Original Research - Special Collection: James Alfred Loader Dedication

’n Postliberale perspektief op ’n ekklesiologiese modaliteit as ’n ecclesiola in ecclesia – heroriëntasie in die Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika

Andries G. van Aarde
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 69, No 1 | a2012 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v69i1.2012 | © 2013 Andries G. van Aarde | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 May 2013 | Published: 23 July 2013

About the author(s)

Andries G. van Aarde, Department of New Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Senior Research Fellow, Unit of Advanced Studies, directed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Pretoria, South Africa


A postliberal perspective on an ecclesiological modality as an ecclesiola in ecclesia – reorientation in the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa. This article investigates the legitimacy of a middle position between Reformed orthodoxy and critical theology. Is such a middle position the solution to the current conflict in the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa? The tension between ‘liberal’ and ‘orthodox’ is investigated by comparing these to the alleged tension between psychology and critical exegesis in Schleiermacher’s thinking. The article finds that these poles constituted a dialectic rather than a tension in Schleiermacher’s thinking. An organised middle group will lead to a greater schism in the Netherdutch Reformed Church. The argument unfolds by means of a reflection on 10 theological nuances, the most important of which are not the poles of conservative confessionalism and critical liberalism, but ethical-dialectical and critical-realistic theology. The conclusion is that reconciling diversity remains a Biblical-theological imperative rather than the organisation of an ecclesiological modality.


Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa; ecclesiological modalities; liberal theology; confessional orthodoxy; ethical-dialectical theology; Schleiermacher’s hermeneutics; 19th century Dutch theology


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