The tense racial situation in South Africa is making front page news in almost every part of the globe. And the reason is that in this land of sunshine and plenty, the racial pattern is more complicated and clear-cut solutions are more difficult to visualize than at anywhere else on earth.
The world often hears of South Africa’s color problems. It hears less of the rising tide of Christian missions in this vast land between the Limpopo river of the North and the majestic Table Mountain of the South.
During the past 150 years, and especially in the course of the twentieth century, missionaries from all parts of the world have found their way to southern Africa. In the growing cities and in the lonely veld, messengers of the Cross have brought the good news of God’s love for a lost world and his forgiveness in Christ Jesus.
These missionaries have come from many lands—from Europe, the British Isles, and North America. And as is the case in India, China, or Japan, they represent many different denominations. One-third of all missionaries in South Africa are from the United States and Canada.
Today about 60 per cent of the 8½ million Bantu (African) population of South Africa belong to some Christian group or church. Some of these churches are truly indigenous, some even semi-Christian, others more or less true replicas of some continental English or American church. In their theology they cover the whole wide field from extreme orthodoxy to extreme liberalism. Most of the main South African churches however fall within the conservative evangelistic tradition with a tendency among some towards fundamentalism. More than 700,000 Africans belong to separatist groups usually under African leadership and some of them are Christian only ...1
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