In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi
ISSN / EISSN : 1018-6441 / 2305-0853
Published by: AOSIS Open Journals (10.4102)
Total articles ≅ 2,424
Latest articles in this journal
In die Skriflig / In Luce Verbi, Volume 56; https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v56i1.2864
As in all other world religions, a deep sense of the mystery is also central to the Christian religion. The mere existence of God is accepted as something mysterious beyond human comprehension. While theological literature speaks extensively of the mysterious nature of the triune God, little or nothing is said of such mysterious nature of God in missiology in the context of the missio Dei, particularly from the perspective of the Willlingen’s International Missionary Conference (IMC) of 1952. The question underlying this article is: how does the perception of the mysterious God relate to the context of the missio Dei? In other words, how mysterious is God in his own mission (missio Dei)? At its core, this article is more about the mysterious God in the mission leading to the mystery of the missio Dei itself. Consequently, this article made use of a search in literature to conceptualise the mystery encompassing the inherent character of the triune God in his own mission (missio Dei). In other words, it underlines the mysterious triune God through his innate attributes, namely omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, which are eternally at work in the missio Dei. It then concludes with the view that the understanding of the triune God as a mystery within the missio Dei economy may lead to different but comprehensive understandings of the missio Dei itself. Contribution: The content of this article will contribute immensely to a better understanding of the missio Dei and as such will subsequently be used by missiologists as a reference in their attempts to describe the character of God within the context of the missio Dei.
In die Skriflig / In Luce Verbi, Volume 56; https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v56i1.2875
In die Skriflig / In Luce Verbi, Volume 56; https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v56i1.2831
The Dutch Reformed Church about ‘Church and Society’ before and after 1994 – An evaluation of three documents. In its aim, to guide the members of its congregations in the last days of official apartheid in South Africa in a pastoral and ethical way, the General Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church formulated the documents Church and Society of 1986 and 1990. The General Synod applied its interpretation of biblical norms like love thy neighbour, justice and human dignity, to say that apartheid as the forced separation and unequal, unjust treatment of people of different communities, could not be justified. The church opted for a new societal dispensation in one South Africa, although it left the practical side of it to the chosen politicians. When confronted by the new dispensation in 1994, the study commission that was appointed to help their church members to understand the new South Africa as based on the human rights of individuals, was uncritical about the humanistic-individualistic foundation of the new society. The fruits of their study were sent to be studied in congregations. This movement led to the end of an effort in this regard on the level of the General Synod. Between their approach to apartheid and the new society, the reports before the General Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church did not maintain the same principles, nor did it maintain an ecclesiastical independence. The report of 1998 did not show the same critical approach as the reports on apartheid in 1986 and 1990. Contribution: This article concentrates on the view of the Dutch Reformed Church on practical apartheid before it officially ended in 1994. The critical approach of practical apartheid as undertaken by this church is investigated through a church historical study of literature. Three documents on church and society eventually came out of the General Synod: Church and Society 1986, Church and Society 1990 and the Church and a new dispensation in 1998. The Dutch Reformed Church, however, did not use the same point of departure before than after 1994.
