HTS : Theological Studies - Volume 70, Issue 1, 2014
Volume 70, Issue 1, 2014
Hypocrisy in stewardship : an ethical reading of Malachi 3:6-12 in the context of Christian stewardship : original researchSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –11 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2086More Less
The biblical concept of stewardship has been subjected to some misunderstanding. Each time the word stewardship is mentioned, the meaning that easily comes to mind is that of money. One of the means through which Christians express their appreciation to God is through dedicated and trustworthy stewardship. In the book of Malachi the focus on the tithe in particularly in the fifth disputation oracle (3:6-12) is closely associated with the issue of disrespect for the Lord. The people's perspective with respect to and use of their wealth and/or personal effects was simply a symptom of the viability of their covenant relationship with Yahweh. An acknowledgement of Yahweh's ultimate ownership and/or proprietorship over all things, his generosity and faithfulness in juxtaposition to the deceitfulness of the people as demonstrated by Malachi serves as enough motivation for total Christian stewardship. This article highlights the economic reality of Yehud during Malachi's day, the intricacies of the prophet's accusations of hypocrisy concerning the tithe, and in an attempt to be dispassionate as well as careful, the article concludes by emphasising some underlying principles with regard to Christian stewardship which will serve as a reminder to Christians about their ethical responsibility.
Fast, faster, poorest decisions? A practical theological exploration of the role of a speedy mobinomic world in decision-making : original researchAuthor Jan Albert Van den BergSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –5 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2615More Less
In a digital world, it seems as if the boundaries between rich and poor are becoming increasingly blurred. A mobinomic world is created through the use of cellular telephones, which plays an important role on multiple levels of socioeconomic understanding. Various advantages are created through the interplay between the power of mobility and the convergence of various forms of media. Considering the immediate accessibility of an overflow of data in various forms as well as time pressure, decision-making is increasingly becoming associated with living in the fast lane of the digital world. Unfortunately, the cost of faster decision-making is that it could potentially result in individuals making poor decisions on various levels. A practical-theological exploration, as embedded in a transversal rational engagement, entails a preliminary investigation and description of this digital reality, especially as portrayed in the dynamics of decision-making associated with the social media platform Twitter.
Author Carolina S. BothaSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –5 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2067More Less
The concept of stewardship has evolved from merely being significant in the financial contribution that people make towards their church to an all-encompassing decision that dictates people's lives. It is not a feeling of urgency that someone is born with, but rather a decision and commitment made on a daily basis. Teachers thus find themselves in the perfect situation to be stewards in their classrooms on a daily basis. Furthermore, this tendency is noticed in teachers who work towards turning their schools into stewardship-driven institutions that aim to develop an environment driven by a calling to teach; therefore, theology is offered a leading role in the way the school is managed.
Author David A. OgrenSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –7 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2061More Less
Previously identified as an entrenched Egyptian community, Copts have propelled themselves into the greater Africa through two main phenomena: migration and mission. Copts have recast displacement to transcend powerlessness and loss by highlighting the sovereign opportunity to consolidate identity in new contexts and widen the fold of the Coptic community, expressed through ecumenism, holistic ministry, cultural sensitivity and the presentation of the Coptic Church as essentially 'African'. In migration, the Coptic Church creates identity through physical presence (church buildings), recasting the narrative (African originality), employing a rubric of sovereignty (agency rather than passivity) and engaging others ecumenically (gaining Orthodox legitimacy). Beyond reaching out to migrants, much energy has been devoted to mission by establishing institutions, including a missionary training department at the Institute of Coptic Studies and a Department of African Studies in Cairo. In mission, the Coptic Church extends its influence beyond migrants to include non-Copts and non-Christians through ecumenism, social programs and the presentation of Copts as essentially African.
Author Gijsbert D.J. DingemansSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –8 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2608More Less
Theology as (re)interpretation : twenty-six considerations
The article consists of 26 points of reflection by means of which the nature of theological discourse is considered as a hermeneutical process. These indicators cover aspects such as the relationship between the natural sciences and religious thinking; hermeneutics; philosophy; ultimacy; symbolic meaningfulness; Old Testament roots; historical Jesus; Christological dogmatics; creation and Spirit; kenosis; and social concern. The article concludes in its last reflection with the claim that plurality in both religious discourse and ecclesiastical structures is the challenge for theology, so as to remain relevant in the present-day scientific discourse and religiosity and to be obedient to the vocation of Jesus.
