Stellenbosch Theological Journal - latest Issue
Volume 2, Issue 1, 2016
Source: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 7 –10 (2016)More Less
Welcome to the July 2016 edition of Stellenbosch Theological Journal (STJ), previously known as the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Teologiese Tydskrif/ Dutch Reformed Theological Journal (NGTT).
This edition presents 24 peer-reviewed academic articles. Five of these articles focus on the thought of the German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The articles by Walter Altmann, Carlos Caldas, Dion Forster and Dirkie Smit were first delivered as papers at a conference on "Bonhoeffer and the Global South: Reception History and Contemporary and Future Challenges," held at the end of September 2015 at Stellenbosch University. The focus of the conference was on the reception and relevance of Bonhoeffer's life and work for theological discourses in Brazil and Southern Africa. We hope to publish more of the articles presented at this conference in the December 2016 edition of STJ.
Welkom by die Julie 2016 uitgawe van die Stellenbosch Teologiese Joernaal (STJ), voorheen bekend as die Nederduitse Gereformeerde Teologiese Tydskrif (NGTT).
In hierdie uitgawe word 24 portuur-geëvalueerde artikels aangebied. Vyf van die artikels fokus op die denke van die Duitse predikant en teoloog, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Die artikels deur Walter Altmann, Carlos Caldas, Dion Forster en Dirkie Smit is in September 2015 in Stellenbosch by 'n konferensie oor die tema "Bonhoeffer and the Global South: Reception History and Contemporary and Future Challenges" aangebied. Die fokus van hierdie konferensie het op die ontvangs en relevansie van Bonhoeffer se lewe, werk en nalatenskap vir teologiese diskoerse in Brasilië en Suider-Afrika geval. Ons beplan om ander voordragte wat by hierdie konferensie gelewer is in die Desember 2016 uitgawe van STJ te plaas.
Author Walter AltmannSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 13 –26 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a01More Less
This article traces the influence of the German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Latin American theology. In addition to indicating the access to Bonhoeffer's writings, the article attends to Bonhoeffer's reception in various Latin American countries, including in the work of the Protestant theologian Alejandro Zorzin (from Uruguay) and the Roman Catholic theologian Erico Hammes (from Brazil). The article attests to the way in which Bonhoeffer's theology is seen as a theological resource to inspire those who seek justice in their socio-political struggles.
Author Carlos CaldasSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 27 –42 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a02More Less
The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the execution of the Christian theologian and Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His theological legacy has been of great importance in Latin America, for both ecumenical/liberationist theologians and Evangelical theologians alike. But the main question is: after so many years, is Bonhoeffer's theology still relevant in the Latin American theological context? In other words, 'Who is Dietrich Bonhoeffer for us - in Latin America - today?'
Author John W. De GruchySource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 43 –60 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a03More Less
Nelson Mandela and Dietrich Bonhoeffer have become twentieth century icons of resistance against illegitimate regimes and oppression. Both of them were committed makers of peace who were forced by circumstances to engage in violent resistance, the one in an armed struggle and the other in a plot to assassinate a dictator. This recourse to violent means in extraordinary circumstances was driven by moral and strategic considerations that followed a similar logic, even though their contexts were different in important respects. In this essay, we explore these similarities and differences, as well as their reasons for engaging in violent action, and offer certain propositions based on their narrative for responding to political oppression and the call for regime change today.
A state church? a consideration of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa in the light of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's 'Theological position paper on state and church'Author Dion ForsterSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 61 –88 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a04More Less
This article considers whether South Africa's largest mainline Christian denomination, the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, is in danger of embodying or propagating a contemporary form of 'state theology'. The notion of state theology in the South African context gained prominence through the publication of the 'Kairos Document' (1985) - which celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 2015. State theology is deemed inappropriate and harmful to the identity and work of both the Christian church and the nation state. This article presents its consideration of whether the Methodist Church of Southern Africa is in danger of propagating 'state theology' in dialogue with Dietrich Bonhoeffer's important document, Theological Position Paper on State and Church. The article offers some insights into the complex relationship between the state and the church in South Africa in the apartheid and democratic eras. It further problematizes the relationship between the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and the governing African National Congress by citing some concerning examples of complicit behaviour from recent history. The MCSA's polity and doctrine on church and state relationships are also considered before some critique and warning is offered in the light of Bonhoeffer's Theological Position Paper on State and Church.