In die Skriflig / In Luce Verbi, Volume 56; https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v56i1.2860
Johan Heyns and Beyers Naudé as prophets against the Dutch Reformed Church supporting apartheid: Heyns prophesising from within and Naudé from without. Both Johan Heyns and Beyers Naudé came from a strong Dutch Reformed and Afrikaans background. Both supported and motivated a policy of apartheid in the Dutch Reformed Church and South Africa in their earlier years. As for Naudé, this conviction changed in December 1960 at the Cottesloe consultation of the World Council of Churches in South Africa’s member churches. Heyns changed in the early 1980s on the matter. In October–November 1980, Heyns initiated a public witness linked to Reformation Day in which the apartheid of the time was strongly criticised. This witness made an appeal on churches in South Africa to preach the gospel aimed at the full development of all citizens as people created in the image of God – be it in an inclusive society. In promoting his viewpoint, Heyns remained in the Dutch Reformed Church. Besides being an occasional controversial participant, he had a measured influence on the two documents, ‘Church and Society 1986’ and ‘Church and Society 1990’. In these documents, the Dutch Reformed Church, for the first time, spoke out against the way in which apartheid was implemented. As moderator from 1986–1990, Heyns was at the centre of events when the Dutch Reformed Church was welcomed back into Protestant ecumenic circles after apartheid. In these years, Heyns was a strong and visible force in the Dutch Reformed Church to change its stance on apartheid. He used reform from within to achieve this goal. Unlike Heyns, Naudé opted for critique on the Dutch Reformed Church and apartheid from the outside. As a vehicle for this, he founded his Christian Institute in 1963 and eventually left his church, with the effect that he was excluded from assemblies in the Dutch Reformed Church that decided on matters such as apartheid. It became impossible to find any sign of Naudé’s influence on decisions and declarations of assemblies such as presbyteries and synods against apartheid in the Dutch Reformed Church. Heyns used the norm in Reformed churches that a Reformed church should be reformed from within. In this article, the influence of both Heyns and Naudé on the General Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church to change its stance on apartheid is analysed by means of a study of literature. The purpose is to determine the more effective method of the two for ecclesiastical change. Heyns operated from within and Naudé from without. Heyns became the chairman of the General Synod which spoke out against apartheid in practice, but the church closed its ranks against the critique of Naudé. Contribution: Considering that both Johan Heyns and Beyers Naudé were members of a congregation of the Dutch Reformed Church as a Reformed church, the question is what the influence of reform was on their stance against apartheid. Both were regarded as prophets against the support of their church during apartheid. In this process, Heyns worked from within his church and Naudé from without. The method of both in this matter is investigated and evaluated. This article fills a gap in theological-historical scientific studies in this regard and adds an own interpretation to the issue.
In die Skriflig / In Luce Verbi, Volume 56; https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v56i1.2862
People’s understanding of the origins of social structures and their relatedness, or lack thereof, to human actions and divine providence has a bearing on the moral significance they attach to the rules of structures. Within sociology, both structural-conflict theory and micro-interactionist theory has provided theories on the interplay between human actions and structures. Although both strands attempt to ground their ideas in empirical evidence, philosophical-anthropological views on human nature, the human will and human freedom play a major role in constructing the theories. In this article it is argued that the two theories are based on philosophical premises that create moral difficulties. Conflict theory, emphasising structures as the cause of human behaviour, risks cultivating a revolutionary moral attitude towards social structures that may end up in endless cycles of nihilist conduct. In contrast, micro-interactionism’s social constructivist explanation of the relationship between human action and structures could lead to moral relativism and apathy. This article reflects on an alternative approach. At the core of both voluntarist and revolutionary moral attitudes towards structures lies the notion that morality has no grounding in a deeper reality – they are merely social constructions. The article argues that a Reformed-Christian theory that grounds moral responsibility in what Michael Welker calls an ‘anthropology of the spirit’ may provide an alternative that avoids the moral ambiguities created by structural-conflict theory and micro-interactionist theory. This approach resists voluntarism by grounding morality in God who is the origin of being and understanding moral conduct in terms of the encounter between the divine and human spirit. It counters anarchy by promoting a spirit of moral realism and constant social renewal that takes seriously the consistent threat of the desire for power. Contribution: The specific contribution of this article consists in it bringing Reformed theology and sociology into dialogue. It identifies blind spots in conflict and micro-interactionist theories on the relationship between human agency and social structures, especially when it comes to morality. It also indicates how both theories are guided mainly by presuppositions about human nature and the human will. In response, it is attempted to provide an alternative theological outlook on the question of the relationship between human agency and social structures, which grounds morality in an anthropology of the Spirit. Until now, no such attempt has been made.
