Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Acta Theologica]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1015-875820110002&lang=en vol. 31 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>"Give us this day our daily bread"</b>: <b>clergy's lived religion in Pretoria central areas</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The aim of this article is to reflect on how clergy, working in Pretoria central areas, live out (the external dimension) and experience (the internal dimension) their faith in their everyday life. Thirteen clergy were briefly interviewed on an individual basis and then asked to keep a diary for two months. Four of the interviewed clergy completed the diary project. Based on the interviews and the diaries, the main themes that could be identified in relation to faith in their everyday lives, are responding to the challenges associated with urban ministry, including poverty and trauma, and dealing with the sometimes overwhelming experience of stress that the demands of this ministry can create. Distancing from the different aspects of their tasks, attending to personal needs, and focusing on individual experiences of faith are the main identified strategies the participants employ in dealing with the daily pressures they are exposed to. <![CDATA[<b>"Informing of the child's understanding, influencing his heart, and directing its practice"</b>: <b>Jonathan Edwards on education</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article examines the role of education in Jonathan Edwards' life and legacy, both the education he received in early eighteenth-century New England and his activities as a teacher, among the other vocations he followed. In particular, the methods and principles he employed as a teacher, both of English and Indian children and young people, are distinctive. Next, the essay turns to some selected figures within the Edwardsean tradition to show pedagogical changes and continuities. <![CDATA[<b>"Unity that sanctifies diversity"</b>: <b>Cottesloe revisited</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The Cottesloe Consultation (1960) is an important milestone in the ecumenical struggle against apartheid and racism in general. This article tries to find out whether the theological arguments developed within the ecumenical movement are solid enough to withstand the threat of divisions on the basis of race, nation, tribe, and ethnicity that have the potential to tear apart the one church of Christ. In order to answer the questions the historical and textual background of the text of the Cottesloe Consultation is analyzed. It reveals that exactly at the place where the text tries to theologically justify the diversity of people within the unity of the church of humanity, the drafters could not rely on help from the theological commission of the World Council of Churches, and relied on an expressions coming from the defence of the then apartheid churches in South Africa, that is "unity sanctifies diversity". It illustrates that next to a moral answer the theological argument still requires further development. <![CDATA[<b>An assessment of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator from a practical theological perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The aim of this article is to assess the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) from a Reformed perspective of a Trinitarian biblical hermeneutic of hope. It examines and assesses the compatibility of its assumptions with a theory of personhood derived from a Reformed perspective. It then suggests why it has made such an impact among Christian counsellors, what its popularity means to the church, and makes recommendations to practitioners. It is not intended to be a formal psychological assessment. <![CDATA[<b>Calvin on doubt</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Little regarding doubt and uncertainty in matters of faith is found in publications on Calvin's life and theology. This paper pursues his views on this topic in his Institutes, commentaries, tracts, and letters. This is done by referring to the exact words in die original Latin and French. He regards doubt as a serious consequence of sinful human nature, causing anxiety and conflict in the faithful. Although it is part and parcel of Christian life, he condemns it as opposed to the will of God. He does, however, also express his compassion with those suffering under this duress. God expects the faithful to actively resist temptations of doubt and uncertainty. The key to victory is being in Christ, whose Father is also our Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit. <![CDATA[<b>Historical narrative and wisdom</b>: <b>Towards preaching Esther "for such a time as this"</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article considers the problem of preaching OT historical narrative from the point of view of the depiction of God's participation in the drama. It suggests that historical narrative in general depicts a God who reveals himself infrequently, that his presence is normally veiled, and that the reader often has more information about God than the characters in the narrative. The discussion then focuses on Esther where God is resolutely veiled, even from the reader, were it not for the inter-textual references which the competent reader of OT historical narrative will discern. The article suggests that biblical wisdom literature, which discerns God's veiled presence without respect to acts in history, can be employed to profitably preach Esther in a world where God is present, but readers experience him as veiled. The article ends with suggestions for a series of sermons on Esther. <![CDATA[<b>Jesus and "the Daniel Code"</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en It is suggested that Jesus, who understood his Messianic calling in the light of the OT prophecies, utilized their symbolic apocalyptic language in his prophetic discourse. From this perspective Matthew 26:64 sheds important light on the meaning of Matthew 24:30b, i.e. that those who rejected him would realize, within a relatively short period, that He - the Suffering Servant - was indeed the Son of Man of Daniel 7. But Jesus also made some very definite statements in very sober language about the future, which provide an important key for our understanding of the prophetic discourse. While He enumerated a number of signs that would warn his disciples of the approach of God's judgment on Jerusalem - together constituting "the budding fig tree" - He emphasized, on the other hand, that there will be no signs to warn them of the approach of his parousia. <![CDATA[<b>Marriage, sexuality, and holiness</b>: <b>aspects of marital ethics in the <i>Corpus Paulinum</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en A fundamental