Sunday, June 28, 2009
Seems South African Reformed Church Still Can't Decide About Apartheid
In 1982 the World Alliance of Reformed Churches suspended the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa (NHKA) from the global alliance for its biblical and theological support of apartheid. Of course, come might ask why it took until 1982 for that action to occur, but that is beside the point here. Now, NHKA has applied for readmission to the WARC and they have been denied.
The WARC committee dealing with such matters has stated that first NHKA must deny apartheid "fully and completely." It seems, referring to the report of the WARC visiting team, that there are "deep division[s] in the church about moving beyond apartheid."
Some NHKA theologians have expressed frustration that the church will not officially identify apartheid as "unevangelical" and "evil." The topic was on the agenda of the NHKA 2007 General Synod for discussion, but it was too much of a hot potato to make it to the floor.
Now, we could be quick to condemn all of this. We surely could. And maybe rightly so. But, is it much different than the disenfranchisement of gay folks or folks who seem to come from the theological "left field" that cannot get a hearing in our churches? Perhaps NHKA is afraid of the skeletons of racism that still festers in its ranks. Perhaps we are xenophobic and homophobic. One thing is certain. You can't heal hate and fear by sweeping them under the carpet. They are only healed by bringing them out in the light of day.
Why did it take the WARC ( a body to which my denomination belongs) until 1982 to censor a member communion for hate? Is right, right, only when it is popular and politically correct and expedient?