1887

oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - Die nugtere mistiek van Andrew Murray : godsdienswetenskappe

 

Abstract

Teologiese en sosio-politieke ontwikkelinge het in Suid-Afrika daartoe bygedra dat 'n bevindelike tradisie van veral die 19de-eeuse Afrikaanse kerklike lewe op die agtergrond verdwyn het. Hierdie ireniese en transformatiewe tradisie is toenemend in die 20ste eeu verdring deur 'n kille intellektualisme en 'n dorre leersuiwerheid. In die apartheidsera is dit gepaar met 'n nasionalistiese tendens wat 'n hoë premie op ortodoksie en lojaliteit aan kerklike gesag en uitsprake geplaas het. Baie energie is in daardie tyd bestee aan die bestryding van gewaande ketterye en afwykende menings - veral ook van bevindelikheid en mistiek. In die proses is die kerkgeskiedenis herskryf om die plek van die mistiek in teologie en kerk te verswyg of as 'n ongelukkige afwyking af te maak.


'n Nuwe blik op die geskiedenis van Andrew Murray, waarskynlik een van die invloedrykste kerkleiers in die Afrikaanse Protestantisme en in wêreldwye opwekkingsbewegings, toon hoe deurslaggewend hy deur die bekendste en selfs mees omstrede mistici in die geskiedenis beïnvloed is. Sy blootstelling aan Skotse spiritualiteit, Duitse Piëtisme en Nederlandse Réveil belig en bevestig hierdie mistieke ingesteldheid van hom. Murray skryf meer as 200 bevindelike boeke, maar hy het ook drie mistieke boeke van die veelgelese Engelse mistikus William Law uitgegee. In 'n uitgebreide inleiding tot een van hulle, met die titel , het Murray rekenskap gegee van sy siening en toe-eiening van die mistiek. Tot dusver is min aandag aan die inleiding gegee, nie net vanweë die verdagmaking van die mistiek nie, maar ook weens 'n beperkte kennis daarvan. Dit het meegebring dat die komplekse en diepgaande mistieke aard van Murray se werk en die impak van sy opmerkings in die inleiding nie gepeil word nie.
Murray se hoë lof op die mistiek in die inleiding word nog meer verstaanbaar in die lig van sy lewe en werk. 'n Vergelyking met kontemporêre ondersoek van spiritualiteit en van die mistiek, soos nagevors in Spiritualiteitkunde, bevestig voorts die mistieke aard van Murray se werk en verklaar die ireniese, ekumeniese en oop karakter van sy bevindelikheid. Die artikel ondersoek hoe Murray die mistiek verstaan en toegeëien het. Dit sal verder toon dat Murray se mistiek 'n nugterheid het wat herinner aan die mistiek van ander belangrike Protestantse bewegings (soos die invloedryke Moderne Toewyding in Nederland en die werk van Thomas à Kempis).
Hierdie revisionêre herbesinning oor Murray se mistiek onderstreep dat die mistiek, soos Murray geskryf het, 'n wesenlike, selfs natuurlike, kenmerk van godsdienstige ervaring is en daarom 'n noodsaaklike plek in die godsdienstige diskoers het.


Recent theological research reveals a global involvement in spirituality studies, with mysticism as its key focus. The importance of this development has been illustrated by the often quoted remark of Karl Rahner (1971:15) that the Christianity of the future will be mystical or cease to exist. Ignorance and prejudice, especially in Protestantism, played a significant role in opposing mysticism. This was the result of the Reformation's opposition to the monastic life, but it became even stronger after the 19th century as a result of Barthian orthodoxy. The situation in South Africa shows the same trend. In the past mysticism was regarded with suspicion by some Afrikaans theologians. This opposition reached a peak during the apartheid years as theology became increasingly rationalistic, with an emphasis on the intellectual and a criticism of mysticism as being about arbitrary, emotional and individualistic experiences. The irenic, ecumenical and open religious discourse that existed in the nineteenth century was replaced from the first half of the 20th century by a cold, intellectualist theology that engaged in a defence of orthodox doctrine and polemics against dissenting views.
This change, in turn, determined the way in which nineteenth century Protestantism has been portrayed in historiography: important devotional and spiritual traditions that developed during the awakenings of the 19th century under the influence of the Dutch Réveil, German Piëtism and Scottish piety, were sidelined or suppressed. This is especially true of research on the towering figure of Andrew Murray, who was known for his mystical thought and life. Murray was arguably the most influential church leader in the history of the church, especially because of his piety and spirituality. His involvement in the spiritual awakenings of the 1860s with their mystical and ecstatic experiences, but also his theological training in evangelical Scottish traditions, contributed to his stature as perhaps the most respected spiritual leader in the church. His competence and leadership were respected to such an extent that he was elected to the moderatorship of the church five times. He served as pastor of key congregations in the church, and was also actively involved in protracted struggles against liberal clergy in the church.

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/content/litnet/12/3/EJC182660
2015-12-01
2016-12-05
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