n Stellenbosch Theological Journal - Is there any hope for church unity? Some perspectives on the causes of the Reformed Churches split since the Reformation and its impact on church unity discussions today

Volume 5 Number 3
  • ISSN : 0028-2006
  • E-ISSN: 2226-2385



This article gives some perspectives on the causes of the Reformed Churches split since the time of reformation and how these divisions impacts on church unity discussions today. Since reformation, church divisions took place in various forms and discussions about church reunification became a focal point in the reformed world. These splits amongst reformed churches seem to have caused traumatic stress and inflicted deep wounds that are very difficult to heal in full, especially in the context of South Africa. This article briefly looks at some causes of split in the reformed world by paying attention to the work of Lukas Vischer and also by sketching some few causes of church split within the Dutch Reformed family of churches in the South African context. This article does not really pay attention to an in-depth discussion on church unity, rather, it places the interest on issues of church divisions which impact negatively on the true unity of the church. A question can be asked: can we really hope for a genuine unity of the church given the history of these splits? Put it differently: Is there any hope for an authentic church unity amongst reformed churches locally and globally? The article argues that the history of these divisions makes it very hard if not impossible to hope for an authentic church unity, given the currently lived experiences of divisions, the irreconcilability of people and the unhealed wounds inflicted in the past. For an authentic church unity to be achieved and lived positively, the article suggests that injustices of the past needs to be addressed, especially between the Dutch Reformed family of churches.

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