Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Acta Theologica]]> vol. 41 num. lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Foreword</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Integrating theory and practice: an educational challenge</b>]]> As an introduction to this volume on the theme "Integrating theory and practice: An educational challenge", this article unfolds various aspects of the relationship between and the integration of theory and practice. In conversation with Paulo Freire, Clemens Sedmak, Thomas Groome, as well as John Biggs and Catherine Tang, pertinent issues in relation to "theory" and "practice/praxis" are explored. This is done in the form of fictive conversations with research students and self-critical reflections of a supervisor. The article emphasises the embodied integration of theory and practice in the lives of theological researchers, teachers and supervisors. With this, the article intends to set the agenda for the Supplementum and provoke inspiring conversations. <![CDATA[<b>Aligning praxis of faith and theological theory in theological education through an evaluation of Christianity in South Africa</b>]]> Having to cope in the revolution-driven world of the 21st century as well as the new-normal COVID-19 society brought theology to yet another crossroad. Theology (both theory and praxis) must react positively to the changes and lessons learned from some of the major revolutions. Just as the Fourth Industrial Revolution blurs the distinctive lines between physical, digital, and biological, so should the separated boxes of personal faith, institutionalised religion, and spirituality be wiped out. Human self-awareness helps us know ourselves and improve our ability to glorify God, while the Communication Revolution empowers Christians to spread the gospel globally. Christianity is also in need of a revolution back to its origin of an un-institutionalised, non-hierarchical, living faith that is changing the lives of people both in the present and eternally. From a South African perspective, the article evaluates the major mistakes that Christians made, some achievements on which they could build and expand, and the ideals that should pave the way forward. It is time to ask some hard questions and provide appropriate answers in the quest for Christian renewal. <![CDATA[<b>The bible, open and distance education and learning, and spirituality: possibilities in a post-secular time</b>]]> To teach the Bible to students of theology at tertiary level (university/seminary/(Bible/Mission) college) is at the best of times fraught with difficulties. Combining the initially often intellectually a-critical religious sentiments of students with the demands of biblical/Old Testament/ New Testament studies as science (language skills, exegetical methodologies, critical theories, hermeneutics of understanding and of relevance) is characterised by some difficulties, which lead to various and some extreme reactions among students. The balance between spirituality and exegesis is not always easy to maintain for many teachers of theology. These problems are in some respects compounded in Open and Distance Education and Learning institutions such as the University of South Africa, where direct contact with students and, hence, spiritual formation (undertaken either implicitly or explicitly) is limited and media-ted. Yet, new times also hold new promises. This contribution outlines an intellectual matrix of these problems and dynamics, with possibilities offered that align well with the more faith-positive cultural sentiments currently dawning internationally, known as post-secularism. <![CDATA[<b>Integrative ministerial training: methodological and pedagogical integration within the curriculum</b>]]> Within theological education, there are ongoing concerns that ministry education is dis-integrating and needs to recover by engaging a holistic focus. Training institutions are criticised for producing academically astute graduates, who lack the pastoral exposure or the required spirituality for Christian ministry. As ministry situations become more complex, an integrative approach to teaching and learning is required, since it connects learning to experience in an intentional way. Despite its complexity in implementing, integration as a method should be embraced more fully in the design and reformation of theological education. This article discusses proposals that can create spaces for integration, highlighting the place of disciplines of knowledge in curricular approaches, the theory-practice challenge, together with fostering active teaching and learning. These proposals are important considerations for purposeful theological education in this time of complex curricular changes in higher education. <![CDATA[<b>The balance between theory and praxis in South African Pentecostalism: Patmos Bible School as a model</b>]]> Recent developments within South African Pentecostalism reveal that a number of pastors in new Prophetic Churches abuse religion and women and engage in other extreme practices of religion. The vast majority of scholars have linked these recent developments with the gap that exists between theory and praxis in South African Pentecostalism. This article bridges the gap by using Patmos, a Bible School started by Elias Letwaba, one of the first Black workers in the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) of South Africa, as a model. Patmos Bible School was an African institution located in Africa for African people. The Bible School