Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Verbum et Ecclesia]]> vol. 35 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Church planting in South Africa: The role of the Reformed Church Tshiawelo</b>]]> The Reformed Congregation of Tshiawelo, in Soweto, South Africa, has undergone a profound change over the past 20 years. It has developed from an ailing introverted church to a congregation that reached out to the wider community, increasing its membership dramatically in the process. In this article, the authors reported on a number of issues related to this transformation, including: the importance of partnerships in the process of renewal, the methodology used in the process of renewal, the need for church planting and the necessity for future planning. <![CDATA[<b>An investigation into the use of music as a part of pastoral counselling of the adolescent</b>]]> Pastoral counselling of the adolescent could be a challenge, because adolescence is a period characterised by emotional fluctuation. During this period of the individual's life, he or she begins to form his or her own identity and searches for a place in society, apart from the protection of their parents. Adolescents often do not have the necessary skills to deal with repressed emotions. Research shows that music has been used for many centuries in the healing process and that it has had a great influence on the psyche of human beings. For this reason, music can play an effective role in counselling adolescents. Music therapy involves the structural use of music and/or musical elements like rhythm, melody and harmony. <![CDATA[<b>The meaning of the <i>diakon</i> word group in John 12:26 applied to the ministry in congregations</b>]]> This article investigates the meaning of the diakon word group in the Bible with the focus on the use of this word group in the Gospel of John. John 12:26 is considered in depth. The results of this investigation reveal important differences from other recent research on this word group. The results of the research are then applied to the ministry in congregations. <![CDATA[<b>Old Testament foundations for Christian hospitality</b>]]> In an effort to revive the ancient Christian practice of hospitality, scholars often appeal to the Old Testament as a model to be emulated. This article examined and described the practice of hospitality in the Old Testament and evaluated its relevancy for the recent discussions surrounding hospitality. Throughout the history of discussions on hospitality, Abraham has served as the exemplar of biblical hospitality. Therefore, the Old Testament practice of hospitality was evaluated through Abraham's story found in Genesis 18. It was concluded that the Old Testament practice of hospitality is not sufficient as a contemporary model for hospitality, but that the following elements of Old Testament thought might serve as theological underpinnings for a renewed and revisioned Christian practice of hospitality in today's multi-faith environment, in that, (1) all humans bear the image of God, (2) all humans are relational creatures, (3) all humans are dependent upon each other and (4) all humans are travellers hosted by God. <![CDATA[<b>Developing transformational leadership for sub-Saharan Africa: Essential missiological considerations for church workers</b>]]> Aware of the particular importance of efficient leadership for Africa, this article investigates how Africans can develop the kind of leadership their continent needs to contribute to effective transformation. Therefore, essential notions and procedures are analysed and described; the meaning and qualities of transformational leadership that can effect solid transformation of both individuals and their communities are explained. Lack of theoretical and practical understanding of effective leadership, colonial history of the continent, inappropriate spirituality amongst post-colonial Africans, poor ethical role-modelling in African communities, and poor awareness of the need for effective leadership development are amongst the main causes of poor leadership in African communities. So, developing efficacious transformational leadership for Africa requires that the causes of poor leadership be removed. Subsequently, the flourishing of the strong moral and socio-political qualities necessary for solid transformational leadership equally demands an intentional work. <![CDATA[<b>The ethics of absolute relativity: An eschatological ontological model for interpreting the Sermon on the Mount</b>]]> Jesus' imperatives in the Sermon on the Mount continue to play a significant role in Christian ethical discussions. The tension between the radical demands of Jesus and the impossibility of living this out within the everyday world has been noted by many scholars. In this article, an eschatological-ontological model, based on the social construction of reality, is developed to show that this dialectic is not necessarily an embarrassment to the church but, instead, belongs to the essence of the church as the recipient of the Spirit of Christ and as called by him to exist now in terms of the coming new age that has already been realised in Christ. The absolute demands of Jesus' imperatives, it is argued, must relativise all other interpretations of reality whilst the world, in turn, relativises Jesus' own definition of what 'is' and therefore also the injunctions to his disciples on how to live within this world. This process of radical relativisation provides a critical framework for Christian living. The church must expect, and do, the impossible within this world through her faith in Christ who recreates and redefines reality. The church's ethical task, it is further argued, is to participate with the Spirit in the construction of signs of this new reality in Christ in this world through her actions marked by faith, hope and love. <![CDATA[<b>Life in our hands? Some ethical perspectives on the human genome and human genome diversity projects</b>]]> The article dealt with implications of the human genome and the human genome diversity project. It examined some theological implications, such as: humans as the image of God, God as the creator of life, the changed role of miracles and healings in religion, the sacredness of nature, life and the genome. Ethical issues that were addressed include eugenics, germline intervention, determinism and the human genome diversity project. Economic and legal factors that play a role were also discussed. Whilst positive aspects of genome research were considered, a critical stance was adopted towards patenting the human genome and some concluding guidelines were proposed. <![CDATA[<b>'Public theology' from within the church? A reflection on aspects of the theology of W.D. Jonker (1929-2006)</b>]]> In this essay, aspects of the work of theologian W.D. (Willie) Jonker are reframed to complement current debates about 'public theology' in South Africa. The introduction points out that Jonker worked during a crucial period in South Africa's history and that his theology is intrinsically linked to the church struggle between 1955 and 1994. The second part reframes Jonker's theology as a public theology from within the church by