What started as an antecedent societal signifiers grounded in colonial history resulted with the result of Apartheid which in bend affected the South African Church and its history. Apartheid is the province which jeopardize the societal building of the Church as it brought much segregation, which led to many critics of apartheid faulting the Church for its being, they have claimed that racial subjugation in South Africa is the fruit of Christianity harmonizing to Hexham in his work diary: The Journal of Theology for Southern Africa

This topic although has for a really long clip been seen as ethical challenge to Christian divinity, one can non disregard it but can be used a instance survey which will ventures us to reflect what it mean to be one in Jesus Christ within our South African Christian Theology context. It is for this ground that in this assignment I endeavour to foreground some of the s

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Get downing of National Party

Submiting to power in 1948, the National Party has kept a tight clasp on the reins of authorities of all time since till the reign was taken by ANC in 1994. Harmonizing to Dr Verkuyl, the National Party had desired to develop a racial caste system in which each non-white is granted limited freedom of motion – but merely on the footing of a white monopoly of power and subordinated to the involvements of the Whites.

It was in this period that race dealingss remained the cardinal issue, there was addition in assorted step of racial segregation and it was in this clip that black consciousness and active protest became a starker world. Therefore it was through this Party that the political orientation of apartheid became the design for South African society.

World Council of Churches

It was an astonishment that the creative activity of the World Council of Churches ( WCC ) in 1948 at Amsterdam led to new stage in the oecumenic dealingss non merely in South Africa but besides globally. This raised high hope that any divisions in the Church of Christ would be healed and there would be Restoration in dealingss of the church.

South African churches welcome this stage and most of churches in South Africa joined WCC and were self-generated and affable in their engagement. These churches included the Anglicans ; Presbyterians ; Methodist churchs ; the NG Churches of Cape Town and the Transvaal, and the Nederduits Hervomde Kerk in Afrika.

South African delegates were sent to WCC Amsterdam in 1948 and once more in 1954 to Evanston. Alan Paton of Anglican Church and Ben Marais of NG Church served in the fourteen-man committee on Church and race. These work forces had to carry on a survey and subject a study at Evanston Conference. Marais, being one of the selected talkers in the session to stand for the entry of this major study at the conference.

Several South African church leaders like CB Brink, Bishop Ambrose Reeves and WA Landman play important functions and were actively involved in the activities of WCC. CB Brink besides served in the Central commission of WCC along with other South African church leaders. The oecumenic contact built on these old ages had a great effects in South African and assorted conferences and negotiations between local church leaders were arranged to discourse affairs of common concern. Many South African pupils received bursaries from WCC to analyze in America and Europe.

However, it was after the treatment of race dealingss and determination taken at the Evanston that uncertainties grew particularly from the Afrikaans member churches.

Cottesloe Consultation

In 1960 the Church engaged itself in Cottesloe negotiations. It was through Cottesloe audience that delegates were brought together from the World Council of Churches ‘ member churches in South Africa and outside the state and oecumenic establishment as start of start of the spouses contending the church battle in South Africa. In these negotiations, the race issue and Church ‘s function were put under the limelight.

After many yearss of these negotiations, determinations were taken which all member churches agreed to, except the Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk new wave Afrika which stood in dissension with these determinations. The Cottesloe findings brought so much tenseness and emotions since the churches were now thrust into the thick of political emphasiss of the state and media had these negotiations as their headlines whizzing more on the churches reactions.

This led in some churches vacating from WCC, particularly the Afrikaans Reformed churches, while the English speech production churches retained the rank in support of freedom combatants. Churches which resigned from the WCC opened Christian Institute in August 1963 in order to go on their duologue with churches oversees. This institute provided a utile channel for communicating affecting people from different race and denominations. However this institute became a victim of political mark and thereby lost most of its protagonists.

Publication: “ Message to the people of South Africa ”

This publication was formulated in 1968. It focused on South African Council of Churches as limelight and was the consequence of important conference of the WCC held in Geneva in 1966 on the topic: “ Church and Society ” . Theological commission was appointed so they can see what obeisance to God requires of the Church in her informant to her integrity in Christ in South Africa. This commission had to publish the message to the Country.

The intent of the papers was to show the basic mutual exclusiveness of apartheid with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This papers besides appealed to Christians in South Africa to give their obeisance and their trueness to Jesus Christ. The papers was sent to every curate in the state of which 600 showed the positive response and support and all the member churches of SACC subscribed to it. This led SACC being a mark for onslaughts from different sides.


The Study Project on Christianity in Apartheid Society ( SPRO-CAS ) was established in mid-1969 by the South African Council of Churches and the Christian Institute of Southern Africa. This papers was founded after the chasm between the South African Council of Churches and Afrikaans-speaking churches grew wider, the South African Council of churches being attacked on every side.

Included in this papers were the six committees and a diverse set of over 140 commissioners and advisers, which had its focused on the demand for alteration in South Africa, analyzing economic sciences, instruction, jurisprudence, political relations, sociology and the Church. The undertaking non merely played a critical function in believing within the South African churches about how to get the better of apartheid but besides marks a critical phase in the birth of the Black Consciousness Movement.

