Faith Negotiating Loyalties draws readers into the world of Christian faith in South Africa and the question of loyalties in the new post-apartheid state. It carries out its investigation in two parts. Part one examines Christian faith and loyalty during the first nation-building exercise following the South African War, positioning the creation and contestation of three Christianities corresponding to three nationalisms, each of which imagined South Africa in a particular way, shaping faith accordingly.
The idea of an undifferentiated South African Christianity gives way to contesting and contested Christianities, nationalism gives way to nationalisms, and faith emerges in tension with and in criticism of these loyalties. Part two discusses the American theologian H. Richard Niebuhr in South Africa. Three kinds of faith in his wittings are set forth: social faith, radial faith, and reconstructing faith. Contextualized within the South African story, Niebuhr's ideas suggest self and society as constituted by hybridities and suspended in a web of loyalties. Faith Negotiating Loyalties suggests the message for faith in a post-apartheid South Africa is the importance of negotiating covenants which allow for crossings, hybridities, and contestations.
Dr. Stephen W. Martin is a professor of Theology at The King's University.