Scielo RSS <![CDATA[HTS Theological Studies]]> vol. 72 num. 3 lang. <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Investigating the communicative strategy in 2 Maccabees 3: Six scenes which influence the reader throughout the narrative</b>]]> The events in the introduction to 2 Maccabees (2 Macc 3:1-39) undoubtedly centre round the Jerusalem Temple. It is depicted as world-renowned, holy and just. Many scholars have therefore highlighted the theme of the Temple in 2 Maccabees, introduced by 2 Maccabees 3. Yet, the reason for the Temple's centrality is not traditionally seen as more than a mere link to the rest of the narrative. This article, however, asks the question: Why is the author incorporating the Temple in such a specific manner? What is the impact on the implicit reader of this specific depiction of the Temple? In other words, how is the implicit reader's experience throughout the rest of the narrative influenced by the events in this introduction? To answer these questions, the article identifies six scenes in 2 Maccabees 3 and applies a rhetorical analysis in order to establish the communicative strategy and its possible impact on the implicit reader. <![CDATA[<b>Pedagogy of social transformation in the Hebrew Bible: Allowing Scripture to inform our interpretive strategy for contemporary application</b>]]> The Hebrew Bible itself teaches its readers and listeners how to learn. Its pedagogy of social transformation instructs contemporary Christians how to interpret and apply lessons from Scripture in a manner that is consistent with the orientation, priorities and methods inherent in the text. This article demonstrates that relationship and identity are the necessary precursors to biblical education. It then considers the educational perspective for social transformation within the Hebrew Bible. The analysis explores the purpose and process of education for social transformation and the pastorally oriented pedagogy that the Bible utilises to advance moral development and prevent hermeneutic bias. Lastly, the article considers how the narrative, Law, prophets and wisdom texts in the Hebrew Bible train in social critique. This article helps Christians to develop a biblically based hermeneutic of the Hebrew Scripture's social transformation for application today. <![CDATA[<b>Jeremiah 23:23-24 as polemic against prophets' views on Yahweh's presence</b>]]> Jeremiah 23:23-24 is a short passage in the cycle of oracles in which the prophet Jeremiah is supposedly in conflict with other prophets in his society. It is possible that this short passage first had an independent existence before it became part of the collection of oracles in 23:9-40 This article argues that as an independent oracle the passage claims that Yahweh is not just a localised god, but an omnipresent God from whom no person can hide. When read as part of the mentioned cycle, it should be regarded as a polemic against a view held by some prophets that Yahweh's nearness guarantees peace and security. Their domesticated view leads to complacency and disregard. It is argued that Jeremiah opposes their view by stating that Yahweh is also a distant God who is aware of their false and deceitful attempts to provide revelatory knowledge to the people. In this regard chapter 23:23-24 serves as a polemic against so-called false prophets and implies a threat of judgement. <![CDATA[<b>Reading 'blackface': A (narrative) introduction to Richard Kearney's notion of carnal hermeneutics</b>]]> Prominent Irish philosopher Richard Kearney's notion of 'carnal hermeneutics' is introduced by applying it to a case study of a recent event that took place at one of South Africa's university campuses. The narrative assists in illuminating some of the core principles of carnal hermeneutics and illustrates the applicability of carnal hermeneutics as a 'diagnostic caring for lived existence'. In the process, an analysis is also given of the event in question, which is connected to what has widely been labelled as 'blackface'. In conclusion, the contextual, philosophical, ethical, and theological implications of carnal hermeneutics are explored with an eye on theological praxes in South Africa today. <![CDATA[<b>Parallelisms and revelatory concepts of the Johannine Prologue in Greco-Roman context</b>]]> This article builds on the increasing recognition of divine communication and God's plan as a central concept in the prologue to the Fourth gospel. A philological analysis reveals parallel structures with an emphasis on divine communication in which the Logos takes a central part. These should be understood within the context of this gospel, but have their roots in the Old Testament. The Septuagint offers parallel concepts, particularly in its wisdom literature. Apart from these derivative parallels, the revelatory concepts and terminology involved in John 1:1-18, also find functional parallels in the historical environment of the fourth gospel. They share similarities with the role of Apollo Phoebus in the traditionally assigned geographical context of the region of Ephesus in Asia Minor. This functional parallelism served the reception of John's biblical message in a Greco-Roman cultural setting. <![CDATA[<b>'n Praktykbenadering tot geloofsvorming vanuit die benadering van Thomas Groome en die Gestaltteorie</b><b>: </b><b>'n Prakties-teologiese dialoog</b>]]> The article describes the dialogue between Thomas Groome's approach to faith formation and Gestalt theory in order to develop a practice approach to faith formation. The transversal model of cross-disciplinary dialogue, developed by Wentzel van Huyssteen, is utilised to develop a practice