Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Verbum et Ecclesia]]> vol. 43 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Perspectives on church and mission: The missional church and metaphors for the church</b>]]> The most important issues for the missional church should be to establish the relation between mission and the church. The methodology used is to listen to voices concerning relevant issues in the missional church. Many important aspects of the missional church are discussed to give an overview of contemporary challenges. Metaphors for the church, such as people of God, body of Christ, temple of God, bride of Christ and witness of God give many essential guidelines for how the church should engage the world. By evaluating these metaphors, new suggestions can be made. It is concluded that the church should always be the church of the living Christ, living new lives in this world with the eye on the world to come. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The relation of the Church and mission is of great importance. In the discipline of Missiology current ideas about the missional church call for new interpretations. Only by thoroughly interacting with the metaphors of the church can the missional church be understood in a new way. <![CDATA[<b>What is in a name? Does the difference between onto-theology and theo-ontology direct the way from eco-theology to <i>theo-ecology</i>? Specific Russian theological perspectives</b>]]> I approach this venture of figuring out the correct terminology to understand reality through the prism of two distinctive Russian Orthodox theologians, Pavel Florensky (1882-1937) and Sergius Bulgakov (1871-1944). The lens I apply mainly to their works is their respective understanding of cosmology, that is, ontology and epistemology. Therefore, I concur with Grenz to abandon the term 'onto-theology' and qualify the inverse as a Trinitarian theo-ontology. This honours the intimate connection between knowing and being, and prevents the bifurcation between fidelity and rationality. Mutatis mutandis, the same applies to 'eco-theology'. This inversion reminds one of Hans-Urs von Balthasar, who bartered the concept of an aesthetic theology for theological aesthetics. Turning this question around would advance our dialogue with the sciences as the common denominator of the discourse is rather nature (creation) discerned from an acknowledged a priori (as all cognition do). In other words, the term theo-ecology is proposed. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The purpose study is not ecological but rather an asyndetic use of the terminology about the science and religion dialogue, with reference to the nomenclature of ecology and theology. All observation terms and sentences are theory-laden. Religion can be viewed as a linguistic framework that shapes the entirety of life and thought. Truth claims should focus on the grammar (or rules of the game) and not the lexicon when expressive symbolism is employed. <![CDATA[<b>Exclusionary and inclusionary tendencies: An African relook at Paul's use of religious texts in Romans 9:26-29</b>]]> This article considers Paul's use of Scripture in Romans 9:26-29 in dealing with exclusionary and inclusionary tendencies in view of the Jews-Gentiles dilemma. In his use of Scripture, Paul uses the concept of 'seed' as a link through which he draws various texts in developing his argument as to who is included or excluded within Israel. While it is crucial to observe how Paul utilises Scripture and exegetical traditions in developing his argument, it is argued that the Jews-Gentiles dilemma cannot be solved simply by paying attention to the biblical texts as the voices of the Gentile others also need to be considered. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article is an intersection of Second Temple interpretation and contextual reading of texts, thereby pointing to the importance of readers' social location in reading of the biblical texts. <![CDATA[<b>The concept and activity of 'obedience' in the Gospel of John</b>]]> The concept and activity of obedience can be regarded as fundamental to human existence as well as to Christian religion. The focus of this study was to investigate the occurrence of this concept in the Gospel of John. Of the two well-known Greek nouns ὑπακοή and ἀπειθέω (translated as 'obedience'), and the two related verbs ὑπακούω and ἀπειθέω (translated as 'obedient'), only ἀπειθέω occurs once (3:36) in the Gospel of John. The verb τηρέω has been used several times and not consistently translated because of diverse literary contexts. The objective of this study was to point out how the Gospel of John is filled with the obedience concept and how it was implied from different perspectives. The following themes associated with obedience will be discussed: (1) obedience to God as Father, (2) the essence of obedience - to love, (3) various expressions of obedience, (4) the ability to obey, (5) Christian obedience is to become like Jesus and (6) the rewards of being obedient. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The concept and activity, 'obedience', are understood as a virtue fundamental to human existence, as well as fundamentally essential and important for the Christian religion. This article investigates the occurrence of 'obedience' in the Gospel of John. To experience God's blessings and enjoy God's communion, God should be obeyed. <![CDATA[<b>The concept of monotheism in the Book of Proverbs and an African (Yoruba) perspective</b>]]> The uniqueness of the Book of Proverbs among other wisdom books is incontestable because it uses •••• as the name of God. Its regular use of the name means that the Book is concerned about God's monotheism. The mention of that proper name (••••) 94 times and the generic name –••–” only twice (this generic name still refers to ••••), emphasises the concept of monotheism. Monotheism in ancient Israel is not the denial of the existence of other gods, but the exclusive worship of Yahweh as the only one true God. The origin and the meaning of Yahweh although debatable, the majority of scholars believe that it is Exodus 3:13-15. The definition of proverbs although debatable, they can be defined as a traditional saying that gives advice and instruction. It is 'a relic of ageless tradition' that contains a pithy structure. Generally, scholars believe that Yoruba religious tradition also holds the fact that Yahweh is monotheistic by the name given to him (Olodumare). Unfortunately, the Yoruba translation of the Hebrew word •••• is Oluwa instead of Olodumare. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This makes the yoruba readers of the book of proverbs miss this monotheistic context. can the retranslation of the book of proverbs make the monotheism of god in yoruba be clearer? This article, therefore, emphasises the need for a retranslation of the present translation of the book of proverbs in yoruba. This article will be an eye opener for some readers who are not sure of the concept of monotheism in the book of proverbs and in yoruba religious tradition. <![CDATA[<b>The 'lived experiences' of the love of God according to a prayer in the letter of Ephesians</b>]]> The epistle to the Ephesians is regarded as a circular letter, yet it also contains two specific intercessory prayers (1:15-23; 3:14-21) in which the Trinity concept features persuasively. On the one side, this research tends to point out how the divine attribute of love relates to all three the divine persons in cooperation and how the trinity concept features in the prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21. On the other side, the article also aims to identify conceived spiritualities (lived experiences of the divine trinity) that the hearers (readers) could have perceived and experienced when hearing this prayer or even praying this prayer themselves. Methodologically, the 'hermeneutic research approach', as proposed and developed by Waaijman and Iser, has been deductively applied for the investigation in this research. Firstly, the dynamic and relational character of the trinitarian God is briefly discussed. Secondly, an exploration of the appearance and inclusion of trinitarianism in Ephesians has been conducted. Thirdly, the focus falls on trinitarian spirituality (the divine attribute of love) in Ephesians 3:14-21. Mechanisms proposed by Waaijman and Iser, which could foster spiritualities in the reading of texts, have been applied to Ephesians 3:14-21 to contribute towards a validation for a trinitarian spirituality of prayer. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This research challenges believers to experience divine presence in the reading of biblical texts, how the reader can become involved in the text. This spirituality will certainly prepare them to experience the divine involvement in their personal life every day. The magnificent methodology proposed by Waaijman has been applied to guide the believers in accomplishing this. <![CDATA[<b>'[T]he prince and the judge ask for a bribe' (Mi 7:3): Interpreting the Old Testament prophets on bribery in light of the encounter between motorists and law enforcement agents on Nigerian highways</b>]]> Transparency International has consistently reported a high level of corruption in sub-Saharan Africa, of which bribery is the commonest aspect. In Nigeria, bribery has been found to be an integral part of the public life of most public officials. This article related the message of the 8th-century prophets of Israel to the Nigerian context in which motorists are forced to pay bribes to law enforcement agents on the highways, and attempted to exonerate the motorists from bribery. The work employed the historical exegesis for the study of the relevant texts, and the descriptive approach for the analysis of bribery on Nigerian highways. The work found that the central context of the 8th-century prophets' criticism of bribery was in the judicial process in which the court officials took bribes from the rich and denied justice to the poor. The message of the prophets is thus relevant to the current situation of the poor Nigerian motorists. It concluded that given the fact that the police, in particular, forcefully take money from the motorists, it is better described as extortion rather than bribery. In view of the helpless circumstances faced by the motorists, it is unlikely that the prophets would have accused them of bribery, but they certainly would have condemned the law enforcement agents for extortion. Therefore, given their situation, Nigerian motorists being extorted on the highways are not guilty of bribery. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This research involves the disciplines of the Old Testament (OT) and Christian ethics. It relates the message of the OT prophets to the Nigerian context in which motorists are forced to give bribes to the law enforcement agents. The article postulates that the motorists are absolved of bribery, given the manner by which money is extorted from them. <![CDATA[<b>Joseph Ratzinger's contribution to the interpretation of resurrection belief: The Nicholas Copernicus of Catholic theology</b>]]> In this contribution, it is argued that Joseph Ratzinger had a profound influence on the Christology and specifically resurrection belief of the Catholic Church. This is evident in the way Ratzinger approached the challenge and relevance of Jesus' question, 'But who do you say that I am?' For Ratzinger, the reality of the incarnatory event means that the Christian faith is about a person, and thus, it is historical as well. In this sense, history for Ratzinger becomes more than just a succession of human events. It also includes God's act in history. Jesus Christ manifested God concretely. In the same light, for Ratzinger, the Church concretely manifested Jesus Christ. Hence, for Ratzinger, thinking with the Church is essential for a proper exegesis or hermeneutics. Because of that, tradition and Scripture are essential to Ratzinger's Christological thought. In the teachings of the Church fathers and the lives of the saints, he finds a concrete manifestation of Jesus' teaching as contained in the New Testament. Thus, his spiritual Christology results from his meditation on the fathers, saints and some contemporary theologians that makes Ratzinger's Christological thought to be both ancient and new. This contribution highlights a Christological approach that values the historical and brings it into conversation with the theological. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This research represents intradisciplinary work within the field of Christian Theology, connecting aspects of Catholic Theology to hermeneutical methodology and what is known as a Christology 'from above'. It connects a historical and theological perspective within systematic theology to highlight the ways in which the Pope and theologian Joseph Ratzinger influenced resurrection belief within the Catholic Church. <![CDATA[<b>The practices of radical refusal in biblical feminist interpretation and black study</b>]]> Gender-specific frameworks detect androcentrism in biblical texts and create a methodology and a reading practice of reading the stories of women not only as by-products of their environments or religious figures but also humanises them through radical forms of storytelling. The method is followed through by recovery and revisionist readings. These modes of interpretation and examination amongst many (i.e. literary, social and historical) aim to retrieve and revive women, their stories, ways of being and living and experiences from the claws of redactional and ideological criticism and conventional theological constructs of meaning, which subsidise their erasure. It is the contention here that cinematic narrative storytelling of women's stories, experiences and ways of being both in antiquity and contemporary should not be embraced as merely accidental. Literal archives about women's lives and experiences should be engaged alongside fictional and religious narratives. These narratives are all encompassing as they are observed through the lens of othering as examined through the prism of what Magubane calls 'social relations, rather than psychological dispositions only' as determinative factors of how bodies are seen and perceived and not only as rhetorical devices. Therefore, this article sets out to be a reading that traces methodology and integrates critical fabulation as a possibility of engagement from critical race theory into the Old Testament. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article sets to create a discourse between methodologies in Old Testament Theology, biblical feminist ideologies, using critical race theory as interdisciplinary focus, critical fabulation, cinematic narrative analysis as conceptual frameworks in an effort to add to the arsenal of disobedient epistemes. <![CDATA[<b>2001, the Dutch Reformed Church's Year of Hope. Twenty years onwards: A church historiographic review</b>]]> The Dutch Reformed Church (DR Church) proclaimed the Year of Hope in 2001 as part of the church's response to complex social problems regarding poverty and factors affecting reconciliation and morality within the South African society at that stage. The ultimate objective was to mobilise the church to address these matters through different means, on different levels and within the respective contexts. In this church historiographic article, newspaper articles and official church documents are reviewed to assess the church's dealing with the Year of Hope and its subsequent effects in the years that followed, on the DR Church's resolutions, declarations and activities concerning the matters first articulated when introducing the Year of Hope. It is clear that the DR Church has not neglected its social and prophetic responsibilities. In this article, interest is also expressed, particularly in how the theme of hope is superposing matters of poverty, reconciliation and morality. Twenty years had lapsed since the Year of Hope. In this article it is argued that the theme of hope in social and ecclesiastical matters is still acutely relevant, and in the conclusion the idea is introduced of a theology of hope to direct the church in continuing to be a bearer of hope within society. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Although the focus of this study falls within the field of Church Historiography, the study of the matters concerned, furthers inquiry in relation to Practical Theology and, more specifically, from a public theological perspective. <![CDATA[<b>When do religion and science meet in uncertainty?</b>]]> This study reports on the concept of uncertainty through the words of Agur in the Book of Proverbs about four observed objects, namely the way of an eagle in the air, the way of a serpent upon a rock, the way of a ship amid the sea, and the way of a man with a woman. The approach used to explore those words is the uncertainty theory by Heisenberg and the falsification method by Popper. It can be concluded that uncertainty is one of the themes of the Bible that unites science and religion in a dialogical manner. The finding strengthens the perspective that science can demonstrate and strengthen the Bible narrations through certain themes. The study also shows that the metaphysic statements of the holy book are not always normative and can be accepted as the source of knowledge supporting its own methodology. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This research strengthens the intersection of religion and science. Although the two methodologies are different, there are intersection points where the two can explain and confirm each other. <![CDATA[<b>Mathematics declaring the glory of God</b>]]> This article discussed the question 'Does God speak through the language of mathematics?' For centuries, mathematicians with different religious backgrounds would have answered this question in the affirmative. Due to changes in mathematics from the 19th century onwards, this question cannot be answered as easily as it used to be. If one regards mathematical concepts as creations of the human mind, it is difficult to argue that mathematical formulae exist in a divine mind. The article argued that there were traces of the divine in mathematics. Six kinds of traces were explained: (1) the existence of indisputable truth, (2) the existence of beauty, (3) the importance of community, (4) rational speaking about infinity, (5) the discovery that speaking about unseen and abstract objects is reasonable and (6) the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics. In practice, traces (1), (2) and (6) are probably the most convincing. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article is very much interdisciplinary as it combines mathematics and theology, especially the philosophy of mathematics and systematic theology. <![CDATA[<b>From small country churches to explosion into megachurches: A modern Pentecostal cultural fit for the Assemblies of God in South Africa</b>]]> This article examines the evolutionary journey of Assemblies of God in South Africa from small country churches into explosion of megachurches. This Pentecostal denomination is categorised as a classical Pentecostal church that evolved as a missionary church from the early twentieth century. It was officially registered in South Africa in 1917. Historically, it developed as small fellowships in small structures; however today, it has exploded into a huge denomination spread in some geographical locations as local megachurches. Through literature reviews, the objectives are to reveal the rationale behind this explosion, which are the church organisation, emphasis on education, entrepreneurship spirit, apostolic heritage and local church autonomy based on the group system. Results of this explosion are accounted to vigorous evangelism, and Bible-oriented religion such as kerygma, diakonia, koinonia and rhetorics to be culturally and contextually relevant. Assemblies of God embrace African gregarious worldviews and apostolic practices of ecclesial life. This apostolic outlook invokes the discussions on leadership principles. It also influences the church polity exercised by many African megachurches. Shifts from orthodox Pentecostal doctrines such as glossolalia, divine healing and eschatological expectations are examined. The conclusion is while the neo-Pentecostal movement replaces these doctrines by prosperity gospel, personal prophecies and motivational rhetorics instead of sound biblical hermeneutics, Assemblies of God in South Africa remain rooted in their evangelical and classical Pentecostal tradition. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This research study is a historical reflection based on Church History, Missiology, Pentecostal Studies, and invokes Practical Theology by referring to strong leadership principles, which leads to church stability. It further calls for Pentecostals to carry out self-examination regarding their fundamental doctrines that are invaded and influenced retrogressively by the neo-Pentecostal movement. <![CDATA[<b>Tertullian's moral theology on women and the accusation of misogyny</b>]]> Some modern scholars have linked the second century church father, Tertullian, to misogynism. This article wades into the debate over whether Tertullian should be considered a misogynist. Through the combined approaches of historical enquiry and interpretative theory, this article probes the validity of such connections. This article also argues that a consideration of Tertullian's infamous De cultu feminarum and prevailing views of gender in the second and third centuries CE establish that he was not a misogynist per se. Rather, the offending comments should be understood as part of his broader moral and theological worldview of his time to call the Christian women to genuine Christian virtues, sobriety, sincerity, and continence. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article provides a reinterpretation of Tertullian's attitude towards women for modern readers. While modern thinkers become shocked of some of his remarks about women, we have shown that a proper understanding of Tertullian's moral theology will change the perception of modern readers, especially on the accusation of misogyny. <![CDATA[<b>African contextual hermeneutics</b>]]> Hermeneutics is the science of textual interpretation and comprises a wide range of disciplines, which helps to control subjective influences in the study of the Old Testament and Hebrew Scriptures. It is imperative to consider the context of any given text, as well as the context of the receiver in the interpretive process. This consideration, from the African point of view, is what may be referred to as African contextual hermeneutics. To see the effect different contexts have on the interpretation of an encountered text, using as an example 1 Chronicles 21, it was discovered that the changes in culture, religion, tradition, text and language affected the presentation of the new text, so much so that the writer made a lot of additions and subtractions from the original story in 2 Samuel 24. The diversity of the Old Testament texts requires that each text be studied within its historical framework. This also reflects the reality of life expressed by people in the African society. However, with hermeneutics in the Old Testament, the reader should be brave enough to throw off cultural ties and focus only on what matters. It requires reading the controversy and polemic in the text and not being influenced by it. What matters in any text is the relationship between God and humans, and this is what the interpreter should translate into the African context, not the culture or the controversy. There is a need for reassessment of the ancient biblical tradition and the African worldviews, cultures and life experiences, to correct the effect of the extraneous cultural and ideological conditioning. African biblical hermeneutics can be understood as the rereading of the Old Testament from a premeditatedly African perspective. African biblical hermeneutics is the principle of interpretation of the Bible that could lead to transformation in Africa. Africa's religious practice is mostly polytheistic. In the African religion, there are new allegories, images, figures of speech, ways of reasoning, etymologies, analogies and cosmogonies to gratify the intellect. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The African contextual ideas of mysticism, tradition and initiation advance new theological inductions, astrophysical tales and ways to hypothesise moral behaviour. Nevertheless, the ideologically motivated text of 1 Chronicles 21 can still be relevant for Africa today if the following options can be taken into consideration. Israel was a confused nation, seeking identity after the exile. An author like the Chronicler wanted to give them direction by telling them that they can find identity in their relationship with God. This can be translated into the African context as a relationship with God. This means that people who are feeling confused about their circumstances and identity today can find certainty in their relationship with God, regardless of how and where they worship.