Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Verbum et Ecclesia]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=2074-770520080002&lang=pt vol. 29 num. 2 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Reis</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052008000200001&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>The church as sacrament of the kingdom - A reformed commentary</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052008000200002&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt One of the most promising aspects of the text of the third phase of the International Roman-Catholic-Reformed Dialogue might be the suggestion to reflect upon the idea of the church as "sacrament of the kingdom". In this contribution, written in honour of the ecclesiological work of Conrad Wethmar, I shall take up that suggestion and develop a fourfold approach of the sacraments in which the interconnectedness of church and kingdom plays a crucial role. I shall deal with the soteriological, the ecclesiological, the eschatological and the symbolic aspect respectively. Deliberately, I begin with the soteriological aspect because the first and main thing sacraments are doing, is pointing to our salvation. Salvation implies, however, a mediation of salvation and hence the ecclesiological aspect follows the soteriological aspect. The mediation of the church always points beyond itself to the kingdom of God. That is the eschatological aspect. And every reference to the eschaton always has the form of the symbol as the focal point of the "already" and "not yet" character of the kingdom of God. We label that as the symbolic aspect. My conclusion will be that the fruitfulness of the suggestion to speak about the church as "sacrament of the kingdom" depends on the preparedness to reap the results of the ecumenical discussions since Vatican II. <![CDATA[<b>Inside or outside the box? An attempt to say something about time and eternity</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052008000200003&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt This article deals with the dialogue between theology and science with special reference to eschatology. It takes the relation of time and eternity as the leitmotiv for the exposition, based on the view that the latest insights from physics enrich the theological debate and vice versa. Neither discipline, however, is indispensable to the other. After a short epistemological discourse, a theological and scientific understanding of eschatology are juxtaposed and from this, certain conclusions are drawn. "Outside the box" includes the meaning that time and eternity complement each other and that the focus should rather be on God than on the creation in order to come to grips with time and eternity. Neither a "temporalisation" of eternity nor a "kairologising" of time would therefore be acceptable. Time is the horizon of our thoughts and experiences, though not only as an explicans, but as an explicandum too. <![CDATA[<b>Freedom of religion in South Africa: Then and now 1652 -2008</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052008000200004&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt This article is about freedom of religion in South Africa before and after 1994. It is often argued that the relationship between church and state, and the resultant freedom of religion, during 1652-1994 was determined by a theocratic model of the relationship between church and state. In a theocratic model it is religion and its teachings that determine the place and role of religion in society. This article argues that it was, in fact, a Constantinian model of the relationship between state and church which determined the place and role of religion in society between 1652 and 1994. In a Constantinian model it is the governing authority's understanding and application of religion that determines the place and role of religion in society as well as the resulting degree of freedom of religion. Examples from history are used to prove the point. The second part of the article discusses freedom of religion in South Africa after 1994. <![CDATA[<b>Can the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) still play a constructive role in the South African society?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052008000200005&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The question in the heading is dealt with in the article by splitting it up in three sub-questions: 1. Does the South African society has need for what the DRC can offer? 2. Does the DRC still have the room and opportunity to play a constructive role in our society? and 3. Are the DRC and its members willing and prepared to play such a constructive role in our society? The article arrives at the conclusion that there is indeed need in the South African society for the type of service that the DRC and its high percentage of well-educated, creative and affluent members can provide. Although the opportunity for providing such service has been restricted as a result of the loss of influence on the government and the separation of church and state in the new political dispensation, considerable scope still remains. There is unfortunately an unwillingness among many members to utilise the remaining opportunities for playing a constructive public role, on account of their negative assessment of developments in the new political dispensation and a resulting inward directed spirituality. The DRC would only be able to realise its full potential for playing such a role if a change of heart takes place and the inward directed spirituality is replaced with an outward directed spirituality based on the belief in the centrality of the Kingdom of God in the ministry of the church. <![CDATA[<b>South African discourse analysis in theory and