approach to faith formation. The process of faith formation, according to Thomas Groome's Shared Christian Praxis approach, encompassing five movements, is described first. This is followed by a literature study on Gestalt theory. The philosophical roots of Gestalt theory as well as specific Gestalt concepts are explored in order to explain the process of human growth and change. Gestalt theory's paradoxical theory of change, as well as the contact cycle are utilised in order to explain the process of integration and assimilation of faith. The transversal dialogue is continued by relating the insights gained from Groome's approach and Gestalt theory. The context of missional ecclesiology, in which the researcher finds himself, is also accounted for during the dialogue. The process identifies six guidelines for the practice of faith formation. The findings of the dialogue are processed into a practice approach to faith formation. The practice approach is presented in such a way that it can be utilised in a variety of settings. <![CDATA[<b>Feeding holy bodies: A study on the social meanings of a vegetarian diet to Seventh-day Adventist church pioneers</b>]]> Ten years ago National Geographic magazine reported that the Loma Linda Seventh-day Adventist population is one of the communities in the world that lives longer and with a higher quality of life thanks in part to the biological benefits of a vegetarian diet. Along with National Geographic, other media outlets have reported since then that the Adventist religious community considers a plant-based diet a very important factor for a healthy lifestyle. Adventists have been promoting this type of diet worldwide for more than 150 years. This article is an attempt to understand from a social-scientific perspective the origin of the importance they lend to diet and see whether this helps explain why approximately 150 years after the founding of the church, diet remains crucial for Adventists around the world. The conclusion proposed is that Adventists understood the adoption of a plant-based diet as a special divine instruction in order to nourish their new identity as a special people differentiated from the rest of society. This was possible through a desecularisation of diet that placed food in the moral category of the Adventist belief system. <![CDATA[<b>Marriage and family in view of the doctrine of the covenant</b>]]> New emerging paradigms in Western culture have produced a new ethic. Not only social ethics in general but the ethics of marriage and family life are changing rapidly. This new ethic has inter alia a strong bearing on marriage and family life, relationships explained by traditional Christian ethics. The traditional idea of heterosexual official marriages is challenged by new forms of civil relationships such as cohabitation, temporary relationships and civil unions between gay couples. Scholars even speak of the postmodernist marriage that, according to them, differs entirely from the traditional Christian idea of marriage. This article focuses on the concepts of marriage and family life against the background of the emerging postmodern and post-secular ethic and its consequences for the traditional view of marriage as a biblical institution. The central theoretical argument is that the concept of marriage in the biblical testimony should be defined and developed within the doctrine of the covenant and that such a view, with certain modifications, can still provide ethical directives and new perspectives on marital life for Christians today. <![CDATA[<b>The unfolding of God's revelation in Hebrews 1:1-2a</b>]]> In the introduction to his sermon, the writer of Hebrews suggests that God's revelation unfolded from his so-called 'Old Testament' revelation to his 'New Testament' revelation in his Son (Heb. 1:1-2a). By doing a thorough exegesis of Hebrews 1:1-2a, the author's view of such an unfolding revelation is confirmed. From this conclusion, certain hermeneutical implications of the unfolding of God's revelation are drawn for believers and scholars today. Among others, it is determined that God's revelation is progressive, that his revelation in his Son is superior, climactic and final, and that God's final revelation in his Son can only be understood within the context of his Old Testament revelation, and vice versa. <![CDATA[<b>Persuasion in Romans 5:12-21</b>]]> This article is an attempt to reconstruct Paul's rhetorical strategy from the text itself, rather than applying ancient or modern rhetorical models to his letters. A proposal for such a rhetorical approach is briefly summarised, followed by a discussion of the rhetorical situation of the letter. It is argued that the pericope, Romans 5:12-21, forms an integral part of Paul's rhetorical strategy, aimed at persuading his audience in Rome to share his views on the contrast between Adam and Christ: Adam's sin brought death into the world, but faith in Christ brings eternal life. In the process of persuasion, Paul uses various types of argument and rhetorical techniques to enhance the impact of his communication. To analyse and describe this is the main aim of the article. The conclusion is that a text-centred approach (with its focus on the functional aspects of the text) provides a meaningful alternative to existing approaches (which focus mainly on the formal aspects of the text). <![CDATA[<b>Matthew 5:17 and Matthew's Community</b>]]> One of the central arguments in establishing the 'Christian-Jewish' nature of the Matthean community is the argument that Matthew's community was law observant. In particular, Matthew 5:17-19 is said to argue in favour of a community that had not