1887

n In die Skriflig - What are the key characteristics of a Christian life? A comparison of the ethics of Calvin to that of Augustine and their relevance today

Supplement 3
  • ISSN : 1018-6441
  • E-ISSN: 2305-0853

Abstract

Augustine and Calvin are two of the greatest (western) theologians of all times and it is illuminating and inspiring to investigate what they have to teach as far as Christian life is concerned. Augustine never wrote a work on Christian ethics in the modern sense of the word but from his many writings we can easily deduce what the key characteristics are. He accepted the natural virtues of philosophers (prudence, fortitude, temperance and justice) but subordinated them to the "infused virtues" of faith, hope and love. Special attention was also paid to inter alia happiness, humility and truth. Calvin, on the other hand, although following Augustine in many aspects of theology, rejected the virtue ethics of the Greek philosophers and developed a Christological ethics within the broader context of pneumatology. The key characteristics of a Christian life are self-denial, cross-bearing and meditation on the future life - and of course the correct enjoyment of the present life. Although we appreciate much of what the two church fathers have to say, we live in a totally different world context today, facing challenges of far greater proportions, like economical uncertainty, political instability and an immense ecological crisis. Morality is challenged today as never before in world history. Today we have to rethink the relevance of Christian life not only from an individual personal perspective but also in terms of broader social Christian ethics.


Augustinus en Calvyn is twee van die grootste (westerse) teoloë van alle tye en dit is verhelderend en inspirerend om ondersoek in te stel na wat hulle oor die Christelike lewe te sê het. Augustinus het nooit 'n boek oor die Christelike etiek in die moderne sin van die woord geskryf nie, maar van sy talle geskrifte kan maklik afgelei word wat die hoofkenmerke daarvan is. Hy het die natuurlike deugde van die filosowe (verstandigheid, dapperheid, matigheid en regverdigheid) aanvaar, maar dit ondergeskik gestel aan die "ingestorte deugde" van geloof, hoop en liefde. Besondere aandag word ook bestee aan onder andere gelukkigheid, nederigheid en waarheid. Alhoewel Calvyn Augustinus in talle aspekte van die teologie navolg, het hy, aan die ander kant, die deugde-etiek van die Griekse filosowe verwerp en 'n Christologiese etiek ontwerp binne die groter konteks van die pneumatologie. Die hoofeienskappe van 'n Christelike lewe bestaan uit selfverloëning, kruisdra en oordenking van die toekomstige lewe - en natuurlik die regte gebruik van die huidige lewe. Alhoewel ons groot waardering kan hê vir dit wat die twee kerkvaders te sê het, leef ons vandag in 'n totaal ander wêreldkonteks en staar ons probleme van veel groter omvang in die gesig, soos ekonomiese onsekerheid, politieke onstabiliteit en 'n enorme ekologiese krisis. Moraliteit word vandag uitgedaag soos nog nooit tevore in die wêreldgeskiedenis nie. Vandag moet ons die relevansie van die Christelike lewe heroorweeg nié net vanuit die perspektief van individuele persoonlike etiek nie, maar ook in terme van 'n breër sosiale Christelike etiek.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/skrif/44/sup-3/EJC108532
2010-01-01
2019-10-23

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error