South Africa is attracting much critical attention nowadays because of the racial tensions which exist within her territories. Having spent no less than twenty-two years in that country, I am not unfamiliar with the problems with which its leaders are faced—problems which are probably more complicated and perplexing than those demanding solution in any other part of the world. Indeed, the racial puzzle is such that, contrary to the facile assumptions and presumptions of some who offer advice or criticism from an uninvolved distance, it cannot be unravelled overnight.
It has become a popular pastime with long-distance mud-slingers to besmirch the name of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa. This seems to me a particularly reprehensible occupation, especially when Christians engage in it. Almost invariably it reveals ignorance and prejudice. The strong and virile Calvinism of the Dutch Reformed Church seems to arouse the passions of some to whom it is uncongenial, and the odium theologicum seizes the opportainty to rear its ugly head. There are, beyond doubt, elements in the Dutch Reformed Church at which an accusing finger may be pointed. But that is true without exception of every Church in Christendom; and if the whole is to be condemned because of the deficiencies of a part, who then shall be able to stand?
A considerable and understanding article on “The Dilemma of the Dutch Reformed Churches in South Africa” by the Rev. Leonard Heap appears in the April issue of The Congregational Quarterly. (There are, in fact, three Dutch Reformed denominations in South Africa, hence the plural in his title—though, as he points out, it is customary and convenient to speak of the Dutch Reformed Church.) It is certainly worthy of ...1
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