Author Dirk J. SmitSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 89 –107 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a05More Less
This article, read as a paper during a consultation on South-South receptions of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, argues that the late Russel Botman, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stellenbosch and well-known South African ecumenical theologian, in his own person already served as a living illustration of such an encounter. He read and appropriated Bonhoeffer as a South African theologian, but in discussion and engagement with the work of several Latin American figures, including people who in different ways also read and appropriated Bonhoeffer. The article briefly shows how Botman developed three motifs that were central to his own life and thought by engaging a variety of Latin American figures - amongst others Leonardo Boff, Paolo Freire, Jon Sobrino, Juan Luis Segundo, Rubem Alves, Julio de Santa Ana, and Enrique Dussel - but always with a view also to Bonhoeffer, up to the point where it becomes difficult to distinguish any longer between the voices of Bonhoeffer, the voices of these thinkers from the South, and his own voice. The three motifs deal respectively with his concern for the next generation, his belief in imagination and hope, and his commitment to sociality and community.
Author Johan CilliersSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 109 –130 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a06More Less
Taking the many paradoxes that the South African society is currently facing as point of departure, this article sets out by defining the notion of paradox, followed by the drawing of a few contours of a homiletic that endeavours to preach the promises of God within, and against, these paradoxes. Four movements are identified in this process, namely preaching as affirmation, provocation, migration, and anticipation. The article ends with a reflection on a well-known artwork by former South African president, Nelson Mandela.
Author Ernst M. ConradieSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 131 –148 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a07More Less
Some nationalists may suggest that divine election is the best possible way to defend their rights against an influx of people from elsewhere. Others would argue that divine election is the worst possible way to address the plight of refugees. In this contribution the question mark in the title is defended by drawing on a) ecumenical discourse on migration, b) Heiko Oberman's notion of "the reformation of the refugees" and c) by reflecting critically on teaching practices at UWC. It is argued that divine election can indeed offer consolation, especially to refugees, but only if the retrospective and doxological logic is recognised.
The ecclesial notion of 'family' versus authentic families today : evaluation of the initial findings of the 2014 Synod of Catholic BishopsSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 149 –176 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a08More Less
The traditional institution of the family within Roman Catholic Christianity and Christianity in general is in an invidious position in contemporary society, partly because it lacks an agreed definition in a fluid global context. The church is an institution in which families subsist and which both needs and bolsters the family unit for its own existence and stability. However, all major churches seem to be stuck in outdated traditional modes of understanding which are exclusive and cause great distress to many who do not conform to them. The Roman Catholic Church has recently inaugurated a discussion of pastoral challenges currently facing family life. This is an attempt to evaluate critically its initial findings through deconstructing the traditional notion of family on which the Church teaching seems to rely.
Author Chammah J. KaundaSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 177 –202 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a09More Less
The struggles for environmental and gender justice have challenged how theology is done in Africa. This article framed within the context of continuous search for life giving African Christianity, argues that a radical relational solidarity that existed between African humanity and environment in some Zambian traditional societies was grounded on ecogender principle. Thus, it seeks to probe deeper into contemporary challenge of African men's alienation from environment as a consequence of colonial quest to restructure African social order. Employing decolonial theological perspective, the article tried to reinterpret some life-giving elements from Bemba and Shila cultural heritage in order to re-conceptualize contemporary African Christian ecotheology. It is from this perspective where African ecogender theology is constructed towards transformation of African human and environment relationship.
God at work : an exploration of the dynamic inter-relationship between the reign of God and the people of GodAuthor Peter LangermanSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 203 –222 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a10More Less
In this article, it is argued that we must take seriously the missional invitation of the Triune God to communion and fellowship. Further, it is argued that it is this invitation which informs, shapes and forms the nature of our understanding of the missio Dei. The expression of the missio Dei is most clearly and visibly demonstrated in terms of the metaphor of the kingdom, the reign of God. It is the reality of the reign, the kingdom of God that creates a community, the ecclesia, the church. If we are to take seriously the link between the nature of God and the missio Dei and the link between the missio Dei and the kingdom, and the link between the kingdom and the community that the kingdom calls into being, then we must ask ourselves what the nature of that community should be. Ultimately, the community that derives its nature from the Trinitarian nature of God should have a specific shape and form and act in a certain way and it can be expected that those who act as leaders in this community should acting a certain way.
