n HTS : Theological Studies - Die inkarnering van die as praktykmodel vir die Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika : original research

Volume 71, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0259-9422
  • E-ISSN: 2072-8050



The decline of the church in the West is of great concern to many today. The Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa (NRCA), experiences the same tendency. We are living in a time when survival is on the mind of most mainline congregations and denominations. The question is what shall we do to turn this situation around? The answer is to be found in the rediscovery of what it means for the church to be missional. The knowledge about how the early church functioned helps us to rediscover the character of early Christian mission, much of what is drawn together in the concept of incarnational mission. This article examines incarnational mission as the understanding and practise of Christian witness that is rooted in and shaped by the life, ministry, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. Understanding mission incarnationally in this manner is an integrative way to approach the church's missionary vocation and to avoid the typical Western reduction of mission to one of the many programms of the church. The article, by exploring the meaning of incarnational mission, endeavours to be both constructive with regard to the biblical and theological understanding of the message, and polemical with regard to the context and history of mission, especially in the Western tradition. This article follows Darrell Guder in arguing that the historical 'happenedness' of Jesus' life both enables and defines Christian witness. In exploring the missional significance of the incarnation, the article tries to avoid any dilution of the centrality of the incarnation event.

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