Original Research

A Reformed perspective on the concept of the ‘common good’ and its relevance for social action in South Africa today

Jakobus M. Vorster
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 50, No 2 | a2030 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v50i2.2030 | © 2016 Jakobus M. Vorster | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 August 2015 | Published: 04 May 2016

About the author(s)

Jakobus M. Vorster, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


This article investigates the idea of the ‘common good’ from a Classic Reformed perspective and the possibilities raised by a fresh approach to the concept for social action by civil society in South Africa today. The central theoretical argument of this article is that the new interest in the concept of natural law, as became evident in modern-day moral reflection in the Classic Reformed moral teaching, can indeed contribute to a new positive assessment of the concept common good and can provide a valuable framework for the foundation of reformed social action in cooperation with civil society in South Africa today. Firstly, the concept is discussed within the framework of the reformed idea of ‘natural law’ and the argument concludes with the finding that the concept can be accommodated in Reformed Theology. Secondly, a case is made for the cooperation between churches, other religious institutions and the broader civil society to cooperate on the basis of the common good and global ethics to address three areas of serious concern in the South African society. These are the promotion of the idea of human dignity within the social sphere with special reference to racism, xenophobia and sexism as well as the development of family life and family values, and the advancement of the idea of neighbourliness as a core ingredient of social healing and reconciliation.


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Crossref Citations

1. A just and civilised humanity: An integrative model between reformed theology and the ideology of Pancasila
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doi: 10.4102/hts.v77i4.7041