Afrikaans Protestant Church

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Afrikaanse Protestantse Kerk (APK)
APKerkembleem.jpg
Official Logo of the Afrikaanse Protestantse Kerk
Classification Protestant
Theology Reformed, Conservative, Separatist
Polity Presbyterian
Region South Africa and Namibia[1]
Origin 1987
Pretoria, South Africa
Separated from Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk
Congregations 220 (2010)
Members 35,000 (2012)
Ministers 93 plus 63[2]

The Afrikaanse Protestantse Kerk (English: Afrikaans Protestant Church), commonly abbreviated APK or AP Kerk is a South African conservative Reformed Church federation with about 35,000 adherents.[3] The federation was formed by 240 congregations, including some in Namibia, and has ecumenical ties with the Afrikaans Protestant Church in England and Wales.

Its official motto is lig in duisternis (meaning light in the darkness) from 1 John 2:9-11 "If we say that we are in the light, yet hate others, we are in the darkness to this very hour. If we love others, we live in the light, and so there is nothing in us that will cause someone else to sin. But if we hate others, we are in the darkness; we walk in it and do not know where we are going, because the darkness has made us blind." And also from John 12:35-36: "So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

Formation[edit]

In 1982 the World Alliance of Reformed Churches's General Council declared Separate Development to be a sin and its theological justification a heresy, in the process expelling from its membership the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK), the major branch of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) in South Africa and the traditional mother church of South Africa's Afrikaner population.[4] The shock of this isolation from other branches of the Reformed Churches worldwide led to the adoption in 1986 of Belhar Confession by some branches of the DRC; the NGK, while stopping short of adopting the Belhar Confession, retracted its 1976 defence of apartheid as a biblical imperative, instead releasing a "more nuanced" document called Church and Society that provided "qualified support for separate development." [5]

However, the document "reflected the new majority consensus within the NGK which rejected the older, Kuyperian theology"[6] and thus outraged the more conservative clergy within the NGK: as a "direct result"[7] the Afrikaanse Protestantse Kerk was founded in Pretoria on Saturday, 27 July 1987 by 3000 dissidents, together with conservative elements from other branches of the DRC in South Africa.[8]

Another reason for the formation of the new church, was the growing influence of Arminian and liberal theology in the NGK. The new church also opposed the use of the new Afrikaans Bible translation (1983) during worship services. The APK strongly opposed these modernist reforms and sought to preserve traditional Calvinism.

Growth[edit]

In 1988 the APK set up a seminary so its pastors could be trained independently; the seminary has now grown into a full theological institute, called the Afrikaanse Protestantse Akademie, and based in Pretoria.

In 1990 Church and Society was revised by the NGK to indicate that "any attempt by a church to try to defend a system of separation, biblically and ethically must be seen as a serious errancy; that is to say, it is in conflict with the Bible." For the APK it was not acceptable, because it was not practical for one church, or one congregation, to do ministry in all indigenous languages, and they respect the fact that God created all nations, and the best way to grow spiritually was to serve the Lord with one's own people in one's own language. The decision of the NGK led to an increase in the number of congregations choosing to join the APK.

Theology[edit]

The Church holds to the Bible as the infallible Word of God and the sole authority in all matters of faith. Like most offshoots of the DRC, the APK focuses its theology around the Three Forms of Unity and is Calvinist in doctrine. It believes the biblical faith to be accurately summarized in the ecumenical confessions (the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed), the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dordt.[9]

External links[edit]

Official website: Afrikaanse Protestantse Kerk

References[edit]