Author Pretorius, Johannes P
Degree Masters
Department Church History and Polity
  • De Honigby
  • Doopsgezinden
  • Groenewoud
  • Het Nederduitsch Zuid-Afrikaansch Tydschrift
  • Spurgeon
  • South African Baptists
  • Wederdoopers
  • Die Gereformeerde Kerkbode in Zuid-Afrika
  • Anabaptists
  • Abraham Faure
  • Abstract There is a possibility that in practising (church)history writing, certain perceptions about both the past as whole, as well as specific events in the past may be absorbed without evaluating them in the light of primary sources. Britz 7 shows that conscious and unconscious characterizations play a too significant role in South African (church)historiography to be ignored. These characterizational representations do not rest on what can be inferred from primary historical documents. A perception found in Dutch Reformed Church historiography – especially evident in discussions about the South African church development during the 19 th century – concerning the South African Baptists, is that the Baptist Church has had a negative influence on the South African ecclesiastical landscape. This perception can be found in the writings of Hanekom, Kotzé and Van der Watt. This study shows that this perception is not based on the study of primary sources. For the purpose of this study, an examination was made of 19 th century Cape Dutch ecclesiastical magazines.8 These magazines were examined as ecclesiastical documents which both in their nature and their readership, could provide an analysis of the influence which Baptist circles had on the Cape Dutch Church, whether positive or negative. These sources do not only give a good impression of the historical framework within which this research was done, but also of the theological framework with which the Cape Dutch Church identified herself during that time. Two keywords are used in these magazines to report on the (South African) Baptists: "Anabaptists" and "Baptizers." Although the magazines hold that both of these groups had their origin in the 16 th century Radical Reformation, and that both these groups reject infant baptism, a clear distinction is made between them. The "Anabaptists" were consistently portrayed negatively while the "Baptizers" were highly esteemed. The South African Baptists were reckoned under the "Baptizers." The official magazine of the Dutch Reformed Church, De Gereformeerde Kerkbode, even petitioned that the South African Baptists ("Baptizers") not be confused with the "Anabaptists." Finally, it will be shown that Hanekom and Kotzé did not take this positive evaluation of the (South African) Baptists into consideration. Furthermore, Van der Watt took their conclusions over almost verbatim. In this manner a perception arose which was, in all likelihood, based on theological considerations, without proper consideration of primary sources.
  • Prof RM Britz - Committee Chair
  • Dr VE d'Assonville - Committee Co-Chair
  • Documents
  • PretoriusJP.pdf

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