Original Research

Hated without a reason - Contending with issues of human sexuality in a South African ecclesial context: A case study

Graham A. Duncan
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6347 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6347 | © 2021 Graham A. Duncan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 October 2020 | Published: 09 June 2021

About the author(s)

Graham A. Duncan, Department of Church History, Christian Spirituality & Missiology, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


The mainline churches in South Africa are in turmoil internally as a result of divisions arising out of issues related to human sexuality. These issues have serious implications for these churches, church families within them, and the relationship of these churches with one another and with the state. There is little open space for debate as discussions are hampered by a variety of theological perspectives on the authority of scripture, some of which are fixed and absolutised. This is a matter of justice for all those involved. This research article seeks to analyse the issues involved theologically and in terms of church polity, with a view of clarifying possibilities and options for a resolution of the distress and pain caused within and between members of the Christian family using the transnational context of the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa as a case study. The concepts of critical solidarity and critical distance will be used to clarify relationships within the relevant contexts. This article is interdisciplinary and embraces the fields of Church History or Polity, Practical Theology, Missiology and Systematic Theology.

Contribution: This paper seeks to analyse issues of human sexuality within a South African Christian denomination with particular attention to the matter of justice.


Committee on Human Sexuality (CHS); fundamentalism; justice; homosexuality; Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa.


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