The title of this dissertation is “The early years of the Dutch Reformed Congregation of Utrecht and churchly Disruption” The decistion to associate with the Cape Reformed Church, was already taken at the foundation meeting of the congregation on 19 November 1854. This, however, was not as simple as meets the eye. The first inhabitans of course knew no other church than the Dutch Reformed Church. When crossing borders on their trek from the Cape Colony, they did not only take with them the Bible in the wagon box; they also remained members of the Dutch Reformed Church. From the diary of Erasmus Smit (the only person who accompanied the Great Trek as minister of religion), it is clear that he was a loyal supporter of the Dutch Reformed Church. He was very fond of following the tracks of the Dutch Reformed Church very closely, as far as the organisation and order of church affairs were concerned , not only regarding the organisation and order of church affairs, but also the devotion to the same confession of faith illustrates unity with the Cape Mother-church. The first years reflect a time of great turbulence on churchly as well as political terrain. This was a time during which the church was right in the midst of the battle for Liberalism. Fundamental truths, such as the virgin birth of Christ and other vital believes were under strong criticism and doubt. Therefore the importance of this subject is taken into serious discussion. The conflict around the confession is also adressed. This is the quia – viewpoint was accepted; the viewpoint that confession was accepted , “because it is in line with Scripture”. This viewpoint directly opposes the more liberal quatenus – vieupoint, which adheres to the articles of faith , “in as much as they agree with the Word of God.” These also were times of immense political conflict. The Boer Republics stood by the opinion that they also wanted to be free of the church living under British Colonial rule. These were all contributing factors to the final rift in church ranks. In such a turbulent world, the young Utrecht congregation had to find her way. The congregation was heavily blamed for her decision to stand by her choice of connecting to the Cape Dutch Reformed Church. The Reverant Frans Lion Cachet, first minister to the Utrecht Congregation, would play a leading role in this regard. His contribution is therefore discussed in detail. From the above - mentioned , the reasons for church division are clearly observed. Valuable lessons are learned on how to address similar divisions of the present and how they can be overcome.
Dissertation (MTh(Theol))--University of Pretoria, 2011.