Original Research - Special Collection: Impact of Reformed Theology

Scholarship ‘In Thy Light’ – Accountability

Carolus J. Reinecke
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 54, No 2 | a2575 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v54i2.2575 | © 2020 Carolus J. Reinecke | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 November 2019 | Published: 31 August 2020

About the author(s)

Carolus J. Reinecke, Centre for Human Metabolomics, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


The School of Theology (TSP) of the Gereformeerde Kerke van Suid-Afrika (GKSA) hosted the TSP-150 Conference on the impact of Reformation theology in celebration of its 150 years of existence (1869–2019). However, TSP from its inception was irrevocably linked to what became the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (PUvCHO – Potchefstroomse Universiteit vir Christelike Hoër Onderwys), an institution aspiring to pursue Christian scholarship (CS – Christelike Wetenskap). This article used the method of historiographic mapping to obtain information on the conceptual development of CS at the PUvCHO. Some parallels are drawn between the PUvCHO and the Vrije Universiteit at Amsterdam, being the only two international research universities in the Protestant neo-Calvinist tradition, both with an original commitment to the pursuit of CS. The history of both institutions is well researched and documented. The results show how both the institutional leadership and the academic scholars contributed to the ideal of CS and how it was accounted for over four distinctive periods in the history of the PUvCHO. The final discussion is structured around the following thesis: ‘The history of responsiveness from the PUvCHO to account for CS reveals a developmental path reminiscent of the biological process of metamorphosis’. It is argued that the national setting, sociopolitical factors, institutional development and secularisation led to not only the development but also the eventual floundering of CS. The study concludes that integrally CS may still be a fruitful enterprise for committed Christian scholars, even at secular institutions.


Christian scholarship; Accountability; Neo-Calvinism; Potchefstroom University; Vrije Universiteit; Reformed Church; Transdisciplinary


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