change in the understanding of marriage becomes apparent in the first century A.D., described by M. Foucault as the transition from a "matrimonial" to a "conjugal" marital concept. While early Christianity participated in this development, it also influenced it at decisive points and developed its own marital ethics. Through a consideration of philosophical (Musonius, Plutarch) and early Judaic (esp. Qumran, Jubilees) texts, this article outlines the marital concepts existing in the NT environment. In this context, the reciprocal community and the duration of the marital relationship are emphasized while sexuality remains wholly limited to reproduction. The core of the article offers a concrete analysis of texts from the Corpus Faulinum (1Cor 5-7; IThess 4:1-5; Eph 5:21-33), in which one can recognize, upon the backdrop of a traditionalhierarchical classification of man and woman, an equal and holistic relationship of the marital partners. Simultaneously - and here the Pauline texts extend beyond the borders of their environment - sexual intercourse is valued as an important component of the relationship between husband and wife. Here, the relationship of marriage, including the physical union of the marital partners, is theologically substantiated, and the frequently occurring semantics of "holiness" clearly plays a central role in the context of the marital texts. In the theologically substantiated union of the sexes one can recognize not only traditional, but especially Judaic forms of speech, created through the close interweaving of relationships between the sexes and the relationship with God. In addition, further norms that regulate early Christianity, such as the condemnation of adultery or the prohibition of divorce, become 'understandable in new ways. <![CDATA[<b>Penteoostalism & schisms in the Reformed church in Zambia 1996-2001</b>: <b>contextual and identity changes</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article analyzes the historical, contextual and identity changes that took place in the RCZ between 1996 and 2001 in order to find an answer to the question why it happened. The hypothesis is as follows; The leadership style of church leaders was influenced by the one-party state with its autocratic presidential powers that continued the missionary legacy of autocratic rule. The autocratic leadership style met head on with a new globalizing culture and with the Pentecostal tendencies in society. This created the conflict that caused the schisms. Pentecostal/charismatic tendencies challenged the long-inherited tradition with its autocratic church leadership style of mainline churches in general and the RCZ in particular. Subsequently, Pentecostal/charismatic movements caused intense conflict in the church between the pro-conservatives and pro-Pentecostals. In the RCZ, this led to the formation of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) in 1999 and the Bible Gospel Church in Africa (BIGOCA) in 2001. <![CDATA[<b>Power and authority in Matthew's Gospel</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Besides the strenuous relation of Matthew's community with non-Christian kinfolk, his text also reveals an underlying conflict with Roman Imperial ideology. Herod, Antipas and Pilate specifically impersonate this foreign domination. Apparently these figures have unlimited power which leaves Jesus and his followers as exposed victims. Yet, on the deeper level of the text, Jesus ironically emerges as victor. He represents the Kingdom of God and ironically counters their unfair rule with his authority. <![CDATA[<b>Prophets at loggerheads. Accusations of adultery in Jeremiah 23:9-15</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The focus of this article is on one aspect of the raging conflict between the prophetic parties addressed in Jeremiah 23:9-15. In this section the aspect of disloyalty to Yahweh is raised as hampering factor for being a true prophet. The research investigates the relationship between doing evil (cf. words such as adultery and ungodly/profane conduct) and the effect on the land (cf curse on the land, the land mourns, pastures drying up - 23:10-11). The research also entertains the relation with the next set of verses (23:13-15) which explicitly mentions the worship of Baal, the vegetation god, as reason for the disloyalty. The false prophets, with their adulterous way of living, are part of a leadership that failed the people of Judah and Yahweh. <![CDATA[<b>Research in theology in the digital age</b>: <b>opportunities and limitations</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Digital text repositories in the field of theology and history, including the works of John Calvin (1509-1564), are promising tools assisting scholars with comprehensive search capabilities, collaborative projects, annotations, and editing options. This paper discusses a case study of the opportunities and limitations of online scholarly archives of primary sources concerning the works of Calvin with particular attention to research, education, and publication. <![CDATA[<b>Sacred texts and mystic meaning</b>: <b>an inquiry into Christian Spirituality and the interpretive use of the Bible</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200013&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article endeavours merely to highlight four areas in the increasingly fertile and enriching field of Christian Spirituality which may demand some further scrutiny by scholars: (i) the observation of the 'open' and 'live' quality of classic sacred texts; (ii) the attention owed to the informing worldviews of both authors and readers; (iii) the specific use of language and modes of exegesis employed in the Christian spiritual quest, and (iv) the issue of the highly personal and narrative nature of Christian spirituality and how it may be monitored. <![CDATA[<b>Spiritual abuse under the banner of the right to freedom of religion in religious cults can be addressed</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200014&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The international endeavour to afford the right to freedom of religion to all world citizens is essential. This right ensures that people can choose their own religion and freely participate in the practice thereof. Although the conventions on religious freedom prohibit the use of unethical coercion in order to proselytise and retain members, the enforcement of this prohibition is problematic. Underlying psychological processes that induce members in cults to engage in radical behaviour changes cannot be proved without reasonable doubt in any legal action. The conclusion reached in this article is that although - on paper - the right to religious freedom ensures freedom in the sense that people can choose their religion, it cannot