Eertydse Nederduitse Gereformeerde teologiese denkstrome ten grondslag van Beyers Naudé se kritiek op apartheid

  • Murray Coetzee
Keywords: Dutch Reformed Church theological currents, Critical realistic hermeneutics, Critique against apartheid Beyers Naudé


Former underlying Dutch Reformed theological currents that laid the foundations for Beyers Naudé’s critique of apartheid South African neo-Calvinism, from which apartheid theology developed, was not the only theological current in the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) since the establishment of the Church’s Theological Seminary at Stellenbosch (1858). The Utrecht theological current and Scottish Evangelical Pietism also remained dominant in the Seminary until the 1930s and it represented a critical-realistic hermeneutic different from South African neo-Calvinism. With a mission consciousness characterized by a respect for both spiritual and physically needs of people, Scottish Evangelical Pietism (which merged with the Utrecht current), was known for its premise that all people, despite their outward appearances, are equal. Despite pressure from the neo-Calvinists, this other current survived as a minority group (sometimes limited to a few individuals). Beyers Naudé was part of a younger group of supporters of the Utrecht theological current and Scottish Evangelical Pietism in the DRC, gaining insights that enabled him to transcend a worldly narrow-mindedness and exclusionary thought patterns to include all people regardless of colour or ‘race’ in his social analysis. These insights were strengthened by his father and the DRC and the Afrikaner community in general’s role establishing moral values of reconciliation, compassion benevolence and justice in him. According to this study, Utrecht and Scottish Evangelical Pietism, as well as the above mentioned moral values, would together play a decisive role in shaping the life and work of Beyers Naudé and would enable him to criticise apartheid later in life.