Is religious fundamentalism our default spirituality? Implications for teacher education : original researchSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –9 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2082More Less
Using experiential interpretivism as underpinning methodology, this article investigates whether religious fundamentalism is the default spirituality of human beings. Our research is based on a hermeneutic reconstructive interpretation of religion, fundamentalism, radicalism, extremism, spirituality, life- and worldview, and the role of education in bringing about peaceful coexistence amongst people. We concluded that the natural religious-fundamentalist inclination of the human being tends to be (and needs to be) counterbalanced by the education - that is, socialisation - that he or she receives from the moment of birth, the important first six or seven years of life, and throughout his or her life. Based on this conclusion, the article ends with the articulation of ten implications for teacher education.
Source: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –12 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2605More Less
Paradigms determine relationships. During the Enlightenment period Emile Durkheim proposed a relationship between the sacred and the profane. Religion, which is concerned with the sacred, was defined in terms of being different from the profane. The profane came to denote the secular. The organic character of religion caused some scholars to predict the end of the church at the hand of modernisation and rationalisation. Some scholars instead envisaged a new form and function of the church. Some scholars anticipated the growth of Christianity. Reality shows that Christianity has not died out but seems to be growing. The new era we are currently in (identified as the postmodern) has been described as the post-secular age where a process of re-sacralisation takes place. How will the post-secular influence the church? What will the relationship between the church and the secular be like under a new paradigm? This article suggests that within a postmodern paradigm, the post-secular will emphasise the place of the individual in the church. Fragmentation of society will also be the result of the postsecular. Religiosity in future will have to contend with fundamentalism and civil religion.
Malachi's concern for social justice : Malachi 2:17 and 3:5 and its ethical imperatives for faith communities : original researchSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –9 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2072More Less
Any time humans in any culture consider primary ethical concepts, justice will be to the fore. Much seems to hinge upon it whether human society is to function with any semblance of civil order, security and harmony. When justice is pervasively trampled upon, the very fabric of liveable society crumbles. The apprehension for justice is clearly reflected in almost all of the Old Testament (OT). It is an important theological motif in the OT. This is found in such OT literature as historical, legal, prophetic and wisdom writings. This evidence thus reveals that the apprehension for the issue of justice was one of the many ways by which Israel's multifaceted social life was knit together throughout its various ancient historical developments. No aspect of the life of Israel was excluded from this kind of apprehension for justice, and Yahweh was understood to be actively involved in its entire phase. This article examines Malachi's fourth disputation in the light of the lawlessness alluded to in Malachi 2:17 and the corruption of personal and civil morality in Malachi 3:5. In the discussions that follow, this article examines the need for the justice of Yahweh; that is, Yahweh's righting of past wrongs and the reversal of sinful societal order. The purpose is to enact a communal ethic for those who generously care for the neighbourhood and are firm in their devotion to Him, that is, God.
Author Pieter M. VenterSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –10 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2063More Less
There never existed only one form of the biblical canon. This can be seen in the versions as well as editions of the Hebrew and Greek Bibles. History and circumstances played a central role in the gradual growth of eventually different forms of the biblical canon. This process can be studied using the discipline of intertextuality. There always was a movement from traditum to traditio in the growth of these variant forms of biblical canon. This can be seen in an analysis of the intertextuality in Jubilees 23:8-32. The available canon of the day was interpreted there, not according to a specific demarcated volume of canonical scriptures, but in line with the theology presented in those materials, especially that of Psalm 90.
