oa Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary - The Theologian’s speech : stuttering and the beauty of Christ - research

Volume 26 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1996-8167



Testimony, scholarship, and pastoral-devotion form a triad to this journal article on stuttering and its relationship to the beauty of Christ, for the theologian who stutters. The paper begins with some of the personal struggles of stuttering highlighted in a personal testimony. Stuttering can be described as disfluency of speech, characterised by frequent stoppages in the flow of speech, usually with a repetition of sounds, syllables, or even one-syllable words. Along with the vocal impediment, certain emotional characteristics may be evident, such as anxiousness, shyness, timidity, and lack of assertiveness. While this may not always be the case, it is usually the general perception of others. According to research, those who do stutter are often regarded as having undesirable personality characteristics, which may intensify the problem. Aside from the general facts about stuttering, which we explore, the issues of the cause and cure of stuttering are of interest. While little is known about the direct cause of stuttering, recent research does indicate that it may be neurological, and therefore there is yet no cure. However, studies on the cause of stuttering in light of the neurological sciences indicate that a cure may be available in the not-too-distant future. The paper also offers an exegetical study on Moses, focusing on his speech defect, and how YHWH had created Moses and knew intimately the limits of his abilities. Nevertheless, YHWH promised Moses that he would be with him as he spoke. Even Moses’ stutter was not an obstacle for the all-powerful Lord. The exegetical study from the New Testament examines the Apostle Paul and his willingness to put aside his intelligence and shrewdness for the sake of allowing the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and strength to work through him, thus being a vessel for the beauty of Christ evident in the Acts of the Apostles and Paul’s letters. Drawing from the earlier sections of the paper, the final discussion offers a pastoral-devotional approach, exploring stuttering in relation to the beauty of Christ, with a special focus on the stuttering theologian. The paper argues that stuttering may become an inconspicuous crucible for the beauty of Christ, and in so doing, becomes something beautiful, being overshadowed and transformed by the beauty of the divine.

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