This 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. The Dutch Reformed Church, which provided "biblical" justification for apartheid, became known as the "National Party at prayer". Marais maintained and developed his argument in an article on "Die Skrif en Rassebeleid" [Scripture and Race Policy] in a volume of Die Gereformeerde Vaandel of 1950 which dealt with the apartheid issue ("die Apartheidsvraagstuk").38In this article Marais provides some hermeneutical pointers in dealing with this question. "Die Rassebeleid van die Afrikaner: Besluite van die Volkskongres, Bloemfontein, September 1944." Journal: Journal of Church and State. African citizens. Twice while I was in college, Stephen Bradley, the bishop of the breakaway Church of England in South Africa, spoke to us students in support of Apartheid at the invitation of Dr. Knox. They had been using the Bible to justify what the Bible condemns! Die Christelike Broederskapsleer: Sy Agtergrond en Toepassing in die Vroeë Kerk. The point for Totius here is that the unity depicted in these texts refers to a spiritual unity in Christ in which distinctions and separations remain intact.4, Readers of Totius's text today will probably be struck by his reference to Africa as a "dark swamp" ("donker moeras") that is set over against "civilisation," as well as his depiction of the Afrikaner nation ("Boerenasie") as a "new type" that came into being out of a remarkable and miraculous convergence of bloodlines.5, The heart of Totius's argument for racial separation lies in his emphasis on the idea that what God has separated we should not put together. Referate en Besluite [National Conference in Johannesburg 1-4 July 1947. Elphick, R, The Equality of Believers: Protestant Missionaries and the Racial Politics of South Africa (Pietermaritzburg: University of Kwazulu-Natal Press, 2012), 232. Die Kerkbode, 11 August 1948, 316. Acts 17:26 was possibly the most important text for Apartheid theologians. Totius is thus not only opposed to "gelykstelling," but also to "verbastering" (bastardisation) through miscegenation. Van der Watt, PB. Indeed, no complementarian today is willing to admit that, with Bible in hand, leading evangelical and Reformed theologians argued that slavery was instituted by God and approved by him. Die Kerkbode, 22 September 1948, 664-665. Unsurprisingly, the NGK proved to be a reliable supporter of apartheid, which they attempted to justify on Biblical grounds. 1949. Therefore the nations should stand their ground ("hulleself handhaaf") against this Babylonian spirit of unification ("die Babiloniese gees van eenmaking"). Marais, BJ. Already on 10 April 1940 he had written a letter to Die Kerkbode saying that there is no Scriptural justification for apartheid. "Die Skrif en Rasse-Apartheid." The decades long pro-apartheid regime in South Africa … Gifts of Stock, Mutual Funds, and Retirement Accounts, 7 Places Where Gender-Inclusive Bible Translation Really Matters: Part 1, Sign Up to Get CBE’s Academic Journal Online. This 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. Religion and Complexity . In 1982, The World Alliance of Reformed Churches passed a motion declaring that Apartheid was a "heresy.". They were totally convinced that the Bible endorsed the separation of the races. Courts of law meted out severe punishments to opponents of apartheid and proponents of democracy. 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. "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)." 44 Keet, BB, "Die Heilige Skrif en Apartheid", Die Kerkbode, 14 December 1949, 1087. 12 As the "great Divider", God separates light and darkness, the dry land from the waters, the living creatures according to their kind. And it is interesting to note how other worldviews such as liberalism, Roman Catholicism and communism were viewed as dangerous for challenging the belief that there should be no equalisation ("geen gelykstelling") between races and no racial mixing. Kerke, 1935" in Lombard, RTJ, Die Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerke en Rassepolitiek, met spesiale verwysing na die jare 1948-1961 (Pretoria: NGK Boekhandel, 1981), 272-273. In Acts 2:5-11, Rev. 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"). One of their most respected theologians, F. Potgeiter, summed up what was believed: "It is quite clear that no one can ever be a proponent of integration on the basis of the scriptures. the Separator or Divider ("Skeidingmaker"). Scripture as a site of struggle: literary and socio-historical resources for prophetic theology in post-colonial, post-Apartheid (neo-colonial?) 9 Strydom, Die Rassevraagstuk en die toekoms van die blankes in Suid-Afrika, 28. Please read our short guide how to send a book to Kindle. 29 Cf. A Biblical Model for Marriage The marriage guidance in Ephesians 5, rather than subjecting wives, is aimed at bringing the freedom of true Christian community into our homes. The idea of apartheid, Groenewald states, is built on experiences stretching back through the generations. In the 1980’s this interpretation has been challenged, and by 1990 an alternative explanation, at least in outline, emerged. 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. The image of the vineyard in Isaiah 5 with its strong fence to secure safe growth is used to justify the argument. "Apartheid as Kerklike Beleid II." And in Genesis 11we read that God created a confusion of languages through a deliberate deed ("'n bewuste daad"). 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. This notion of a fixed identity is linked to the perception of beleaguered identity in the sense that in order to survive in a hostile situation the self and the group must remain "pure" and not be contaminated by the other. This will be undermined and totally subverted by our involvement in the arms trade. Pistorius, PV. 