Original Research

Kerklike tug: ’n ‘inhoudloze kerkordelijke aangelegentheid’ in ’n plurale kerk?

Piet J. Strauss
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 44, No 1 | a2703 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v44i1.2703 | © 2023 Piet J. Strauss | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 August 2022 | Published: 22 June 2023

About the author(s)

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


Church discipline without content in a plural church? The Dutch theologian Leo Koffeman comes to the conclusion that church discipline is irrelevant and without content in a plural church. Such a church is the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN). In its view on church life, a plural church is of the opinion that it should rather cater for people of different religious and ethical viewpoints. This approach is applied to a variety in beliefs and behaviour among members. According to this conviction, a difference in viewpoint enriches the members involved spiritually. The need for church discipline in order to keep the church obedient to its Head, Jesus Christ and His commands and to prevent members from opposing the beliefs in the church, is neither accepted nor advocated in a plural church. Against this line of thought, reformed churches like the Dutch Reformed Church in Southern Africa keep to reformed confessions like the Confessio Belgica and the Heidelberg Catechism. Through their General Synod they opt for these confessions as a biblically based norm for the church. By making these two documents part of their confessions, the Dutch Reformed Church confesses church discipline as a core issue in a truly reformed church. The difference between truly plural and truly reformed churches on discipline boils down to the difference between a humanistic and a Biblical point of departure. The author associates with the latter.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: In this article, the ecclesiological implications of a reformed, modernistic and post-modernistic approach of life meet. The topic is church discipline: an ecclesiastical, ethical and church political issue reflected in the reformed confessions of faith referred to. A philosophical and ethical approach of church discipline is thus reflected.


Protestant Reformed Church rejects church discipline; modernistic and post-modernistic approaches stress individual freedom of belief; rejection of church discipline determined by people; reformed churches confess church discipline; Word of God norm for l


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