Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

tion would endanger this policy; therefore the advocates of this policy inevitably find themselves opposed to the Church if it seeks to live according to the Gospel and if it shows that God's grace has overcome our hostilities. A thorough policy of racial separation must ultimately require that the Church should cease to be the Church.

* * *

Many of our people believe that their primary loyalty must be to their group or tradition or political doctrine, and that this is how their faithfulness will be judged. But this is not how God judges us. In fact, this kind of belief is a direct threat to the true salvation of many people, for it comes as an attractive substitute for the claims of Jesus. . . . But God judges us, not by our faithfulness to a sectional group, but by our willingness to be made new in the community of Christ. We believe that we are under an obligation to state that our country and Church are under God's judgment, and that Christ is inevitably a threat to much that is called "the South African way of life." We must ask ourselves what features of our social order will have to pass away if the lordship of Christ is to be fully acknowledged and if the peace of God is to be revealed as the destroyer of our fear.

But we believe that Christ is Lord, and that South Africa is part of his world. . . . And so we wish to put to every Christian person in this country the question which we ourselves are bound to face each day, to whom, or to what, are you truly giving your first loyalty, your primary commitment? Is it to a subsection of mankind, an ethnic group, a human tradition, a political idea; or to Christ?

Source: John De Gruchy and Charles Villa-Vicencio (eds.), Apartheid is a Heresy ( Cape Town, 1983), pp. 155-159.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

J. W. De Gruchy, The Church Struggle in South Africa ( Grand Rapids, Mich., 1986), pp. 115-127.

References for Document 169.


171
Status Confessionis Resolve of the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Sendingkerk October 1982

Intensification of racial conflict characterized the 1970s as the government attempted mass population removals, and the ANC, banned since 1960, retaliated with violence and industrial sabotage. In the early 1980s the government announced reforms, dismantling some features of the

From John De Gruchy and Charles Villa-Vicencio (eds.), Apartheid is a Heresy ( Cape Town, 1983). Copyright, 1983, by David Philip Publishers Ltd. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

-450-

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