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. This booklet by Strydom, the mission secretary of the Dutch Reformed Church in the Orange Free State, was published in 1942 and copies were indeed sent to every church council in the Free State to distribute for free. In 2017 the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) issued a report on the conditions of Palestinians under Israeli rule. Save for later. 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. Die Evolusie van 'n Volksteologie. God is the author of segregation. And a few years later, Botha's successor, F.W. Op die Horison 6/2, June 1944, 50-58. Given these conflicting views, wisdom in this regard is to be sought not in the wisdom of the human being, but in God's Word as our tried and tested and infallible guideline ("as beproefte, onfeilbare rigsnoer").19. 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. Kock, FA. Die Kerkbode, 13 October 1948, 875-876. Loots, PJ. Groenewald also shows that the "Volkskongresse" in Bloemfontein in 1944 and in Johannesburg in 1947 affirmed the policy and practice of racial apartheid. 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. Coetzee, MH. It was costly for any Reformed minister in South Africa to oppose this appeal to the Bible in support of Apartheid. "35Yet he added the following qualification: "But the requirement of Christian brotherhood should not be discarded and it should not be driven by racial self-interest or a sense of racial superiority. During Apartheid, Christianity played an influential role in the ideological formation and justification of the Apartheid political system, while simultaneously serving as a primary source of strength for those involved in the struggle. Today, virtually all evangelicals including complementarians believe that the Bible in no way approves of or endorses slavery. Apartheid theologians depended on biblical passages and experiental proofs to cultivate File: PDF, 982 KB. 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]. Kinghorn, J, ed. This is seen in the prevalence of the language of survival in these texts. Referate en Besluite." This is seen in the way that those who critique their reading are often depicted (including more critical ecumenical voices). Cape Town: Howard B Timmins, 1953. Die Kerkbode, 4 August 1948, 267. A. Post a Review . 19 Cronje, G (with Nicol, W and Groenewald, EP), Regverdige Rasse-apartheid (Stellenbosch: Die Christen-Studenteverenigingsmaatskappy van Suid-Afrika, 1947), 43. 45 See Kotzé, Die Bybel en ons Volkstryd. 21 Cronje, Regverdige Rasse-apartheid, 54. 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. Keet is clearly sceptical of the statement of the report that the declared policy of apartheid would lead to the spiritual flourishing of blacks.43He is also highly critical of the way the report uses Scripture to justify political apartheid. Together with national apartheid, Groenewald also affirms social apartheid, since social assimilation leads to miscegenation, and that in turn leads to religious apostasy. 25 See the editorials in Die Kerkbode, 22 September 1948, 664-665 and Die Kerkbode, 29 September 1948, 724-725. Groenewald continues his argument by stating that only the nation that can maintain its (separate) identity can survive and be true to its divine destiny: History … confirms the truth that the peoples who protected their identity were able, in the name of the Lord, to bring blessing to themselves and their neighbours. The world is predicated on a number of unchanging creation "orders" (i.e. 43 Keet, BB, "Die Heilige Skrif en Apartheid", Die Kerkbode, 30 November 1949: 1005. What can we learn from the way the Bible was read in the 1940s in South Africa to justify apartheid on biblical grounds as well as the attempts to critique this reading? This 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. Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae XXXIX/2 (2013): 19-32. "26, 4.Critical voices against the biblical justification of apartheid: Ben Marais and Bennie Keet, The attempt to give a biblical justification for apartheid found its fullest expression towards the end of the 1940s, albeit that earlier defences of apartheid as Scriptural could already be found in the late 1930s and early 1940s. 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. "Die Skrif en Rasse-Apartheid." The "biblical" case for Apartheid is as follows: The world is predicated on a number of unchanging creation "orders" (i.e. And with regard to religious apartheid, Groenewald feels that Scripture is so obvious in this regard that there is not a need to argue for it. 5:9, 7:9, 14:6, and other passages, the Bible clearly states that God recognizes that people are divided and identified by race. But the NG Church has found biblical justification for South Africa's policy of ''separate development.'' Language: english. 27 See the letters on Scripture and racial apartheid by P.V. The child, even if he is an heir, is placed under guardians and managers for a time determined by the father. Lastly it will be argued that Contextual Bible study has relevance as a tool towards consientizing and mobilization in the Basic Income Grant Campaign. It is agreed that those who supported it were wrong. They were branded as opponents of the church to which they belonged and worse, opponents of what the Bible so plainly endorsed. Tip: to find an exact phrase or title, enclose it in quotation marks. The "biblical" case for Apartheid is as follows: This theology was backed by virtually every Reformed theologian in South Africa. 35 Marais, "'n Kritiese beoordeling", 75. "44It should also be noted that Keet defended to some extent the notion of "kerklike apartheid" on practical grounds, but wants to keep the idea alive that the walls of separation can be broken down. 6 Du Toit and Du Toit, Die Afrikaanse Rassebeleid en die Skrif, 14. 18 For engagements with Groenewald's text cf., among others, Botha, AJ 1984, Die evolusie van 'n volksteologie (Bellville: UWK Drukkery), 198-201; Kinghorn, J (ed.) They had a number of large and well-supported theological seminaries with very high standards. Of special interest is the way in which Marais counters the argument made from history to justify apartheid (the argument that apartheid or segregation was the way of our fathers or previous generations) by going back in Church history (and especially to the early church) to indicate an alternative to the logic of separation. 