In die Skriflig / In Luce Verbi, Volume 56; https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v56i1.2855
Numerous studies have shown that freedom is a constituent component and provided the principal ends of countries’ development and socio-economic well-being. However, the emphasis was placed on the physical aspects of freedom that foster development. The spiritual dimension is frequently conspicuously lacking in such interventions. Therefore, the current study postulated that development depends not only on physical aspects of freedom but also on spiritual determinants. This article is a rhetorical criticism. The author utilised the argumentation discourse and dialectical approach as the methodological framework. It sought to explore the concept of spiritual freedom and its possible implications for development within an African context of poverty. Therefore, this article proffers a fresh insight into the theological discourse in contemporary Africa to inspire further scholarly investigations into this area of research. Contribution: This research investigated the role of spiritual freedom in development. The analytical framework’s applicability resulted in fresh discoveries and crucial findings on the potential impact of spiritual freedom on development. It is essentially the study’s key contribution. As such, the study may be used as a theoretical foundation for further investigation and applicability. This study aimed to offer a scholarly contribution by exploring characteristics of spiritual freedom that promote development using this interpretative technique that draws and improves on well-established paradigms of development studies. Furthermore, this research creates an uncommon blend of rhetorical critique, argumentative discourse, and dialectical and biblical-theological approaches toward giving a perspectival interpretation with special implications for the African context.
In die Skriflig / In Luce Verbi, Volume 56; https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v56i1.2859
In this article it is aimed to demonstrate that African theology is a public theology and a theology of dialogue based on its vocalism and oralism. The starting point is the definition of African theology, including its theologising methodologies. The method of research is a critical analysis of literature studies across the disciplines. A Sesotho proverbial or idiomatic puo pha! (orality) is used to illustrate that the decolonisation of theology is possible through African proverbs. This approach enhances African theology in its endeavours to unshackle itself from the western theology. As puo pha! African theology is the voice that addresses social menaces without compromises. It is the voice speaking not from the top, but from below. It is the voice of the masses, more than that of the intellectual elites. As puo pha! it engages African realities and experiences to make theological conclusions. It is argued here that African theology operates in public spaces since it is person-centred, expresses itself through processes of inculturation and is prophetic in character. Results show that African theology is a theology of encounter, and it is interactive. It becomes dialogical in nature, as it invites cultural contexts and eco-sciences in through dialogue in order that it may become relevant to African realities. The conclusion is the recommendation that African theologians embrace and promote an integrated theological method that synergises puo pha! with written theology for African theology, to have both biblical fidelity and cultural relevance. Contribution: The article intends to impress the validity of African proverbs in explaining theology, practised within African context. It demonstrates the sensibilities of African theology as a public theology and a theology of dialogue.
In die Skriflig / In Luce Verbi, Volume 56; https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v56i1.2861
In die Skriflig / In Luce Verbi, Volume 56; https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v56i1.2857
African Divine Church (ADC) is an African Instituted Church affiliated to the Organisation of the African Instituted Churches, which shapes African Instituted Churches’ (AICs’) theology through theological education. ADC has both lived, and sung-narrated theology and it originated from the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, hence Pentecostal with experiential undertones. Selected leaders of ADC in Vihiga County contributed to the study. The de-emphasised place of Christ was investigated to establish his place in ADC’s Trinitarian and missional Theology. The study articulated theological principles regarding Trinitarian ecclesiology, to assist the ADC in reworking its Christology. The historical approach of the early church, medieval, reformation, and modern periods regarding the place of Christ as the second person of the Triune God were investigated, to formulate guidelines for a paradigm shift in understanding the place of Christ in Trinitarian ecclesiology and the missional community that ADC may use in reworking its Trinitarian Mission. The study employed a mixed-method that followed three steps, namely interviews, questionnaires and observation. The study population was determined through purposive sampling. A coding method safeguarded the identity and confidentiality of participants. The results were classified as historical, practical and theological. ADC derived its name from John 15:1–17 through meditation, vision and revelation. The colours red, white and green symbolise its mission and growth, while its experiential and charismatic liturgy was derived from 1 Samuel 6:1–4, with evidence of hermeneutical deficiency. Theological findings included the undeveloped relationship between God and ecclesial mission, emphasis on the Holy Spirit, healing, and prophecy with a lessened place of Christ in the Trinitarian mission, as well as the blend of ancestorology with Christology that threatens the hypostatic Christology and Trinitarian economy. The study implied a call for reworking hermeneutics, Trinitarian theology, and reconstructing the relationship between God’s mission and that of the Church and a reworked Christology, distinctive from ancestorology. Contribution: African Divine Church’s narrative theology is exposed especially the Trinitarian mission to a constructive critique and further study. It has advanced mixed-method in progressing narrative inquiry as an alternative methodology.
In die Skriflig / In Luce Verbi, Volume 56; https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v56i1.2801