referring to his understanding of preaching, confessions and public witness. The last part attempts to move beyond Jonker in appropriating some of his ideas for a public theology in South Africa today <![CDATA[<b>Levirate marriage amongst the Hebrews and widow's inheritance amongst the Yoruba: A comparative investigation</b>]]> In ancient Israel, even though widowhood was not something people were praying for, when it came, the people involved were protected by the legal and customary structures already in place. One of those structures in the Old Testament is the institution of the levirate marriage where the right and the possession due to a widow without a son for her late husband could be protected and appropriated. A similar custom was also found amongst the pre-colonial Yoruba people through the widow's inheritance which guarantees the welfare of the widow after the demise of her husband. However, these structures have been dismantled by Christianity, thereby exposing the majority of present-day widows to untold hardship. This article, therefore, through historical, descriptive and comparative methods, examines the customs of the levirate marriage and widow's inheritance in the two cultures, ascertains how effective they were in addressing the welfare and protection of the rights and privileges of widows and recommends how the church can better see to the welfare of the widows in the society <![CDATA[<b>Fine Tuning Mission to reach those influenced by Darwinism</b>]]> The scientifically aware section of the South African population is increasing. Many are being exposed to the concept of Darwinian evolution. Exposure has generated a religious sub 'people group' who have problems with Christianity because they have been influenced by the naturalistic element in Darwinian philosophy. Christian antagonism towards evolution has often prejudiced them unfavourably towards the gospel. Recent discoveries concerning the fine-tuning of the universe have now presented a window of opportunity for overcoming this. It may enable the church to 'fine-tune' its missionary approach to present them with the gospel in a more acceptable manner. It is suggested that Paul's Areopagus speech provides a model for such cross-cultural evangelism. A section is included at the end, describing some objections that have been raised against the cosmological fine-tuning apologetic. <![CDATA[<b>In die netwerk van nadenke oor die omgewing</b>]]> IN THE NETWORK OF THINKING ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT: This contribution is based on a talk delivered at a conference for continuous education for pastors. The argument commences with reflections on 'thinking with one's hands', more specifically with engaging in earthkeeping praxis, with getting one's hands dirty. It is suggested that such thinking leads sooner rather than later to a widening network of fundamental questions - about the human condition, the meaning of history, the possibility of knowledge and the social construction of reality itself. A Christian engagement in earthkeeping is therefore not merely a matter of transformative praxis; it also provides churches with an opportunity for fundamental renewal. If so, this may be regarded as an example of thinking globally but acting locally. This underlying logic of inquiry implies that the scope of contemporary ecotheology cannot be restricted to environmental ethics or creation theology. It is this underlying logic of inquiry that this contribution seeks to describe. <![CDATA[<b>Manifesting the grace of God to those with HIV or AIDS</b>]]> 'The most terrible poverty is loneliness and feeling unloved' (Mother Teresa). Swaziland is in the unenviable position of having the highest HIV infection rate in the world, with an adult prevalence rate of 42%. This is a national crisis which, in the Swaziland context, has led to feelings of severe hopelessness and rejection and which needs to be addressed through a multidisciplinary approach. The church is in the unique position to demonstrate the love and grace of God in the midst of this pandemic. A small congregation of the Swaziland Reformed Church situated in the southern Shiselweni district of the country decided to take up this challenge. This article showed what the effects could be when the church becomes a vessel of love and grace within the community. <![CDATA[<b>Speculation, philosophy and the end of religion: Save the name 'God' and the folly of this name as the queen of the sciences or the jester of academia</b>]]> In this article, Meillassoux and Laruelle were brought into conversation with Derrida concerning contingency, temporality, non-philosophy and God. The conversation between Derrida and Meillassoux focused on their respective views on trace and radical contingency, which opened towards reflections on God as either divinology (Meillassoux) or the endless desertification of language (Derrida), thus saving the name 'God' and keeping the name safe. One cannot think this desertification of language, 'God', without a reflection on khora. This opened a conversational space with Laruelle's non-philosophy. One of the major criticisms against Laruelle is that his non-philosophy has no worth in terms of the extra-philosophical (ethical, political or juridical) and the same could be said with regards to khora and, specifically, Derrida's interpretation of khora. Therefore Derrida's interpretation of khora with its 'unilateral' relation to logos, the giving and receiving of khora without giving and receiving anything and thus remaining indifferent, were brought into conversation with Laruelle's unilateral duality. This unilateral duality, although indifferent to philosophy, makes all the difference to logos and thus to philosophy. The question is: what place is given to khora and/or non-philosophy within academia? Derrida's God can be interpreted as a kind of autodeconstructive divine violence or holy folly. What place is given to divine violence or holy folly within academia? What is the relation of non-philosophy to philosophy? Is it the non-foundational foundation that remains totally indifferent to philosophy as it does not engage in a dialectical relationship with philosophy and yet it is the theory or science of philosophy? Can academia afford to 'give place' to this holy folly, this non-philosophy, this khoratic theo-logic, but on the other hand, can it afford not to 'give place' to the queen and / or jester of academia? <![CDATA[<b>Waves of mission amongst South African Baptists</b>]]> Baptists in South Africa have developed along lines similar to other denominations of their day (e.g. the Dutch Reformed Church). However, there are six distinct waves of development within Baptist history in South Africa (including an emerging wave) that showcase the growth, development, digressions, limitations and transformation that has taken place in the Baptist denomination in South Africa. These waves are a tremendous help to the Baptist Union of Southern Africa (BUSA) as they seek to be faithful witnesses in the 21st century and beyond. It has become clear: If BUSA is to succeed within the emerging wave of mission and development, it will need a new, updated map to guide them where many have not been before - or BUSA could simply fade into irrelevance in South Africa, impacting other movements and denominations in turn. <![CDATA[<b>The Second Christ, Saint Francis of Assisi and ecological consciousness</b>]]> Even though the life stories of Jesus and the so-called second Christ, Francis of Assisi, incline to the fantastical, their value for a modern ecological consciousness is defendable. Behind Francis' personification of nature and his mystical experiences of nature lie an intuitive sense of interconnectedness and interdependence, of being fully part of the natural web of life (confirmed by empirical science). The same is true of the immanence of Jesus. Religious figures like Francis and Jesus can provide a sound moral attitude towards caring for the natural world, but attitudes need to be informed by scientific knowledge to act ecologically correct. A partnership between attitudes and knowledge hopefully contains good news for a sustainable 'green' planet. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Ecological hermeneutics (part of liberation theology or hermeneutics) challenges traditional theologies' often anthropocentric bias in the intra-disciplinary arena. It respects the interconnectedness or interdependence of human and non-human life, including the non-organic, empirically substantiated by natural science. This shared realisation allows for a fruitful inter-disciplinary discourse with science to address the global ecological crisis. <![CDATA[<b>Die groep vroue by die kruis van Jesus (Johannes 19:25): 'n Narratologiese perspektief</b>]]> THE GROUP OF WOMEN AT THE CROSS OF JESUS (JOHN 19:25): A NARRATOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE: The women portrayed at the cross of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel (John 19:25) are often discussed in commentaries and studies on this part of the Gospel. However, as far as can be determined, they have not yet been studied from a narratological perspective. This matter is therefore addressed in the current study. In narratological terms, the women function as a group character, and they are introduced into the narrative world of the Gospel in 19:25 as standing at the cross of Jesus. After a brief overview of the issues that are normally addressed by Johannine scholars when these women are discussed (the number of women, how the list of women mentioned in the Fourth Gospel should be related to the lists in the Synoptic Gospels and the function fulfilled by the women), they are analysed from a narratological perspective. Amongst the issues that are investigated are the composition of the group character, the layers of contrast that may be detected by the reader between the group character and the four soldiers and the defamiliarising effect that ambiguity concerning the number of women may have on the reading process. <![CDATA[<b>Psalm 26 and Proverbs: Tracing wisdom themes</b>]]> The discernment of Psalm 26 as a cultic psalm has prevented noticing vital connections with wisdom literature. These connections with Proverbs and other known wisdom psalms provide clues for the composition of Psalm 26 to be set in the post-exilic period. The way in which wisdom literature is used conveys the religious ethos and daily life of a community. The fact that the wisdom character of Psalm 26 has been overlooked can be viewed as one of the main reasons why Psalm 26 has been interpreted solely in a cultic setting. The sapiential influence of this psalm has been confused to only reflect the cultic aspects. The psalmist wants to live a life according to wisdom as he seeks the rewards of being close to Yahweh. <![CDATA[<b>Old Testament spirituality in the gospel of John</b>]]> The majority of early Christian documents are saturated with Jewish thought. Although Second-Temple Judaism did include a certain amount of diversity, when the Gospel of John was written in different phases during the latter half of the 1st century, the written Torah was a fixed part of Jewish Scripture. In this research, I endeavour to point out how Torah themes saturate the Prologue of the Gospel of John and also how these themes create a certain spirituality amongst its readers. A positive feature of Old Testament imagery and themes is that they are polysemantic, which made it easy for the writers of New Testament documents to reinterpret the Old Testament in the light of Jesus Christ. The author of the Gospel of John also made use of significant characters, themes and imagery, all taken from the Torah. In doing so, he created new spiritualities amongst the readers of the Gospel of John to endorse the identity, reality and a certain image and experience of the unseen God (1:18) of the Old Testament through Jesus Christ. The spirituality in the Gospel of John is bound up with a real God interacting with real people in real situations. <![CDATA[<b>Marriage and divorce in Malachi 2:10-16: An ethical reading of the abomination to Yahweh for faith communities</b>]]> The family is the bedrock that forms the indispensable foundation for discipleship. It was instituted by the Creator as his primary setting for human development and nurture (Gn 2:18-25; Ps 68:5, 6). Thus the crisis involving marriage and the family is indeed a cultural crisis of the first order. Social life quite simply cannot function effectively without the family. Whilst according to Flowers and Flowers: 'Christian families face the challenge of understanding and stretching toward the divine design for life and relationships, even as they dwell in a world where hard reality find us far short of God's plan for family living', this article demonstrates that Malachi's prophetic oracle (2:10-16) is an urgent motivation and challenge to Yahweh's people in faith communities to be living embodiment of the ideals of fidelity, commitment and steadfastness. In honouring these values and ideals, the article further challenges Yahweh's faith communities to seek concrete ways of affirming, strengthening, empowering and supporting persons and families in their efforts to live in faithfulness to the values they recognise and esteem. <![CDATA[<b>The African traditional religious landscape: An examination of the role of traditional leaders in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Chipinge, Zimbabwe</b>]]> This study examines the role of traditional leaders, as custodians of culture, in the fight against infection with the HI virus and the AIDS pandemic in the Chipinge District of Zimbabwe. The research aims to assess traditional leaders' knowledge of HIV and AIDS and its causes. It also examines some traditional practices to determine whether they expose people to HIV and AIDS, and it evaluates the traditional leaders' roles in curbing the pandemic. From a phenomenological standpoint - and grounded in the African traditional religious landscape -the study uses a survey research design. A convenient sample of 18 participants for the study consisted of 3 chiefs and 5 headmen who completed a questionnaire as well as 5 village heads and 5 elders who were interviewed and involved in four focus-group discussions (FGDs) that provided a variety of insightful information. The study identifies promiscuity as a major