Original Research

J.D. Vorster en die Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerkorde van 1962: Die Dordtse Kerkorde aangepas by die eise van ons dag?

Pieter J. Strauss
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 57, No 1 | a2942 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v57i1.2942 | © 2023 Pieter J. Strauss | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 February 2023 | Published: 18 October 2023

About the author(s)

Pieter J. Strauss, Department of Systematic and Historical Theology, Faculty of Theology, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Abstract

J.D. Vorster and the Dutch Reformed Church Order of 1962: The Church Order of Dordtrecht adapted to the demands of our day? J.D. (Koot) Vorster, was the moderator of the Dutch Reformed Church (1970–1974) as well as the specialist for the church order of the General Synod (1962–1970), had a strong influence on the content of the first church order of this denomination. He was the chairperson of the commission appointed to prepare the concept of this church order for acceptance by the first General Synod in 1962. This article investigates Vorster’s part in creating this church order. In doing so, the author studied relevant church historical and church political literature. Vorster wished their church order to be a replica, in its own circumstances, of the famous Synod of Dordrecht’s Dutch Church Order in 1618–1619. As far as Vorster was concerned, the Dutch Reformed Church was a Reformed church in the Dutch tradition. The Dutch Reformed Church Order of 1962 showed many signs of the Church Order of Dordtrecht. In articles, Vorster claimed the influence of the Dordtrecht Church Order on the Dutch Reformed Church Order of 1962. However, on certain important issues the Dutch Reformed Church Order had its own way: on the assemblies of the church and in its relation to the state authorities. Vorster not only had a determining influence on the church order, but a proposal of his paved the formal ecclesiastical way for synodical unity in the Dutch Reformed Church in 1962. Vorster was an influential figure in church government. His sharp reactions on things he did not accept as well as his leadership abilities made him a prominent, sometimes controversial, church figure in Southern Africa.

Contribution: While accepting the name of In die Skriflig as a norm for the study of church history and church polity, this article investigates the theological tradition in which the first church order of the Dutch Reformed Church as a whole was accepted by its first General Synod in 1962. The church orders accepted by following general synods kept to this line – be it in essence. This article tries to shed some light on this determining factor in the Dutch Reformed Church as well as the role J.D. Vorster played in its establishment. As a background for modern church orders in this church, it partly clears the positions taken up by present day general synods.


Keywords

Dordt’s church-orderly history; Dutch Reformed Church Order 1962 linked Dordtse Church Order; receivable climate Dutch Reformed Church; confession of church; ecclesiastical offices; church meetings; church labor; respect and discipline

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

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