broken ties with Judaism. This paper argues that Matthew 5:17-19 is not primarily about demonstrating law-observance, but fulfilment. When πληρόω is understood in light of its broader Matthean usage, it becomes apparent that 'to fulfil' means the coming about of what the law and prophets anticipated. What is therefore in focus is not the conservative nature of the community, but the arrival of Israel's hope. This is further demonstrated by the inclusion of 'the prophets', which also points to the coming of Jesus, as well as by the antitheses of 5:21-48, which demonstrates the Christological focus of the passage. More prominent than Jesus' view of the law is the law's (and prophets') view of Jesus. An additional factor pointing in this direction is the prominence of the kingdom in this section of Matthew's gospel. Following on from the declaration in 4:17, the kingdom of heaven remains central throughout the Sermon on the Mount, not least in 5:17-20. When this theological motif is taken into account, it confirms that 5:17-20 has in view the fulfilment of the Jewish hope that God's kingdom would come. What God's people have awaited - as anticipated in the law and prophets - has arrived. Reading this passage as if it were a treatise on the Matthean community's view of the law overlooks the theological context and makes that which is peripheral (conservatism on the law) central, while what is central (fulfilment in that the kingdom has come) is made peripheral. This passage ultimately points to the newness brought about by Jesus and the kingdom of God. Scholars who find support for a conservative community in Matthew 5:17 have failed to reckon sufficiently with the nature of fulfilment in this passage. <![CDATA[<b>Het vaststellen van de mate van religieuze tolerantie bij leraren in opleiding</b>]]> In recent years, schools and education authorities worldwide have been paying increased attention to issues surrounding diversity and religious tolerance. Tolerance constitutes one of the most important preconditions for social justice, fairness and peaceful coexistence. Hence, the authors of this article decided to develop an instrument measuring the degree and nature of religious tolerance among student teachers. It is not this article's purpose to enter into a discussion about how to actually resolve religious, cultural and political conflict, but merely to embark on the process of developing an instrument to measure the degree of religious tolerance among teachers and student teachers. Religious intolerance is increasingly viewed as problematic, and it appears that education has been assigned the role of inculcating religious tolerance in young people. Teachers are expected to be able to inculcate in their students the respect, empathy, critical thinking and acceptance of differences among people associated with the notion of tolerance. To be able to do this, teachers have to possess the traits of a tolerant person. Whether teachers are indeed tolerant in practice depends on the extent to which they have mastered the capacity to be tolerant. This article reports on a study that culminated in the construction of a questionnaire for measuring the degree to which students on the threshold of entering the teaching profession displayed a tolerant attitude. The construction of the questionnaire was based on a theoretical study of tolerance and intolerance. The questionnaire was then applied in three different countries (South Africa, the Netherlands and India). Factor analyses were performed on the data to establish the validity of the instrument. The first round of application revealed a number of shortcomings in the questionnaire. The study therefore recommends a revision of the questionnaire. Among other things, the factoral structure and the reliability of some of the sub-scales require further attention. The study ascribes the lower than expected explanation of variance in the data set to the cultural differences existing among the different groups of respondents in the three countries. The article closes by drawing a conclusion regarding the degree of religious tolerance among the respondents who participated in this first round of application of the questionnaire. <![CDATA[<b>How 'direct' can a direct translation be? Some perspectives from the realities of a new type of church Bible</b>]]> The skopos of this new type of church Bible is: 'How would the source texts of the Bible have sounded in Afrikaans in the context envisaged for its hypothesised first audience(s)?' Fully acknowledging the complexities of language as a dynamic and complex system embedded in the culture and conceptual world of its speakers, as well as the wide range of frames that are involved in the process of Bible translation as a difficult form of secondary communication, this article addresses two of the challenges of this ambitious project. In the first section the incongruence between the world of the Old Testament and speakers of Afrikaans is treated. Examples are provided of instances where both the nature of difficult secondary intercultural communication as well as the subjective theories of the host audience constrains the 'directness' of the translation. In the second section, some of the challenges of distinguishing between the formal and functional features of Biblical Hebrew are dealt with. The article concludes that, although the notion 'communicative clue' provides a useful heuristic device to act as point of departure for negotiations on the construal of the meaning of the text in the source language and host language respectively, the notion has to be supplemented by insights from the fields of cultural