offers relevant content to its students, provides specific training for lay preachers and community service, in addition to academic responsibilities. Patmos Bible School thus serves as a model for synergy between theory and praxis in South African Pentecostalism because of its relevant theological curriculum, embracement of African identity, and African indigenous knowledge. <![CDATA[<b>Der beitrag von vernetzten studieninhalten zu einer ganzheitlichen theologischen ausbildung / The contribution of networked study content to a holistic theological education</b>]]> „Ganzheitliche theologische Ausbildung" (holistic theological education) means that, in addition to learning specialist knowledge, students are enabled to reflect and promote their own spirituality with the goal of being able to act on the basis of knowledge combined with a Christ-oriented life and ministry in the church. This article explains that the networking of course content from the various subject areas of theology makes an important contribution to this goal. At the same time, however, it becomes clear that this networking at theological seminaries and colleges in German-speaking countries is only implemented very slowly or even completely refused. The author names the reasons for this and makes specific suggestions as to how a networking of course content can be implemented. He does this in the following way: To begin with, the author presents how, in the current theological as well as didactic-pedagogical debate, a holistic approach of networking subject areas and course contents is considered to be important for theological education. Secondly, based on the findings of the author's research it is attempted to show, outlining a variety of reasons, that as far as the practice of theological education is concerned there is substantial resistance to the idea of networking subject areas. Thirdly, suggestions are made on how to implement a targeted and meaningful networking of study content. Finally, the role of teachers in this process is examined. With their role model and an adequate understanding of mentorship, they have an important influence on the way that students can network course content in a meaningful and purposeful manner. <![CDATA[<b>Acts: integrating theory and praxis in early Christianity</b>]]> Although early Judaism was a diverse movement, the vast majority of Jews at the time would have agreed on a set of core convictions, including the persuasion that non-Jews could not simply join the people of Israel as non-Jews. Rather, they had to become Jews. During the two or three decades after the ministry of Jesus, one early Jewish group - at least some of its members! - denounced this consensus and started to accept non-Jews, based on their belief in Jesus as Messiah. According to Acts, the change came about not by theoretical reflection, but by a new "praxis" - a new praxis not by people, but by God who accepted non-Jews as non-Jews. Theoretical reflection followed, in order to understand what had happened and to draw out the implications for non-Jews and Jews. While some early followers of Christ "integrated praxis and theory", others drew different conclusions. This article uses the theme of integrating theory and praxis to shed light on developments in early Christianity. <![CDATA[<b>Eine betrachtung der dargestellten lehrmethoden jesu im matth√§usevangelium aus der perspektive der methoden der erlebnisp√§dagogik / A consideration of the teaching methods presented by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew from the perspective of the methods of experience pedagogy</b>]]> The Gospel of Matthew is a narrative in its literary form. Jesus, the meaning of his life, and his divine mission constitute the central message of the Gospel of Matthew. The narrative exegesis of Matthew is especially suited to the analysis and literary characterisation of the teaching methods of Jesus. Essential passages of the Gospel of Matthew which reveal the teaching methods of Jesus and learning process of the disciples are first identified, then narrowed down, and finally analysed in their narrative. The results of Jesus' teaching methods are subsequently compared with contemporary experiential education. The presentation and characteristic of the teaching methods of Jesus are compiled in this manner in order to discover any non-obvious presentations of Jesus' teaching methods. <![CDATA[<b>Embodiment, identity formation and missional leadership: roots of theory and practice in theological education</b>]]> The relationship between theory and practice refracts differently in my journey in practical theology, during which I moved from deductive to inductive approaches, and from New Testament studies to practical ecclesiology and religious leadership. This article offers a conceptual analysis of the theory/practice relationship through the lens of three major concepts that have marked my academic journey. Embodiment focuses on our bodies as the empirical and spiritual locus of human experience and knowledge. Practices and theories emerge in our bodily engagements with the world and one another. Identity formation is the focus of learning processes that shape selves to create personal, social and religious identities that enable us to engage our social and religious worlds. Missional leadership is intent on discerning divine involvement in embodied faith practices in neighbourhoods, communities and contexts. The argument culminates in an agenda for theological education for the next decade. <![CDATA[<b>A plea for leadership