Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae]]> vol. 42 num. 3 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Lofty but not powerful: a critical analysis of the position of the General Assembly in the union of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (Malawi)</b>]]> In this article the specific focus is on the position of the General Assembly in the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) in Malawi. Though the General Assembly was meant to foster a closer unity of the constituent synods, it still remains an unstable entity, and has been so over the years due to the autonomy of the synods; much more so in recent years because of disputes among the synods. This especially applies to the border disputes between the Synod of Livingstonia and the Nkhoma Synod. Though the 2013 General Assembly has somewhat healed the tension, the future of the General Assembly is likely not to be a vibrant one as long as the synods do not fully surrender their autonomy to a body that is supposed to be above them administratively. However, this appears not to be the synods' option in the nearest future, thereby perpetuating the loftiness of the General Assembly without its accompanying powers. <![CDATA[<b>Mission councils - a self-perpetuating anachronism (1923-1971): a South African case study</b>]]> If ever mission councils in South Africa had a purpose, they had outlived it by the time of the formation of the Bantu Presbyterian Church of South Africa (BPCSA) in 1923. However, autonomy in this case was relative and the South African Mission Council endured until 1981. It was an anachronism which served little purpose other than the care of missionaries and the control of property and finance. It was obstructive insofar as it hindered communication between the BPCSA and the Church of Scotland and did little to advance God's mission, especially through the agency of black Christians. During this period blacks were co-opted onto the Church of Scotland South African Joint Council (CoSSAJC) but they had to have proved their worth to the missionaries first by their compliance with missionary views. This article will examine the role of the CoSSAJC in pursuance of its prime aim, "the evangelisation of the Bantu People" (BPCSA 1937, 18), mainly from original sources. <![CDATA[<b>The Reformed Churches in South Africa and "women in office": 1994-2016</b>]]> The discussion of the inclusion of women in die offices of minister and elder has become an increasingly burning and dividing issue in the Reformed Churches in South Africa (Gereformeerde Kerke in Suid-Afrika) over the past Ave decades. Since 1973 until 2016 various Synods of this denomination have struggled with the topic by way of several intensive study reports, which resulted in many decisions on hermeneutical and exegetical grounds. A first article dealt with the history of the case as it developed from 1973-1988.1 It was concluded that the Synods in this period did not consider the issue sufficiently in light of a biblical-theological hermeneutical perspective. This article deals with the period 1994-2016. The purpose of this ongoing research is to identify the reasons for the continuous decisions, in this period also, not to include women in the particular offices in this denomination. As was the case in the first article, the central theoretical argument of this study is that the hermeneutical approaches of the various Synods in the period 1994-2016 also displayed a significant shortcoming. This shortcoming is the constant neglect of the important role of systematic biblical-theological testimony and a biblical anthropology as fundamental hermeneutical tools. These tools were not applied proficiently because they were obscured by a one-sided grammatical-historical angle of approach to certain parts of Scripture. This hermeneutical deficiency lies at the heart of the prohibition of women in the offices of elder and minister. <![CDATA[<b>A call for the recognition and empowerment of women in ministry in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa</b>]]> Women were already in ministry in Old and New Testament times, though they were not officially recognised as ministers as they are today. This practice was adopted by the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA). Despite the profound move of the MCSA to enable women to enter the ministry and serve as ministers in the MCSA, female clergy are still being ostracised. This was affirmed by the Bishop of the Cape of Good Hope District, Reverend Michel Hansrod, in an address to the synod. He conceded the following: "It is with great sadness that we recognise and confess our slowness in affording women the opportunities of leadership and poor stationing." This statement implies that clergywomen in the MCSA are still regarded as unsuited to be leaders. This article sets out to offer the MCSA insight into the best way to resolve the problem of ostracism and disempowerment of clergywomen in ministry in the MCSA. The article highlights the historical background of women in ministry and from that perspective, brings forth God's intention in creating humanity. Then it offers a discourse on how the MCSA neglects women in ministry, in contradiction to Scripture. Finally, the article formulates a missional paradigm embedded in the missio Dei that could assist the MCSA in addressing the pleas of women in ministry. <![CDATA[<b>A yeast in the flour: Pentecostalism as the African realisation of the gospel</b>]]> The paper discusses the contributions of Pentecostalism to the development of the Christian faith in Ghana and Africa. It argues that Pentecostalism is what fulfils the