practice</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052008000200006&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Discourse analysis should not be overly ambitious, but it can be a most helpful exegetical tool if it concentrates on the argumentative flow and thematic aspects of a discourse. A refined model of South African discourse analysis is presented. The different stages in this model are discussed and illustrated by means of Philippians 3:2-11. Special attention is given to problems regarding the dividing of the text into colons. <![CDATA[<b>Hermeneutical competence - a contribution from the Netherlands to the Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria with reference to my honorary doctorate, conferred on 18 April 2008 by this University</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052008000200007&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt From metaphysics to hermeneutics: in this way one could describe the turn which took place in Western culture on account of the growth of modernity, ever since the Enlightenment. This philosophical expression also touches on religion, and especially theology. To use the words of the philosopher Gianni Vattimo (2006:49), we live in "het tijdperk van de interpretatie" (the age of interpretation). Against this background, it is not a strange thing that hermeneutical competence is generally judged to be the primary skill of the minister. In this article, I aim to set down my views on the far-reaching consequences which the choice of hermeneutical competence as primary skill entails. This I will do by way of the question: If one chooses theology and ministry, how does one become hermeneutically competent? <![CDATA[<b>Space and place in the healing of life: Towards a theology of affirmation in pastoral care and counselling</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052008000200008&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt How should healing be viewed and what is the contribution of Chrsitian spirituality to the dimension of pastoral therapy and the healing of life? It is argued that pastoral care should supplement the traditional cura animarum with a cura vitae. In this regard the therapeutice value of place and space is explored. A pastoral model for the making of a pastoral diagnosis is proposed wherein a theology of affirmation plays a pivotal role. <![CDATA[<b>Confessional <i>and </i>ecumenical? Revisiting Edmund Schlink on the hermeneutics of doctrine</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052008000200009&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Conrad Wethmar has always been interested in questions concerning the hermeneutics of doctrine, often concentrating on methodological issues regarding the role of confessions and the challenges of ecumenical theology. For this purpose, he consistently engaged with German-speaking Lutheran theologians. In this essay, the important views and contributions of Edmund Schlink regarding confessional and ecumenical theology are called to mind, as one further potential dialogue partner for South African theologians like Wethmar. A first section reminds readers of Wethmar's contributions. The second section recalls Schlink's theological journey and the role of confessions - both Lutheran confessions and the Confessing Church with Barmen - as well as the ecumenical church - several real dialogues between major confessional traditions, including his role during the Second Vatican Council -before the third sections draws some of his major methodological insights and contributions together. A brief final section points to some potential similarities between Schlink's work and Wethmar's interests. <![CDATA[<b>God in the (Post) modern culture - George Steiner on transcendence in art and culture</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052008000200010&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt In his 1989 study Real Presences the well-known philosopher and literary scholar George Steiner argues that there is a crisis in philosophy, art and literature. The contract between word and world has been broken, whereby we can no longer make any assertions about human beings and the world. Communication thus becomes problematic. The (post)modern world has become nihilistic. Steiner provides a theological explanation for what in his view is a serious crisis in (post)modern art and in Western culture in general: he blames this crisis for the loss of transcendence through the "death of God". This paper will show that Steiner, on the basis of his metaphysical view of transcendence ends up with the dilemma of having to choose between transcendence or immanence/nihilism. This dilemma is unnecessary to the extent that it suggests that transcendence is identical with metaphysical transcendence. If we reject this identification, then the alternative for Steiner's metaphysical transcendence is not only immanence, viewed as nihilism but can also be another form of transcendence. And this casts another light on the crisis Steiner has indicated in culture. <![CDATA[<b>Ethics and Christology - Rediscovering Jesus in Evolutionary History</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052008000200011&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The rather perplexing issue of whether and how Christology should relate to Ethics can, for me at least, only be resolved by first asking how exactly, in the case of Jesus, God's revelation is located not just in history, but specifically in evolutionary history itself. The evolutionary history of our species, as well as those characteristics that we normally see as defining the distinctiveness of Homo sapiens (consciousness, imagination, moral awareness, religious propensities, etc.) should not only directly impact notions of our own embodied personhood, but also what it would mean to understand