Imagining the beauty and hope of a colourful phoenix rising from the ashes of Marikana and service delivery protests : a postfoundational practical theological calling : original researchAuthor Johann-Albrecht MeylahnSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –6 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2616More Less
The last few years the young democratic South Africa's history has been characterised by service delivery protests and industrial action which is becoming increasingly violent as epitomised by Marikana. Is the violence that accompanies industrial action and service delivery protests emblematic of a powerless frustration and a violent revulsion at the thought that there will be no change? For 18 years, hope was placed in the idea of liberation which would open the doors to a brighter future for the majority, yet all that remains of that noble dream lies in the ashes of current events that populate the newspaper headlines of the major South African newspapers. What role can Practical Theology play in this context? What is the calling of Practical Theology, and specifically postfoundational narrative theology? These are the questions this article will seek to answer, by proposing that a narrative approach can listen to the untold stories and thus the colourful phoenix can rise from the ashes.
Author Stephan F. De BeerSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –7 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2075More Less
This article reflects on the unfinished task of liberation - as expressed in issues of land - and drawing from the work of Franz Fanon and the Durban-based social movement Abahlali baseMjondolo. It locates its reflections in four specific sites of struggle in the City of Tshwane, and against the backdrop of the mission statement of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria, as well as the Capital Cities Research Project based in the same university. Reflecting on the 'living death' of millions of landless people on the one hand, and the privatisation of liberation on the other, it argues that a liberating praxis of engagement remains a necessity in order to break the violent silences that perpetuate exclusion.
Source: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –8 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2614More Less
Poverty is a human condition. Social, economic, psychological and political factors affect society and can alleviate as well as stimulate poverty. Religion provides a unique perspective on the phenomenon of poverty. This article suggests three functions of religion regarding poverty. Firstly, religion can redirect human thought to spiritual concerns, focusing on spiritual poverty instead of material concerns. Secondly, it can provide the moral fibres needed in society. Religion can influence the response to poverty by having an ethical impact when principles benefiting all in society are applied within economic systems. Religion can also influence the response to poverty by fostering an attitude of willingness to practise generosity. Religion can educate communities in order for human dignity of all in society to be restored. Thirdly, religion can be part of the system actively encouraging and participating in alleviating poverty.
Liturgical inculturation or liberation? A qualitative exploration of major themes in liturgical reform in South Africa : original researchAuthor Cas WepenerSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –8 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2644More Less
In this article, the notion of liturgical inculturation is revisited in the light of qualitative liturgical research conducted in local faith communities as well as with church leaders in South Africa regarding liturgical reform over recent decades. Two central themes were identified as representing important changes that occurred and are still occurring in the liturgy in South Africa roughly since Vatican II and the promulgation of Sacrosanctum Concilium. They are referred to here as 'the language of women' and 'the language of justice'. The concept of liturgical inculturation is revisited in the light of the ways in which these two 'languages' function and functioned in the liturgies of churches in South Africa. In conclusion, an argument is advanced for a more comprehensive understanding of the notion of liturgical inculturation in order to assist the liturgy to regain its prophetic voice in South Africa today.
Author Jakub UrbaniakSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –9 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2117More Less
This article seeks to explore the mystical approaches to suffering characteristic of both Buddhism and Christianity. Through the analysis of the meanings, the two traditions in question ascribe to suffering as a 'component' of mystical experience; it challenges the somewhat oversimplified understanding of the dichotomy 'sage-the-robot versus saint-the-sufferer'. Thus it contributes to the ongoing discussion on the theological-spiritual dimensions of the human predicament, as interpreted by various religious traditions. It also illustrates (though only implicitly) in what sense - to use the Kantian distinction - the mystical experience offers boundaries (Schranken) without imposing limits (Grenzen) to interfaith encounter and dialogue.
The material turn in Religious Studies and the possibility of critique : assessing Chidester's analysis of 'the fetish' : original researchAuthor Johan M. StrijdomSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –7 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2116More Less
In recent debates the neglect of the material dimension of religion and the foregrounding of beliefs in the modern academic study of religion has been attributed to a Protestant bias. As corrective a number of researchers have shifted their attention to the study of bodily performances, sensory experiences and sacred objects in religious traditions. In this article I will enquire how David Chidester's analysis of the cultural, political and economic uses of 'fetishes' under 19th century colonial conditions in southern Africa and in European centres of theory formation on the one hand, and under 20th and 21st century American imperial conditions on the other, may inform the comparative study of religions. Central to my argument will be that the realisation that religions are necessarily concretely mediated should not preclude the possibility of a systemic critique of power relations that are at work in the uses of objects in religions, the comparison of religions and the comparative study of religions.