The undertakings publications had to be submitted to South Africa ‘s Publication Control Board for censoring. Plans had to be adjusted when several of the authors, including Biko, Desmond, and Turner, were issued with censoring orders forbiding them from being quoted in any publication. Despite such troubles the undertaking had important impact on political developments taking up to the Soweto pupil originating in 1976.

Soweto Uprising

The stained state of affairs get a fresh dimension with Soweto public violences in 1976, when the black young person stood their land against province ‘s educational policy and the being of certain Torahs which had broken up places, households and the ordinary life. The young person were dissatisfied, and they were no willing to accept these state of affairss which they found themselves in. It was through this base that Soweto bit by bit became the national symbol of a new coevals of nationally and politically black people awareness in our state.

Black Churches

Each of these goings from Christianity, the Ethiopian and the Zionist, dates from the beginning of old century. The foundation of Ethiopian churches was the less drastic, as they content to interrupt the bonds of white laterality while retaining the signifier of organisation, manner of worship and denominational individuality of the parent organic structure, for illustration ‘African Methodist ‘ and ‘African Congregational ‘ . However, it stemmed straight from the pattern of an undeclared apartheid where it was to the lowest degree expected, from an insisting on segregation and white high quality on the portion of missionaries. These churches were African reproduction of Christian denominations and were an expressed response to racial inequality.

Reformation Day Witness

In 1980 October 31, the Reformation Day Witness was published. It consisted eight eminent NG theologians. This publication dealt with, harmonizing to Pillay & A ; Hoymeyer ( 1994:296 ) the Church ‘s inabilities to carry through the mission of rapprochement and to forestall polarization and to supply the governments with an unambiguous informant. The informant was publish during the period of rapid alterations in South Africa where passage led to new societal and political dispensation. The informant contributed in conveying the greater willingness and openness towards the go oning duologue and it rose the prophetic voice of NG Church so loud and clear.

In the same twelvemonth in November, the appeared aggregations of essays entitled Stomkompas, which was composed by NG theologists which had their positions. This Stomkompas had ruling the widely accepted traditional Afrikaner position on dealingss between people, which was biblically justified since the mid-fortiess.

Broederiking was besides another group emerged from NG church. It was a group of immature NG churches. They aimed at working towards greater integrity among the NG churches at a local degree, to render younger churches less fiscal dependence on the female parent church and to give moral support to these churches.

In 1982, Belhar announced a position of confessions on apartheid reprobating it as a heresy.This was regarded as a protest by the church against a political dispensation as it proclaimed the menace brought by apartheid to the church ‘s credo. It during this clip that the Churh in SA were arranged by committe of every theological society in SA.

Tension rose between the authorities and certain churches in the 80 ‘s

Kairos Document

The Kairos Document ( KD ) is a statement within the background of divinity issued in 1985 by a group of black South African theologists based preponderantly in the black community of Soweto. The statement challenged the churches ‘ response to what the writers saw as the barbarous policies of the Apartheid province under the province of exigency declared on 21 July 1985. In July 1985 the Fe fist of the first province of exigency came down hard upon the people of South Africa ‘s townships. Many were killed, injured, maimed for life or locked up in detainment. The KD evoked strong reactions and ferocious arguments non merely in South Africa, but global.

The KD was compiled in five chapters: The Moment of Truth ; Critique of ‘State Theology ; Critique of Church Theology Towards a Prophetic Theology ; Challenge to Action ; and a short decision. The papers was addressed to the divided churches ; divided, that is, due to the functions that Christians within the churches play in the struggle between the racialist minority authorities and the black bulk population. The KD papers contended against apartheid system utilizing the comparing from the book of Romans, Revelation and even Acts ; it presented this system as unjustly ad non lawful. In clip where strife was in topographic point, this papers truly served as a challenge to many curates and church members of different churches to reflect one time once more where they stand.

The period of 1990 onwards

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela has been in prison for over a one-fourth of a century – since August 5, 1962 – for leading of his people in the battle against racialist subjugation and for a non-racial democratic society.

Prison bars could non forestall him from go oning to animate his people to fight and give for their release. Public sentiment polls have once more and once more shown that he is the most popular leader in the state. He has, so, grown in stature. As the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group observed in 1986, he has become “ a life fable ” , startling the opposition in the state. The London Times described him as “ the giant of African patriotism in South Africa. ”

It was in after the 1990 that there seem to be a interruption of segregation, and thank to all the church who participated in the battle of this release. In 1994 was the beginning of new things for the state of South Africa.


The narrative of the Christian Churches in South Africa, like the narrative of South African society in general is the narrative of many folks, whose histories are on the one manus interwoven and interrelated and helps us non do the same error as the church of segregation, it help us to endeavor to a span spread to any strife, alternatively of being a wall standing in the spread for God to travel in our state. With such richful history, we are collaped to higher tallness, even learning the future theologist of manner frontward because finally we had conquered APARTHED.

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