cause of HIV infection in communities. The results show that traditional leaders discourage barika and kuputsa as being harmful traditional marriage practices. Furthermore, the study indicates that traditional leaders encourage behavioural change amongst the youth and adults alike to curb the spread of HIV and that the pandemic could possibly be contained if government fully empowered the traditional leaders. The research has value in attempting to minimise the spread of HIV if communities discontinue harmful cultural practices. Therefore, donor agencies involved in intervention projects concerning the HIV and AIDS pandemic and government should work closely with traditional leaders who wield considerable power in areas under their jurisdiction to arrest the spread of the HIV and AIDS pandemic in the Chipinge district in Zimbabwe. <![CDATA[<b>Some thoughts on the relationship between Old Testament studies and systematic theology</b>]]> This article explores the relationship between Old Testament studies and systematic theology. After an overview of what Old Testament studies and systematic theology comprise, a historical overview of the problem is given. Two examples of the problem are provided (the USA and South Africa) before the author proceeds to his own views. The article argues that the two subjects have grown so far apart that it is doubtful whether the interaction between Old Testament studies and systematic theology will have any significant impact on the identity or content of either Old Testament studies or systematic theology. The identity of and the way in which the fields of study are practiced will not allow them to impact on one another. In an increasing way, theological disciplines will live side by side, each carrying on with what are perceived to be the cutting-edge questions within the respective fields of interest. <![CDATA[<b>A three musketeering approach to pastoral care: Reflections on collaboration between pastoral care, narrative therapy and positive psychology</b>]]> In the current times of change, deconstruction and ever-growing relativisation, pastoral praxis finds itself in methodological limbo. Pastoral practitioners currently face the challenge of effectively reaching postmodern people through the pastoral process. This challenge is intensified by the innate tension between revelation and experience in pastoral theology as well as the philosophical migration from modernism to postmodernism, which necessitates an on-going rethinking of pastoral praxis. This research investigates a collaborative approach between pastoral care, narrative therapy and positive psychology as a possible method for dispensing pastoral care. A broad outline of these approaches as well as their underlying philosophical frameworks is contemplated in order to evaluate their suitability for a pastoral collaboration. Markers for a collaborative model are suggested where the narrative and positive psychology are employed as strategies in a so-called three- musketeering approach to pastoral care. <![CDATA[<b>The formation of Christian theology in Alexandria</b>]]> Jesus was born in Palestine. He was the main determinant for the foundation of a religious movement or sect later called Christianity. This movement, founded in Palestine after the ascension of Jesus, with Jerusalem as its main centre of worship, was merely a Judaeo-Christian sect. In Jerusalem, the adherents to this movement were not really distinctive from the Jewish religion, as they worshipped the same God, Yahweh, went to the same Temple and/or synagogues and kept the same Jewish Laws. After the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, many Jews, including the 'believers in Christ's teachings' (the earliest Christians) fled Jerusalem for different parts of the Roman Empire such as Transjordan, Syria and Africa. Different 'Christianities' developed in the main cities of the Roman Empire - Rome, Antioch and Alexandria. In each of these cities, the believers in Christ's teachings developed their own religion alongside Judaism. This article argued that it was in Alexandria, a world famous city during the time of the Roman Empire, especially renowned for its academic excellence, that the new religion best found and made its own stand. The Catechetical School, with scholarly heads and writers, such as Clement and Origen, started to develop a theology that set the standard for Christian theology in the Empire. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The general assumption is that Jerusalem, as the origin of Christianity, was the place where it had its formation. This article proposed that it was actually Alexandria where Christianity was best found and became distinctive from Judaism. However, a lack of original sources on this subject area limited the research. <![CDATA[<b>The presentation of Jesus in the missionary speeches of Acts and the mission of the church</b>]]> This article first discusses the methodological issues involved in examining the portrayal of Jesus in the missionary speeches of the book of Acts and the nature of these speeches. This is followed by a detailed analysis of the presentation of Jesus, following a chronological line: Jesus' origin, his ministry, suffering, death and burial, his resurrection, exaltation, present ministry and parousia. The analysis is supplemented by the various portrayals of Jesus in the narrative of Acts. Afterwards, a detailed interpretation of this portrayal is offered, that is, its emphases (namely the saving significance of all of Jesus' life, the pervasive motif of the fulfilment of Scripture, Jesus as the agent of God, and the Jewishness of his life and ministry, focussing on Israel), the consequences that are drawn from this portrayal, the impact of the audiences on the presentation of Jesus, and the use of Christological titles. A final section reflects on the implications of the portrayal of Jesus in the missionary speeches of Acts for the witness and proclamation of the church. This comprehensive approach accounts for the length of the article. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Some research has criticised Luke-Acts for its alleged lack of Pauline theology and the 'depth' of Paul's interpretation of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. This article shows that Acts in its own way offers a significant summary and Christological and soteriological interpretation of the life of Jesus and its enduring significance. The article also reflects on the significance of this interpretation for the present day presentation of Jesus and provides some necessary corrections. <![CDATA[<b>Distance no impediment for funerals: Death as a uniting ritual for African people - A pastoral study</b>]]> An African funeral is a very social event for the entire community in which the deceased lived. Regardless of whether the deceased was a Christian or not, death has always been a reunion for long-separated relatives, believers and non-believers. Nowadays, tents, cars and the gathering of multitudes of people demonstrate how death can bring people together, irrespective of distance and relationships. Of course, this is not to deny the fact that death can be a cause of division between