Author Jacob J.S. MeiringSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 223 –240 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a11More Less
The article explores the interpretation and reception of Genesis 9:25-27 and how the so-called 'curse of Ham' contributed to the construction of masculinities in South Africa. The impact of the Ham ideology on black people and on the construction of masculinities is explored from the perspective of a contemporary theological anthropology as embodied sensing'.
The Ham ideology also has a remarkable longevity, especially in South Africa with remnants of the curse still visible and alive in the minds (and bodies) of people. Because of the unique way in which this ideology was employed in South Africa from the time of slavery and during apartheid, it is reasonable to conceive that it also played a vital role in the construction of the masculinities of males in South Africa.
Old Testament stories and Christian ethics : some perspectives from the narrative of Judah and TamarSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 241 –259 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a12More Less
The relationship between Old Testament narrative and Christian ethics is challenging. When it comes to finding ethical guideline Old Testament narratives are unresponsive. This is particularly the case with a narrative such as Genesis 38. Biblical scholars have written extensively on how the text can be interpreted. In this article we look at the various ways scholars in Biblical criticism have tried to make sense of the text. We show that narratives can function as a platform for dialogue to mirror the intricacies of life. We do not attempt to resolve the tension between the story and ethics, but rather aim to consider biblical criticism as a tool which stimulates ethical debate.
Patriarchal ethics and narrative representation : ethics, values and morality of the biblical narrator in the Jacob's storyAuthor Michael MatthewSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 261 –284 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a13More Less
The patriarch narratives have continually become stories of ethical embarrassment to the modern readers because of the participation and support of the patriarchs for unethical practices which directly undermine the conception of these patriarchs as paragon of virtues and faith by later religious traditions. Implicated in the representations of the patriarchs are God and the narrator who largely distanced themselves, and also directly refused to make explicit moral condemnation of this unethical behaviour. Significantly, Yahweh persistently promises unconditional blessings and protections to these patriarchs in spite of their lying, deception, and cheating within the stories. To further reinstate this ethical dilemma, there are no divine thunderbolts, no wrathful confrontations or the outburst of divine holy anger that apparently addresses and punishes the moral flaws of these patriarchs. On this same ethical template, the narrator appears also sympathetic to the divine neglects of these unethical behaviours because in spite of these behaviours of the patriarchs and even matriarchs of his stories they were still largely considered the heroes and heroines of his stories. Departing from this general understanding of patriarchal ethics, the present study points to the subtle representation of Jacob's deception of his father and the punishment of this misdeed through his direct connection and implication in three subsequent scenes of deception where he himself was the object of these deceptions. Through this placement of Jacob in these other scenes of deceptions, the narrator subtly presents a moral universe where ethical misdeed continually haunts the perpetrators, and wrong deeds are clearly punished. Consequently, in spite of the many moral problems in the patriarch narratives, the narrator skilfully upholds a high morality, and the paper appropriately underscores the ethical significance of this representation of Jacob's story for the contemporary Christian community.
The relevance of the metaphor of God as Father in a democratic, non-sexist and religious society : an African Christian perspectiveSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 285 –304 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a14More Less
This article consists of four parts. Firstly, the article indicates the impact of the ancient contextual factors of using Father as an attribute of God. The position and role of males and females in the ancient times is highlighted to give clear background why the human authors of the Scripture made use of the 'father figure' as the attribute of God. Secondly, attention is given to the revelation of Scripture that God has revealed God-self and how human writers encode the message to suit their context. Thirdly,the question of the relevancy of using God the Father as an attribute of God within a democratic, non-sexist society, and amidst complicated family lives, is addressed. Fourthly, recommendations are made on the multi-faceted attributes of God that can be used interchangeably within the given context. The article argues that God as Spirit is neither male nor female, but incorporeal, and therefore transcends all creation because God is the creator God and cannot be confined to any gender, colour or race.