13 See, for instance, Van der Merwe, WJ, "Segregasie en Aparte Woongebiede," Op die Horison, March 1942: 15-22. In conclusion I want to make a few hermeneutical remarks that is in my view pertinent in this regard. Die Rassevraagstuk en die toekoms van die blankes in Suid-Afrika. What is important to note is that the defence of apartheid is also placed within a broader "moral" argument. Today, virtually all evangelicals including complementarians believe that the Bible in no way approves of or endorses slavery. 8.1.4.Chapter 6: The EEI Justification Model in Moral Discourse in post-apartheid South Africa 207 8.1.5. However, Scripture also teaches that diversity derives from God. We see exactly the same argument used to justify Apartheid in South Africa in the 20th century. The guardian is there only for a while, until the child reaches maturity. 8 Strydom, JG, Die Rassevraagstuk en die toekoms van die blankes in Suid-Afrika (NG Kerk in die OVS, nd), 28. Several articles in the early 1940 in Op die Horison dealt with this concept of guardianship. [ Links ]. The Reformed Church of South Africa was the largest denomination in the country by far. Just as Christians in the past used the Bible to support slavery and racism, Christians continued to defend their views using biblical passages. The more haunting questions for me became: Why were these ideas received so favourably in the church? The story of Babel tells us that the separation of people into different races with different languages is God's will. Die Christelike Broederskapsleer: Sy Agtergrond en Toepassing in die Vroeë Kerk (Unpublished PhD dissertation, Stellenbosch University, two volumes). Wellington: Bybel-Media, 2010. Op die Horison, March 1945 1, 16-23. Those who removed the divisions, perished.20. Biblical Justification for the BIG can take place through the use of Contextual Bible Study will be explored. One of the marks of Marais's and Keet's critique is that they seem to be aware of this isolation of the Dutch … [ Links ]. "36Marais also challenges the idea of permanent guardianship ("ewigdurende voogdyskap"). They were totally convinced that the Bible endorsed the separation of the races. You can find justification for slavery in the Bible. 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. But can this idea of guardianship be justified from the Bible? Groenewald admits that there are certain exceptions to the rule of national, social and religious apartheid to be found in Scripture. "Die Skrif en Rasse-Apartheid." Cape Town: Maskew Miller Longman, 1987. Naudé and his family were completely ostracized by their fellow Afrikaners. I first heard the "biblical" case for Apartheid at Moore College, Sydney, in the mid 1960's from the lips of Broughton Knox, the principal, and Donald Robinson, the vice-principal. The Bible teaches that God has created different races. Totius, a prominent theologian in the Gereformeerde Kerk (today known as the Reformed Churches in South Africa), goes on to present his argument to defend racial segregation on biblical grounds, starting - as promised - with Genesis. Noah became intoxicated with drinking too much wine and behaved unbecomingly in his tent. The Bible was used to justify not just slavery in general but the inferiority of “dark-skinned peoples” in particular. 17 Volkskongres te Johannesburg 1-4 Julie 1947. They find it hard to Help CBE spread the message that #Godvalueswomen. The Bible and the justification of apartheid in Reformed circles in the 1940's in South Africa: Some historical, hermeneutical and theological remarks. This critique by Marais is certainly not at this stage a well-developed theological critique of the whole apartheid edifice. 3 This idea that God willed the nations but not empires is also forcefully presented in the sermons of Reverend CR Kotzé from Bloemfontein. Cf. They argued that the Bible taught that humankind, by the will of God, was separated into different races that should each have their own lands. Venter, RH. 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." This was followed by another letter from BJ Marais (Die Kerkbode, 15 September 1948:632-633) in which he responded to the criticisms of his position. "Die Skrif en Rasse-Apartheid." Learned and seemingly godly Reformed theologians developed an impressive biblical case for apartheid--apartness. In 1963, Beyers Naudé, another Afrikaner theologian, spoke out and wrote in opposition to the claim that the Bible supported Apartheid. "Dealing with Division: Some Reponses to World War II within the Dutch Reformed Church on synodical and congregational level (1936-1944)," Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae XL/2: December 2014: 57-70. Ham, one of three sons, saw him and told his brothers—Shem and Japheth—who took up a large garment between them, walked backward int In his address at the "Volkskongres" in 1944 Totius further refers to the idea of Christian guardianship ("Christelike voogdyskap"), another central motif in the discourse on race in South Africa in the 1940s.11He comments in this regard: Fellow South Africans, here is the calling from God on high, namely to nurture the native in his coming of age … The wonderful God who guided our fathers as torch bearers for black Africa will also lead and inspire us under possibly even more difficult conditions to be bearers of light where the darkness still prevails.12, The "Volkskongres" in Bloemfontein in 1944 was not the first time that a scriptural justification was given for apartheid.13What was important about the 1944 congress, though, was that it brought discussions that were found in a small circle of academics and pastors to a wider public. 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