Original Research - Special Collection: Graham Duncan Dedication

Speak with one voice! Towards an ecumenical ethics applicable to the church-state dialogue in South Africa

Koos Vorster
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 1 | a3420 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i1.3420 | © 2016 Koos Vorster | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 April 2016 | Published: 22 September 2016

About the author(s)

Koos Vorster, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


This research deals with the question of whether an ecumenical ethics can be developed in South Africa that at least will be applicable in the field of political ethics and that can assist the various ecclesiastical traditions to ‘speak with one voice’ when they address the government on matters of Christian ethical concern. The research rests on the recognition of the variety of ethical persuasions and points of view that flow from the variety of hermeneutical approaches to Scripture. However, within this plethora of ethical discourses, an ‘overlapping’ ethics based on a proposed set of minimum theological ideas can be pursued in order to reach at least an outline of an applicable ecumenical political ethics conducive to the church–state dialogue in South Africa today. The article concludes that a ‘minimum consensus’ on the role of revelation in the moral discourses is possible and is enriched by traditional ideas such as creation and natural law, the reign of God and Christology, and it can provide a suitable common ground for an ecumenical ethics applicable to the moral difficulties in the political domain in South Africa today.


Ecumenical ethic; hermeneutics; revelation; creation; creational gifts; reign of God; Christology; church


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1. The church and moral decision-making
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doi: 10.4102/hts.v73i3.4567