relatives and friends. Nonetheless, the funeral itself is also a uniting factor; many people come together, regardless of distance, to pay their last tributes to the deceased and to provide the bereaved family with emotional support. In this article, I argue that death, amongst other things, is a uniting factor that is able to bring people, who are separated by distance and other factors, together. The aim of this article is to discuss how death invites people into a family, regardless of bad blood, flawed relationships and separation. <![CDATA[<b>Augustine on redemption in Genesis 1-3</b>]]> Many theologians, including those concerned with theology of mission, frame the drama of God's story and mission (missio Dei) through the three major acts of creation, fall and redemption. Others add that the new creation ought to be regarded as a fourth act. Although this framework describes the entire biblical narrative, creation, fall and the hope of redemption are, of course, quite present in the first three chapters of Genesis. In this article, I endeavoured to engage with the commentaries of the African church father Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE) to grasp his thoughts on redemption in Genesis 1-3. In his Genesis works, Augustine was primarily concerned with clarifying the doctrine of creation and, relatively speaking, had far less to say about redemption. That said, Augustine was, quite interested with Scripture's story of redemption in his magnum opus De Civitate Dei [City of God]. Thus, in this article, I explored two major questions: firstly, why did Augustine pay so little attention to redemption in Genesis 1-3? Secondly, how did he articulate and relate redemption in these chapters? It was shown that whilst his primary focus was to articulate creation, his thoughts on redemption were probably limited some because of the insufficiency of his Old Latin Bible translation and perhaps because of other distractions in ministry. Furthermore, it was argued that Augustine's doctrine of redemption was a subset of his discussion on creation - specifically, that the second Adam (Christ) brought new life to God's image bearers affected by the fall of the first Adam. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: My aim was to establish Augustine's thoughts on redemption as a point of dialogue for theologians of mission endeavouring to clarify a theology of mission. As most mission theologians do not consult Augustine in their work and as most early Christian scholars do not read Augustine missionally, this study offered fresh insights for both groups of scholars. <![CDATA[<b>Belhar: 'n Spiritualiteit van resepsie in die plaaslike gemeente</b>]]> THE CONFESSION OF BELHAR: A SPIRITUALITY OF RECEPTION IN THE LOCAL CHURCH: The General Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church took the following decision during October 2011: 'The General Synod decides to make the Confession of Belhar part of its confessional foundation, that is, in terms of its church ordinances, and commission the Moderamen to prepare the necessary processes regarding ecclesiastical law.' This article deals with the perception of, the reception of and resistance against Belhar as confession in a local congregation, Elardus Park. The research also describes how this obstructs the development of missional focus. The main contribution of this article is to argue that the ecumenical concept's full reception should be assessed within the broader framework of building up a missional local church where a spirituality of reception is fully developed in terms of a missional positioning in Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Did the ancient Egyptians migrate to ancient Nigeria?</b>]]> Literatures concerning the history of West African peoples published from 1900 to 1970 debate the possible migrations of the Egyptians into West Africa. Writers like Samuel Johnson and Lucas Olumide believe that the ancient Egyptians penetrated through ancient Nigeria but Leo Frobenius and Geoffrey Parrinder frowned at this opinion. Using the works of these early 20th century writers of West African history together with a Yoruba legend which teaches about the origin of their earliest ancestor(s), this researcher investigates the theories that the ancient Egyptians had contact with the ancient Nigerians and particularly with the Yorubas. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: There is an existing ideology amongst the Yorubas and other writers of Yoruba history that the original ancestors of the Yorubas originated in ancient Egypt hence there was migration between Egypt and Yorubaland. This researcher contends that even if there was migration between Egypt and Nigeria, such migration did not take place during the predynastic and dynastic period as speculated by some scholars. The subject is open for further research. <![CDATA[<b>The diakonia of Practical Theology to the alienated in South Africa in the light of 1 Peter</b>]]> This article investigates the role that Practical Theology can play in addressing the problem of alienation amongst the people of South Africa. The investigation is conducted from the viewpoint of the biblical concept of diakonia (service work). This concept as well as the content of Practical Theology as it is found in the first letter of Peter is investigated with the purpose of elucidating the diakonia of Practical Theology with regard to alienation. Four questions are answered in the article: • What may some of the reasons why people in South Africa experience alienation be? • What significance do the results of the most recent research into the diakon word group have for the diakonia of Practical Theology? • What insight can be gained from 1 Peter into the diakonia of Practical Theology for people who may be experiencing alienation in South Africa? • What should the diakonia of Practical Theology in the light of 1 Peter be for people who experience alienation? INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article addresses the issue of alienation. This is an issue that also falls within the research field of sociology and psychology. This article wants to make a contribution from a biblical perspective using the exegesis of a New Testament letter (1 Pt) with the focus on 1 Peter 4:10 and the use of the diakon word group in the letter. The article thus also operates on the research field of New Testament Theology. The results of the exegesis are used to give guidelines for the diakonia of Practical Theology in South Africa. The article challenges the way some research in Practical Theology is done, not using the Bible as reference point, thus making the distinction between Practical Theology and sciences like sociology and psychology indistinct. <![CDATA[<b>Preparing collections for digitisation: The case of religious archives in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa</b>]]> This article seeks to suggest some of the steps that archival repositories with religious archives should adopt when preparing collections for digitisation. The proposed resource manual is based on a survey using questionnaires, observation and interviews that was conducted between 2011 and 2012 in archival repositories