Early in June, Dr. Joost de Blank, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, preached a sermon in New York City.
“It is a sad commentary on the work of the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa,” he said, “that it spends a great deal of money on missionary work but believes in keeping African and white congregations apart. It has a warped and inaccurate Calvinistic outlook.”
Subsequently, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Geoffrey Francis Fisher, sided with his Cape Town colleague in criticizing South African race policies of the Dutch Reformed Church.
The Anglican comment angered Calvinists all over the world, and the criticized church reacted by announcing its withdrawal from a proposed all-church conference which had been scheduled for South Africa in December.
What lies behind bitter feeling over the issue of apartheid, a South African term for racial segregation?CHRISTIANITY TODAYinvited Professor Ben J. Marais of South Africa to prepare the interpretive summary which follows. Professor Marais teaches Christian history at the University of Pretoria and is a Dutch Reformed minister. He has studied at both Yale and Princeton.
The Professor’S Report
People who have never lived in this lovely country can never realize the dominancy of this problem. Its shadow falls over every other aspect of national life, forming a great dividing line.
The South African racial drama is extremely complicated. People judge developments very differently. Some pick out one thread—the great housing schemes for Africans, for instance, and paint a picture of fortunate and contented Africans, “salvaged” from the terrible slums of western Johannesburg. Others only stress repressive legislation and present a picture of a gathering storm, of a terribly frustrated ...1
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