Church Struggle in South Africa
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2004 was the 25th Anniversary of John de Gruchy's Church Struggle in South Africa, a book which played an important role in helping South African's understand the racial and political context in which Christianity has been shaped in South Africa. The book tells the story of the Christian Church in South Africa from its colonial beginnings until 1976, the year in which Steve Biko was murdered by the security police and the Christian Institute was banned.
This is a third edition of the story of the Church following 1976 up until 1994, the year of transition for South Africa to a new democracy, is told. The role played by Church leaders such as Desmond Tutu is examined, as is the transition to democracy under the leadership of Nelson Mandela. In Mandela's words the churches acted as 'midwives' of the birth of a new South Africa.
New chapters also cover the current situation and the response of the churches to issues such as HIV and AIDS, Economic Development,Crime and Violence, Truth and Reconciliation and Nation Building.
"I find this book very interesting. De Gruchy acknowledges that his treatment is selective, but his selections seem reasonable. He keeps his focus on the church, with the result that some matters which would require discussion in a comprehensive history of South Africa receive little discussion. Yet such choices enable the reader to cut through the many complexities of the recent history of South Africa to gain a greater appreciation for the role of the church in these remarkable events. (...) The third edition of de Gruchy's book is to be welcomed, not only as a valuable and interesting analysis of the church struggle which takes the story on into more recent times, but also as a means of marking the significance of this book, in its various forms, and the contribution of this notable South African theologian." Alistair I.Wilson, Dumisani Theological Institute, King William's Town, South Africa, Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology
"Many books have been written on the Churches in South Africa since 1979. This one rightly claims to be at 'interface between history, theology, and sermon.' It remains a helpful and thorough introduction to the role of the Churches in the apartheid years and beyond. Reworked as it is, it also offers an insight into a changing intellectual process of interpreting the Churches' response to apartheid." Emma Wild-Wood, Cambridge, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 2006.
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