with religious archives in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa to ascertain their readiness for digitisation. The findings revealed that the lack of adequate housing facilities and the need to promote access were incentivising the need to pursue this expensive but noble venture. In other words, the two models of digitisation preferred by these archival repositories were on demand and user initiated, respectively. Despite the great enthusiasm by these surveyed institutions to leapfrog into the digital era, the study concluded, inter alia, that there was a need for the repositories to ensure that their analogue material was meticulously organised before embarking on digitisation. Other pertinent issues included the need for pragmatism, laying parameters in as far as the scope and purpose of what such a project would aim at, identifying resources (human, technical and financial), the benefits to be derived from the digitisation, time framing, transforming the organisational culture, copyright issues, metadata provision, collaborating and selection of content to be digitised. These recommendations come against a backdrop of the poor state of religious archives in the Pietermaritzburg Cluster of Theological Libraries (PCTL) and the need for these repositories to strategically position themselves for the inevitable digitisation, thus ensuring the survival of this record in the long term. It was Bailey who advocated that information professionals need to recognise that although technology moves quickly, with organisations slow to change, we need to work to expedite our responsiveness to change, whatever its pace. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: There is need for archival repositories to move with the times in search of relevance in this InfoTech world; hence, in some academic circles digitisation has been viewed as the microfilm of the new millennium. The proposed resource manual could therefore promote best practices in their digitisation efforts. <![CDATA[<b>Condemning or liberating the twelve tribes of Israel?: Judging the meaning of</b> <b>κρίνοντες</b><b> in Q 22:28, 30</b>]]> At the turn of the second millennium AD, Tuckett dubbed Q 22:28-30 an 'exegetical stepchild', given that it has traditionally and commonly received very little attention in Q research. This article addresses this shortcoming. Specific attention is devoted to the refutation of Horsley's influential claim that, in Q 22:28-30, the verb κρίνοντες actually means 'liberate' and not 'judge'. The discoveries made along the way have significant implications not only for our understanding of this specific Q text, but also for our understanding of the Sayings Gospel Q and its people in general. The latter pertains especially to their particular view of the final judgement, as well as their relationship to greater Israel. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article refutes the popular claim that κρίνοντες in Q 22:28-30 actually means 'liberate' and not 'judge'. The latter has implications not only for the interpretation of Q 22:28-30, but also for our understanding of the Sayings Gospel Q, its people, the historical Jesus, and the ancient concept of 'judgement'. <![CDATA[<b>Relevance theory as an approach to interpreting the Bible for children: The Lucan version of the Lord's prayer as a test case</b>]]> Recent research has demonstrated that children are sensitive to the underlying causal structure of the world and seek to form new causal representations at a much earlier age than had previously been supposed. Modern scientific understanding of the evolution of life conflicts with the biblical representation of earth as the centre of the world, and of human beings as the imago Dei. Consequently, young children frequently experience cognitive dissonance when exposed to biblical texts. Two previous pilot studies utilising specifically designed illustrated booklets demonstrated that children respond more readily to a text that is relevant to their own cultural context. This article tests the possibility of presenting a universally relevant biblical text (Lk 11:2b-4) to young children in a form that does not conflict with modern science and takes aspects of recent research on child psychology into account. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: In our postmodern cultural context children tend to experience cognitive dissonance when exposed to biblical texts, and consequently lose interest. This article proposes that by presenting the biblical content in accordance with Relevance Theory, and in coherence with recent scientific explanatory theories, the interest of the children may be sustained. <![CDATA[<b>Communicating amidst reality: Ezekiel's communication as a response to his reality</b>]]> The reality of exile was the backdrop of Ezekiel's prophecies (communication). He responded to this reality with a word that he claimed he received from YHWH. This word he crafted into a powerful piece of communication that appealed, with the help of metaphors and images, to the imaginations of his audience. These imaginations of the future in the end seed the new possibilities that became their new reality. The question would be if Ezekiel's communication process could be helpful to leaders who find themselves in a new modern-day reality where they are struggling to lead. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Prophetic criticism usually stays clear of practical issues like leadership, communication and change. This article attempts to construct a communication model from the prophet Ezekiel's communication that can help modern-day leaders to communicate amidst their reality. It aids in bridging the divide that exists between Practical Theology and Old Testament Biblical Studies. <![CDATA[<b>The Bible for children in a postmodern context: How do children form explanatory concepts?</b>]]> A previous paper on methodological considerations in interpreting the Bible for children explored the problem of the cognitive gap between biblical interpreter and child. This research is a follow-up as a result of recognition of necessary adjustments in the way that child evangelism is usually approached (via 'original sin'). In our current context of postmodernism, the manner and consequences of biblical knowledge transfer between adult and child need to be explored. Recent research suggests that children are sensitive to the underlying causal structure of the world and seek to form new causal representations at a much earlier age than we had previously supposed. 'Intellectualists' in the anthropology of religion hold that religion is primarily concerned with providing explanatory theories, thus indicating that children need help to achieve coherence between biblical and scientific views on creation. This article presents the rationale for an early intervention to avoid the cognitive dissonance that often arises as children grow up and find a lack of coherence between their early evangelisation and the latest scientific discoveries. To test this hypothesis a multilingual illustrated booklet in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa was designed to be individually read by parents in each language group to their own 5-8-year-old children. Children's Bible stories have always been 'pretexts for passing along values' and this booklet is no different. The purpose of the booklet was to lay a foundation for children to find Christianity relevant even in the multicultural context of vast scientific and technological advances. The subjects' responsiveness was recorded by video camera, and afterwards the parents were individually interviewed and asked to assess the child's level of interest and to comment on the booklet. Results of this pilot study indicated that the booklet was well received. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: In today's postmodern, global cultural context children need help to achieve coherence between biblical and scientific versions of creation. This pilot study tests an evangelical booklet designed to lay a foundation for children to find Christianity relevant even in the multi-cultural context of vast scientific and technological advances. <![CDATA[<b>What does God have to do with my health?</b>]]> Perceptions about God's involvement in the health of people have always been an issue in Christianity. Conflicting views regarding the transcendent versus immanent nature of God have therefore played a prominent part within theological discussions. The purpose of this empirical survey was to explore the extent to which South African Christians directly attribute their health and/or diseases to the hand of God. A total of 3000 structured questionnaires were distributed of which 575 were received back. The IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS 21) statistical program was used to analyse the data. Most participants disagreed with the view that God largely determined their health, although the majority did think that diseases (including AIDS) were sent by God, whilst playing down the role of natural causes. In conclusion, one could say that health beliefs amongst South Africans are closely linked to supernatural agents, although the direct role of God is seen mostly in terms of the sending of occasional diseases rather than constant involvement in general health. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The study challenges the applicability of a secularised medical model within the South African context and its relevance for prevention programmes. <![CDATA[<b>Engaging complexity</b>]]> In this article, I discuss studies in complexity and its epistemological implications for systematic and practical theology. I argue that engagement with complexity does not necessarily assure a non-reductionist approach. However, if complexity is engaged transversally, it becomes possible to transcend reductionist approaches. Moreover, systematic and practical theologians can draw on complexity in developing new ways of understanding and, therefore, new ways of describing the focus, epistemic scope and heuristic structures of systematic and practical theology. Firstly, Edgar Morin draws a distinction between restricted and general complexity based on the epistemology drawn upon in studies in complexity. Moving away from foundationalist approaches to epistemology, Morin argues for a paradigm of systems. Secondly, I discuss Kees van Kooten Niekerk's distinction between epistemology, methodology and ontology in studies in complexity and offer an example of a theological argument that draws on complexity. Thirdly, I argue for the importance of transversality in engaging complexity by drawing on the work of Wentzel van Huyssteen and Paul Cilliers. In conclusion, I argue that theologians have to be conscious of the epistemic foundations of each study in complexity, and these studies illuminate the heart of Reformed theology. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Therefore, this article has both intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary implications. When theologians engage studies in complexity, the epistemological roots of these studies need to be considered seeing that researchers in complexity draw on different epistemologies. Drawing on transversality would enhance such considerations. Furthermore, Edgar Morin's and Paul Cilliers' approach to complexity will inform practical and theoretical considerations in church polity and unity. <![CDATA[<b>Missional theological curricula and institutions</b>]]> The article argues in favour of an all-embracing missional framework for curriculum development for theological institutions. When the curriculum of a subject such as ecclesiology has a missional hermeneutic, it will naturally lead to missional congregations. The authors use issues raised by the Network for African Congregational Theology (NetACT) institutions and the decisions of the Third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town (2010) as reference points in this article. They argue for a broad understanding of the concept 'missional' and are of the opinion that curricula that are integrative, normative, contextual and missional will lead to spiritual maturity and will result in a positive impact on church and society as a whole. The missio Dei as the work of the Trinitarian God is seen as being God's initiative. The incarnational model of Jesus Christ forms the basis for a theology and missiology where humility, vulnerability and servanthood play a pivotal role in curricula. An appeal is made for holistic missions with a strong emphasis on social engagement and the inclusion of community development. The Holy Spirit is seen as the empowering presence of the missio Dei, and the role of pneumatology in missional curriculum development is underscored. Theological institutes should become 'proclamation' institutions. Curricula should be ecumenical by nature and should include reaching the unreached and unengaged people groups. Theological education by extension is presented as an alternative way of decentralised theological education. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The article calls for theology to be done with a missional hermeneutic, both intradisciplinarily and interdisciplinarily. The article involves theology and education and calls for all disciplines dealing with community development to collaborate. <![CDATA[<b>Solus, Sola: Constructing a christocentric faith model of the <i>'ordo saiutis'</i></b>]]> This article develops a non-linear model of the ordo salutis with Christ at the centre. It shows that each individual event is a manifestation of what Christ has done and a call to faith in him. Faith is shown to comprise of consensus (agreement) and fiducia (trust). Through this model, the creative tension between the objective (indicative) and the subjective (imperative) dimensions of the gospel as well as the tension between God's eschatological time and our unfulfilled time are maintained in such a way that they both complement and limit each other. This tension, it is argued, is intrinsically linked to the way in which Christ continues to be present within our world as both Lord and Spirit. As Lord, Jesus is proclaimed as the One who has already overcome our broken reality; as the Spirit, Christ continues to be vulnerable to be resisted and rejected by us. As the Spirit of the risen Lord, he is nevertheless able to perform miracles and overcome our broken reality as the gospel is proclaimed. A short analysis of the way in which the Bible refers to some of the events in the ordo salutis confirms the legitimacy of this model. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: It is argued that this model overcomes many objections against the traditional understanding of the ordo salutis. By challenging the underlying presuppositions of both Arminiaism and Calvinism, this article provides a unique alternative which does justice to key insights from both traditions and adds a new voice to the ongoing debate between Arian, Pelagian and semi-pelagian theologians, on the one side, and Reformed theologians, on the other side. It thus makes a significant intradisciplinary contribution to systematic theology. It also aligns the universality of salvation in Christ as the second Adam to the continuing need for a personal faith response to Christ. <![CDATA[<b>An interdisciplinary adventure into the worlds of teaching and practical theology</b>]]> A constant challenge to researchers and academic scholars in practical theology is to stay relevant and up to date with the constantly evolving academic concepts in which they discourse. These interactions between individuals and intellectual fields often allow for what Julian Müller terms a 'moment of praxis' within their epistemology that functions as a meeting place between different ideas, paradigms and often even different academic disciplines. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: This article investigated the possibility of creating an interdisciplinary epistemology between practical theology and teaching. By exploring the role that postfoundationalist discourse and interdisciplinary conversations can play in identifying and addressing challenges which face teaching, new light can be shed on the relationship between teaching and practical theology which thus highlights correlations between these two relevant fields. <![CDATA[<b>Judging the twelve tribes of Israel: Q 22:28, 30 in light of the Psalms of Solomon and the Community Rule</b>]]> The current article considers two intertexts of Q 22:28, 30, namely the Psalms of Solomon and the Community Rule found in the first Qumran cave. Each of these documents is examined to understand its view of the restoration of Israel, the messianic age, the apocalyptic end and the final judgement. Additional attention is paid to the way in which these documents draw boundaries around their respective in-groups. By illustrating that these texts foresaw a process of judgement at the apocalyptic end that would entail both the liberation and the condemnation of greater Israel, the current article argues against the popular claim that a wholesale liberation of everyone in Israel was expected during the Second-Temple period. The broader context of this investigation is the attempted refutation of Horsley's influential claim that, in Q 22:28-30, the verb κρίνω actually means 'liberate' and not 'judge'. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: By illustrating that these texts foresaw a process of judgement at the apocalyptic end that would entail both the liberation and the condemnation of greater Israel, the current article argues against the popular claim that a wholesale liberation of everyone in Israel was expected during the Second-Temple period. <![CDATA[<b>The spiritual weakness of churches founded by Western missionaries: The cause of the rise of Africa Independent Churches in Zimbabwe with special reference to the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa</b>]]> The Presbytery of Zimbabwe (POZ) of the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA) has been affected by a drastic exodus of members to African Independent Churches, which is taking advantage of its spiritual weaknesses in its missional endeavour. The spiritual weaknesses which the people of the POZ experiences are a product of the evangelical mode of mission in Zimbabwean society and the failure by both foreign and local personnel to contextualise the Good News. This article considers the possibility of correcting this state of affairs. The central issue addressed is how to understand the context and achieve the necessary change. <![CDATA[<b>The Celtic connection with southern Africa: Tracing a genealogy of missionary spirituality</b>]]> It is quite generally accepted that the missionary monks from the Celtic tradition in Ireland and Scotland played a significant role in the Christianisation of Europe during the Dark Ages. This is a story that should not be forgotten. It is also well known that this was preceded by the thorough evangelisation of Ireland and Scotland (and northeast England) itself by these Celtic monks. What is, however, not getting enough attention is the (much later) outreach to southern Africa coming from those same quarters. In this article an effort is made to give credit to this, and to trace the specific spirituality that made all this possible. <![CDATA[<b>Training Christian leaders: Then and now</b>]]> It is quite generally accepted that the missionary monks from the Celtic tradition in Ireland and Scotland played a significant role in the Christianisation of Europe during the Dark Ages. This is a story that should not be forgotten. It is also well known that this was preceded by the thorough evangelisation of Ireland and Scotland (and northeast England) itself by these Celtic monks. What is, however, not getting enough attention is the (much later) outreach to southern Africa coming from those same quarters. In this article an effort is made to give credit to this, and to trace the specific spirituality that made all this possible. <![CDATA[<b>Jewish Christianity today and reading the New Testament with a fresh post-supersessionist perspective</b>]]> It is quite generally accepted that the missionary monks from the Celtic tradition in Ireland and Scotland played a significant role in the Christianisation of Europe during the Dark Ages. This is a story that should not be forgotten. It is also well known that this was preceded by the thorough evangelisation of Ireland and Scotland (and northeast England) itself by these Celtic monks. What is, however, not getting enough attention is the (much later) outreach to southern Africa coming from those same quarters. In this article an effort is made to give credit to this, and to trace the specific spirituality that made all this possible. <![CDATA[<b>The forms and significance of the Eucharist in the Letters of the New Testament and in the book of Revelation</b>]]> It is quite generally accepted that the missionary monks from the Celtic tradition in Ireland and Scotland played a significant role in the Christianisation of Europe during the Dark Ages. This is a story that should not be forgotten. It is also well known that this was preceded by the thorough evangelisation of Ireland and Scotland (and northeast England) itself by these Celtic monks. What is, however, not getting enough attention is the (much later) outreach to southern Africa coming from those same quarters. In this article an effort is made to give credit to this, and to trace the specific spirituality that made all this possible.