Hervormde Teologiese Studies
Print version ISSN 0259-9422
BEDFORD-STROHM, Heinrich. Prophetic witness and public discourse in European societies - a German perspective. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2010, vol.66, n.1, pp. 1-6. ISSN 0259-9422.
The role of prophetic witness of the churches in the public discourse of modern civil societies is analysed on the basis of three public memorandums of the German Protestant churches on economic questions and their impact on the public. Among the ten systematic conclusions which are drawn from this case study is the importance of the specific context for the role of prophetic statements. The article tries to show how prophetic witness is a necessary element of a public theology, which is not based on fundamental criticism, but develops both critical and constructive perspectives for politics and society. If such public theology is liberation theology for a democratic society it is the task of the church to get involved in the public debate in a 'bilingual' way, that is, on the basis of its biblical-theological sources but at the same time with the ability to engage in the secular language of pluralistic societies.
Keywords : Public Theology; public discourse; civil society; prophetic witness; option for the poor; economic ethic.