God for us : an analysis and assessment of Dutch Reformed preaching during the apartheid years

Cilliers, Johan (2006)

CITATION: Cilliers, J. 2006. God for us : an analysis and assessment of Dutch Reformed preaching during the apartheid years. Stellenbosch: SUN PReSS. doi:10.18820/9781920109134.

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Book

Preaching reveals, amongst other things, the state of the heart of the church – whether it be healthy or ailing. Sermons from the South African apartheid era, taken from the official mouthpiece of the Dutch Reformed Church (Die Kerkbode), as preached during the years 1960 to 1980 reveal a church sickened by an ideology that had a devastating effect on the country as a whole. In this book, these sermons are analyzed in depth, following a method of “close reading” that not only takes the linguistic detail of each sermon very seriously, but also the theological perspectives conveyed by these details. These analyses bring to light the way preachers made use of biblical texts to sanction national ideals, to create and perpetuate selective God-images, and to stabilize a certain identity during a time of crises. It is saddening and shocking to read and relive these sermons, even after 12 years of democracy in South Africa. But it must not be erased from our memory too quickly. The church cannot do without remembrance. It watches over the state of her heart.

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