Original Research - Special Collection: HTS 75th Anniversary Maake Masango Dedication

The Bantu Presbyterian Church in South Africa and Ecumenism, 1940–1999

Graham A. Duncan
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 4 | a5289 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5289 | © 2019 Graham A. Duncan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 October 2018 | Published: 16 October 2019

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Graham A. Duncan, Department of Church History and Church Polity, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

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From 1940, ecumenical developments in the Presbyterian/Congregational corpus in Southern Africa became more tortuous and complex, with an expansion of the number of denominations involved in union negotiations to include the Bantu Presbyterian Church of South Africa (BPCSA, from 1979 the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa, RPCSA), the Congregational Union of South Africa, later the United Congregational Church of South Africa, the Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa and the Tsonga Presbyterian Church (TPC, later the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of South Africa, EPCSA). The problem statement centres around the complex situation that despite substantial similarities in doctrine, liturgy and polity, as well as involvement in the Church Unity Commission and the South African Council of Churches, the union proved to be elusive. The aim of this article is to investigate the dynamics of the developing relationships and hindrances to closer relationships in the wider South African context. This study is conducted from the perspective of the BPCSA and RPCSA, and the methodology is based predominantly on archival research.


Bantu (Reformed) Presbyterian Church of South Africa; The Congregational Union of South Africa; The Presbyterian Church of South Africa; Tsonga (Evangelical) Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa; Churches of European Origin


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