An appraisal of the development of Seventh-Day Adventist mission in South Africa : a missiological evaluation.
July 1997 marks the 110th anniversary of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church's existence in South Africa. During this time the denomination has augmented both organizationally and numerically. Notwithstanding the expansion in these dimensions though, a thorough perusal of the denomination's history and present modus-operandi makes it clear that all is not as it should be within the denomination. In an attempt to discover the fundamental causes for the malaise that exists within the denomination, chapter one begins by succinctly tracing the growth of apocalyptic and millennial thinking. Beginning from the Maccabean era it reveals not only the numerous transformations that took place in millennial discernment throughout the subsequent centuries, but also demonstrates how these oscillations prepared the "soil" which allowed the emergence of the Millerite Movement - the immediate forerunners of the SDA church. Chapter two unveils the emergent movement in America initially opposed to to the formation of any formal organizations and hesitant to commission any missionaries to foreign lands. This period was destined however to also be an era of maturation. In the wake of the doctrinal consolidation that eventually took place, came not only an evolvement of missionary consciousness but also the successful development of a unique tri-lateral missiological approach that the denomination would employ' with great success on the world's mission fields.In July 1887 the first SDA missionaries stepped onto South African shores. Chapter three reveals this emergent church greatly stirred by the organizational, institutional and missiological developments experienced by the church in America, looking set to rapidly emulate both the missionary paradigm and numerous accomplishments of its mother church. Chapter four discloses however, how this once dynamic, intrepid, missionary-minded church very quickly became bogged down in a quagmire of difficulties. Many of these occurrences and other serious issues that followed in the ensuing years of the twentieth century were indisputably detrimental to the church, seriously affecting both its missionary expansion and its development in this country. As the denomination in South Africa stands on the brink of the twenty first century there is no question, that unless some drastic measures are taken, that it could very soon find itself under the sword of Damocles. This impending crisis is augmented not only by its almost total lack of involvement in crucial social issues, conspicuous inconsistencies present in its organizational structure, and its manoeuvre from a once dynamic evangelistically orientated movement to an institutionalized organization, but also by the fact that indispensable facets of its missionary strategy are at the present moment no longer in evidence in its continued operations. There is no question that the denomination is faced not only with a missiological identity crisis but also with the very sobering question whether it is indeed fulfilling the missionary mandate it ironically still preaches and still so strongly believes in.