Browsing by Author "Spies, Johannes Hendrik"
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- ItemKerklidmaatskap : 'n kerkregtelike studie(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 1996-12) Spies, Johannes Hendrik; Coertzen, Pieter; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology. Dept. of Practical Theology and Missiology.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Questions and problems concerning church membership are plenty and surface regularly in church . meetings. The way in which the church operates reflects a particular concept of the church. The· ideal is that way the church functi~ns according to the church law must express the essence of the church. Therefore it is important to ask questions on church membership in the light of the scriptures and the confession. This study shows that there is tension between the concept of the church which comes forwardin the Scriptures and the confession on the one hand and that which is reflected in the practical handling of membership issues on the other hand. An investigation into certain historic backgrounds, the conventions of a variety of churches on the issue of membership as well as the views of church members from· the Presbytery of the Dutch Reformed Church in Pietermaritzburg was necessary to acquire insight into the present situation. These investigations have shown that there are several customs and views on membership issues that do not have a sound theological basis. On what membership means and how it must be handled in practice there is also a wide variety of opinions. From the Old and New Testaments it becomes evident that a complete definition of the church is not possible. The Bible speaks in different ways about thechurch. God's presence and initiative in the church as his people of the covenant is that which makes the faith community the church. Faith, the relation with Jahwe in the Old Testament and with Jesus Christ iri the New Testament, is that which distinguishes the members of the faith community from those who do not belong to it. The handling of membership developed in such a way that membership issues constitutes the delimitation of churches amongst each other. That hampers the visible unity of the church. In the last chapter an attempt was made to formulate guidelines for the handling of membership in such a way that the unity of the church is emphasized while the confessional base of the church is protected at the same time. In this process a distinction is made between the delimitation of the church against the world on the one hand and the delimitation of churches amongst each other on the other hand. An attempt is made to unite the soteriological and the canonical meaning of the baptism in the membership practice. Baptism, as the sacrament of incorporation .into the church of Jesus Christ is fundamental in the acknowledgment of membership and membership privileges in the congregation.