Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Verbum et Ecclesia]]> vol. 38 num. 1 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Migration crisis and the church: A response to lacunae and considerations for Christian ministry engagement</b>]]> This article critically assesses some theological-ecclesiological responses and approaches to migration challenges in order to ascertain lacunae within Christian ministry engagement. Although other academic disciplines such economics, politics, geography, demography, sociology, psychology, law, history, anthropology and environmental studies shape the discourse of migration, theology boarders the migration debate as if it does not have anything to offer. However, this does not necessarily mean there are no existing theological-ecclesiological responses and approaches to migration challenges. Thus, this article proceeds to categorise the theological-ecclesiological responses to migration challenges into four approaches: (1) the approach that focuses on practical responses from pastoral care that is limited to particular social contexts, (2) the approach of theological motif and ministry praxis from narrow and single biblical texts, (3) the response that focuses on Israel as a paradigm of how the native churches and hosting nations should treat migrants and (4) a systematic approach which focuses on doctrinal formulations that respond to migration challenges. In considering these positions but moving beyond them in response to migration challenges, this article exposes a theological debate and agenda for migration ministry. In doing so, this article identifies some lacunae for further exploration in Christian migration ministry engagement. It concludes by underscoring the need for a meaningful and responsive theology that shapes the discourse of migration, as well as the formulation of operative ecclesiological responses. This article thus contends and paves the way for theological research to become central to migration studies in a manner that demonstrates that theology transcends spiritual reflection to include practical psycho-social, emotional, economic and other dimensions. The contribution of this article lies in its examination of the existing theological-ecclesiological responses and approaches to migration challenges and therefore identifying gaps in theology of migration that can be placed in the theological agenda. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article outlines theological research agenda for theology and migration ministry. It considers migration theological gaps from a systematic theological and missiological nexus, and as such it is a theological interdisciplinary article integrating systematic and missions. The article contributes to mapping a theological research agenda for the topical issue of migration and refugees in order to develop and inform church ministry designs. <![CDATA[<b>Christ also ours in Africa: A consideration of Torrance's incarnational, Christological model as nexus for Christ's identification with African Christians</b>]]> The perceived foreignness of Christ in African Christianity is an ongoing challenge that is captured in various pieces of African theological literature. This problem partly arises from some early Western missionaries' presentation of the gospel to Africans from a predominantly Western perspective, which caused many Africans to perceive Christ as a Western Saviour with a Western identity. The problem of the foreignness of Christ in African Christianity is further intensified by the traditional African ancestral world view that requires a blood-related ancestor to address the African contextual needs. Therefore, many African Christians do not like to view Christ as identifying with them. This has resulted in the unchanging ethical lives of some African Christians as Christ and the consequent Christian ethics have not taken deep roots. To inform the identity and ethical lives of African Christians as true followers of Christ, many African theologians have responded to the foreignness of Christ in African Christianity by proposing various African Christological approaches that identify Christ with African Christians. However, these Christological approaches are limited in various ways. Thus, in the quest for an alternative Christological model that identifies Christ with African Christians, this article critically analyses and evaluates Torrance's incarnational Christological model in order to determine how his (Torrance's) incarnational Christological conceptualisation can open up aspects of Christ's incarnation that fully identify Christ with African Christians. The article highlights that Torrance's incarnational Christological concepts, namely, anypostasis and enhypostasis, the close association between the doctrine of creation and redemption, and the interpretation of the redemptive history of Israel from an incarnational perspective configures that in the incarnation, God in Christ completely identifies with all humankind and saves them from the ontological depth of their existence. Hence, Torrance's incarnational Christological model has the significant implication that the gospel is for all humanity in its dealing with sin and spiritual forces. African Christians may claim complete solidarity with Christ everywhere without the stumbling block of a claimed foreignness of Jesus Christ. This article contributes to African Christian identity discussion by identifying a constructive way of understanding Christ's salvation in a manner that effectively communicates Christ's relevancy to African Christians. As such, it contributes to systematic theological discussion on Christ in Africa from a Christian identity perspective and its soteriological implications. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The article focuses on interdisciplinary, that is, systematic theology and missiology (African Christian identity). The article contributes to identifying a constructive way of understanding Christ's salvation in a manner that effectively communicates Christ's relevancy to African Christians. As such, it contributes to a systematic theological discussion on Christ in Africa from a Christian identity perspective and its soteriological implications. <![CDATA[<b>Impoverishing and dehumanising violence against women: An opportunity for service by churches in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo</b>]]> An ongoing armed conflict in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo continues to impoverish and dehumanise women. Sexual violence meted on women has negative consequences that affect whole communities. Churches nationally and in the region have not done enough to respond to the challenge of armed conflict in general and the nefariousness of sexual violence towards women in particular. By utilising the sustainable livelihoods framework, churches in the region can be re-positioned for a constructive advocacy response to armed conflict(s) and sexual violence(s), particularly in solidarity with the women. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This study is made feasible through extensive intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary research. The subject matter demands on the investigator the necessity to make use of the knowledge from across the socio-scientific spectrum to understand the ongoing conflict and its impact on the local people. The study entrenches an advocacy role on regional churches as a means to lend a voice to the vulnerable women, who are impoverished and dehumanised by and within the context of an armed conflict. <![CDATA[<b>Euthanasia in South Africa: Philosophical and theological considerations</b>]]> Debates on euthanasia (or 'mercy killing') have been a concern in moral, philosophical, legal, theological, cultural and sociological discourse for centuries. The topic of euthanasia inspires a variety of strong views of which the 'slippery slope' argument is one. The latter warns that the principle(s) underlying any ethical issue (including euthanasia) may be distorted. Scholars' views on euthanasia are influenced mainly by cultural, personal, political and religious convictions. In South Africa, the issue of euthanasia has arisen from time to time, but the question of whether it should be legalised was not seriously considered until it recently attracted attention because of a particular case, that of Cape Town advocate Robin Stransham-Ford. Although euthanasia is still illegal (this is because the Stransham-Ford ruling is confined to this particular case only), as stated in the ratio decidendi by Judge Hans Fabricius of the High Court in Pretoria, the Court granted leave to appeal its April 2015 judgement regarding euthanasia in the application lodged by Stransham-Ford. In considering the contentious nature of the issue of euthanasia, this article adopts a multidisciplinary approach which includes historical, legal, theological, philosophical, theoretical and analytic frameworks, discussing euthanasia from philosophical and theological perspectives, in particular. We conclude by recommending that the subject of applied ethics, which helps to educate citizens about contemporary moral problems such as euthanasia, be introduced at school level. Exposing young people to the debates around thorny issues such as this would familiarise them with the discourse, encourage them to engage with it and empower them as mature citizens to make informed, reasonable decisions, obviating confusion and conflict which might otherwise arise. The problems surrounding the issue of euthanasia are multidimensional and have the capacity to polarise the nation and destroy families. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The article challenges government tendencies to decide on its own to make policy decisions on which society does not have input; thus against the Batho Pele principle of participation. We suggest that applied ethics be introduced earlier at the school level and be carried onto tertiary education to ensure effective citizen participation. <![CDATA[<b>Feminists and their perspectives on the church fathers' beliefs regarding women: An inquiry</b>]]> The church fathers and their views on women were influenced substantially and significantly by philosophical voices, such as that of Aristotle and Plato, amongst others. A brief account on Aristotle's and Plato's ideas about women, from feminist perspectives, will be touched upon. The article furthermore explores feminist voices, regarding the church fathers' thinking about women, and how these views contributed to women's subordination and domination. The research will focus on the many varied views on women held by Latin church fathers, such as Tertullian (c. 155-255), Cyprian (c. 200-258 AD), Jerome (c. 347-419), Ambrose (c. 339-397) and Augustine (354-430), and the Greek church fathers, such as Clement of Alexander (c. 150-215), Origen (c. 185-254) and Chrysostom (c. 347-407), from the perspective of feminists. It will be contended that an insensitive and too early denunciation of the early church fathers as misogynists often occurs in women's history without taking into consideration the church fathers' philosophical and social contexts and, hence, the opinions that formed their views. One such theory that helped to shape the church fathers' views about women is the classic medical theory, and this therefore merits a brief discussion. Another important point one has to take into account is the church fathers' perceptions of the carnal (sexual) and the spiritual world that shaped their views about women. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: History teaches us what people before us did, what their intentions were and where they failed or went wrong. If historical viewpoints about women reflect women's subordination and oppression, they force women to discover their roots and their past. The church fathers, however, inherited a long tradition of debates, beliefs, and arguments regarding women's moral, intellectual, and natural capacities. Therefore, generalised, simplified, and unsympathetic views about the ancient philosophers and the church fathers' views on women often leads to the ineffective understanding of these men and their context. <![CDATA[<b>God's <i>Makwerekwere</i>: Re-imagining the church in the context of migration and xenophobia</b>]]> Mass migration and accompanying xenophobia are characteristics of the early 21st century and as such challenge the church to reimagine its identity. This article analyses migration and xenophobia particularly as they impact South Africa and then proposes the model of the church as God's Makwerekwere as an appropriate response. In doing so, it examines New Testament images of the church and argues that the church as God's Makwerekwere is a community in solidarity with the excluded, a community of affirmation of the excluded, a community of reconciliation and a transnational community. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article challenges the traditional discourse used in ecclesiology by proposing the image of the church as God's Makwerekwere. It roots this proposal in considerations from migration studies and New Testament studies. The aim is to re-imagining the church as a contribution to a transforming ecclesial praxis.