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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499


VORSTER, J.M.. The Reformed Churches in South Africa and "women in office": 1994-2016. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2016, vol.42, n.3, pp.33-54. ISSN 2412-4265.

The discussion of the inclusion of women in die offices of minister and elder has become an increasingly burning and dividing issue in the Reformed Churches in South Africa (Gereformeerde Kerke in Suid-Afrika) over the past Ave decades. Since 1973 until 2016 various Synods of this denomination have struggled with the topic by way of several intensive study reports, which resulted in many decisions on hermeneutical and exegetical grounds. A first article dealt with the history of the case as it developed from 1973-1988.1 It was concluded that the Synods in this period did not consider the issue sufficiently in light of a biblical-theological hermeneutical perspective. This article deals with the period 1994-2016. The purpose of this ongoing research is to identify the reasons for the continuous decisions, in this period also, not to include women in the particular offices in this denomination. As was the case in the first article, the central theoretical argument of this study is that the hermeneutical approaches of the various Synods in the period 1994-2016 also displayed a significant shortcoming. This shortcoming is the constant neglect of the important role of systematic biblical-theological testimony and a biblical anthropology as fundamental hermeneutical tools. These tools were not applied proficiently because they were obscured by a one-sided grammatical-historical angle of approach to certain parts of Scripture. This hermeneutical deficiency lies at the heart of the prohibition of women in the offices of elder and minister.

Keywords : Hermeneutics; office; women in the church; women in office; elder.

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