Author Dawid P. MoutonSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 305 –319 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a15More Less
In a context of change and transition a degree of uncertainty and anxiety can be expected, and perhaps even the need to reflect on the forces affecting change. Such reflection may happen through a narrative evaluation of people's lived realities as it relates to the forces affecting such changes. This process may create an opportunity to recall, review and re-author dominant narratives in order to deal with change.The article, drawing on the stories of some people affected by the relocation of the Dingleton community in the Northern Cape, highlights the fact that the power of narratives of ordinary people has the potential to influence their response to forces of change. This is not an attempt to present detailed stories or a technical discussion on the notion of power, but rather aims to highlight only those aspects of selected narratives that demonstrate the power people's own stories may have.
Author Peter NagelSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 321 –338 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a16More Less
The theological significance of Romans 4 is undisputed and within it the explicit citation in Romans 4:3 is pivotal. It has informed theological thought, stimulated debates, and shaped faith communities for millennia. But does the concept of 'justification by faith' or 'righteousness through faith', as portrayed in Romans 4:3, hold enough essential universal elements for it to inform faith communities in particular and society in general? How did Paul arrive at the idea that through faith one can be declared righteous? Is there any hint in Romans 4:3 to a conceptual relationship between justice and righteousness? The aim of this paper is to critically investigate Romans 4:3 within its literary conceptual context to determine if it has anything significant to offer for societal concepts of justice and righteousness. Such a critical enquiry must include considering Paul's concept of justice and righteousness in comparison to a more modern concept of these terms. This investigation will also demand a critical reflection on Genesis 15:1-21 and Paul's interpretation of the text. One also ought to deal with this matter within the literary context of Romans 3:21-4:25.
The role of Matthew's αφίημι-logia in the decisions of the General Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) in post-apartheid South AfricaAuthor Marius J. NelSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 339 –361 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a17More Less
This article investigates the use of the verb αφίημι in selected pericopae in the Gospel of Matthew and the decisions of the General Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) on forgiveness in the post-apartheid South Africa. It argues that while forgiveness is an important topic in Matthew that is interwoven with a number of other important theological themes, it has been a neglected theme in the decisions taken by the General Synod of the DRC since 1994. Not only are there no explicit references to Matthew's understanding of forgiveness, but are neither of the two references to forgiveness in the Acta of six General Synod's references to asking forgiveness by the DRC for its active participation in apartheid. The article concludes with a number of suggestions on how Matthew's ethic of forgiveness can inform the South African reconciliation process without it being reduced to a timeless fixed formula.
Author Kelebogile T. ResaneSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 363 –379 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a18More Less
This article aims to show that indigenous knowledge systems are the reservoirs of useful knowledge for teaching theology, particularly indigenous languages. It argues that theological language is an identity marker, and an ideological tool. Indigenous languages have something to offer in teaching theology. Language is a powerful force that forms national identity; and it contributes towards national unity. It is part of culture and it explains the abstracts through figures of speech. These figures of speech or metaphors are mostly comprehensible when viewed from indigenous languages' point. Opportunities must be created for the space of the acquisition of these languages as a way of exploring and discovering the meaning of the texts. It is therefore recommended that the linguistic competence and performance be mastered for catching the metaphorical contents of the texts. Teaching theology does not only require gratis dictum but also expertise in language technical application such as code-switching, sandwich technique, mother-tongue mirroring, and back chaining.
Author Pieter Fourie RossouwSource: Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2, pp 381 –396 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2016.v2n1.a19More Less
This article dealt with racial diversity in homogenous white Afrikaans faith communities such as the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC). This study was partially an account of the researcher's own discontent with being a minister in the DRC against the backdrop of his own journey of finding a racially integrated identity in a post-apartheid South Africa. It focused on the question of how a church like the DRC can play an intentional role in the formation of racially inclusive communities. The study brought together shifts in missional theology, personal reflections from DRC ministers and contemporary studies on whiteness. The researcher looked towards a missional imaginary as a field map for racial diversity in the church. This was mirrored against contemporary studies on white identity in a post-apartheid South Africa. From this conversation the researcher argued for a creative discovery of hybrid identities within white faith communities. Missional exercises such as listening to the stories of strangers, cross cultural pilgrimages and eating together in strange places can assist congregations on this journey.