Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary - latest Issue
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Volume 22, Issue 09, 2016
Fostering spiritual formation at a distance : review of the current debates, and a biblically grounded proposal for maximizing its effectiveness as part of ministerial formationSource: Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary 22, pp 2 –38 (2016)More Less
Due to its enormous advantages, especially within the current context of massive technological advances, distance education has globally become a major component of tertiary higher education. Despite this being eminently true of the theological disciplines, controversies rage as to its efficacy for nurturing spiritual and ministerial formation. Doubters view the enterprise in pernicious terms; their main objection being that bodily absence undermines efficacy of formation at a distance, which in itself also lacks sound biblical and theological foundation. Enthusiasts on the other hand, rebuff these criticisms and question whether it is currently viable to foster the formation of theologically effective ministers without adopting the insights, methods, and tools of distance education. This article summarises the contours of these debates, and critically evaluates some of the proposals that have been propounded for its theological underpinnings. It concludes by proposing that the Pastoral Epistles provide the biblical mandate, appropriate models, and pastoral principles for maximising the efficacy and effectiveness of ministerial formation through distance education.
A biblical critique of the veneration of ancestors and the use of magic as practised in the Kingdom of eSwatiniAuthor Neville CurleSource: Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary 22, pp 39 –79 (2016)More Less
The roles of God, the ancestors, their mediators (the tangoma), and His Majesty Mswati III in the lives of the people of Swaziland are critiqued from a biblical perspective. It is shown that there are cultural beliefs and practices which are in conflict with biblical teaching, but which have found their way into the broader Church. This leads to a distortion in the preaching of the Gospel: God is portrayed as far removed and favour with God is believed to be accessible only through his intermediaries (the ancestors), leading to fearful subjugation. These two aspects of the image of God converge in a way that obstructs the central importance of the grace of God as found through faith in Christ Jesus.
Author Philip Du ToitSource: Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary 22, pp 81 –123 (2016)More Less
This article considers whether the New Testament supports Messianic Judaism. As a form of Judaism, Messianic Judaism is found to be anachronistic to ancient Israel of the Old Testament and the Judaeans of the second temple, making it problematic to use the New Testament in support of Messianic Judaism. The contention that the New Testament propagates an ongoing distinction between gentile and Judaean Christ-believers is contested in respect of the Apostolic Decree (Acts 15), the claim that Paul was fully Law observant and Paul's portrayal of the nature of the identity in Christ in respect of gentile and Judaean believers. It is found that belief in Christ constitutes a new identity for both gentile and Judaean believers that fulfilled and superseded the identities in the old age before the Christ event. The notion of an ongoing Judaean-gentile distinction in the early church is thus incompatible with the way in which Paul portrayed the new identity in Christ. The final conclusion is reached that the New Testament does not support Messianic Judaism.
Source: Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary 22, pp 125 –140 (2016)More Less
This paper intends to make a unique contribution in our interpretation of witchcraft in Africa by providing a socio-hermeneutic that is dramatic and meaningful. African theologians have sought to understand the ontology of witchcraft and its implications, as well as witchcraft accusations and possible solutions and remedies, which are all very important. This paper, however, offers something quite different, the possibility that witchcraft might have an important part to play in African cosmology, in the African cosmic drama. By employing Kevin Vanhoozer's work, The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical Linguistic Approach to Christian Doctrine, and superimposing features of this work onto an African context, namely, African realities, we are able to explore issues such as witchcraft in light of an African theo-drama. It is argued in this paper that witchcraft, as abominable as it is, plays an important role in God's 'most glorious theatre' as the antagonist. Nevertheless, before one explores the idea of God's glorious theatre and the stage for Africa's cosmic drama, witchcraft must first be understood and defined. The atonement, the sacrificial death of Christ, on the other hand, takes centre stage in this drama. Without witchcraft and without the atonement, the African cosmic drama is insipid, without great meaning or significance. Further, it is of importance to know the performing parts in Africa's cosmic drama; these are identified and elucidated in order that we may know our part and perform it well in response to African witchcraft. Therefore, we too, together with the Triune God, have our performing parts to play in this cosmic drama.
