I shall consider it here from another point of view. In my experience, the local Dutch Reformed Church congregations are by and large conservative -- not to speak of their sister Church, the Uniting Reformed Church, which is more conservative still (I don't know enough about the little sister, the Reformed Church in Africa). The General Synod, by comparison, has been making decisions which are very progressive. The Presbyterian Church (as the Dutch Reformed Church is) has representative government -- and, seen apart from the issue(s) in the Church, it is the principle of representation which has gone wrong. One sees evidence for this through a strong shift now towards Congregationalism. Curiously, though, Congregationalism seems to find more (actual) unity in diversity than the Dutch Reformed Church can muster. OBSERVATION: But I have some suspicion that it may also be the same-old in a new guise: the Dutch Reformed Church being subdued by legislative trends. I know, that’s controversial.

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