Leadership mentoring and succession in the Charismatic churches in Bushbuckridge : original researchSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –10 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2065More Less
Leadership mentoring and succession programmes are critical in the development and preparation of emerging leaders for leadership transitions. By virtue of their one-founder-leaders whose special leadership talents are usually celebrated by their followers, Charismatic church leaders may fail to identify and develop young emerging leaders who may be equally gifted to prepare them for leadership succession. This quantitative study investigated the state of leadership mentoring and succession programmes in the Charismatic churches in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, South Africa (Bushbuckridge is one of five local municipalities in the Ehlazeni District Municipality situated in the north-east of the Mpumalanga province in South Africa. It borders private game ranches and the Kruger National Park). A population of 287 respondents drawn from 48 churches from rural and urban locations was assessed. Many of them (85%) were reported to have leadership mentoring programmes in their congregations and 72% of them reported that they had leadership succession programmes in place. Location was found to have no statistically significant effect on leadership mentoring. Gender and education levels were reported to have a statistically significant effect in describing leadership mentoring. Charismatic groupings in Bushbuckridge believe and take the Bible seriously as authoritative for faith, life and ministry. We therefore think it is appropriate to include in this article a relevant illustrative text - 2 Timothy 2:1-3.
Source: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –10 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2105More Less
The article attempts to establish that prosperity gospel is rooted in the faulty interpretation of several biblical passages. The prosperity gospel portrays wealth and riches as a covenant and the fulfilment of the divine promise of God to his people. The basic teaching of the prosperity gospel is that God wants believers to get rich or healthy, but he cannot bless them unless they first send money known as 'seed-faith' to their spiritual leader or pastor who tells them about the plan. This approach was popularised by the American televangelist Oral Roberts in Tulsa Oklahoma in the United States of America (USA). It has now spread to other parts of the world, including Africa. This article investigates the teaching of this theology whilst attempting to offer a biblical foundation of Christian giving for the work of God.
Source: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –9 (2014)More Less
The gift of discernment as mirror for the church.
In the encounter between man and the Holy, man reacts with the ambivalent emotion of fear and fascination. Man is confronted by something incomprehensible. How will man know whether this is God? Any response by man, even faith, might be a self-deception. This condition is called 'bad faith' by Sartre and Berger. In an existential struggle with the numineuse, man constantly tries to get to know God and his will. This struggle is faith. The Holy Spirit bestows the gift of faith on mankind. The pneumatic moment is when congruency is established between on the one hand the human identity arrived at in Christ and, on the other hand, the existential expression of the response to the calling by God.
Author Dieter T. RothSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –8 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2676More Less
The expression τά στοιχεία τού κόσμου is one of the most discussed, and most disputed, phrases in Galatians. In the following article, insight into the meaning of this phrase is sought by first of all clarifying and summarising the full scope of issues which must be explained by any interpretation of the phrase. Such a summary overview has often not appeared in various scholarly discussions. Subsequently, the primary proposed interpretations are discussed with the argument ultimately being made that it is Paul's conception of 'the world' which provides the key to a solution to the interpretive conundrum that best satisfies the entire context of Paul's letter and argument.
Galatians and the περί ίδεων λόγον of Hermogenes : a rhetoric of severity in Galatians 5-6 : original researchAuthor Andrie Du ToitSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –5 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2739More Less
Severe style in Galatians 5-6 is investigated from the perspective of the περί ίδεων λόγονof Hermogenes. Galatians 5:7-12 is an extreme example of what Hermogenes would categorise as vehemence. At the same time, it signifies a turning point: Harshness against the opposition peaks and is relentlessly sustained, whilst severity against Paul's Galatian recipients is slackening, but only up to a point. A résumé of the twofold trajectory of severity in Galatians is presented. Hermogenes can significantly help us appreciate the sustained presence, form and functioning of severe language in Galatians; much better than any or a combination of the three classical genres of speech topics. In view of the correspondences between Galatians and Hermogenes, it may even be asked whether Paul was familiar with traditional rhetorical material that in some form eventually also reached Hermogenes.