anthropology, cognitive linguistics and linguistic typology. A better understanding of how meaning 'works' (e.g. how linguistic expressions act as windows into the conceptual worlds of speakers, how the meaning of expressions may shift and develop, as well as processes of grammaticalisation) provides members of a translation team with some criteria to make informed decisions when they negotiate how the meaning of specific Biblical Hebrew constructions are to be construed 'directly' in Afrikaans. <![CDATA[<b>Canonical understanding of the sacrifice of Isaac: The influence of the Jewish tradition</b>]]> The Aqedah in Jewish tradition is an alleged theology for the sacrifice of Isaac which has an atoning concept and has influenced the atonement theology of the New Testament (NT), but it has not been proved by the NT. The purpose of this article is to investigate all verses in the NT that are alleged to refer to Abraham's offering of Isaac. The reflections of Genesis 22 in the NT verses do not grant atoning power to the sacrifice of Isaac. Abraham's portrait suggests Christ as the Beloved Son, but the vicarious death of Jesus on the Cross is unrelated to Isaac in Genesis 22. Isaac is the type of Christ only in the preparation of death. Jesus as the Tamid lamb (not as the Paschal lamb) refers to Genesis 22 without granting expiation of sin by Isaac. The resurrection motif as well as the promise-fulfilment scheme referring to Genesis 22 also does not validate the Aqedah. Thus, the NT does not assume the Aqedah. <![CDATA[<b>The frontiers of empirical science: A Thomist-inspired critique of scientism</b>]]> Scientistic conceptualisations hold to the positivistic positions that science is limitless in its potential representations of material phenomena and that it is the only sure path to knowledge. In recent popular scientific literature, these presuppositions have been reaffirmed to the detriment of both philosophy and theology. This article argues for the contrary position by a meta-analysis of empirical science from a Thomist perspective. Identifying empirical science as limited in its method and bound to the material sphere of being alone, we posit that rather than standing as the sole path to the knowledge of being, empirical science is constrained at its frontiers. It is subsequently contended that far from empirical science having the explanatory ability to respond to all presenting scientific problems in principle, fundamentals without the grasp of the methodology of empirical science exist. To relate the article's meta-analysis to scientific praxis, physical cosmology - as the most foundational empirical science - is exemplified in the discussion. <![CDATA[<b>Historiese teologie in 'n veranderende konteks</b>]]> In this contribution, the author reflects on historical theology as theological discipline. After a short introduction to the precarious situation of church history as a theological discipline in South Africa and the question of faith and history, the contribution presents an analysis of Gerhard Ebeling's 1947 publication on church history in which he proposed that church history should be understood as a history of Biblical interpretation. Based on some of the principles Ebeling delineated, the author proposes that historical theology could be applied to five areas of research: prolegomena, history of the church, history of missions, history of theology and church polity. The point is made that historical theology, when properly structured and presented, could play a major role in enriching the theological and ecclesial conversation and in assisting the church in the process of reformation and transformation. <![CDATA[<b>Christian and Buddhist approach to religious exclusivity. Do interfaith scholars have it right?</b>]]> Buddhist-Christian interfaith scholars¹ are quick to denounce what they perceive as religious exclusivity. So when it comes to the major views on just how true and salvific the religions can be, it is no surprise that Exclusivism is ruled out automatically. What is surprising is how inevitable it is that when Buddhist-Christian interfaith scholars commit to any view - whether Inclusivism, Pluralism, or Relativism - they themselves end up committing the sin of exclusivity. Whatever view they entertain turns out to be too exclusivistic for somebody, by having too particular a saviour (Exclusivism), too particular a salvation (Inclusivism), too particular a metaphysics (Pluralism), or too sceptical a religious outlook (Relativism).² To make matters worse, the further the interfaith scholar cycles away from Exclusivism in an attempt to elude exclusivity, the further she wanders not only from Christianity, but from Buddhism as well. Thus, by attempting to unite the two religions, the interfaith scholar finds herself at odds with both sides. Truly, it seems the interfaith scholar has no place to lay her head. By consulting interfaith scholars' own writings, this paper describes their dilemma in finding such a place. <![CDATA[<b>Combining Ricoeur and Bultmann on myth and demythologising</b>]]> A previous article investigated Ricoeur's stance on myth and demythologising. The intersection of Ricoeur and Bultmann's work in this field was noted and a future comparison was envisaged with a view to a possible merger. This study is a follow-up and proposes a way in which Ricoeur and Bultmann's views on myth and demythologisation can be merged in order to gain a broader approach to the understanding of myth and the concept of demythologising. As Ricoeur's understanding of myth was influenced by literary criticism, Bultmann's definition of myth is viewed through the lens of literary criticism, before