Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Verbum et Ecclesia]]> vol. 37 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>A community needs responsive management training model: Re-envisioning management training for pastors of the International Assemblies of God Church</b>]]> Non-profit organisations (NGO's) play an important role in helping satisfy society's many needs. Churches, for example, are called upon to address critical challenges facing the South African society such as discrepancies in life chances, unemployment and corruption. It largely depends on the management skills of leaders of such organisations to succeed in their endeavour to meet community needs. In order to improve these skills, this study sought to redefine the initial training of student pastors, including their management training, at the colleges of the International Assemblies of God Church (IAG). A qualitative research approach was followed. Two focus group interviews and seven individual interviews were conducted. Interviews included members of the national and provincial executive committees of the IAG, serving pastors, directors of training colleges, pastor trainees in their final year of study, and a newly graduated student. The findings of the study support the importance of formal management training for pastors before being employed in the service of the IAG. This Church has moved away from accepting ministers for service based on their faith and profession of a call to ministry only. The investigation revealed shortcomings in the initial training programmes of pastors; for example, the emphasis on theological courses at the expense of courses that are responsive to community needs and management training issues. Leaders with the competency to respond to community needs are required. The implementation of a transformational management framework, which includes community responsive courses, is recommended as a way to effectively train church leaders. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Although this article is written within the framework of Educational Management, it touches on other fields like Practical Theology and Curriculum Development. It reflects on the perceived need to include management training in the formal preparation of pastors; an aspect which has previously been sorely neglected. A training model is suggested to achieve this objective. <![CDATA[<b>Towards a biblical model of Pentecostal prophetic preaching</b>]]> The growth and diversity of Pentecostalism has produced questions regarding appropriate methods for Pentecostal preaching. Increasing educational levels among Pentecostal pastors have caused many of them to move to more mainline Protestant approaches to preaching. This article, although allowing for diverse models of preaching, calls for an appreciation of Pentecostal approaches to preaching and suggests the appropriation of a biblical model of prophetic preaching. A paradigm for prophetic preaching emerges through an examination of biblical prophetic ministry as it intersects with Pentecostal practice. It is suggested that a contemporary model of Pentecostal prophetic preaching can be informed by the biblical models. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This study suggests intersections between biblical studies, historical theology, homiletics, and contemporary culture. It is argued that Pentecostal preaching should be based upon biblical models, while taking into consideration historical and cultural contexts. This work integrates the disciplines of biblical studies, practical theology, homiletics, and Pentecostal worship studies. Results from the biblical study of the prophets suggest that contemporary Pentecostal homiletical theory should entertain a model of prophetic preaching that emulates the goals and methods of the biblical prophets. The Pentecostal preaching tradition continues to offer valuable insights into effective preaching models; therefore, Pentecostal homiletics should not be based entirely upon western Protestant models of preaching. <![CDATA[<b>Remembering and constructing Israelite identity in postexilic Yehud: Some remarks on the penitential prayer of Nehemiah 9:6-37</b>]]> That there is a growing focus and elaboration of prayers in the Old Testament scholarship on the postexilic biblical writings suggests that such prayers received an authoritative status in postexilic Yehud. Firstly, this paper argues that not only did the remembrance of the story of Israel confer an authoritative status to Nehemiah 9:6-37, it also served the purpose of casting a hopeful and prophetic imagination of a liberated community in Yehud. Secondly, it is argued in this paper that the prayer of Nehemiah 9:6-37 shaped the identity of the Jews in Yehud amidst socio-economic injustices. This identity was linked to the patriarch Abraham (cf. Neh 9:7-8), to the liberation of the Jews from Pharaoh under the leadership of Moses (cf. Neh 9:9-15, 21), to the possession of the Promised Land (cf. Neh 9:22-25), to the caution about the consequence of disobedience to Yahweh - the exile (cf. Neh 9:16-21, 26-30)- and to the demise of the kingdom in the Babylonian exile (cf. Neh 9:31-37). On the whole, it is argued in this paper that the prayer of Nehemiah 9:6-37 was composed and transmitted with the view to remember and construct the identity of the Jews in postexilic Yehud. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Not only does this article explore the religious aspect of Nehemiah 9:6-37, it equally investigates the socio-economic and political undertones in the text in order to determine the context from which the penitential prayer emerged. It is argued here that in the postexilic Yehud context, Nehemiah 9:6-37 served to remember and construct the identity of the Jews. <![CDATA[<b>Spiritual formation and the nurturing of creative spirituality: A case study in Proverbs</b>]]> The article is positioned in the interface between Old Testament scholarship and the discipline of spiritual direction of which spiritual formation is a component. The contribution that a Ricoeurian hermeneutic may make in unlocking the potential which an imaginal engagement with the book of Proverbs may hold for the discipline of spiritual formation was explored. Specifically three aspects of the text of Proverbs illustrated the creative process at work in the text, and how it converges with the concept of spiritual formation and the nurturing of creative spirituality. These aspects were, the development in Lady Wisdom's discourses, the functional definition of the fear of Yahweh (illustrated from Proverbs 10:1-15:33), and the paradigmatic character of the book of Proverbs. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The research is positioned in the interface between Old Testament studies and Practical Theology. The research results in the enhancement of the interdisciplinary dialogue and interchange of resources between the named disciplines with regard to the interest in formation of persons that the biblical book of Proverbs and the discipline of spiritual formation shares. <![CDATA[<b>Empirical research on the experience of the New Homiletic in South Korea</b>]]> The purpose of this article is to present empirical research to reveal the reality of the New Homiletic in South Korea. This research was conducted by means of semistructured interviews with seven pastors and eight laypeople of the evangelical faith, residing in Seoul and its metropolitan areas, within the age limits of 20-59 years. The aim was to uncover the experience of the sermons by both the preachers and the hearers of the sermons. The researcher chose Pieterse's methodology of analysing the data, which is an inductive analysis called open coding. Six main categories from the pastor's group and five categories from the laypeople emerged from the data. The categories were rearranged into four themes, which is a valuable finding for current-day Korean preaching in order to enhance the homiletical praxis. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article presents empirical research on the reality of the New Homiletic in South Korea. The results indicate similarity between South Korea and the USA. The conclusion is that traditional discourse should give way to the New Homiletic. This research can become the basis for finding new strategies for evangelical preaching. <![CDATA[<b>The drum and its significance for the interpretation of the Old Testament from an African perspective: Part one</b>]]> Recent developments in South Africa opened the doors of opportunity for Old Testament scholars to position themselves in terms of Africa and to allow the African context to play a more explicit role in the interpretation of the Bible. An awareness of the significance of the (South) African context for the interpretation of the Old Testament in South Africa can inform the construction and refinement of the comparative paradigm as a reading strategy. In consequence, it might not only serve the communication of the message, but also facilitate a dialogue between the text and the contemporary reader and imbue the comparative method as a reading strategy. Being aware of the significance of music and its function regarding expression of African religion and spirituality, the article explores aspects of music and its potential to inform a particular 'reading', with specific reference to the drum. (Whilst the focus in Part 1 is more on some hermeneutical aspects as pertaining to a specific reading strategy, Part 2 is to explore the significance of music for the interpretation of the Old Testament with specific reference to Psalm 150). INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The contribution attempts to illustrate that, in our encounters with the biblical text, we need to move beyond a historical descriptive analysis of the text or defining its significance in linguistic terms only. In so doing, the 'comparative paradigm' is augmented by allowing insights from various disciplines to inform the reader. <![CDATA[<b>Sensing a 'second coming': An overview of new concepts in Sociology, Philosophy, Law and Theology on the re-emerging religious in private and public life</b>]]> In a number of academic disciplines, expression has been given to the recently rising awareness that the category of the religious has not disappeared from public life. What the 'masters of suspicion' - Feuerbach, Marx, Nietzsche, Weber, Dürkheim and Freud - had sensed was the intellectual spirit of their times and not the dawning of a broadly post-religious phase in Western/ised humanity. In different academic disciplines, this new awareness has been given expression to by means of a series of newly developed concepts. In this contribution, these developments are briefly tracked as they relate to one another. Although these formulations and discussions in some ways correspond to one another, it has not yet been undertaken to relate them to one another, which is the contribution of this article: these developments reflect, as largely parallel expressions, the recently rising awareness that the category of the religious is currently present in private and public life more so than in previous decades. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article traces recent developments in Sociology, Philosophy, Law and Theology on the unfolding place of religion in the world currently, as a first step to bringing these disciplines into discussion with one another on this matter. <![CDATA[<b>Exclusive language: The tool to empower and create identity</b>]]> This article used some postmodern literary theories of philosophers such as Jean-François Lyotard, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida and Julia Kristeva to scrutinise a selection of texts from the post-exilic period with regard to the exclusive language employed in these texts. Lyotard's insights relate to and complement Foucault's concept of 'counter-memory'. Foucault also focuses on the network of discursive powers that operate behind texts and reproduce them, arguing that it is important to have a look from behind so as to see which voices were silenced by the specific powers behind texts. The author briefly looked at different post-exilic texts within identity-finding contexts, focusing especially on Chronicles and a few Qumran texts, to examine the way in which they used language to create identity and to empower the community in their different contexts. It is generally accepted that both the author(s) of 1 & 2 Chronicles and the Qumran community used texts selectively, with their own nuances, omissions and additions. This study scrutinised the way the author(s) of Chronicles and the Qumran community used documents selectively, focusing on the way in which they used exclusive language. It is clear that all communities used such language in certain circumstances to strengthen a certain group's identity, to empower them and to legitimise this group's conduct, behaviour and claims - and thereby exclude other groups. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Based on postmodern literary theories, this article compares the exclusive language used in Chronicles and in the texts of the Qumran community, pointing to the practice of creating identity and empowering through discourse. In conclusion, the article reflects on what is necessary in a South African context, post-1994, to be a truly democratic country. <![CDATA[<b>Strengthening the Ubuntu social canopy after the Afrophobic attacks</b>]]> In view of the aftermath of the Afrophobic attacks in South Africa, this study regards Paul's emphasis concerning common humanity and morality as a possible lacuna towards strengthening Ubuntu. Paul taught that both the Jews and the Gentiles have their common ancestor - Adam, and that good morality is a better identity marker than ethnicity. In view of the aftermath of the Afrophobic attacks in South Africa, this study suggests that similar arguments can be used to amend the Ubuntu social canopy. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This study is interdisciplinary in nature in that it uses perspectives from social sciences to seek solutions towards a more inclusive community. <![CDATA[<b>Mereological concepts for modelling parthood relations between </b><b>”אלהים</b><b> and natural phenomena in the Hebrew Bible</b>]]> In the Hebrew Bible, some texts represent what we would call 'natural' phenomena as being in some way related to entities classed to be ”-••- in some sense of the Hebrew term; that is, God, gods, divine, deity, etc. Although various perspectives on these relations already exist in the available research on the topic, no philosophical approach to the data has of yet been conceived. In order to facilitate the latter, this study brackets the question as to what the relations between ”-••- and natural phenomena in any given biblical context actually were. Yet its contribution lies in the way it aims to offer an introductory overview of some of the potentially relevant core concepts in mereology (parthood theory in metaphysics) that may be of aid in any future attempt at modelling such relations, however they were conceived. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article challenges the tradition of non-philosophical discourse in Old Testament theology, particularly with reference to the relational properties of Yhwh vis-a-vis natural phenomena. Its meta-theoretical application of concepts in formal descriptive mereological analysis represents an interdisciplinary supplementation of current ways of modelling God/World in the text. <![CDATA[<b>'I am who I am': Deconstructing orphaned boys' references to God: An application of the post-foundational notion of practical theology</b>]]> This article investigates and reflects on the religious and spiritual aspects inherent in the narratives of adolescent male orphans, affected by HIV and AIDS, poverty and fatherlessness, and more specifically on aspects which tell us about how these boys understand and experience the presence of God within their specific situations. In coming to such an understanding, this article focuses specifically on the various names attributed to God by the coresearchers and investigates the prominence through social construction behind these names and how it influences the coresearchers' experience of God amidst their unique circumstances. With the use of the perspectives of a post-foundational notion of practical theology and narrative therapy and research, these names and their accompanied significance are deconstructed. The aim of the deconstruction process is to unveil dominant discourses that both inform the use of specific references to God and assist the coresearchers in finding meaning in the use of these names. The larger study employed research methods from the qualitative and case study research design, and included interdisciplinary work based on the post-foundational notion of transversality. Disciplines included in the dialogue were pastoral therapy, critical psychology and social work. This article's reflections can be useful in all the above-mentioned disciplines and gives insight into understanding the significance behind the phenomenon of naming a deity in one's personal and public language, and the influence such spiritual affirmations have in the psychosocial sphere of the holistic persona. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The larger study (from which this article originates) is an interdisciplinary study, as to conform to the principles of a post-foundational notion of practical theology and as such supports the assumptions underlying this theoretical framework. <![CDATA[<b>Perceived religious discrimination as predictor of work engagement, with specific reference to the Rastafari religion</b>]]> Although perceived religious discrimination has been studied in the past, much remains unknown about the topic. The focus of this study was the Rastafari religion, because this religious group has up to now been excluded from research studies. A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted with a sample of 80 employees belonging to the Rastafari religion, chosen from organisations in two provinces in South Africa. The findings emanating from the quantitative research study indicated that, on average, the respondents perceived to be discriminated against. Furthermore, a positive relationship was established between perceived religious discrimination and work engagement. These findings advanced the understanding of perceived religious discrimination, and the impact that it may have on work engagement, particularly with reference to the Rastafari religion. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The article contributes to the interdisciplinary discourse regarding perceived religious discrimination, with specific reference to the Rastafari religion which is a minority religious group in South Africa. Perceived religious discrimination is discussed and investigated in the context of the workplace, and the aim was to establish whether perceived religious discrimination influences work-related attitudes, such as work engagement. Because previous studies have associated perceived discrimination with less job involvement and career satisfaction, fewer career prospects, greater work conflict, lower feelings of power, decreased job prestige, and less organisational citizenship behaviour (Thomas 2008:80), it was expected that perceived religious discrimination would have a negative influence on work engagement. The findings show that religion possibly provides individuals with the necessary personal resources to persevere when faced with religious discrimination, and sustain performance as well as attain success within the context of the workplace. <![CDATA[<b>Democracy is coming to the RSA': On democracy, theology, and futural historicity</b>]]> This article brings the concept of democracy - as an open-ended tradition - in conversation with notions dealing with historicity and the future, such as 'democracy to come', 'promise', and 'a democratic vision'. It is argued that although these notions are rightfully associated with the future, they also imply that democracy should not be disconnected from an emphasis on an inheritance from the past. With this emphasis in mind, the first part of the article attends to the French philosopher Jacques Derrida's intriguing term, 'democracy to come', whereas the second part of the article takes a closer look at some aspects of the work of the South African theologian John de Gruchy on democracy, with special reference to his distinction between a democratic system and a democratic vision. The third, and final, part of the article brings some of the insights taken from the engagement with Derrida and De Gruchy into conversation with the continuing challenges facing theological discourse on democracy in South Africa today. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: A constructive proposal is made that emphasises the futural openness of democracy in a way that challenges a vague utopianism. <![CDATA[<b>Rather Spirit-filled than learned! Pentecostalism's tradition of anti-intellectualism and Pentecostal theological scholarship</b>]]> The beginnings and first half-century of South African Pentecostalism are characterised by a tradition of anti-intellectualism consisting of a rejection of theological training, a critical and negative attitude towards theologians, and criticism of the academic world in general. This led to Pentecostals being seen as outsiders without a theological tradition or any contribution to be made to the theological world, or even any interest in developing and formulating a theological structure that can compare or contrast with other theological structures. The historical phenomenon of anti-intellectualism is described in terms of its complicated motivation and nature before the rise of Pentecostal theological scholarship is investigated in terms of its historical development and nature. The article closes with some remarks about the future of Pentecostal theological scholarship. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The article reflects a historical survey of attitudes within the South African Pentecostal churches towards academic endeavours and theological reflection, showing how it changed from anti-intellectualism toward a more positive attitude with certain reservations and allowing for the development of Pentecostal scholarship. For historical reasons South African tertiary education has been closed for Pentecostal scholarship, although the situation will be changing in the near future because of the Pentecostal influence. <![CDATA[<b>'Darkness is my closest friend' (Ps 88:18b): Reflections on the saddest psalm in the Psalter</b>]]> On the face of it, there are no bright spots in Psalm 88 - no hope at all for the bitterly lamenting psalmist, or seemingly for his readers today either. This intensely individual complaint expresses 'the dark night of the soul … a state of intense spiritual anguish in which the struggling, despairing believer feels he is abandoned by God' (Boice 1996:715-716). So why has this disorienting 'psalm of disorientation' (Brueggemann & Bellinger 2014:7) been included in the Psalter, the penultimate prayer of Book III, and what are we to make of it? One cannot of course provide definitive answers, but several suggestions may be offered based on the opinions of a number of capable Psalms scholars, coupled with some personal observations. After citing the text in Hebrew, along with my own English translation, the poetic structure of the psalm is overviewed and then selected features of its artistry and rhetoric are discussed. This study concludes with an assortment of reflections that speak to the theological importance of this dark psalm and its relevance for all those in particular who wake up in the morning, consider their current situation in life, and wonder: 'Can it get any worse?' INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This study illustrates how a close literary-structural analysis can serve to reveal insights of exegetical and theological significance while at the same time critiquing certain received scholarly positions. In particular, it challenges the prevailing opinion of commentators that Psalm 88 is entirely pessimistic in its outlook on God and life. <![CDATA[<b>Dealing with poverty, health and maternal child survival: The Organisation of African Independent Churches perspective</b>]]> The Organisation of African Independent Churches (OAICs), as a representative of the African Independent Churches (AICs) across the African continent and in the Diaspora, disclosed that poverty has its own culture, and this was also confirmed by their undertaking of the Millennium Development Goals. AICs are commonly classified under the disadvantaged groups in the communities they inhabit. As a consequence, it cuts across their spectra as well. Members of these churches are domestic workers, cheap labour, factory workers, and unemployed. Often they come together with men of cheap labour and coupled as husbands and wives, forgetting their families in the rural regions where they came from. Many children are kept in these dark situations and poverty affects them badly, because for most of them they hold tempos without any guarantees for long lasting usage. This article will investigate how the AICs are affected and survive in these sites and the use of the OAIC in salvaging it. A participatory methodology will be used. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article has implications on the disciplines of development studies, gender studies, political science and government's policymakers on the efforts the AICs are making in alleviating poverty among children and youth in a holistic manner. <![CDATA[<b>The use of </b><b>οἰκονομία</b><b> for missions in Ephesians</b>]]> The concern which prompted the letter and the author's digression in Ephesians 3:2-12 represents a lacuna in Ephesians scholarship. Its function within the wider discourse remains uncertain. The term οἰκονομία is prominent in the discourse and has been interpreted as an administrative office or activity in the Pauline corpus. This article shows that the term has a missional nuance in Ephesians. It is used for the role of Christ in the execution of the plan of God (Eph 1:10) and the role of Paul in the implementation of the plan (Eph 3:2). The author of Ephesians acknowledges the role Paul played in the mission's movement of the gospel itself, 'I Paul the prisoner of Jesus Christ' (Eph 3:1, 7). He is identified as the person to whom 'the stewardship of the grace of God has been given' (Eph 3:2). The οἰκονομία of the gospel is committed by Paul to the church, marking a new phase in the development of the mission of the church. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The article suggests that in Ephesians 3:10, which is a crux interpretum, that the missional nuance of the term οἰκονομία indicates in Ephesians 3:10 the role of the Church in the execution of the plan of God and the missio Dei is implied. <![CDATA[<b>Why religious human beings need evolutionary epistemology! A theological and evolutionary viewpoint of 'why humans need to embrace evolutionary epistemology'</b>]]> I put forward an understanding of evolutionary epistemology that rescues something of the old and venerable idea of freedom, and it means that we as theologians should grasp our very nature realistically, beyond any illusionism and utopian dreams. The author feels that scholars, especially theologians, should firstly take evolution seriously and secondly regard evolutionary epistemology as important as evolution itself, the reason being theologians should know that it is of paramount importance for their systematic-theological intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications, which is embarking on a way of thinking that regards evolutionary epistemology as a friend in their accommodation of their respective theological fields of interest. This accommodation is substantial as it will enhance their respective theological disciplines as 'an exhilarating vision of God'. Evolutionary epistemology takes a pragmatic view of humans. Evolutionary epistemologists question how humans really behave and what the true origin of their behaviour is. In contrast to this programme, many conceptions of humans are based on an idealisation of our species. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Evolutionary epistemology takes a pragmatic view of humans. Evolutionary epistemologists question how humans really behave and what the true origin of their behaviour is. In contrast to this programme, many conceptions of humans are based on an idealisation of our species. I then put forward my own understanding of evolutionary epistemology and conclude that evolutionary epistemology recues something of the old and venerable idea of freedom, and it means that we should grasp our very nature realistically, beyond any illusionism and utopian dreams. <![CDATA[<b>The <i>imago Dei Weltanschauung</i> as narrative motif within the Corinthian correspondence</b>]]> This article reflects on the doctrine of humanity to explore that God created humankind in his image and likeness, and this means that all human beings have an inherent capacity to know the difference between good and bad, and between right and wrong. Thus, all human beings have an innate ability to be ethical, as the God who created them is good, and so becomes the source of their ethics. This article title highlights the interrelationships between identity, ethics, and ethos. These three related analytical categories, within the New Testament, show the necessity for an interdisciplinary approach in treating questions of the origin of humanity. This article incorporates reflections in the studies of anthropology, philosophy, and theology and draws from the writings of Apostle Paul, in his Corinthian Correspondence, as he instructed them on how they ought to relate, and what would be their roles within the broader scope of God's original intention for humanity. In this attempt, he made reference to the anthropological identity of the imago Dei, and he shows that the perfect expression of the imago Dei is Christ Jesus; thus, this is the image they ought to emulate. Therefore, this article investigates 'The imago Dei weltanschauung as narrative motif within the Corinthian correspondence'. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This research gives the perspective of the presupposition of the imago Dei as presented in the New Testament as the framework of understanding ethics, as it appears within the formation of an anthropological horizon. In relation to accepting the message of the New Testament, this article shows how the imago Dei worldview underpins Pauline ethics and can serve as a framework of understanding an anthropological ethical paradigm. <![CDATA[<b>A <i>kairos</i> for the lowly? Reflections on Luke's story of a rejected fortune or <i>tyche</i> and lessons for South Africa</b>]]> This article argues that failure of Jerusalem to accept or recognise its fortune (Lk 19:41-44) may be ascribed to a difference in expectations between the Temple rulers and the lowly, who interacted with Jesus at their level. At the outset, the kairos was anticipated and welcomed by the lowly, and throughout the two-part narrative the respective attitudes of the lowly and Temple rulers towards Jesus are contrasted, whilst conflict between Jesus and the latter culminated in the crucifixion. The problem as suggested by the narrative is that a highly political messianic programme may have been expected, whereas Jesus offered an individual and community empowerment as the content of God's kairos. The article concludes that the content of a kairos is determined by the potential beneficiaries; its delivery vehicle and timing (kairos) are God's prerogative, whereas the ability to recognise and accept it is predicated on a consensus among beneficiaries about the content. South Africa should learn from this if its National Development Plan is to become a reality. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article employs insights from the narrative approach and Greek mythology to question the sterile approach to the kairos discourse. It introduces a new hermeneutical and epistemological paradigm that opens up possibilities for a developmental approach and sheds light on the behaviours of Jerusalem and the early Church. In the process, views from Biblical Studies, Hermeneutics and Church History are engaged. <![CDATA[<b>Preliminary thoughts on the relevance of the research field of cognition for Practical Theology</b>]]> In this research from the vantage point of Practical Theology, the author focusses on the importance and the possible value of the concept of cognition for further research. The philosophical roots of the concepts of knowledge and understanding are highlighted in a qualitative manner by means of a short selection from the insights of philosophers from the era of the Greek Philosophy to the nineteenth century. The insights of Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Descartes and Kant are utilised. The purpose was to indicate the importance of the concepts of knowing and cognition from an early stage. Research from the field of cognitive science also received attention in this research. The purpose of this discussion is to indicate that cognition is not a mere intellectual activity. Cognition is important in the processes of perspective-making and moral choices. Cognitive distortions could possibly endanger people's ability to have the right cognition about people, events and life itself. The concept of phronesis, as the concept that comes the nearest to the essence of cognition, is also investigated from the vantage point of Philippians 2:5 and Romans 12:3. Wisdom thinking is really important in research on the acts of people from a practical theological vantage point. Cognition must be regarded as people's attempt to make sense out what they already know and also out of what they are observing. In the final part of the article, fields for possible further investigation are highlighted in order to make the statement that practical theologians can consider the fact to reclaim the field of investigation on cognition in further research. The importance of cognition for liturgy, homiletics, pastoral care and youth ministry is indicated. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article is undertaken from a practical theological vantage point in order to highlight the importance of the concept of cognition for further research. In this article a discourse between Practical Theology, Philosophy and Cognitive Psychology is undertaken. Important aspects were indicated and also the importance of the concept of phronesis. The importance of understanding and insight were also indicated. The concept of phronesis was discussed from Philippians 2:5 and Romans 12:3. Finally, practical theological perspectives were offered in which the importance of cognition for the various fields in Practical Theology was indicated. <![CDATA[<b>Improving the lack of missional effectiveness of congregations with small satellite meetings from an interdisciplinary practical theological perspective</b>]]> There is much literature concerning small church groups. We are swamped with articles and blogs about what to do to make your small group succeed. Many of these are purely pragmatic, with a smattering of theology or ecclesiology. I believe it is time to take a fresh practical theological look at their place in congregational life and their ecclesiological role. One aim of the missional concept is that congregations transform the communities in the contemporary worlds in which they exist. Whilst many churches now have a dual structure of small satellite groups attached around the main larger worship meeting variously known as cell groups, life groups, etc., it would appear from research that they are not using this dual combination effectively from a missional perspective and thus are not being as effective as they could be in fulfilling the missio Dei. This article attempts to learn how this may be improved using an interdisciplinary practical theology approach combining what may be learnt about this dual structure from the sociology of groups, church history, ecclesiology, and contemporary contextual studies. It concludes by making appropriate recommendations. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article suggests how their effectiveness may be significantly improved using an intra/interdisciplinary practical theology approach combining what may be learnt about this dual structure from the sociology of groups, church history, perception theory in the area of ecclesial paradigms, missional and Trinitarian ecclesiology, and contemporary contextual studies. It concludes by making appropriate recommendations. <![CDATA[<b>Mediated religion: Implications for religious authority</b>]]> The relationship between media and religion seems to be a well established research topic today. Themes like identity formation and community with regard to digital religion are well researched, but religious authority is pointed out as an area that needs more detailed investigation. Although the topic of authority has been of interest to scholars and practitioners, religious authority received less attention and systematic analysis. Therefore, this article considers the interplay between media and religion by highlighting the possible implications for religious authority when religion is mediated specifically through technology. To illustrate the possible implications for religious authority in a context where religion is mediated through technology, this article will identify certain shifts that took place with regard to religion. In the light of the identified changes with regard to religion, the article will attempt to specifically explore and identify the possible implications for religious authority. At least two theoretical perspectives used to investigate and understand the relationship between technology and theology will be mentioned, namely the instrumentalist and the cultural approach. The mediatisation theory will be discussed as a theory that fits within the cultural approach to media and religion. Furthermore, the mediatisation theory will serve as a theoretical lens to provide insight into how the changes and shifts discussed are changing religion and religious authority. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The article draws on literature from cultural, media and religious studies and intends to stimulate and challenge theological reflection on the theme of mediatisation of religion and the implications for religious authority. Furthermore the article contributes to interdisciplinary research within theology. <![CDATA[<b>Moving to different streams of healing praxis: A reformed missionary approach of healing in the African context</b>]]> There are different streams of healing praxis in Africa today, namely African traditional healing, biomedical healing and spiritual healing (which includes the more recent 'touch your TV screen' healing method) among others. These streams offer contemporary African people diverse alternatives with regard to healing. As much as the hegemony of Western biomedicine, as endorsed by missionaries in the past, can no longer serve as a norm in the area of healing, we can also not use the African traditional healing methods and or any other alternative presented to Africa without discernment. This suggests therefore that Reformed mission ecclesiology and missionary practitioners should critically engage the African context, worldview and culture on the matter of healing. It should also engage other forms of spiritual healing methods on offer in the African soil. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The use of an indigenous knowledge system when coming to healing in the African context, alongside Western biomedicine and other forms of spiritual healing practices, provides African people with diverse alternatives. It also poses a missiological question regarding the acceptability of such a practice within the framework of the Reformed Missionary Paradigm. <![CDATA[<b>Can the <i>Song of Songs</i> be described (also) as a form of dark green religion?</b>]]> Bron Taylor defines dark green religion as: '… a deep sense of belonging to and connectedness in nature, whilst perceiving the earth and its living systems to be sacred and interconnected'. It not only emphasises a felt kinship with the rest of life but also evokes awe, wonderment and humility towards nature that binds to something 'greater than oneself'. Do the intimate 'oneness' and living in the moment of the two young lovers in the Song also extend to a diminishing of the self and an experience of oneness with a greater, timeless, mysterious reality? In order to determine whether the Song of Songs complies with a form of nature spirituality, the notions of belonging, interconnectedness and sacredness were investigated as they appear in this ancient book of love. It was found that the Song is representative of a form of dark green religion of a non-doctrinaire, immanent kind. It exhibits ubiquitously the notions of belonging and connection (kinship with nature, an interconnectedness and interdependency of the web of life) and the sacredness of the earth and its inhabitants (their intrinsic worth that evokes awe, wonderment and humility). The experience of sensuality, living mindfully in the moment, transforms into a timeless spirituality of connection to 'another, mysterious world'. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The relevance of reader-oriented appreciations of biblical texts, notably ecological hermeneutics, is demonstrated; this approach can also be extended to other sacred texts apart from the Bible; furthermore, it points to the need for the ongoing dialogue with the natural sciences. <![CDATA[<b>The <i>Book of Ruth</i> in the time of the Judges and Ruth, the Moabitess</b>]]> This article addresses two issues in the Book of Ruth that have not yet received much scholarly attention: why is the narrative plotted in the time of the judges, whilst the time of narration dates to the postexilic period, and why is one of the protagonists Ruth, the Moabitess, whilst the law in Deuteronomy 23:3-4 (HB 4-5) clearly forbids the presence of Moabitess and Ammonites in the community of YHWH? A suggestion is made that a possible explanation to both these questions may be found in tensions regarding Israel's identity in the Second Temple period. Two different yet not completely opposite viewpoints are illuminated: that of the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah who envisioned an exclusive Israel that is construed along genealogical and religious lines, and that of the Book of Ruth where solidarity with the people of Israel and the worship of YHWH are embraced by foreigners. Both sides are concerned about the identity of Israel and loyalty to YHWH, yet they employ a different jargon in order to argue for the inclusion or exclusion of foreigners. Furthermore, Ezra and Nehemiah consider mixed marriages as a serious threat to Israel's identity, and they justify the expulsion of foreign wives on the basis of the Book of Moses. According to the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses interpreted the Torah for the children of Israel at Mount Nebo in Moab: Moab thus functioned as an interpretive space for the Torah. The Book of Ruth proposes an alternative interpretation of the Torah, also from the plains of Moab and the exegesis comes in the person of Ruth, the Moabitess. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article challenges the point of view that the Book of Ruth is a charming narrative of loyalty and love. Research reveals that this Book is a polemic document and its main contribution is to the intradisciplinary field of biblical hermeneutics that requests a re-interpretation of texts for changing circumstances. <![CDATA[<b>Does the Christian worldview provide a place for the law of attraction? (Part 1): An apologetic evaluation of the roots of this doctrine</b>]]> This article investigates the roots of the so-called spiritual law of attraction that some Christian preachers today describe as an important biblical law. One of the proponents of this idea, Pastor At Boshoff of the Christian Revival Church (CRC), refers in his sermons to the law of attraction as a powerful principle derived from the Word of God. This idea bears striking similarities to the positive confession doctrine as taught by popular Word of Faith preachers. The basic claim of this spiritual 'law' is that human beings create their own future through their thoughts and words. The article shows the idea of a spiritual law of attraction as a New Age doctrine that flows from a New Age worldview. Preaching prosperity through the law of attraction is not in accordance with orthodox, historical Christianity or the Christian worldview. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The article challenges the secular view that intangible thoughts and words can take on tangible reality. This is important since this secular idea is infiltrating the Christian church. It is already being preached as biblical although the roots thereof are clearly shown to originate from the New Age movement. <![CDATA[<b>Does the Christian worldview provide a place for the law of attraction? (Part 2): An apologetic evaluation of the way the Bible is used in promoting this idea</b>]]> This article investigates the biblical motivation that is given for the secular idea of the so-called spiritual law of attraction to become part of Christian doctrine. In 2010 Pastor At Boshoff of the Christian Revival Church (CRC) preached two sermons on the law of attraction in which he claimed it as a powerful principle in the Word of God. According to him this biblical 'law' provides human beings with physical manifestations of their thoughts and words. The idea to create one's own favourable future through the law of attraction flows from a New Age worldview and is similar to the positive confession doctrine taught by popular Word of Faith teachers. Boshoff's claim regarding the law of attraction cannot be deduced from the key Scripture passages he uses, which reflects an unfounded use of Scripture to promote this idea. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The article challenges the secular infiltration of the Law of Attraction in the church. This is important since the so-called Law of Attraction was preached by Pastor A. Boshoff of the CRC. Many of his listeners embrace his teaching although it reflects a poor exposition and application of Scripture. <![CDATA[<b>Towards a global theology: Theological method and contextualisation</b>]]> How should the cultural context influence theological formulation? This article examines contextualisation as it relates to theological method. After considering definitions and methods for formulating contextual theology, it applies the method in two areas: the missional activity of communicating the gospel in a particular cultural context, and the ecclesial activity of improving upon the theological confession of the local church. The author concludes by briefly considering the method with a global perspective. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Some traditions have failed to contextualise the biblical message, whereas other ministry practice has radically altered its message in an attempt to be contextually sensitive. Recent research has resulted in a confusing array of conflicting methods with drastically different practical applications. This article explores how theological method largely determines contextualisation, and it offers a method that is both faithful to the biblical text and sensitive to the contextual situation. <![CDATA[<b>Spirituality, a theological paradigm of the Spirit and hope as cosmogenesis, correlation and mystical experience</b>]]> Anselm of Canterbury's well-known enunciated expression fides quarens intellectum (faith seek understanding) in his search for the existence of God, according to me, forms a very important belief synthesis with regard to the term spirituality, and everything that is accompanied with the term. Why? Because Anselm's evidence for the existence of God was not there to make the non-believers into believers but rather to explain the mystery of faith in the brain and therefore to enhance the phenomenological sensation of the faith experience. Without the illuminating power of the mind, one stands in awe or it can also disappear into the abyss, especially as it is conceptualised in the religious philosophy. Therefore, it is in this spiritual belief that one receives something from the unknown, as man then receive something into the unknown, that we open with our minds - something like the softness as cream as Sheila Cussons wrote. The question therefore is: May we open this unknown, described as this 'soft as cream', or more paternally ascribe it as spirituality. If so, we then stand in awe to the potential to what spirituality is and only then we do not fade into the abyss of that possibility. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Spirituality as a belief synthesis, in a religious and philosophical context, pursues an understanding from a religious paradigm. It entails that the experience of spirituality reveals a working definition, whereby humans, in their vulnerable existence, may find hope in their expectations, experiences, and fears. <![CDATA[<b>Language as a barrier to ministry of the Word with special reference to sign language in ministry: Human dignity perspective</b>]]> This article is born out of my participation in the General Synod Ministerial Formation for theological training of Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA), when a decision was taken to license a student with a disability to be a minister of the Word in URCSA. Furthermore, my experience and observation of the licensing of the two candidates with hearing impairments to the ministry of the Word and Sacrament in URCSA and Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa (DRCSA) has encouraged me to conduct this research. This article is made up of four important parts: Firstly, the researcher will discuss Belhar Confession as the confession that emphasises unity (inclusivity), reconciliation and justice. Secondly, Belhar Confession and disability from the human dignity perspective will be discussed. Thirdly, the ecclesiological practices and shortcomings from the human dignity perspective will be highlighted. Fourthly, pastoral care as the affirmation of human dignity will be discussed. INTERDISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The fields involved in this article are Systematic Theology, Sociology and Psychology. The author challenges classification of people with a disability under the category of limited competence by the Dutch Reformed Church when they license the ministerial candidates. The future results will reveal the inclusivity in terms of licensing and calling of ministers in the Dutch Reformed Church Family. This research calls for the change in the traditional discourse within ecclesiological, sociological and psychological fields, which exclude the people with a disability from the ministry of the Word and Sacraments. <![CDATA[<b>Unity and catholicity in the Korean Presbyterian Church: An ecumenical Reformed assessment</b>]]> I attempt to find the main causes of the serious disunity in the Presbyterian Church in Korea (PCK), which started as one church but is now divided into more than 100 denominations, as well as a solution to promote the unity of the PCK. This attempt starts with an exegesis of Ephesians, with special reference to Ephesians 4:1-16, to understand the biblical principle on this matter. This article draws on a mature ecclesiology and a mature sense of unity as key concepts. After that, the history of the PCK disunity is briefly described, dealing with four major schisms. Based on this historical investigation, the disunity in the PCK is assessed. In addition, the weak sense of unity and weak ecclesiology of the PCK, which played a role in its disunity, are discussed in view of the confessions of faith, the ministry of the word and the Lord's Supper, and ecumenical efforts in relation to national and international ecumenical organisations. Lastly, contributory suggestions based on the mature sense of unity are offered to the PCK in particular and the Reformed family and all Christian churches in general. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: In my ecumenical Reformed intradisciplinary assessment of unity and catholicity in the PCK, which started as one church but is now divided into more than 100 denominations, I identify the main causes of serious disunity in the PCK, namely a weak sense of unity, immaturity and secularisation. <![CDATA[<b>The immanence and transcendence of God in Adamic incarnational Christology: An African ethical reflection for the public</b>]]> This article argues that the transcendence and immanence of God amplified in Christ should influence African believers' private and public ethics. It accomplishes this by engaging transcendence and immanence of God in the traditional African worldview. The African traditional worldview in many respects believes the transcendent God whose immanence is mediated by lesser spiritual intermediary powers. In responding to this view of God's transcendence and immanence, we discuss the amplified transcendence and immanence of God in the Adamic incarnational Christological model. This model argues that in the incarnation, God's transcendence and immanence is amplified by his assumption of our human mode of existence as the New Adam for our redemption. That is, even though God has always been transcendent and present