Original Research - Special Collection: Virtual Ecclesiology

The decline of reformed church polity in South Africa

Johannes Smit
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 52, No 3 | a2309 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v52i3.2309 | © 2018 Johannes Smit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 July 2017 | Published: 26 March 2018

About the author(s)

Johannes Smit, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, South Africa


Church polity in South Africa is one of the smaller theological disciplines. Different reasons for this position of the discipline maybe indicated as inter alia bad experiences with church polity with regard to church schisms, the influence of the Zeitgeist, and the lack of development in church polity in comparison to other theological disciplines. This article suggests that the impetus for the decline of reformed church polity should be found within the dominant collegialistic concept of church since the acceptance thereof in South Africa. The effect is a secularised view of the church with regard to its government, the office, the church and the church’s relationship with the state. It is suggested that a new discourse about the church and its polity should be initiated in South Africa to the benefit of the church and its polity, but also to that of the different fields which are involved with ecclesiology in various ways.


Decline of church polity; Reformed church polity; Collegiasm; Church; Mystery of Church; Church state


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Crossref Citations

1. Die relevansie van kerkreg met besondere verwysing na die Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika
Barry J. van Wyk
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies  vol: 74  issue: 4  year: 2018  
doi: 10.4102/hts.v74i4.5118