Jesus' embodied mind, his consciousness and self-awareness, as defining his personhood. In this sense a focus on the identity of Jesus will shape the ethical relevance of who He was, what He did, what He said, and why we today might feel compelled to follow that example. <![CDATA[<b>"Is Christ divided?" Reflections on the theological justification of church disunity and church schism</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052008000200012&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt In this article the author investigates the question whether a church schism could ever be justified. He considers on the one hand the Biblical message on church unity and on the other hand the many justifications of church disunity (schism). He concludes that most of these justifications are unacceptable rasionalisations and that Post-Reformation theology distanced itself far away from Biblical ecclesiology in this regard. <![CDATA[<b>"Not true?" Remarks on the experience of faith, dogma and the (eschatological) nature of theological reflection</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052008000200013&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt "Not true?" is a characteristic saying of Conrad Wethmar. In this article of appreciation for his academic contribution, this saying as a "polite questioning and affirmation" (as I understand it), is explored within the context of viewpoints on the experience of faith and in reference to his understanding of dogma in order to highlight the way in which this saying actually gives expression to his understanding of the nature of theological reflection. <![CDATA[<b>Towards a theology of interculturality: A trinitarian perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052008000200014&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The greater interaction of people from diverse cultural orientation in a globalised era and the growth of the christian faith as a truly worldwide phenomenon, and the consequent complications have highlighted the need for a theological response. This paper explores such a proposal for intercultural encounter, especially among people of the same religious orientation. The emphasis is on transcendence, community and identity, or on trinity, church and spirituality. The fundamental assumption is that the trinitarian identification of God, with its concomitant stress on otherness, relationality and love, provides resources to guide intercultural challenges in the church. A consistent trinitarian approach values community; hence the imperative of a communio-ecclesiology, which embraces unity, creativity and social resistance. Identity-formation and spirituality are closely linked. A trinitarian approach advocates transformation which increasingly reflects the virtues of the triune God in the relationship with the culturally Other. <![CDATA[<b>A theological faculty as a house with many rooms: On the institutionalisation of theology in a pluralistic, secular society</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052008000200015&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Religious pluralism is changing the Western world. The transmission of Christian faith is less a matter of course than it has been. People are free to form their own opinions and 'choose' their way of life. Because pluralism affects the basic values of society that have to be supported by world view traditions, religious pluralism is one of the main political problems of the 'secular' state as well. Faculties of Theology can be organised better as apartments buildings for religions with common rooms, exchange and debates, instead of gradually becoming departments of descriptive religious studies. A public inter-religious dialogue on values and political issues will be supported by such an institution, and prevent accountability for views of life to disappear from the public arena into privacy and hidden places. Students can be educated in plural theological faculties of universities that reflect societal realities, in an atmosphere of respect, integrity, dialogue and accountability. The first section of this contribution describes the changing situation in the European (EU) culture; the second the consequences of pluralism for churches; the third the crisis of traditional theology; and the fourth points out the perspective of a plural but confessional institutionalisation of theology/ies. <![CDATA[<b>Book Reviews</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052008000200016&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Religious pluralism is changing the Western world. The transmission of Christian faith is less a matter of course than it has been. People are free to form their own opinions and 'choose' their way of life. Because pluralism affects the basic values of society that have to be supported by world view traditions, religious pluralism is one of the main political problems of the 'secular' state as well. Faculties of Theology can be organised better as apartments buildings for religions with common rooms, exchange and debates, instead of gradually becoming departments of descriptive religious studies. A public inter-religious dialogue on values and political issues will be supported by such an institution, and prevent accountability for views of life to disappear from the public arena into privacy and hidden places. Students can be educated in plural theological faculties of universities that reflect societal realities, in an atmosphere of respect, integrity, dialogue and accountability. The first section of this contribution describes the changing situation in the European (EU) culture; the second the consequences of pluralism for churches; the third the crisis of traditional theology; and the fourth points out the perspective of a plural but confessional institutionalisation of theology/ies.