South Africa has recently emerged from a brutal and turbulent past characterised by various forms of aggression as a country still trying to escape the grips of violence, which manifests itself in many areas of daily life. Within the Bible, and specifically the New Testament, peace figures prominently as a concept of interest and importance and is highly promoted - although sadly neglected - in South Africa's history. This article investigates the continuing and contemporary relevance and value of the New Testament's directives on peace for the South African context.
Botswana society and South African society generally have undergone great changes due to rapid social change and industrial development. The traditional understanding of a human person as a corporate being is gradually losing its significance in our societies. The African Independent Churches (AICs) are, however, continually emphasising the corporate personality. This they do through their understanding and interpretation of the Bible.
Even though the academic interpretation of the Bible in modem Africa is a child of western biblical scholarship, it has developed its own characteristics. Specifically, it is concerned with creating an encounter between the biblical text and the African Context. The first phase of this development involved drawing comparisons between African and biblical ideas. The second phase involved drawing hermeneutical conclusions from the encounter of the Bible and the African context. Currently we are in a third phase, in which the African context provides critical resources for interpretation and is the subject of interpretation of the biblical text.
The story is told of a specific, traumatic stage of a journey in the lives of a specific South African ethnic group of people called the Afrikaners. In order to cross racial boundaries to defeat the apartheid ideology, the central myth around which the ideology was built needs to be unmasked and rejected. In South Africa apartheid was dismantled by many factors and forces. None, however, contributed more to the Afrikaner community realising the extent to which a false myth had degraded their identity and had held them captive, than the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The centralising and decentralising movements in the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) and the way in which the latter led to the crossing of the apartheid boundary, are discussed. The role of congregations in the crossing of these boundaries is outlined and illustrated with examples from the DRC.
Fertile ground for the evil that erupted in the catastrophic Rwandan genocide of 1994 was prepared by a number of factors: the history of colonial domination; the myth of racial superiority; the weight of years of oppression on the collective psyche; the romanticisation of victims; the drive for power and its consequent expression in unremitting violence; lack of integrity and discernment in the Catholic Church's political relations and use of development monies; the presumption that successful cultural assimilation is necessarily a sign of successful inculturation of the gospel.
The Belhar Confession states that God is in a special sense the God of the poor, and champions their cause. According to Mt 24, we are God's managers on earth,who must place people before money. On the basis of this a theological perspective is developed on unemployment as economic injustice. This concurs with views expressed at various recent anti-poverty campaigns in South Africa.
There is a double missionary call to the praise of God in the Psalms. In some Psalms Israel is urged to proclaim Yahweh's praise among the nations. In others the nations are encouraged to share in Israel's praise of God. Ps. 117 is considered to be one of the latter. Regarding the use of this hymn in the New Testament, two passages are considered and their significance for mission indicated.
As a result of the Anglo-Boer War the earlier independence movement of African indigenous churches became a political-social movement. One of the best examples of the early development of Ethiopianism in South Africa is that of the Lutheran Ba-Pedi Church, which was founded in 1890.