ensure that worship in any religion is a voluntary act on the part of the participants. On the one hand, religious freedom has opened the world of religion to people; but at the same time, it has also created a vague, or "grey" area where abuse can flourish under the banner of so-called "freedom". Freedom that is not clearly defined can lead to anarchism. Abuse in religious cults can be addressed by cultivating public awareness through the gathering and distribution of information on the abusive practices of these groups. <![CDATA[<b>The classis. In service of mutual concern</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200015&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Congregations of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa are facing various challenges which they cannot meet on their own. The classis or presbytery was born in the sixteenth century when reformed congregations also went through very difficult times. Its aim was to help congregations fulfil their needs. Neighbouring congregations that are close enough to understand each other's needs and able to meet as often as needed, constitute this governing body. It has its roots in the sense of unity and concern that existed between the congregations of the first century. Throughout the history of the classis in the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, this same sense of unity and concern about the welfare of the congregations constituted the presbytery. Today it is still an integral part of the church's organization and can help congregations to fulfil their God-given calling in their own context. <![CDATA[<b>The end of mission. Phases in the mission practice</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200016&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In this article the author deals with the final phase of a mission project, that of handing over, or the phasing out of the work. Although the issue is addressed in general, and an overview is given of the theories that missiologists held since the 19th century, the questions are focused on the situation in the mission work of the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa (NG Kerk). He thinks that much of the present relational problems between this church and its South African sister churches has to do with the fact that their "mission relations" were not really terminated. The article ends with some proposals to end the impasse. <![CDATA[<b>The self-injury phenomenon among young people</b>: <b>a challenge to the church</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200017&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Statistics around the phenomenon of self-injurious behaviour show a rise in numbers. Self-injury has been described as the anorexia and bulimia of the new millennium. The church must be equipped to guide and counsel young people affected by this problem. It is not a 'teenage problem' that people simply 'outgrow'. We can therefore no longer pretend that this is a fringe issue that occurs in only the most extreme cases. This article, in the first instance, focuses on reasons for the increase in cases as well as on a number of misconceptions regarding this theme. Secondly, the focus shifts to the important role of emotions, the dynamics of the process, as well as a treatment programme. In conclusion, a number of pastoral perspectives are highlighted and guidelines provided to prevent possible slips and setbacks. <![CDATA[<b>The structure and dynamics of Luther's Catechism</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200018&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This contribution deals with the structure of Luther's Catechism, one of Protestant basic texts. First an outline is given of the history of the composition of the text. Next some remarks are made on Luther's purpose in bringing out this Catechism. The more as scholarly discussion about it raised attention is paid to the structure of Luther's Catechism. Our conclusion is that the five parts of this Catechism are best understood in a circular form which challenges its users to go through the material time and again. Only then its specific dynamics will manifest itself which make Luther's Catechism very suitable for instruction about the Christian Faith at several levels. Following this impetus this Catechism against a tradition of misuse as a confessional text book might be recaptured as life book which proves to be useful in handing down the relevancy of Protestant tradition in the entire faith community. <![CDATA[<b>Yet again</b>: <b>which church accompanied the Great Trek?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200019&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en It is sometimes argued that the Great Trek of 1835-1840 removed its participants from the Cape Colony, under British control, thereby also taking them out of the congregations of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) based in the Cape. The argument further goes that the church which accompanied the Great Trek was a church independent of the DRC. In this article, documents and arguments show that the church on the Great Trek was indeed the DRC. This is shown by the name used for the church in transit, by the religious customs of the members of this church, and by the relationships of individuals with DRC congregations in the colony. Congregations outside the Transvaal, which were founded by the Trekkers, had no problems to become part of the DRC Synod of the Cape. Before they left the Cape Colony, some Trekkers were members of congregations of this selfsame DRC Synod. <![CDATA[<b>Young Christians in Norway, National Socialism, and the German occupation of 1940-1945</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1015-87582011000200020&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The German occupation of Norway during the Second World War caused unprecedented problems for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway and other Christian denominations. The subordination of the church to the de facto Nazi state eventually led its bishops and most of its pastors to sever their ties to the government while remaining in their ministries. Churchmen and scholars have explored dimensions of this challenging episode in Norwegian church history, but little has been published about the plight of most of the para-church organizations. This article explores crucial dimensions of the ministry of the Norwegian Christian Student Association. Particular attention is paid to how both its pietistic heritage and tradition of social ministry continued to nurture its members and to how the exigencies of living under an oppressive regime compelled the leadership as well as the members of the organization to shift certain emphases in their proclamation and ministry.