HTS : Theological Studies - Volume 65, Issue 1, 2009
Volume 65, Issue 1, 2009
Author Jacobus KokSource: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –7 (2009)More Less
In this article, a few of the elements and dynamics of social movements will be explored. It will be argued that the traditional institutional church is in a critical period in the cycle of movements, where the need for the (re)discovery of our missional-incarnational ethos and the theology of restoration might energise the church to (re)activate the dynamics of movements. The narrative of Jesus and the Samaritan woman in John 4 will be investigated as an example of Jesus's missional-incarnational ethos and of the relation to a theology of restoration. Finally, some challenges for the church with regard to ecclesiology, spirituality and leadership will be proposed.
Author Christo LombaardSource: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –4 (2009)More Less
The prosaic Mosaic death in Deuteronomy 34 leaves the way of life לעלם / עד־עוֹלם / כּל־היּמּים as constituted in הךּבךים . That is, par excellence: Life יהךה לפני is found in words. In Qohelet, another kind of existentialism, in the face of death, is found, namely in the sensual life of enjoyment of food, drink and companionship. These two approaches constitute different, competing Second Temple period conceptions of how to live, despite death, coram Deo. These two conceptions indicate the existence of more than one ethos within ancient Judaic society - a dynamic often lacking in the South African context.
Author James A. LoaderSource: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –6 (2009)More Less
This paper shows how Calvin's ideas about the Old Testament concept of Israel's election can be dangerous when they are applied uncritically. The main illustration material is drawn from a context the author was himself part of, notably the South African apartheid theology of Calvinist provenance. The paper begins with documenting Calvin's views on Israel and Israel's election in the Old Testament, moving to a consideration of how this motif was connected to the idea of predestination and construed to become an instrument to defend apartheid in what may be called a substandard theology. It is suggested that a glance at the English-speaking world shows surprising similarities that justify further consideration. In this title several dimensions are present that need to be explicated.
Author Cornel W. Du ToitSource: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –8 (2009)More Less
The thesis of this article is that contemporary people are increasingly ousting death from their consciousness and focussing instead on the complexities of life in a context of horizontal transcendence. This replaces the Pauline notion that death is the fruit of sin and will be overcome if its real cause, sin, is vanquished through the death and resurrection of Christ. The article shows how religions, the state and civil society have abused human fear of death in the course of history. It examines the way science has 'biologised' death and the impact this has on concepts such as soul, the hereafter and identity. Reflection on the hereafter tends to make light of death. The article deals with some philosophical models (especially those of Hegel and Heidegger) that incorporate the negative (non-being, death) into life (the subject). I then outline a model incorporating death into life at a horizontal transcendental level in order to make death plausible. The example cited is Sölle's work. The article concludes with a discussion of some theological implications of an immanent approach to death.
Source: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –8 (2009)More Less
It has often been stated or implied that John Calvin and the Reformers in general were indifferent to or even against mission. The aim of this study is to point out that this understanding is not a true version of the facts. A thorough examination of the theology and actions of John Calvin, evaluated against the background of his times and world, reveals that he was firmly committed to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Lord. Also the theological insights of Calvin and the Reformers not only provided the crucial theological basis to support the future massive missionary expansion of Protestant churches, but necessitate for all times Church mission as a sure consequence of their theology. Calvin's theology can indeed be described as an 'essentially missionary theology'. In the heart of Calvin's theological thinking clearly features the doctrine of justification - because medieval man's concern for salvation needed to be answered.
Author Ernest Van EckSource: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –10 (2009)More Less
Inclusivity as gospel
In antiquity, group identity was based on cultural ethnicity. Groups used their ethnicity to define and delineate themselves as unique. Ethnicity was determined by characteristics like family (kinship), name, language, homeland, myths of common ancestry, customs, shared historical memories, phenotypical features, and religion. The Jewish temple religion and law-abiding Jews in the early church (as depicted in Acts and the congregations of Paul) also used their ethnic identity as argument for justifying the exclusion of other groups / ethnic peoples from the Temple and the early church, respectively. Jesus, Acts and Paul, on the contrary, proclaimed that ethnicity meant nothing when it comes to being in God's presence, being part of the early Christ-followers, or being part of any local (Pauline) congregation. For this reason, it can be concluded that the New Testament bears witness to an inclusive ecclesiology.