turning to a comparison with Ricoeur's views. A comparison of their ideas on demythologisation follows. Sociology of knowledge forms the last lens through which a possible merger of their approaches is contemplated. <![CDATA[<b>Recovering core identity, hermeneutical and contextual preaching</b>]]> The church has the privilege of participating with God in his saving mission in a broken and suffering world, also known as the missio Dei (Bosch 1991:8-11, 390-393). This is its core, missional identity. However, many local churches are facing an identity crisis at their very core. The reasons are numerous. This article seeks to define, in a theoretical and theological way, the core identity of the local church and in the light thereof to explore two areas: (1) how the local church and particularly its pastor view the core identity of the local church, and (2) whether the identity of the local church is affected through the ministry of preaching - preaching that takes into specific consideration the aspects of hermeneutics and context. The research indicates that while the church may have an understanding of its core identity - certainly when it answers the questions 'who are we?' and 'what are we called to be and/or do' - it lacks significantly in its missional identity. Contributing factors are mentioned and remedial action is proposed. <![CDATA[<b>Does Christ sustain the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa?</b>]]> The Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa (NRCA) that is situated in South-Africa is currently experiencing a serious decline in numbers. The question arises whether Christ will sustain the NRCA in the words of the Afrikaans Hymn 477 in the 'Liedboek van die Kerk' (Hymnbook of the Church): 'Christ will maintain his church Is it a matter of faith, or even more - a matter of obedience? The membership of the NRCA mainly consists of white Afrikaans-speaking people. Apart from the situation in the NRCA there is also a serious decline in the number of white people in South Africa. It raises the question about the sustainability of the NRCA if it continues to maintain a membership of predominately white Afrikaans-speaking people. The NRCA is very much institutionalised with a history that lacks missional intention and involvement in the community. This study investigates the possibility for a more applicable missional curriculum in the training of theology students to counter the lack of missional involvement. It also investigates new ways to reach the unchurched society with a missional approach. The Fresh Expression Movement that originated in the UK provides a new paradigm for the NRCA that will hopefully lead to a new way of thinking and doing. Will Christ sustain the NRCA? The answer lies in the willingness of the NRCA to show a missional heart for all the people of Africa, especially those in Southern Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Like an eagle carries its young</b>]]> The picture of an eagle carrying its young on its wings (Dt 32:11) is a powerful and encouraging image of trust and security in God. It is particularly relevant for Western culture, where the eagle is a prominent symbol of power and strength. In recent years, though, the translation of the Hebrew term –•–•— as 'eagle' has come into question and modern exegetes claim that it is more accurately translated as 'vulture'. But can this really be a symbol of comfort? Furthermore, do eagles (or vultures) even carry their young on their wings? This article intends to shed some light on these questions. <![CDATA[<b>Gerhard Ebeling on faith</b>]]> Gerhard Ebeling (1912-2001), not only the foremost Luther researcher of the previous century but also one of the most prominent contributors to protestant theology during that period, wrote extensively about faith throughout his long and productive life as a professional theologian. He learnt from Luther that discerning judgement in the differentiation of related matters forms the basis of all sound theology. Applying this insight to his own thought, he reflects on the development of the phenomenon of faith in the Old Testament community and early Christianity and the formalisation of the concept for use in the domain of religious studies. He defends the argument that Christian faith is not only faith in Jesus as the Christ and Lord but also that Jesus, and He only, is the founder and perfecter of faith. The concept of faith is also explored by Ebeling in relation to love, life and reason. The article concludes with a critical evaluation of Ebeling's contribution in guiding us to witness authentically about our own faith in Jesus Christ within our own situation and against the background of the problems it poses for believing in Christ. <![CDATA[<b>Virtuality in Dietrich Bonhoeffers' <i>Sanctorum Communio</i>: Collective intelligence as a new epistemology of the church?