Hugo du Plessis' contribution to the reformed Churches' struggle for a relevant mission and missiology
Mashau, Thinandavha Derrick
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It was the aim of this research to investigate Hugo du Plessis' contribution to the GKSA' struggle for a relevant mission and missiology. It became apparent in the course of the research that Du Plessis contributed in a meaningful way towards the Reformed paradigm for a relevant mission and missiology. In the Dopper churches. Hugo had a great reputation, which is fully justified. He was the first Dopper missionary who stayed in a mission field for a considerable period and who, as a result, could show a church that endured after years. Many people admired him as "our missionary, the expert on mission and on the language and cultural anthropology of the black peoples". Mission-minded Doppers were not critical of him at all. On the other hand, in those years mission and intensive contact with black people on a spiritual level were still relative novelties to the average Dopper mind. There were those who did not trust any missionary, because they suspected him of undermining "their Apartheid policy". Between these two extremes, there was a majority who were neither enthusiastic nor hostile towards mission. This picture only changed radically when Dr Jan Schutte succeeded in bringing Prof J H Bavinck to Potchefstroom for a year. Knowing how much suspicion he might create, Hugo was very careful not to offend the Afrikaners. One should understand this attitude, since suspicion against him of being a "liberalist" might slow down the flow of funds for mission and eventually force him to leave the mission field. At that time the very fact that one was a missionary was sufficient to mark one as "eccentric" in some circles. So if one finds traces of racism and support of "Apartheid" in the life and works of du Plessis, one should keep in mind that he was a child of his times, even though he was ahead of most of his compatriots in his views. The very fact that he and his wife were willing to endure the hardships of a mission field at that time speaks of his dedication. However, it seems he was a far greater success as a theologian than as a missionary.
- ETD@PUK