Author Pieter M. VenterSource: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –10 (2009)More Less
Inclusivism and exclusivism : a study of two trends
The identity of the church can be either inclusivist or exclusivist. Van Ruler's theocratic theology views the church as being an inclusive community in service of God's kingdom. It is the vehicle God uses to introduce his kingdom into the world. According to Van Ruler, however, the church also shows a unique character based on its relationship with Jesus Christ. Although the church can take many forms, Van Ruler's opinion is that the Christian Church could be advised by Old Testament Israel in this regard. This study shows that both inclusivist and exclusivist trends are present in the Old as well as the New Testament. The New Testament inherited the debate between these two opposing stances from the time of the Second Temple. Returning from exile, Sadocitic priests propagated an exclusivist identity for the Judaeans. Their viewpoint was based on the programme of Ezekiel 40-48, as is illustrated in the literature of Ezra-Nehemiah, the Priestly Writing, Chronicles and Jubilees. On the other hand, indeed there was an inclusivist approach as well, as is depicted in the books of Jonah, Ruth, Trito-Isaiah and even Numbers and Joshua. The conclusion drawn from the study is that both exclusivist and inclusivist trends are present in the Bible. Although the church does not have any other option in the present postmodern world but to be primarily an inclusive community, it should also show some form of exclusivism.
Author Philip P. VenterSource: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –7 (2009)More Less
The woman Wisdom, God, and ecojustice : ideology of the body in Proverbs 8:1-9:18
This article examines the ideology of the body, specifically in terms of the gender of Wisdom and God, from an ecojustice perspective. Femininity within a God construct could contribute to a value system that incorporates compassion, interrelatedness and mutual care. In Proverbs 8:1-9:18, however, the woman Wisdom does not represent an ecofriendly construct, but simply enhances and supports the patriarchal, masculine values incorporated in the God Yahweh.
Author Malan NelSource: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –17 (2009)More Less
The research problem concerned is : what criteria should be used when congregations are analysed?
Congregations as faith communities are defined differently. Identifying the local congregation as a defined and as an empirical subject plays a major role in answering the research question. The theological points of departure taken are that any measure of a local congregation has to deal with issues such as faithfulness to the gospel and the missional identity and integrity of the congregation as a contextual faith community. The hypothesis is that theologically informed and motivated congregations can and should be analysed in the process of continuing reformation. While the first article described the approach and outcome of empirical research, this article focuses mainly on understanding the church as intermediary in its ministerial role-fulfilment. Ministries are modes by which God is coming to his own and through them to his world. Eventually a case is made for congregational analysis as a test of faithfulness to this understanding of ministry.
Author Theuns F.J. DreyerSource: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –5 (2009)More Less
A church with character : the perspective of Gerben Heitink
Mainstream churches worldwide are experiencing a decline in membership. The wellknown Dutch practical theologian Gerben Heitink's (2007) latest book Een kerk met karakte, Tijd voor heroriëntatie is an attempt to address this phenomenon. This article is an overview of his book, with comments from other authors. Although emerging churches is constitute a movement separate from the institutional churches, Heitink still takes the existing church as point of departure. He suggests a process of reorientation and transformation within based on a matrix of eight critical factors. In conclusion, the article evaluates Heitink's model from a personal perspective within the context of the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa.
God, the Christ and the Spirit in William P. Young's bestseller The shack seen from a Pauline and Johannine perspective : original researchAuthor Andries G. Van AardeSource: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –9 (2009)More Less
Among its more than a million readers, The shack's has empowered traditionalists and seekers among Christian spirituals but has also been condemned for patripassionism and modalism. This article consists mainly of two sections. The first section considers the issue of reviewers of The shack's often assessing its religious legitimacy and the value of its message by means of critically questioning its adherence to texts in the Christian Bible. The second section focuses on the accusation that, dogmatically seen, The shack's narrative point of view is heresy, especially because of its nonstandard view of Christian dogma with regard to God Triune. The aim of the article is to argue that a great deal of commonality exists between the author of The shack's and both Pauline and Johannine mysticism. With regard to their God talk, the author and these biblical writers express more of a present immanent communion with the transcendental God than an expectancy of authenticity that still lies in the future and exists outside humankind?s immanent time and space. It is as if they draw the end time into the sphere of the here and now by passionately talking about communion with God as a process of the future, inhaled by the present. By doing so, the God-threesome meet wounded humankind in a 'shack', not in the 'church' as such or 'Scripture' as such as if God could be placed in a box.