</b>]]> Collective intelligence has been indicated from biological, philosophical, anthropological and technological developments. The stygmergy principle serves to explain collective behaviour in nature such as with ants. An earlier form of collective intelligence is found in Leibniz' Monadology. Today, collective intelligence emerges from the anthropological space of knowledge. This article argues that collective intelligence such as Wikipedia is based on a postfoundational epistemology and asks whether this can be seen as a new epistemology for the self and the other. With these insights as hermeneutical interface, Bonhoeffers' ecclesiology in Sanctorum Communio is re-read, and it is argued that Bonhoeffers' church concept as Christus als Gemeinde existierend collectively might serve as a new epistemology for the church. <![CDATA[<b>Continuous formation of liturgy through social cognition</b>]]> This article researches two focal points, namely liturgical formation and the influence that social cognition has on liturgical formation. Within a South African context it is evident that Western liturgical traditions encounter African traditions and vice versa. This encounter is challenging because it creates new questions. The process of enculturation is prominent in recent research. The article refers to the process of social cognition as the manner in which people observe each other and try to make sense of other cultures and the people of those cultures. People's cognition can be wrong, leading to distortions. The main research question for this investigation emanates from this possibility, namely: How does social cognition influence the process of liturgical formation? The authors first of all offer a descriptive-empirical vantage point to investigate this matter. Two local congregations were visited. The authors reflect on their own cognition, but also examine the cognition of the leaders through interviews. Based on the findings of this endeavour, normative perspectives are formulated from Acts 17:16-35 to highlight the role of cognition in liturgical formation. Throughout, the article includes consideration of the hermeneutic interaction between the various elements of this research and provides hermeneutic guidelines. <![CDATA[<b>Ethical perspectives on the environmental impact of property development</b>]]> Three perspectives that can be found in ethical decision-making are explored to suggest guidelines for ethical property development: the instrumental, the intrinsic and the pluralist perspective. Given the limitations of the instrumental and the intrinsic perspectives, it is suggested that the appropriate perspective to be adopted by ethical property developers is that of pragmatism, as being a system of moral pluralism. This perspective can be utilised as a flexible toolbox which unites both traditional ethical values and the diversity of environmental ethics, as well as allowing new values to emerge without adhering to relativism. <![CDATA[<b>The New Apostolic Reformation: The critical reflections of the ecclesiology of Charles Peter Wagner</b>]]> Charles Peter Wagner is a well-known missiologist and ecclesiologist of the latest era. He is the author, trainer and prayer warrior who founded the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) that seeks to establish a fourth house. The NAR is a heterodox movement in Protestant Christianity sometimes known as the apostolic-prophetic movement, commonly associated with both the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches worldwide since the beginnings of the 1990s. Central to their theology is their locus of dogma that the task of the church, under the leadership of the apostles and prophets, is to take dominion of the earth within Christendom (distinct from Catholicism, Protestantism and Orthodox Christianity). The ekklesia is the people of God, whether they are gathered in their congregations on Sunday as the nuclear Church, or scattered in the workplace Monday through Saturday as the extended Church. The extended Church, just like the nuclear Church, is founded on apostles and prophets, but in the extended Church these are the different people who operate differently under a different rule book. It is these extended church leaders who will be most effective in transforming society. Workplace apostles are called to take dominion in business, government, arts and entertainment, media, family and education. Panoramically, Wagner's ecclesiology, like mainstream evangelical ecclesiology, is trinitarian, communal, missiological and eschatological in nature and character. The weaknesses on his ecclesiology include the notions of polity based on fivefold ministries, balance of power and authority on church leadership, phenomenological approach to texts, exegetical shortcomings, and secular models in ecclesiastical governance. <![CDATA[<b>Concrete evidence of change (Mt 3:1-12; Lk 3:8-14): The prophetic challenge of the Church to civil governance</b>]]> Democracy is not just about governing by the majority, but also respect and protection of the right of the weak and the minority. The tendency in any government is that the rights of the weak and the minority are denied them and their members are marginalised. In such a situation, what is the role expected of the church which perceives itself to be the mouth-piece of God to checkmate the abuse and promote the positive use of governance for the good of all? In this article, 'John the Baptist's ministry' is used as the springboard for this paper. Grammatical exegesis is adopted to study Matthew 3:1-2 and Luke 3:8-14. The paper integrates the message of John the Baptist in the context of the contemporary democratic experience in such a way that the prophetic voice of the church is heard afresh. <![CDATA[<b>The relationship between moral intervention strategies and the stigmatisation of people living with HIV - A Christian perspective</b>]]> One of the ways in which sexual transmission of AIDS is addressed is through moral interventions by organisations affiliated with Christian churches. However, this approach has been heavily criticised in recent literature, implying that moral interventions by church-affiliated organisations generally lead to stigmatisation which is one of the major obstacles to their involvement in HIV prevention. This article explores the origin of this accusation and discusses the Christian-ethical aspects related to HIV or