n In die Skriflig - The 1619 Dordrecht Synod’s decision on corruptio totalis : a missional challenge for the church in terms of media reporting on corruption in South Africa - original research

Volume 53 Number 3
  • ISSN : 1018-6441
  • E-ISSN: 2305-0853



The doctrinal controversy, which led to the formal Synod in Dordrecht (1618–1619), had many stakeholders. The different European countries and its governments also had much at stake in terms of how the issue would have been dealt with by the Reformed Church. Although for different reasons than now, the controversy and the ultimate decision taken at the renowned Synod still has significance for the church and society in the 21st century and even beyond. Therefore, a recent study on the reporting of four South African newspapers on corruption (as a form of sin) is telling in terms of the way such cases are presented. Their reporting displays a different way of presenting ‘sin’ mainly as an actual sin and not as a human condition which calls for the church, in response to the missio Dei, to reflect theologically on contemporary media discourse on ‘sin’ if it wants to address the root cause of corruption in South Africa. Although I realise that there is other ways for the church to respond to widespread corruption, this article focuses mainly on a theological contribution in terms of a broader discussion on ‘sin’.

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