Author Alfred R. BrunsdonSource: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –7 (2009)More Less
Consolation as a unique outcome within a pastoral-narrative approach to grief
The pastoral counselling of those who grieve, poses new challenges to pastoral care. Because of the shift away from a modernist paradigm, the grief process is now seen as an open-ended process, rather than a closed process that focuses on the mastering of the so-called tasks of mourning, and the avoidance of grief pathology. Recent grief theory suggests that the grief process cannot reach a point of closure. Grief counselling should therefore rather embark on a process of generating new meaning to the problem-saturated discourses surrounding death and loss. Narrative therapy is suggested as a means of grief counselling, as it makes use of the story analogy, which supports the notion of an open end to the grief process. In this study, the narrative is explored within the framework of Practical Theology. Both the master story of God and the grief-saturated stories of people are combined in a pastoral approach that envisages consolation as the unique outcome of the therapeutic process. Consolation is regarded as one of the secondary narratives in the greater narrative of God, as well as in the reformed theological vocabulary. It is suggested that a pastoral-narrative approach to grief will generate the consolation needed by the grief-stricken on their lifelong journey of coming to terms with their loss.
Source: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –5 (2009)More Less
This article offers an overview of the development of Romanian theology through the 20th century, especially after 1989, which constituted a new era for the evolution of Romanian theology. The author believes that the greatest challenge for the Romanian Orthodox Church after 1989 is the one that aims at the reconfiguration of the mission of the Christian martyria within the new forms of religious and social freedom. The author states the necessity for Romanian theology for its own katharsis (purification) as well as the necessity for eliminating the idea that between theology and the other sciences there is a relationship of antinomy. The author firmly states his credo as a theologian, namely the theological theme of deification / theosis, understood either in the way of Saint Paul as 'gods through grace' or in the way of Saint Peter as 'partakers of the divine nature': homo-Deus.
Is 'divine healing' in the 'faith movement' founded on the principles of healing in the Bible or based on the power of the mind? : original researchAuthor Stephan P. PretoriusSource: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –7 (2009)More Less
Many people plagued with incurable diseases or diseases that seem to be resistant to medical treatment, in desperation turn to preachers who claim to administer divine healing. These divine healers make certain claims, based on their interpretation of the Scriptures and a so-called revelation of God's will. They furthermore preach that healing and health are included in atonement and that nobody should be sick. Illness is an indication of a lack of faith on the part of the believer. It could also be attributed to an attack from the devil. In order to obtain healing, a process of ignoring the symptoms, followed by an unyielding and repeated confession of the healing needed, based on selected verses from the Scriptures, is proposed. This article is based on the contention that the healing practised by these divine healers is nothing more than a 'mind-over-matter' approach, leading people into confessing over and over that they have been healed. These practices are reminiscent of the utilisation of affirmations that lead to positive thinking, which will evidently result in a change of behaviour on the part of the confessor. No indication of Godly intervention seems to be evident in this healing ministry, and neither is any submission to the will and purpose of God.
Source: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –5 (2009)More Less
This article underlines particularly those aspects of Romanian theology that distinguish it from other theological reflections. By making use of liturgical discourse, Romanian theology reflects the ecumenical dimension of the prayers of the Divine Liturgy. It is this specificity that provides Romanian theology's missionary dimension within the European context. The author introduces the idea that theology is not an academic mission reserved to a group of intellectuals or to the hierarchy of the church; it is rather open to every believer - every believer is asked to be a theologian, to be a person of prayer, to speak about God while being in God. Another point of interest is the God-humanity-world relationship in an era of globalisation, with regard to which the author stresses the need for equilibrium between spiritual and scientific values and that Romanian Orthodox theology is an authentic theology of equilibrium.