AIDS. The conclusion is that the fact that churches take the Word of God and Christian morality as point of departure in HIV or AIDS intervention programmes does not imply that people who transgressed religious moral teachings may be condemned. On the contrary, the church preaches Christian forgiveness, mercy and empathy. Churches and organisations affiliated with churches should therefore be regarded as valuable partners in the fight against AIDS, for while propagating a normative lifestyle, they also preach love, compassion and support for people living with HIV. <![CDATA[<b>The parables of Jesus as critique on food security systems for vulnerable households in urban townships</b>]]> A recent empirical study on food shortage in South African urban townships indicates that food shortage embodies multi-faceted aspects with broader social implications, such as the sense of personal dignity, the ability to openly associate with others and a loss of self-identity. It is argued that the parables of Jesus, when read as symbols of social transformation, provide a critique on food insecurity systems in urban townships. It is proposed that the parables of Jesus serve as the conduits for a societal and perhaps ecclesial reorientation with regard to the conditions of hunger, in the light of the vision and values of the kingdom of God. <![CDATA[<b>Truth and falsehood in Judith: A Greimassian contribution</b>]]> Narratives are never meant to be neutral in their rhetorical intent. They have power not only to reveal realities and prevail worldviews but also to create new realities and new worldviews by refuting illusions and falsehood, and affirming the truth. The Judith narrative is a good example for the exploration of this claim. This article contributes by employing the thematic level of analysis, the veridictory square in particular, of the Greimassian approach to narratives, to map out the possible illusions and affirming the truth within the second temple Judaism. The study of the veridictory square as informed by the level of analysis, mentioned above, seems to persuade the reader by first, extracting the truth from illusion and thereafter exposing and shaming falsehood in Judith. Subsequently, the article asserts that Judith is not neutral in its intent but was designed to deal with illusive ideas that might have been impacting the well-being of the second temple Judaism. <![CDATA[<b>Was Paul fully Torah observant according to Acts?</b>]]> This article primarily examines the question if the Acts of the Apostles portrays Paul as being fully Torah observant. This question secondarily coheres with the question if it can be derived from Acts whether it was expected of all Christ-believers from the loudaioi to fully adhere to the Torah, or that such a belief was universal in the early church. The conclusions on all of these questions are negative. These conclusions are reached by way of analysing these claims against the text of Acts (mainly 15:1-35; 16:3; 18:18; 21:17-26; 21:39; 22:3, 23:6 and 26:5) in comparison with the principle Paul laid out in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 to be everything to everyone. The latter principle is found to be compatible with the narrative in Acts, although the difference in the approaches of Luke and Paul is acknowledged, especially in terms of their portrayal of the Mosaic Law. <![CDATA[<b>Tropologiese Hoogliedmetafore en vroulike mistieke piëtisme in Suid-Afrikaanse pioniergemeenskappe, 1760-1860</b>]]> The ego-focus of pioneer women on the South African frontier, 1760-1860, reflects distinct traits of mystical spirituality. The pioneer spirituality of women on the borders increasingly came to expression in ego-texts with experiential inclinations. The leaning towards Jesus-centred mystical spirituality developed parallel to pietistic tendencies in Holland and Germany, and allegorical and tropological applications of the bridal metaphors in the Song of Songs formed a distinct element of female pietism on the frontier. Women believers in the interior favoured tropological applications of bridal metaphors in the Song of Songs. The popularity of such tropological applications can firstly be attributed to the physical conditions under which pioneer women found themselves. Secondly, the availability of German pietistic works contributed towards the religious culture of mystical and individualistic readings of bridal metaphors in the Song of Songs. Tropological readings of the Song of Songs' bridal metaphors are traced to the theology of Bernard of Clairvaux particularly and other pre-reformational mystical sources. <![CDATA[<b>Televangelism: A study of the 'Pentecost Hour' of the Church of Pentecost</b>]]> The liberalisation of the Ghanaian media since the 1990s has drastically changed the media landscape of Ghana and given rise to the use of the mass media for evangelism purposes. The advent of the mass media offered churches and televangelists a unique opportunity to fulfil the Great Commission, and it is the Pentecostals who continue to use it effectively. Many Ghanaian Pentecostal Churches in the past 20 years have made good use of the mass media (radio and television) for the propagation of the gospel. In this article the televangelism ministry of the Church of Pentecost, named 'Pentecost Hour', and how it has influenced the mission and discipleship agenda of the Church of Pentecost in their endeavour to participate in the missio Dei are discussed. <![CDATA[<b>Oorsprong van die drievoudige struktuur van die Heidelbergse Kategismus</b>]]> The Heidelberg Catechism was one of many catechisms that originated during the 16th-century Reformation. It is