This article examines the 19th and 20th century European context wherein religion
was practiced. In a ‘Rip-Van-Winkle’ manner it is as if this context had no influence on the
Afrikaans speaking church in South Africa. The isolation, that was the result of the apartheid
ideology, lead to the Afrikaans speaking church in South Africa not internalising ecumenicity.
It is argued that for the church to be able to take an active role in reconciling diversity and
therefore contributing to social cohesion in South Africa, the church needs to transcend being
a ‘nation’ church. This is possible by respecting culture and diversity, while recognising the
priority of salvation in Christ. This is the ellipse of being church.