'n Praktiese-teologiese besinning oor die betekenis van Artikel 4 van die belydenis van Belhar as grondslag vir die vestiging van 'n teologie van ontwikkeling in die Vereniging Gereformeerde Kerk in Suider-Afrika(VGKSA)

Beukes, Jacques Walter (2014-04)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this study, the researcher studied the Belhar Confession of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA), which gained shape following the social injustices that resulted from the policy of apartheid. The researcher argues that the Belhar Confession, especially Article 4 of the said confession, forces URCSA to establish a Theology of Development within their structures. While URCSA‟s role (Dutch Reformed Mission Church and the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa pre-1994) during the apartheid era was that of resistance, the church‟s role in a post-apartheid South African context was supposed to change to reconstruction and assistance. But was this the case? The researcher compared the South African socio-economic context before and after apartheid, and judged whether or not the ANC‟s “better life for all” campaign of 1994 made a significant difference in the post-apartheid South Africa. Did the new constitution make a difference in terms of the socio-economic situation of the country? Did the ANC campaign honour their word and did it result in a better life for all? Although the researcher argued that certain areas did change and differences were achieved, the researcher is convinced that poverty in South Africa is still a real problem – in the country and the rest of the world. Based upon this judgment, the researcher is of the opinion that given the current socio-economic situation of the country, the Belhar Confession is now more than ever relevant and exactly therefore should be the basis and motivation for the church to serve and be involved in the fight against poverty in South Africa. This motivation for the church to be involved is also justified according to the Bible. Through this justification and Biblical cry the church is challenged to not only rely on welfare projects in their role as poverty combaters. Here the researcher uses the generation theories of David Korten as support to make it clear that although welfare projects (generation one/two modes of engagement) address the immediate needs of the poor, they do not however address the root of the real poverty problem. The researcher also proposed a third/fourth generation mode of involvement from the church to combat poverty through systemic and asset-based systems and influence policies at various levels of government to address the poverty problem. Yet, even a third/fourth generation approach would not be sufficient on its own. The researcher suggests that the church should simultaneously implement generations 1 to 4 modes of engagement in order to be able to play an active role. Nonetheless, the intriguing questions are, is the church not already doing all of this? What role does Badisa play in all of this? Don‟t local churches, presumably, hide behind Badisa as an answer in their own involvement in the fight against poverty? Even if the church is involved in various modes of engagement, is it Belhar Confession driven? The researcher is convinced that the church is forced to stay involved in the fight against poverty at all levels. The Belhar Confession is an ecclesial theological response to the poverty and injustice context of South Africa because of the theological content of the confession as well as the context in which it originated. The confession originated in a context of racial segregation, religious apartheid and the theological justification of apartheid as well as large scale socio-political and socio-economical wrongdoing. Currently, there is still widespread poverty and socio-economic injustice in South Africa that make the Confession of Belhar relevant. Therefore, URCSA cannot help but to be involved because a church that belongs to God and confesses a confession like Belhar is called to stand where God stands, amongst the poor. This means that the church must witness and act against injustice and against all the powerful who selfishly seek only their own interests.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In hierdie studie bestudeer die navorser die Verenigende Gereformeerde Kerk in Suider-Afrika (VGKSA) se Belydenis van Belhar, wat beslag gekry het na aanleiding van die sosiale ongeregtighede wat die gevolg van die beleid van apartheid was. Die navorser argumenteer dat die Belydenis van Belhar, maar veral Artikel 4 van die genoemde belydenis, die VGKSA noop om ‟n Teologie van Ontwikkeling in die betrokke kerk te vestig. Waar die VGKSA in die apartheidsera (toe die Nederduitse Gereformeerde Sendingkerk en Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk in Afrika, onderskeidelik) se rol tydens die apartheidsera dié van weerstand was, moes die kerk se rol in ‟n post-apartheid Suid-Afrikaanse konteks na een van rekonstruksie en bystand verander. Is dit egter die geval? Die navorser vergelyk die Suid-Afrikaanse sosio-ekonomiese konteks voor en na die apartheidsbestel en oordeel of daar na aanleiding van die ANC se “better life for all” veldtog van 1994 ʼn wesenlike verskil in post-apartheid Suid-Afrika is. Het die nuwe grondwet ʼn verskil gemaak in terme van die sosio-ekonomiese situasie van die land? Het die ANC-veldtog hulle woord gestand gedoen en ʼn beter lewe vir almal tot gevolg gehad? Alhoewel daar op sekere gebiede veranderinge en verskille bewerkstellig is, is die navorser oortuig dat armoede in Suid-Afrika steeds ʼn wesenlike probleem in die land, maar selfs ook in die wêreld is. Op grond hiervan oordeel die navorser dat, gegewe die huidige sosio-ekonomiese situasie van die land, die Belydenis van Belhar stééds relevant is en dit juis as grondslag en as beweegrede vir die kerk moet dien vir daadwerklike betrokkenheid in die stryd teen armoede in Suid-Afrika. Hierdie motivering word ook Bybels geregverdig en die kerk word uitgedaag om nie net op welsynsprojekte staat te maak in hulle rol as armoedebestryders nie. Hier gebruik die navorser die generasieteorieë van David Korten ter ondersteuning en maak dit duidelik dat alhoewel welsynsprojekte (generasie een/twee modusse van betrokkenheid) die onmiddellike nood van armes aanspreek, dit nie die wortel van die kwaad aanspreek nie. Die navorser hou wel voor dat die kerk na die derde/vierde generasie modusse van betrokkenheid moet beweeg wat sistemiese en bategerigte stelsels vir die verligting van armoede tot gevolg het en beleide op verskeie regeringsvlakke moet aanspreek. Tog kan dit ook nie alleen gebeur nie. Die navorser stel voor dat die kerk tegelykertyd op generasie 1 tot 4 modusse van betrokkenheid moet fokus om sodoende ʼn daadwerklike rol te kan speel. Die vrae is egter: Doen die kerk dit nie reeds nie? Watter rol speel Badisa hierin? Skuil plaaslike gemeentes nie dalk agter Badisa as antwoord in hulle eie betrokkenheid tot die stryd teen armoede nie? Die navorser is oortuig dat die kerk, in alle gestaltes waarin sy haar bevind, genoodsaak word om betrokke te bly in die stryd teen armoede op alle vlakke. Die Belydenis van Belhar is ‟n kerklik-teologiese respons op die armoede en ongeregtigheidsituasie in Suid-Afrika vanweë die teologiese inhoud van die belydenis sowel as die konteks waarin dit ontstaan het. Die belydenis het sy ontstaan gehad in ‟n konteks van rassesegregasie, kerklike apartheid en die teologiese regverdiging van die apartheidsbeleid asook grootskaalse sosio-politieke/ekonomiese ongeregtigheid. Vandag heers daar steeds grootskaalse armoede en sosio-ekonomiese ongeregtigheid in Suid-Afrika wat die belydenis steeds relevant maak. Daarom kan die VGKSA nie anders nie, want ‟n kerk wat hierdie belydenis bely en ‟n kerk wat aan God behoort, is geroep om te staan waar God staan, saam met die armes. Dit hou in dat die kerk sal getuig teen onreg en teen alle magtiges wat uit selfsug slegs hulle eie belange sou soek al word ander daardeur benadeel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86393
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