within his creation before the incarnation, his immanence within humanity is amplified by God becoming man in and through Jesus Christ as the New Adam. The ascension of Jesus Christ does not diminish God's presence within Christians. God continues to have his personal presence within believers through the dynamic presence of the Holy Spirit among them. The transcendence and immanence of God (amplified in Christ) therefore is brought to bear in the private and public ethics of Christians. In contrast to the limited immanence of human beings, God's immanence is infinite. That is, there is nothing human beings can do which is outside of God's reach and knowledge. It is from this perspective that African Christians are encouraged to live lives conscious of the infinite-immanent God, who sees both their private and public lives. The private and public life of believers should resemble God's character and behaviour demonstrated by Jesus Christ, God incarnate, in his earthly ministry. Thus, the transcendence and immanence of God amplified in Christ influences African believers to live as the true ambassadors of Christ who exhibit exemplary ethical behaviour within the public sphere. The article reflects on the role of theological ethics in informing public ethics. As such it is theologically intradisciplinary but focusing on intertheological disciplines and their relationship to public space regarding ethics. It seeks to engage and influence public ethical behaviour in a context corruption and disregard of other human beings' entitlements. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The article challenges the privatisation of Christianity to take a public role in order to influence the public. This approach contributes to shifting African Christians from being passive in the context of unethical behaviours to being active agents who influence the public. As such, it contributes to public, practical theology and public ethics. <![CDATA[<b>Re-reading 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 in the context of Nigerian Pentecostals' theology of sex</b>]]> This article examines Paul's teachings on sexuality in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 and the relationship between those teachings and the prevalent sexual practices in Corinth. It is argued that Paul's quest for robust spirituality among the Christians in Corinth informed his injunctions against certain sexual acts which were permitted in the then Greco-Roman world. The text is also read in the context of Nigerian Pentecostals' theology of sex. The conclusion of this article is that Nigerian Pentecostals' theology of sex is diluted in the sense that it emerges from both the African cultural belief and biblical injunctions, especially Paul's teaching about sex in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The confusion and controversy this kind of theology generates will continue to be a major concern for scholars in the fields of biblical interpretation, theology, sociology and other related disciplines. <![CDATA[<b>Patience, presence and promise: A study of prophetic realism in Jeremiah 29:4-7</b>]]> We tend to think of prophetic proclamation simply in terms of prophecies of doom or judgement and salvation or promise. Jeremiah is often regarded as a prophet of doom with rarely any positive proclamation. This view is contested by contending that Jeremiah was also a prophet of realism. He did not shy away from proclaiming prophecies of judgement but also embraced Yahweh's promises of restoration. Jeremiah's brief was to proclaim messages that will 'pluck up' and 'break down' and 'overthrow', but also 'to build' and 'to plant' (Jr 1:10). As much as this is true of Jeremiah's ministry, the focus of this article is on a neglected aspect of his prophetic ministry namely 'prophetic realism'. Jeremiah 29:4-7 is an example of prophetic realism as the prophet pastorally pays attention to the people of Judah in exile, calling on them to exercise patience whilst in exile and to contribute positively to their exilic society. This they should do whilst still holding onto Yahweh's promises. Amongst the many confusing prophetic voices to the exiles, Jeremiah's message is one of realism calling for patience, but also for constructive presence in their situation. Whilst Jeremiah's message exudes prophetic realism, he still emphasises that Yahweh's promise of restoration will play out in time (Jr 29:10-14). INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Traditionally prophecy is either regarded as judgement or promise. An argument is promoted for a third category of prophetic realism. This view is not only relevant for Old Testament science, but also for the disciplines of Systematic and Practical Theology. Jeremiah's prophetic realism compels researchers to broaden their views on what prophecy entails. <![CDATA[<b>The role of the theology of retribution in the growth of Pentecostal-Charismatic churches in Africa</b>]]> This article considers the contribution of the theology of retribution to the growth of Pentecostal-charismatic churches in Africa. It argues that the beliefs and practices of African Pentecostal-charismatic churches uphold the theology of retribution. The success of prophecy and healing in these churches is based on their extensive engagement with the theology of retribution. To show this, the article begins with a brief review of the principle of retribution, describing it as resulting from the conception of a perfect and just universe in which every human deed brings with it consequences. Good deeds are followed by good consequences, evil deeds have bad consequences. Based on this understanding of retribution, the article discusses beliefs and practices of Pentecostal-charismatic churches which support the principle of retribution and whose involvement in healing and prophecy is attractive to Africans. The article concludes that the current discourse on Pentecostal-charismatic churches in Africa focuses strongly on the aspects of healing and prophecy while neglecting the contribution made by the theology of retribution to the popularity of these churches. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Located within African theologies and African church history, this article maintains that the current discourse on Pentecostal and charismatic churches in Africa, as it concentrates on healing and prophecy, overlooks the role played by the theology of retribution in the growth of these churches. <![CDATA[<b>Welcoming Africa's children: The nature and implications of being a missional church</b>]]> This article presents a brief overview of the historical development of the missional church from the understanding of the missio Dei. From this perspective, it attends to the African context. With regard to African children, the African independent churches are looked at from a missional church perspective. The nature of the missional church is described as being a Biblical, Trinitarian, discerning, evangelistic, hermeneutic and agogic community. The implication of being missional in accordance with the mentioned characteristics is then linked to the five solas of the Reformed tradition. It is concluded that the African independent churches and the mainline missionary churches need each other in order to be truly missional in Africa and to reach the children of Africa. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Children and Youth Ministry is challenged by the context of Africa, when some relevant characteristics of the African independent or initiated churches (AICs) are described and related to the Reformed tradition. The (missional) ecclesiology of the AICs and the Reformed tradition is challenged by children's ministry.