Author Dan LioySource: Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary 22, pp 141 –182 (2016)More Less
This journal article undertakes a comparative analysis of Psalm 1 and the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12. One incentive for doing so is to advance the field of scholarship concerning the intertextuality between the Old and New Testaments by examining two seminal passages in the Judeo-Christian canon. A second motivation is that this topic has received only a cursory consideration in the academic literature. The major claim affirmed by the study is that there are discernible connections between these two passages at the linguistic and conceptual levels. In turn, recognising the latter helps to clarify the meaning and significance of Psalm 1 and the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12 for ministers of the Gospel.
Assessing the normative value of selected narratives from the book of Acts utilising the five hermeneutical principles of the INCUR model : how normative is Acts?Author Noel WoodbridgeSource: Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary 22, pp 183 –206 (2016)More Less
Over the centuries, numerous major theological errors, based on a faulty interpretation of the book of Acts, have crept into the teaching of the church. These errors have had and continue to have a detrimental effect on the church. For this reason, when interpreting the book of Acts, it is important for Bible scholars to pose the following key questions: Should the practices of the early church serve as the norm for our church practices today? Should we derive our key doctrines from the early church history alone? After discussing the nature and purpose of biblical narratives and some general guidelines for interpreting the narrative portions of scripture, the article examines Luke's purpose for writing the book of Acts. In this article the author proposes the INCUR model for assessing the normative value of narrative passages in the Bible. The proposed model covers five hermeneutical principles derived from the work of recognised theologians. When placed together, these hermeneutical principles form an acronym that spells out the word INCUR: (1) Intent: Is the biblical narrative intended to serve as a historical precedent? (2) Non-contradiction: Is the practice or doctrine in the biblical narrative contradicted elsewhere in Scripture? (3) Command: Is the practice or doctrine in the biblical narrative a command or a description? (4) Uniqueness: Does the biblical narrative describe a unique event in church history? and (5) Reinforcement: Is the practice or doctrine in the biblical narrative reinforced elsewhere in scripture? The author chose to use the INCUR model to assess the narratives in the book of Acts, because many false doctrines have arisen during the course of church history, based on the incorrect interpretation of the normative value of certain narratives in this book. However, these hermeneutical principles are equally valid for assessing the normative value of all biblical narratives. After explaining the meaning of each of the five hermeneutical principles of the INCUR model, these principles are then utilised to briefly assess the normative value of selected narratives from the book of Acts. As a result of the assessment, it was concluded that Bible scholars need to be extremely careful when interpreting biblical narratives.
Source: Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary 22, pp 207 –221 (2016)More Less
Dan Lioy is Senior Research Manager in the Postgraduate School of South African Theological Seminary, and also Professor at the Potchefstroom Campus of North-West University, both in South Africa. As an ordained minister in the North American Lutheran Church and faculty member of the Institute of Lutheran Theology, he writes from a Lutheran perspective to contribute to the Publisher's Studies in Biblical Literature Series. This book is the latest of Prof. Lioy's prodigious publications that span studies in both Old and New Testaments and the wider fields of theological and theo-scientific disciplines. In his preface, the Series Editor describes the work as part of a series aimed at making 'available to scholars and institutions, scholarship of high order, and which will make significant contribution to the ongoing biblical discourse' (p. ix). With its enormous breadth and depth of excellent scholarship, the book does not disappoint in fulfilling this objective.
Source: Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary 22, pp 223 –233 (2016)More Less
Nicholas Wolterstorff is an American Philosopher with wide-ranging philosophical and theological interests in aesthetics, epistemology, political philosophy, philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and philosophy of education, and is the Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology at Yale University. Previously he was professor at Calvin College, the Free University of Amsterdam, and the University of Notre Dame. Wolterstorff, together with Alvin Plantinga and William Alston developed and expanded upon a view of religious epistemology that later became known as reformed epistemology. Among the countless articles he has written, his recent book publications include the following: Justice: Rights and Wrongs (2008), Justice in Love (2011), The Mighty and the Almighty: An Essay in Political Theology (2012), and Art Rethought: The Social Practices of Art (2015).