aspirations and quest of Ghanaian (African) Christians in their search for authentic Christian life. Christianity came to west Africa as a western contextualised religion impinged by the nineteenth-century rationalisation, the product of the Enlightenment. This paper contends that Pentecostals influence the ethos and praxis of older mission churches in Ghana. It describes, analyses and assesses the various ways Pentecostals are helping to integrate the Christian faith into the religio-social contexts of Ghanaians. This is a complete paradigm shift from their earlier posture to social matters. <![CDATA[<b>Tussen die aardse Jerigo en die hemelse Jerusalem. Rutger Schutte (1708-1784) en die pelgrimsmotief in Susanna Smit (1799-1863) se godsdienstige dagboeke</b>]]> Rutger Schutte (1708-1784), the pietistic author of popular hymnbooks, composed his spiritual verses at a time the religious culture of Pietism was approaching its zenith in the Netherlands and other European countries. In addition to his contribution to Een Nieuw Bundeltje Uitgeknipte Geestelyke Gezangen [A new collection of suitable spiritual songs] (third edition, 1721), he composed three collections of Stichtelijke Gezangen [Edifying hymns] from the early 1760s. In addition to the extensive prefaces in these collections, Schutte added long annotations, thereby creating the impression of academic depth - a style which elicited much criticism. However, Schutte's hymns introduced a new popular culture of hymn-singing. At the time of his death his hymns had found staunch adherents in many spheres of life. This essay identifies several themes central to Schutte's hymns: the quest for practical piety; the tension between the heavenly Jerusalem and the earthly Jericho; and the spiritual marriage bond between Jesus and the believer. These themes also surface prominently in the spiritual diaries of the Voortrekker woman Susanna Smit. The entries in her diaries from the early 1840s reflect extracts from Schutte's hymn "The voyage to Jerusalem" in particular. Her descriptions of and reflection on the metaphor of the Christian pilgrim's voyage to the eternal Jerusalem served as an important point of reference in her spiritual exercises. <![CDATA[<b>Two hundred years of Methodism! A black theological inquiry into the heritage of Methodism in Southern Africa 1816-2016</b>]]> A proverb of the Yoruba people of Nigeria says: 'However far a stream flows, it never forgets its origin.' The proverb gives credence to the epochal stories of the human race, and more importantly of the Methodist people in Southern Africa. This article evaluates the history of Methodist people in Southern Africa in the period 1816-2016 from a black theological perspective. First, the paper describes the black theological perspective from which the inquiry into the story of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) is approached, a perspective which is based on the philosophy of black consciousness, the black liberation theology and Methodist theology. Second, the article offers a black theological reflection on selected figures in the history of the MCSA. As a way of concluding, the article considers the prophetic implications of the heritage of Methodism in the MCSA for the Methodist people today. <![CDATA[<b>Clergy's resistance to Venda Homeland's independence in the 1970s and 1980s</b>]]> The article discusses the clergy's role in the struggle against Venda's "independence" in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as resistance to the apartheid policy of "separate development" for Venda. It also explores the policy of indirect white rule through the replacement of real community leaders with incompetent, easily manipulated traditional chiefs. The imposition of the system triggered resistance among the youth and the churches, which led to bloody reprisals by the authorities. Countless were detained under apartheid laws permitting detention without trial for 90 days. Many died in detention, but those responsible were acquitted by the courts of law in the Homeland. The article highlights the contributions of the Black Consciousness Movement, the Black People Conversion Movement, and the Student Christian Movement. The Venda student uprising was second in magnitude only to the Soweto uprising of 16 June 1976. The torture of ministers in detention and the response by church leaders locally and internationally, are discussed. The authorities attempted to divide the Lutheran Church and nationalise the Lutherans in Venda, but this move was thwarted. Venda was officially re-incorporated into South Africa on 27 April 1994. <![CDATA[<b>Traditional leadership and corruption in pre-colonial Africa: how the past affects the present</b>]]> There are two popular schools of thought about corruption in pre-colonial Africa -the Afrocentric view and that of decolonisation. The latter argues that there were corrupt practices broadly defined in pre-colonial Africa, since corruption is a universal concept. It further argues that many traditional African leaders were and are still corrupt, independent of colonial influence. Therefore, they could not be insulated from corruption. The Afrocentric school argues that pre-colonial African leaders were responsible and responsive to their subjects and avoided corruption as much as possible. It maintains that traditional African leaders in the pre-colonial period could hardly be said to be corrupt, because of the communal spirit that guided their operation. This paper critically examines both views and posits that corrupt practices as a human rights violation were present in pre-colonial Africa and still resonate in post-colonial Africa.