Counsel of Chalcedon
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The Role of the Churches in South Africa

It is common knowledge that the role of the church in society - particularly the role of the Dutch Reformed Church in South African society - has been the major topic of discussion in various synods of this church recently. It is no secret either that certain views adopted by its General Synod in October, 1986, have caused grave dissatisfaction among a fair number of its members. It has even led to some of them leaving the church and going their own way.

It stands to reason that it is no easy matter to address the issue of the role of the churches in South Africa today from the angle of the Dutch Reformed Church. In a large church of approximately one million members there is no single angle of approach. A great variety of views on the role of the church will be found among members and even among leading theologians of this church. In the Dutch Reformed Church we actually leave much room for differences of opinion - as long as members will stay within the boundaries set by our confessional standards - which are not at all very specific regarding this issue.