Original Research

South African Reformed Baptists and contextualisation: Contemporary understanding, attitudes and praxis

John Koning, P.J. (Flip) Buys
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 50, No 4 | a2018 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v50i4.2018 | © 2016 John Koning, P.J. (Flip) Buys | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 August 2015 | Published: 14 July 2016

About the author(s)

John Koning, School for Ecclesiastical Studies, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa
P.J. (Flip) Buys, School for Ecclesiastical Studies, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa

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Postmodernism and urbanisation pose significant challenges and opportunities to Christian witness in the West. In South Africa, Reformed Baptists as well as the Reformed Churches in South Africa (RCSA) seem to be battling to engage with and reach new generations in the cities with the gospel. While the reasons for this may be many and varied, one reason for our faltering and seemingly ineffective witness can be traced back to inadequate and unbiblical views of contextualisation. While South African Reformed Baptists are passionately committed to biblical truth and orthodoxy, they appear to be negligent in the matter of faithful biblical contextualisation. Reformed Baptist pastors appear to be slow to take cognisance of and adjust to the unique challenges and opportunities that Postmodernism and urbanisation presents to gospel ministry in South Africa. Some conservative Baptists are suspicious of, or even critical of contextualisation, considering it a compromise with liberal theology. This article provides an overview of the findings of an empirical research that was done among a selected group of Reformed Baptist pastors as well as a selected group of ministers of the RCSA concerning their views on and practice of contextualisation. The article also provides some critical reflection on the findings and some proposals for more effective outreach to postmodern urban people.

Keywords: Contextualisation, Reformed, Baptists Reformed Churches in South Africa Church, growth, Postmodernism


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