also known that the authors of the Heidelberg Catechism made use of existing catechisms. The content of 16th-century catechisms consisted mainly of the Decalogue, the Apostolicum and the Lord's Prayer. The Heidelberg Catechism starts with the famous introduction, dealing with man's only comfort, and in three sections with knowledge of our sin and misery, knowledge of our deliverance, and knowledge of how we should be grateful for our deliverance. This contribution points out that the threefold structure of the Heidelberg Catechism is not unique, but appeared in different ways in different catechisms of prominent 16th-century reformers. It is also argued that the Heidelberg Catechism should be read against Lutheran and Calvinistic backgrounds. Finally, it is shown that the Heidelberg Catechism articulated the basic Christian faith in such a beautiful and poignant manner that it stood the test of time as a catechism and confession. <![CDATA[<b>A Christian understanding of the significance of love of oneself in loving God and neighbour: Towards an integrated self-love reading</b>]]> This article addresses the meaning of the great commandment of love (Mt. 22:35-40) with a focus on the understanding of self-love as considered within a Christian context. Christians in general understand the commandment as applying to love of God and one's neighbour. The reference to self-love tends to be ignored or misunderstood, especially when love of self is viewed in the context of the Christian virtues of humility and self-mortification. The concept of narcissism (self-preoccupation or self-glorification) has devastating effects on relationships with God, human beings and the world. In the Christian context self-love is not a third commandment and it is not clearly outlined in Scripture. Furthermore, the love of oneself seems to be the norm by which the love of God and neighbour are measured. It appears therefore that by bringing narcissism into the equation of self-love, a better understanding can be achieved of what a healthy Christian self-love should entail. Furthermore, a brief discussion on the views of the self as mind, emotions and will as well as agape, philia and eros is required for a proposed integrated self-love reading. <![CDATA[<b>Reframing the Tower of Babel narrative for economic justice within the South African context</b>]]> The Tower of Babel narrative is profoundly connected to the history of South Africa and its interpretation in the Dutch Reformed Church document entitledHuman Relations and the South African Scene in the Light of Scripture (1976), which was used to justify apartheid. In this article, it is argued that this understanding of the narrative is due to racist framing that morally justified the larger apartheid narrative. The Tower of Babel narrative was later reframed for liberation and reconciliation by Desmond Tutu. However, apartheid had an impact not only on the sociopolitical dynamics of South Africa. Submissions to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by business and labour highlight the impact of apartheid on the economy and specifically black labour. These revelations are responsible for new questions regarding the economics of the narrative that arise and may enrich the understanding of the Tower of Babel narrative. This focus on the economic aspect of the narrative is also supported by historical research on the Tower of Babel narrative that reveals that the dispersion of the people on the plain of Shinar may refer to the demise of the Sumerian empire, which was among other influences brought about by a labour revolt. In this regard, the narrative is a theological reflection on the demise of an unjust economic system that exploited workers. The purpose of this article is to critically explore this economic justice aspect embedded in the narrative in order to determine whether this reframing of the narrative is plausible. This is particularly important within the post-apartheid context and the increase of economic problems such as unemployment, poverty and economic inequality. <![CDATA[<b>The Biblicism of the Korean Protestant churches: Its origin and early development</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Was Paul among the contemplatives?</b>]]> This article offers a critique of the contemporary Contemplative Tradition's view of spiritual transformation from the lens of the universally accepted letters of Paul. The article argues that contemporary contemplatives, especially Dallas Willard and Richard Foster, differ from Paul in three principle areas. Firstly, whereas Paul's concept of transformation is based largely on objective realities, representatives of the Contemplative Tradition tend to focus on subjective realities. Secondly, contemporary contemplatives view transformation as coming as one imitates the life of Christ, his daily disciplines and activities, whereas Paul's view centres on the death of Christ as foundational to the Christian's identity and thus vital to the way they live out their faith. Finally, the cornerstone of the contemporary Contemplative Tradition's view of spiritual transformation is the belief that the essential means by which transformation takes place is engagement in the spiritual disciplines. It is argued that many of the activities that are denominated as 'spiritual disciplines' are not in fact 'transformative' activities, and thus do not fit the category of spiritual disciplines. Furthermore, this study insists that Paul seldom links the practice of the disciplines with the means of transformation, offering instead five examples of specific means of transformation that flow out of Paul's accepted letters.