John de Gruchy’s Understanding of the Kingdom of God as Articulated in “The Church Struggle in South Africa”

Keywords: John de Gruchy, public theology, kingdom of God, apartheid, justice


In 2019, John W. de Gruchy turns 80 and it will be 40 years after his influential The Church Struggle in South Africa was published. This contribution reflects on the last chapter of De Gruchy’s book, titled The Kingdom of God in South Africa. In this chapter, De Gruchy engages with well-known theologians such as Niebuhr, Bonino, Barth, Bonhoeffer, Pannenberg and Moltmann. He enters into conversation with liberation theologians from South America and Africa. His interpretation of the kingdom of God within the context of South Africa, with all its socio-political challenges, became a seminal text in the theological critique of apartheid. De Gruchy concludes with a “theology of hope” with reference to Bonhoeffer’s letters from prison in which he reflects on Christian hope.

Author Biography

Wim Dreyer, University of Pretoria

University of Pretoria

Department of Church History, Faculty of Theology

Fields of specialisation: Modern Church History, South African History, Ecclesiology and the theology of Karl Barth.