n Missionalia : Southern African Journal of Mission Studies - The "Native Experiment" : the formation of the Bantu Presbyterian Church and the defects of faith transplanted on African soil

Volume 41, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-9507



The missionary institutionalization of the Church of Christ, ipso facto, the formation of the Bantu Presbyterian Church in South Africa (BPC), is a tale of ambivalence and 'original' defects of faith in a visible form of a Church. A product of the Scottish missionary enterprise in South Africa, the BPC is a tale of unequal racist relations between white and black - a tale of 'naming' and 'practical considerations' at the whims and desires of those who transplanted the gospel in this land. While this paper presents the history of the BPC's formation, its purpose is illustrative. By the time of its formation in 1923, two distinct approaches to the gospel were already in existence: a white, anaemic interpretation of the gospel and a black critical and refusing one. The paper therefore argues that 'blackness' is not to be found in colonizing and coercing missionary institutions such as in the formation of the BPC, but in the irruption of a faith that refused patronage, rejected racial inequality and signification by others.

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