The evangelical church, as a whole, failed the test of apartheid. These failures to stand up against the injustices of the apartheid state were widely acknowledged by evangelicals during the TRC. What was most significant in its absence from these submissions before the TRC was any sustained reflection on the role in which evangelical theology might have played in their failure to engage prophetically with the apartheid regime.

In this paper, John Scheepers investigates the role which evangelical theology, and in particular their Great Commission paradigm of the mission, had played in the evangelical failure to engage prophetically with the injustices of the apartheid regime.

If the primary failure of evangelicals during apartheid was not lack of courage or deception by the state propaganda of the day (though no doubt those factors did play a role) but theological; and if that theological failure has not been acknowledged do evangelicals run the risk of continuing to propagate a theology which, at least unintentionally, promotes injustice. The evangelical church’s response to Fees Must Fall significantly displayed many similar themes to their response to apartheid.

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