Descendit ad [in] inferna : 'a matter of no small moment in bringing about redemption' : original researchAuthor Johan BuitendagSource: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –6 (2009)More Less
This article endorses Calvin's conviction that the 'descendit ad inferna' of the Apostles' Creed is part of the 'summary of doctrine' and a matter of 'no small moment in bringing about redemption' (Calvin 1960:Inst. II, xvi, 8). The reason for this role, however, is not Calvin's metaphorical interpretation of the clause. Instead, the author tries to argue that a scientific theological approach will maintain the clause because of its transcendence of finitude and the proclamation of Christ's victory. The whole of creation is delivered from sin. Proper hermeneutics will take the original socio-historical environment into account and make one suspicious about certain ecclesiastical biases. Spatial terms in the Creed should therefore not be demythologised, but rather be transformed in accordance with the insights of the contemporary physics of time and space.
The leuenberg agreement and church unity : a possible matrix to cross ten seas with? : original researchAuthor Willem A. DreyerSource: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –16 (2009)More Less
This article gives a short historical background to the debate between Lutherans and Calvinists on unity. It is important that this debate should also start in southern Africa. The focus is placed on the Leuenberg Agreement of 1973 as a possible model of unity not only between the Lutheran and Reformed churches in South Africa, but also between all Protestant churches which have historically been divided on the basis of tradition, language and race.
Die ontwikkeling van die menslike bewussyn : teorieë oor die ontwikkeling van menslike bewussyn - die ontdekking van die 'misterie van die siel' : original researchAuthor Ignatius (Naas) W. FerreiraSource: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –7 (2009)More Less
The development of the human consciousness : theories of the development of human consciousness - discovering the 'mystery of the soul'
A number of theories on the development of human consciousness have tried to incorporate all views on the subject into one integral theory. However, Ken Wilber is the first philosopher who managed to combine the external with the internal fields of study. Using Wilber's integral theory, a number of researchers developed their own theories in their field of speciality. Jim Marion used Wilber's development theory to show the evolution of consciousness from a Christian perspective. Steve McIntosh, an integral philosopher, takes Wilber's ideas further, and even criticises him on a few points. Another important researcher following Wilber is Andre Marquis, who developed an integral questionnaire to help pastors gauge clients' problems. James Fowler, Clare Graves and Bill Plotkin also researched the evolution of human consciousness. This article examines each of these researchers, and concludes with a glance at several viewpoints on the soul and the mystical union with God.
Author Johannes Van OortSource: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –10 (2009)More Less
Augustine's sermons provide a unique source in explaining his influence from the 5th century onwards as a theologian and pastor, a minister of the Word preached and celebrated in the sacrament. Of particular value in this regard are his sermons on the Psalms. Issues of authenticity are also considered in this article. The influence of Augustine's sermons was widespread through their tradition and adaptation by others. A substantial and reliable corpus of his sermons is available today. As a pastor, Augustine was anxious to challenge heresy in his preaching, especially to confront the Donatists, Manichaeans and Pelagians. His preaching is considered in the wider context of congregational worship with its origins in the synagogue. Of special importance are his preaching techniques, while his doctrine of 'the inner teacher' (magister interior) is equally significant. Essential elements of Augustine's theory and practice became influential in the early days of the Protestant Reformation (Luther, Calvin and others). The author briefly touches on the question of their relevance for today's congregational worship.
Author I.W. (Naas) FerreiraSource: HTS : Theological Studies 65, pp 1 –6 (2009)More Less
The development of the human consciousness : the postmodern quest for God
This article critically reflects upon 'emerging Christians' - those who have departed from a premodern (theistic) and modernist (secular) view of reality, and have rather embraced postmodernity in response to the cognitive dissonance they experience due to a clash of epistemological paradigms.The article discusses psychological theories on the development of human consciousness, and describes seven levels or stages of such development, namely the archaic, magical, mythological,rational, pluralistic, holistic and transpersonal levels. The article focuses on Ken Wilber's integral psychological theory, better known as AQAL (All Quadrants, All Levels and All Lines), which also covers the internal and external dimensions of human consciousness, including an integral view on the so-called 'states of human consciousness'. In doing so, the article aims to contribute to that aspect of pastoral care that focuses on psychological theory.