Title page for ETD etd-04012009-233502


Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author De Beer, Jan Mathys
Email jmdebeer@axxess.co.za
URN etd-04012009-233502
Document Title Die missionęre waarde van die Belhar Belydenis vir die NG Kerk : instrument tot inheemswording (Afrikaans)
Degree PhD
Department Science of Religion and Missiology
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Dr A S van Niekerk Supervisor
Keywords
  • NG Kerk
  • VGKSA
  • inheemswording
  • kontekstualisering
  • missioner
  • missie
  • Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk
  • Verenigende Gereformeerde Kerk in Suid-Afrika
  • Karl Barth
  • Lesslie Newbigin
  • mission
  • Belhar Belydenis
  • sending
  • herenigingsgesprek
  • eenwording
  • Status Confessionis
  • indigenization
  • contextualization
  • NG Sendingkerk
  • missional
  • missionary
  • church unity
  • reformed
  • Dutch Reformed Church family
  • Belhar Confession
Date 2009-04-18
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
AFRIKAANS: Die Belhar Belydenis was sedert sy ontstaan in 1982 ‘n omstrede dokument in die NG Kerkfamilie. Ná die Kerkbode-debat in 1998, is Belhar al hoe meer gesien as ‘n struikelblok in die weg van eenwording. Denke oor die Belydenis het gepolariseer tussen diegene wat dit aanvaar as konfessie teenoor diegene wat dit nie aanvaar nie. Besware wat teen die Belydenis ingebring is, het te make met sy ontstaansgeskiedenis, sy status as konfessie en inhoudelike besware. Die negatiewe persepsies oor die Belhar Belydenis is diep gewortel.

In hierdie studie word ‘n derde posisie voorgestel, naamlik dat die missionęre waarde van die Belhar Belydenis vir die NG Kerk genoeg rede is om die inhoud van die belydenis te ontgin, ongeag of die belydenis as konfessie aanvaar word of nie. Deur ‘n bestudering van die sendingbenadering en –beleid in die NG Kerk as historiese aanloop tot die Belhar Belydenis, word die belang van inheemswording in terme van die missie van die kerk uitgelig. Die NG Kerk het ‘n sendingbeleid rondom die negentiende-eeuse Europese teologie van inheemswording ontwikkel wat bygedra het tot die ontstaan van afsonderlike kleur-bepaalde kerke. Hierdie beleid van inheemswording het bygedra tot ‘n versmelting van kerk en volk by die Afrikaner, met ‘n verdere gevolg van toenemende isolasie, ‘n geloofwaardigheidskrisis en ‘n missionęre gevangenskap. Dit vorm die missionęre agtergrond van die Belhar Belydenis. Ongelukkig het die NG Kerk die belydenis baie negatief ontvang – saam met ‘n aanklag van kettery en afgodery. Selfs te midde van hierdie negatiewe persepsie van die Belhar Belydenis, het die belydenis nogtans ‘n vormende en bevrydende invloed uitgeoefen op die sending van die kerk tot op hede, weereens: missionęre waarde.

Die leemte in die inheemswording van die NG Kerk is dat dit tot volks-inheemswording beperk was. ‘n Nasionale inheemswording-benadering word uitgewys as ‘n meer relevante uitdrukking van die missie van die kerk in Suid-Afrika, met ‘n Suid-Afrikaanse Gereformeerde kerk as oogmerk. In terme hiervan is die Belhar Belydenis ‘n instrument tot inheemswording vir die hele NG Kerk-familie.

Belhar is nie die struikelblok in die weg van eenwording nie. In die herenigingsgesprekke het ‘n inwendige teenstrydigheid ontstaan, en dít is die werklike struikelblok. Verskillende benaderings tot belydenisse bring verskillende beoordelings van Belhar mee. Karl Barth se teologie van Gereformeerde belydenisse dui op ‘n derde weg uit die hereniging-dilemma. Die aanvaarding van ‘n belydenis in die Gereformeerde benadering geskied altyd in vryheid, want Gereformeerdes staan onder gesag van die Skrif en Christus alleen. Die gesag wat die Kerk aan ‘n belydenis toeken word nie ontken nie, maar eerder ontgin.

Die studie sluit af met riglyne vir die ontginning van die missionęre waarde van die Belhar Belydenis, gegrond op 14 onderhoude met teoloë uit die NG Kerk en VGKSA. Die onderhoude word weergegee as stimulasie tot gesprek tussen die lede van die NG Kerk-familie, veral tussen die NG Kerk en die VGKSA. Die studie eindig met enkele praktiese riglyne vir leraars en gemeenteleiers wat die missionęre waarde van die Belhar Belydenis wil ontgin deur ‘n oop en eerlike gesprek oor die Belhar Belydenis. ‘n Verwysingsbron van aktuele temas in die Belhar Belydenis word as hulpmiddel gegee.

ENGLISH: Since its inception in 1982, the Belhar Confession has been a controversial document in family of Dutch Reformed Churches. After the debate in Die Kerkbode (1998), Belhar was progressively seen as an obstacle in the way of church unity. Opinion on the Confession polarized between those who accepted Belhar as their confession and others who did not want to accept it altogether. Objections on Belhar has to do with factors surrounding its inception, its status as confession and objections on certain textual formulations. The negative perceptions of the Belhar Confession is deep rooted.

This study proposes a third position, namely that the missionary value of the Belhar Confession reason enough gives to make use of the contents of the Confession, irrespective of whether it is accepted as confession or not. Through a study of the missionary approach and policy of the Dutch Reformed Churches, the importance of indigenization as mission of the church is highlighted. The Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) developed its missionary policy based on nineteenth century European theology of indigenization. This policy of indigenization, however, contributed to the formation of separate churches determined by colour. This policy of indigenization also contributed to a fusion of church and “volk” (indigenous people) of the “Afrikaner”, further resulting in isolation, a crisis of credibility and a missional imprisonment in die DRC. This is the missional background of the Belhar Confession. The DRC, however, had a very negative reception of the Confession, since it was accompanied by a charge of heresy and idolatry against this church. Nevertheless, even in the midst of this negative perception of Belhar, the Confession still had a formative influence on the mission of the church until now: hence its missional value.

The shortfall in the indigenization of the DRC is that it was confined to “volks”-indigenization. A national indigenization approach is shown to be a more relevant expression of the mission of the church in South Africa, with a South African Reformed Church as objective. In terms of this, the Belhar Confession is an instrument of indigenization for the whole DRC-family.

Belhar is not an obstacle in the way of church unity. In the re-unification talks, an internal contradiction appeared, which is the actual obstacle. Different approaches to confessions lead to different evaluations of Belhar. Karl Barth’s theology of Reformed confessions points to a third way out of the dilemma of the re-unification process. In the Reformed approach, the acceptance of a confession is always voluntary, because the reformed believer is only under the authority of Christ and his Word (Scripture). The authority that the church gives to a confession is not denied, but rather discovered.

The study concludes with a contemporary reading of the Belhar Confession, based on 14 interviews with theologians in the DRC and the Uniting Reformed Church. These interviews are presented to stimulate a conversation between members of the DRC-family, especially between die DRC and the Uniting Reformed Church. At the end of the study, some practical guidelines are given for church leaders and pastors who wish to make use of the missional value of Belhar by facilitating and organizing an open and honest dialogue between members of the DRC-family.

© University of Pretoria 2008

Please cite as follows:

De Beer, JM 2008, Die missionęre waarde van die Belhar Belydenis vir die NG Kerk : instrument tot inheemswording (Afrikaans), PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-04012009-233502>

D575/ag

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