theories</b>]]> This article addresses the challenge of teaching theory to people who view theorising sceptically. This is often the case in the context of leadership trainings. In this article, I critically analyse the trivialisation of leadership, often based on success stories, and offer seven methods to include theory in leadership classes, namely electing students; reversing the order: practice-theory instead of theory-practice; creating aha experiences with theory; selecting "good" theory; pointing out the benefit of a special theory; viewing theories as eye-glasses, and suggesting eyeglasses from different disciplines. I then argue, first, that leadership theory is needed, because real leadership is nontrivial and, secondly, that we need to teach more than one leadership theory, in order to encourage critical thinking. <![CDATA[<b>Integrating spirituality in decision-making processes: the "Kairos experiences" in the "faith-based facilitation" process of the Salvation Army</b>]]> The resource of spirituality is often neglected in decisionmaking processes in Christian churches. This problem has also been recognised in the Salvation Army. In response, the so-called "Faith-Based Facilitation" (FBF) process was developed and introduced in 2010. A characteristic of the FBF process is the concept of the "Kairos experiences" as a key spiritual aspect. In the literature on the FBF process, there is a paucity of works on the nature of the "Kairos experiences", although a great emphasis is placed thereon. Thus, the problem arises as to how to deal with this phenomenon in practice. This article examines the concept "Kairos", by drawing on the philosophical and theological literature, with the aim of formulating a theological rationale for the FBF process and providing methodological aids in dealing with the "Kairos experiences". I argue that the disposition and spiritual competence of those involved are key to the integration of spirituality in decision-making processes. <![CDATA[<b>Academic music ministry training from a practical-theological perspective</b>]]> What kind of training does equip leaders for the ministry as it actually is? The processes of change within Christian music and worship is an ongoing and global phenomenon impacting on the ministry, the role of the leader, and academic training. Approaching the training from a theological perspective requires an intentional integration of theory into ministry and music practice. Borrowing from interpretative methods of practical theology, recent developments of music ministry and training are described and analysed. A case study of an academic training programme introduces possible standards for an approach that is based on a practical theology of worship leading to an outline for a practical response when approaching worship training programmes from a theological perspective. <![CDATA[<b>Integrating theory and praxis in empirical missiology</b>]]> Lectures on contextual theology rightly belong to the standard repertoire of academic training in missiology. While academic lectures on contextual theologies often focus on macro contexts or meso contexts, the concept of the lecture on context analysis at Ewersbach University of Applied Arts strives to focus on the micro context of missionary action. This lecture and the ensuing two-week internship "Missionary social space analysis" take place at the end of the BA programme. This concept leads to an investigation of a concrete micro context, using the methods of empirical social research and social space-oriented action research. The article aims to explore a theory-practice correlation in the training and application of empirical missiology as a practical science in cooperation with an actual local church. The article briefly presents the pedagogical model and the methodology behind this concept and then reflects critically, from a missiological perspective, on the prospects and limits of teaching practical science and action research in the academic setting of a University of Applied Science in Germany and beyond. <![CDATA[<b>Theological perspectives on development: comparing Roman Catholic, Ecumenical and Evangelical positions</b>]]> Since the middle of the 20th century, Christian churches have been involved internationally in development activities. In recent years, international agencies and national governments have recognised the role of religions in international development. This article reviews theological views on international development. For this purpose, official documents of the Roman Catholic Church, the ecumenical movement and the World Evangelical Alliance/ Lausanne Movement are compared regarding concepts of development and its role in the mission of the Church and views on the world and humankind, actions and actors of development and eschatology. The study finds wide agreement in many aspects, but also some differences between the theological traditions. It discusses theological aspects that are relevant for the praxis of Christian development work and identifies issues that may need further research. <![CDATA[<b>Playful systematic theology: toward transforming action</b>]]> This article demonstrates how re-imagining our understanding of the Holy Spirit in more comprehensive ways can be effective in moving Christians toward creative, transforming activities in the world. This article also provides some examples for undertaking systematic theology in a playful way by using the present ecumenical discourse of the World Council of Churches (WCC) on transforming spirituality.